The people vs. the United States

by the Arctic Circle Collective

Something is wrong, and the signs of it are everywhere.

Somebody flies a plane into an IRS tax office in Texas, and millions of people around the country cheer, while the media speak of a “senseless attack.”

In a black neighborhood in the slums of Hartford, someone opens fire on a SWAT team that has busted down their door, and people in the gathered crowd of neighbors whisper, “If only they had killed one of them pigs.” The media say nothing.

Women around the country pass around a book that has gotten terrible reviews, about a wife who kills her abusive husband.

A depressed youth goes into a shopping mall and opens fire, convinced he is in The Matrix and is desperate to get out. A psychologist assures the public he was psychotic, but tens of thousands of losers, rejects, and depressives from coast to coast nod silently; they understand him perfectly.

Millions of people drive to the theaters to see Avatar, to dream of a world that can still be saved, and their hearts leap when the forest fights back against the machines, when the wild animals stomp the Marines to death. Film critics talk about “captivating special effects.”

As a greenwashed oil company destroys the Gulf of Mexico with a predictable accident resulting from efficient business practices, the entire population is sedated, in their individual cages of helpless depression, by assurances that oil spills of this magnitude happen every few years, that in fact this act of murder and contempt for our world is normal. We are saved by our numbness. This might not be the end of the world. It could keep going on like this forever.

After police in Seattle are caught viciously beating a 15 year-old girl, a law student takes up arms, firebombs four cop cars, and ambushes a police patrol, killing one officer. The local progressive newspaper erases all the comments from their blog that call the man a hero, leaving only the ones that say he should be sent to the electric chair.

All of these things can be explained away. There are hundreds of thousands of people in this country who are paid to explain these daily catastrophes—reporters, sociologists, psychiatrists, police spokespersons, trend analysts, public relations hacks. Shooting back at the cops or attacking federal buildings is not an appropriate response to police violence or governmental abusiveness, because we live in a civilized society in which we debate the problem, propose solutions, and participate in the political process.

But we’ve been talking about these problems for decades, on their terms, following the rules of the politicians, the judges, the economists, the bankers, and the problems are only getting worse. We’ve submitted so many petitions, so many reports, environmental impact statements, grievance forms, held so many peaceful protests. This time, we are not entering into the same old arguments. The acts of violent resistance against the system are facts. They are happening every day. They will not be argued away.

Our economy devotes more resources to entertaining us, to making us feel happy, than any other economy in history, yet millions of us feel more empty and desperate than ever before. This is a fact. And increasingly, many are rejecting the official reasons, and the Prozac and miracle diets that come with them. This time, we are not going to bring out our set of statistics and argue about who is right. These illegal and angry reactions to the system could be as wrong as possible, and still they would keep on happening.

Our existence is a fact. This time, we will not try to justify ourselves, but to explain why we exist, to illuminate the lines of a civil war that may be approaching. As much as the media want us to believe otherwise, lines of this civil war do not run between red states and blue states, but between above and below, between the governors and the governed.

Up until now we have been slandered and dismissed as the terrorists, the crazies, the criminals, the confused. We want you to know who we really are, why we exist, so that when the time comes, you can choose sides.

Democracy hides a war …
… a war against all of us.

How can we make sense of a system that asks us to vote for our leaders, and then puts surveillance cameras on street corners to watch our movements, uses cell phones to track us, scans all our emails and phone conversations?

The common-sense answer fed to us by the media is that the system is trying to protect us. We are constantly threatened by criminals and terrorists, and the most basic purpose of government is to keep us safe. But the FBI is staking out shopping malls, asking frightened mothers to submit their children’s fingerprints and DNA to add to the database, just in case. NSA super computers are reading everyone’s emails and listening to everyone’s phone calls. It is apparent that the government sees all of us as the potential criminal, the potential terrorist. They are treating us increasingly like the civilian population during the war in Vietnam: as the breeding ground for the subversives. In the eyes of the government, we are the enemy. Military advisers explaining “fourth generation warfare” confirm this fact: “the distinction between war and peace will be blurred to the vanishing point. It will be nonlinear, possibly to the point of having no definable battlefields or fronts. The distinction between ‘civilian’ and ‘military’ may disappear. Targets may be more in the civilian than the military sector.”

The fact that today’s enemies are not opponent states but populations means that the military has to restructure itself to engage in greater surveillance and constant warfare. Victory is no longer won on a battlefield, but politically and morally.

The democracy that the US military is installing in Iraq teaches us something very important about democracy. A major goal of the invasion was to restructure Iraqi society, to create a foundation of rules that affect the operation of the free market, foreign investments, production, intellectual property, and so on. This policy objective has not changed, even as power in Iraq shifts from Pentagon directives to political parties and election campaigns. This shows that democracy is not an instrument that allows people to change the foundations of their society. Or, as a US Supreme Court Justice said almost 200 years ago, “Conquest gives a title the Courts of the conqueror cannot deny.” He was referring to the lands stolen from the Native Americans, and how Native Americans cannot use the law to win their lands back. “[Conquest] becomes the law of the land and cannot be questioned.” The same applies to the unpaid labor of African slaves, the poorly paid labor of European immigrants, or the restructuring of Iraqi society.

These too “cannot be questioned.”

Another interesting thing about democratization in Iraq is that from the beginning it has been part of a plan to defeat the Iraqi resistance. Installing democracy equals stealing support from the
insurgents. A successful insurrection would allow the Iraqis to question the law of the land, to change the foundations of their society, to deny the title of conquest. By accepting democracy, they give up this possibility. What do they get in return? The leaders of various demographics would get a piece of the pie. They would get to enter into the government, exchanging the power to determine their lives for privilege, benefits, influence in the system. All they have to do is control their followers. Thus, democracy defeats the insurrection by dividing it, producing a nation into distinct demographics with competing interests, and each demographic into leaders and followers, representatives and voters. Democracy creates foxes to rule the henhouse.

Democratic rights, the privilege of voting for politicians, don’t seem to conflict at all with a steady increase in State power, with an increasing militarization of police and a frightening use of new technologies to spy on all of us. Democracy is becoming ever more Orwellian. Just recently, the US government gave even more money to Israel, this time to develop brain scanners that could essentially read people’s minds, measuring their biological reactions to seeing images of terrorists or disorders on a TV screen to see whether they were frightened or sympathetic. In other words, people walking through public space are already being bombarded by the old-fashioned form of mind control, television, and now the government will be able to remotely scan their brainwaves to make sure they are responding the way they are supposed to — by sympathizing with the authorities and being afraid of those of us who are at war with the system. Those guilty of thought-crime will be singled out for greater surveillance.

Once tested in Israel, the device would be brought to the US, just as the US imported sound guns that can deafen an entire crowd to control protesters in Pittsburgh. Warfare is so compatible with the present system, the US government is able to wage two major wars simultaneously without any major disruptions. If the news media stopped talking about Iraq and Afghanistan one day, everyone would forget about these wars except for those who have family members overseas. World War II was a major interruption to society, as the entire population had to be mobilized to support the war efforts. The two simultaneous wars today are hardly noticeable; we were already mobilized to support warfare when they began. If this process is so invisible, what other wars might be escaping our notice?

The US government devotes as much money to surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as to a war overseas. Does this machinery of social control constitute a war on the home-front? And if the media are constantly talking about every new case of police violence or torture within prison walls as isolated incidents, would we be able to connect the dots and understand that the problem is systemic, that there’s a war going on?

NATO, which was supposed to protect us from the Soviet Union but which has only been growing since the end of the Cold War, has agreed that all member states (including, of course, the US), should regularize the domestic use of the military by 2020, for disaster response, emergency management, and crowd control. The “state of exception” is giving way to democracy as permanent occupation. In Chicago, some politicians are talking about bringing the National Guard into the streets this summer. They talk about protecting the citizens from crime, but in reality it’s an experiment to see if we submit to being occupied.

The United States was founded on genocide, on stolen land. Democracy doesn’t change the fact that the present system has to preserve the original crime, regardless of the results of any elections. For surviving Native peoples, participating in the democratic system means submitting to the conquest. For the descendants of African slaves, participating in democracy means agreeing to the rules of the system that kidnapped them. For people of European ancestry, following the rules means submitting to a system that colonized them so long ago even the memory of it has been lost. There’s a reason why so many Europeans didn’t have land or money or freedom and could be tricked by the myth of an empty continent, just waiting for colonization. That reason went across the ocean with them. It built the new marbled monuments, modeled on the Greek slave-democracy and the Roman Empire.

We’re fooled into thinking we’re all the same, or alternately that we’re divided by our allegiance to the right-wing or the left-wing, or divided by our skin color, when the real force that divides us is that which exploits, which alienates, which imprisons, all to defend the 1% who own everything. The most important question of democracy, the question the media never ask, has to do with minorities. How is it that this top 1%, who have so little in common with the rest of us, who never have to work, who own all the social wealth that all of us have created and that all of us rely on for survival, who own the institutions that educate and inform us, always end up in the majority every time it comes down to a vote?

The answer is simple: if the elite can determine what questions are asked, the answers are irrelevant. After a protest in which police and demonstrators clash, the media, encouraging free speech, pose a poll: did the police do their job well? There is no way to answer this question that communicates total opposition to the police themselves. One can only pat them on the back, or demand they receive better training. The elite will never ask a question whose possible answers do not reaffirm their power.

“If manual labor were so pleasant, the rich would keep it for themselves.” (Mark Twain)

Property is theft …
… work is blackmail.

And they know it. The masters of this society know that the current social order, in which they wield power, is imposed by maintaining a conspiracy of hypocrisy. Millionaire radio jockeys presume to teach us the value of hard work, and we stay in line filling out applications for McDonald’s or Target.

The history of the economy is the history of theft. Look at the piece of land you’re standing on. It used to be worked by people who knew how to provide for themselves and their communities without destroying the environment. The possibility of dignified life and work was killed by the companies that organized colonizing armies and brought over labor gangs of indebted European immigrants or kidnapped African slaves. In both cases, we see the pattern of forced dependence. People who are actually working in a dignified way, which is to say, for themselves, for their communities, at their own pace, are prevented from doing so through organized violence. Land that had belonged to everyone is divided up and usurped by the elite, the forebears of many of those who are still wealthy today. African communities that are self-sufficient are invaded and destroyed. Later, China is brought into the global economy by addicting its population to opium.

Even after colonization, labor was little more than a tax. Give up a certain amount, more if you were black and less if you were white, and keep the rest to feed yourself. You could still see the product of your labor, and nourish yourself with it.

But then something happened. Slavery gradually ended — not in a sudden moment of liberation, as the history books tell it, but through decades of sharecropping and chain gangs (and the chain gangs still haven’t ended). But no one was liberated. Rather, black and white were transformed into machines. Where’s the use in outright slavery when the bank can own your house, the boss can own your time, the credit card company or collection agency contracted by the university or the hospital can own your future, fashion companies can own your insecurities, Hollywood producers can own your heart, and the newspapers can own your mind?

Each tiny little person today represents a colossal celebration: the unification of the entire owning class. They all own a piece of you, and what you think of as your life is little more than you scrambling around to appease their needs. The factory system makes workers a part of the process. The rhythm of their life is made to shape the needs of the machine. The service sector jobs of today go even further, making demands of our very moods. No longer do we owe our bosses merely a certain amount of product, or even a certain amount of time, but a measured quantity of enthusiasm. Service with a smile.

We can’t imagine a more intimate form of violence. We’re not even allowed to be depressed by our total lack of power over our own lives. Already by the age of five, the sullen and the impatient ones are screened out for Prozac and Ritalin. All of the kids diagnosed with disorders are suddenly “cured” when they are allowed to organize their own lives, or determine their own rhythms. But once the needs of the economy send them back to work, back to school, suddenly they relapse and have to go back on the pills.

The disorder is the society that sends bodies through a meat grinder, that demands we become interchangeable parts. The blackmail is the society that demands from us everything — not just our time and our obedience and our energies but also our friendliness and good faith — and gives us nothing in return but the means to participate in it more fully, on its own terms, spending our meager wages on the right wardrobe, the right diet, the right music collection. In fact, this careful assemblage of mass-produced goods is the only legal way we have to express our individuality.

At the base, those who extol the virtues of work are the same old blackmailers: work for us, or starve in the gutters. But once we began negotiating with these terrorists who call themselves leaders, they only started making more demands of us. The terms of the contract are getting more and more detailed, and we are increasingly powerless to back out. It is exactly what the system gives us in order to survive that makes living impossible. The lunatic who goes into work with a semi-automatic rifle and kills eleven coworkers before blowing out his own brains makes perfect sense to us. His coworkers are just replicates of himself, and killing himself only once couldn’t possibly make up for the insults he has endured. That other common figure, the mother who drives her babies into a lake, is even more lucid. After all, what could be more disgusting, in this society, than the future?

“Don’t forget the real business of the War is buying and selling. The murdering and the violence are self-policing, and can be entrusted to non-professionals …. The true war is a celebration of markets.” (Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow)

The good citizen …
… is trained at betrayal.

When a cop is shot we are surrounded with images of grief — people with hands over their hearts, shedding tears for the departed social servant — paired with reassurance: “he was a good citizen, a family man.” The media display images of good citizens with a new found urgency. Nothing is ever articulated in the media about the growing anti-police sentiment or the violence committed by the police every day, only a brief description: lone domestic terrorist.

The media use images in lieu of dialogue all the time, and by avoiding words these images can speak without being challenged. They create a virtual reality that is more convincing than our lived reality because it is broader, more exciting, more authoritative, more multitudinous than our narrow, routine, depopulated little lives. In this montage, the good citizen is seldom described, but a definition can be found in the image of its opposite: the terrorist.

The national unity, which is a dominant message of the media’s virtual reality, can only be opposed by fearful images that are presented as though they are irrational and impossible to understand. Thus, the good citizen is presented as both rational and sympathetic because unlike the terrorist, she does not pose a threat. The mobilization of monstrosity always involves the normalizing of power as well. The good citizen, the heterosexual patriot, is created in a narrative designed to aid the goal of the US government as a provider of security. In other words, the good citizen collaborates with authority, she reports suspicious activity, she follows the rules and works hard, to make it easier for the government to protect her from shadowy threats that she cannot, must not, understand. Those who threaten, be they terrorists or cop-killers, are always described as cowards in the media. The good citizen, on the other hand, is portrayed with his chest puffed bravely out. He refuses to be intimidated, which in practice means he cowers obediently behind a government that will protect him from a threat he is not allowed to know. His power, his strength, flows only from his blind identification with the powerful, always against the underdog.

But who benefits from this proclamation of power? We know that equality before the law is a myth constructed by the powerful in order to disguise the inequality to which these laws apply. As Anatole France said, “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

In the eyes of the powerful we are a domestication project. What better way to prove that we are well trained than to make us bow down to absurdity? Our bosses kill hundreds of thousands of people every year in this country, through easily preventable work accidents, occupational diseases, the release of poison into the air and water, especially in poor areas, and we are taught to fear those weaker than us, and cling closer to our leaders for protection. The good citizen doesn’t notice anything suspicious when politicians and CEOs take credit for “creating jobs” and blame immigrants for “stealing jobs.”

The good citizen may complain when the banks steal millions, but she will agree that it is terrorism if someone burns the bank down, and she will be afraid of the person who robs a bank.

The good citizen goes to war for the ambitions of politicians and the profits of corporations.

The good citizen forgets where he came from.

The good citizen identifies with her owners.

The good citizen follows the rules that are stacked against him.

The good citizen has nothing to hide, and is willing to be strip-searched to prove it.

The good citizen is a snitch, a follower, a sell-out. She will betray those who rebel. Most of all, she betrays herself, because the system she protects offers nothing to inspire loyalty other than lies.

What we come home to …
… is a silence there’s no escaping.

Conservatives talk on TV about radicals wanting to destroy the family, but those who can actually look the present situation in the face must admit the family is long since dead. Decades ago, interconnected families were broken up into nuclear units: a factory worker, the future factory workers, and a wife and mother to take care of them all. She is less a caretaker and more a mechanic, for our bodies have become machines. In a consumer economy, even this shadow of the family has become obsolete, and nothing remains but a range of survival strategies in a desert of misery. We can talk about residing, surviving, passing through, but not about life. We are sure no one has ever lived here.

Walking any given street in any given city, the scene is familiar; one might assume all the life has been swept away by a great broom and quarantined in the individual houses. But there is no life in these houses. And the silence is obvious: it is not so much heard as felt.

Don’t hurry by like you’re supposed to. Stop with us for a moment to look in these windows. There, the house with the red shutters. A thirty-something putting dishes in the dishwasher, waiting for his television show to come on. He still lives with his parents; they’ve had years of practice avoiding each other. They no longer bother with familiar greetings and, instead, acknowledge only their shared indifference. His parents dedicated forty years of their lives to a mortgage, to his education, to a comfort that numbed the flesh and hid behind the appearance of happiness. It has hollowed them out. He has inherited their emptiness, their denial of full existence. They forgot how to imagine full lives and started, instead, to imagine long lives. Their dreams turned to anchors in failure’s deep river.

Next door they raise their glasses; a toast to damp out the burning in their chests, that last reminder of life. How nice it is to sit around the same table again, they say, but in reality they are miles apart. Years of stock answers and false questions stand between them. The family teaches self-sacrifice. They have thrown their possible selves on the fire for the convenience of sitting in the company of predictable characters without complications or demands. The only demand is that everyone play their part in this tragic comedy. Unsure why, they participate simply because it is an age-old practice; no one is listening, but the motions are familiar.

The people in the house with the well-kept lawn are on the phone with the police. Grandfather has run away again. He has lost his memory and is trying to get back to the place where he spent his youth, where the residue of childhood lingers, back when he believed magic was real. His mind is drying up, leaving him only the scent of water and the mirage of a distant oasis. Grandfather is walking down the railroad tracks, sure they lead to Montana. He knows every house is a prison when he can’t remember what has gone missing, what the air once held for him.

An old woman will die in her chair with FOX News blaring — from the TV in the bedroom and the one in the den. Her partner is dead, but she still hides all her old love letters in a box with her smothered desire. She goes on sitting on the edge of her chair thinking one day she will come back to life from emotional deadness.

The roommates in the apartment on the next block overcome the silence with sedation. Without a beer in their hands or joint at their lips, they don’t know how to share the long hours between classes. Their drugs of choice don’t even offer an excuse for wildness. Their neighbor wakes up every morning to the shrill call of the alarm. He rises easily, drinking his coffee, preparing for the daily slavery. When the time comes he goes to work willingly, without the threat of the whip. The new master is money. It has bought his obedience, and he in turn can buy anything else. Yes, even love. His sex doll is the perfect woman — she doesn’t speak, not even when spoken to. He says he wants to be buried in her arms.

The 16-year-old across the street despises love. Her parents have taught her well what people do to those they love. She only fantasizes about disappearing.

The boy in the next house still has fantasies without limit. He has cast himself in a story; he is a wanderer from some place far off emerging out of a dream-scape from the night before. He notices the colors outside of a changing season, the way the setting sun tells direction, he escapes again and again into his imagination. He has drawn a blue line on the walls of the room, the horizon of a sea without a map. His parents punish him by taking the crayons away and putting him in front of the television. Its murmur and its glow disrupt his dreaming leaving him with a calm, gaping-mouthed concentration.

In the new subdivision a television blares. Husband and wife sit on a couch, watching a sitcom. Right next to each other, but they might as well be alone. Upstairs, in his room, one child plays video games. In the next room, another child listens to her iPod and sends text messages to a friend who lives on the next block. They have nothing to say to each other. They only know how to be spoken to. They are desperate for the loud devices that drown out the silence, and that electronic noise is the only thing really at home here; the people are all strangers. For them, family is a conspiracy of deception, a temporary resting ground from their lives, dominated by the institutions of school or work, lives they are simply passing through as though it were the scenery outside a car window. They provide one another company to ignore that they are totally alone.

In the tiny apartment on the other side of town, the minutes are weighted down with noise — yelling and crying, the beatings of frustration or love or good parenting — preparation for the real world, boasting and joking, tough laughter, moans of pleasure, hysteric shrieks on a rare day of good fortune, the bustle of movement between two different full time jobs and the seething anger against a debt one never had the chance to opt out of, the echo off the street of police sirens and gunshots in the night. The eldest child will never escape this noise. Targeted and profiled, he’ll just replace it with the howls and catcalls, the jangle of keys, the muffled thump and cries of fights, that echo down the corridor outside his jail cell.

The youngest will do everything — study hard, apply for grants, endure insults without getting strong and getting even, work any shit job that would look good on a resumé, choose prescription painkillers and sedatives over illegal drugs — to be able to move out of here and have just one night of silence, a year of nights of silence, a lifetime of nights of silence.

In the last house lives the perfect family. Sometimes they watch movies together, but just as often they go canoeing. They never yell; arguments always remain civilized. They eat dinner together, and take turns cooking and doing dishes. The meal is always a healthy one, but they’re not above indulging in a sinful dessert. The children play sports, do their homework, and get top grades. The parents are advancing in their careers, but they still have time to take tango lessons to keep those romantic fires burning. Each evening, they talk about how their days were. They have banished the silence with a practiced perfection. But they can only do this by staying on top. They are trapped in a play, and their happiness is based on following the rules and winning the game, on living the myth and making it work for them. But we know how cruel this game can be, how suddenly the rules can change. We have seen these families tear each other to shreds when a parent gets laid off, when a child is born with a disability or comes out queer. We have seen those who grew up in such families fall to pieces when they go off to college and lose that heavy-handed parental guidance.

And we have also seen these families continue to win the game, and become the most perfect of monsters. Kids we played with on the playground, who had big hearts once, gone on to be valedictorians, magna cum laude at prestigious universities. Now they’re designing bombs or biological weapons systems for the military. Now they’re lawyers and public relations specialists for oil companies. Now they’ve got kids of their own.

In this psychotic world, the well adjusted ones are the most frightening of all.

The “War on Terror” …
… made you look the other way.

It is a sleight of hand. A clever magic trick.

If we were allowed to define that word, “terrorists” would be those who set off bombs in crowds of random people. But governments do this all the time, and it’s called warfare. Only the government has the right to define terrorism, because terrorism is a tool for governments. The media make celebrities out of terrorists, because they are useful. They generate fear. They make us cry out for the government to protect us, and the government responds with more surveillance, more restrictions.

In the African colonies, “civilization” meant cutting people’s hands off if they did not deliver their quota of gold and diamonds. It meant forced conversion to Christianity. It meant kicking people off their land, ending traditional agriculture that allowed communities to feed themselves without destroying the environment, and imposing cash crop production to grow coffee, tropical fruits, chocolate, and flowers for Europe. It meant massacring those who resisted, shooting them from airplanes, gassing them.

When the British first spoke of terrorism in Kenya, they referred to those who attacked colonizers, killed soldiers, and sabotaged the colonial economy, while refusing to come to the negotiating table and seek some compromise. When the US government speaks of terrorism, they do not refer to the million Iraqis killed by the bombing and sanctions after the first Gulf War. They do not refer to the thousands of Palestinians killed by Israeli drones and armored bulldozers, paid for by the US, or the system of militarized checkpoints that have turned Palestine into the world’s largest open air prison. They do not refer to their support for military dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, and Indonesia.

They pretend that something began in September, 2001. They pretended to be surprised.

The night the Twin Towers fell, President Bush said in a National Security Council meeting, “This is an opportunity. We have to look at this as an opportunity.” In the opportunistic wars that followed, Al Qaeda was not the target; in fact it only grew larger. The Pentagon itself admitted to bolstering the importance of Al Qaeda in Iraq, as part of its counterinsurgency strategy. Because every government needs its terrorists.

On the home front, the War on Terror meant more police powers, more surveillance, tighter borders, greater persecution of anyone who didn’t wave the flag, who didn’t fit in. Since 2001, nearly every Muslim and Arab or South Asian immigrant in the country has been interviewed by the FBI, and everyone else looked the other way. Countless people were arrested or deported, though in nearly every case it was for minor infractions or outright fabrications. What the FBI was looking for was not terrorist plots, but loyalty. They pressured thousands to become paid informants, and it was those who refused, those who were politically active, those who organized charity or maintained their cultural ties with the countries they came from, who were most likely to be framed as terrorists.

Again and again, it happened like this: the FBI would make an arrest, inviting the media and creating a huge spectacle. They would “leak” the information that the accused was plotting to open fire in a shopping mall or blow up Mount Rushmore, and they would use their paid informants to corroborate the story. Threatened with life imprisonment, the accused would be pressured to plead guilty to lesser charges.

Why all this attention? The main military theorist of Fourth Generation Warfare describes immigrants as an invading army. All those who do not identify with their oppressors are a security threat. In 2001 and 2002, the FBI said the greatest domestic terrorism threat was a loose group of environmental activists who used property destruction and politically motivated arson, but had never harmed anyone.

The biggest domestic anti-terror investigation in the US in 2003 was against an animal rights group. The animal rights group operated a website with information about protests and sabotage directed against a company that tortured and killed animals. A couple years earlier, this had been legal. The government just changed the law. Terrorism.

In 2008, anarchists around the country organized major protests against the conventions of both political parties. The government decided that anarchists should now be treated as terrorists. There is a long tradition of anarchists in this country, going back to Emma Goldman, Lucy Parsons, and Henry David Thoreau, but no one remembers that anymore, because the government schools and capitalist media just don’t talk about it. Eight of the most active anarchists organizing protests against the Republicans were arrested and charged with terrorism.

The War on Terror is the new excuse for the military to spy on anti-war groups. They’re only doing their job, which is to protect US interests, and war is good business. “US interests” justify spying on us, cutting our wages, moving the factories overseas, making money for the super wealthy by exploiting people and destroying the environment.

US interests are contrary to our interests.

It’s the people vs. the United States.

The State is just a protection racket. Millions more people are killed every year by radiation from the nuclear/defense industry, lack of healthcare, bullshit wars, police violence, toxic dumping, and workplace “accidents” or occupational diseases than have ever been killed in terrorist attacks, and we only became a target for those attacks because of the international policies of our government.

Terrorism is nothing but a TV reality show, a fancy bit of theater, to hide these facts. It’s a way to distract you from your real enemies.

So the celebrity terrorists get all the attention. They are people who are as ruthless as politicians, but they have no state to command. If they were generals, they would get medals for bold strategies.

But who are the real terrorists, the tens of thousands of people under surveillance, on government lists? We are the terrorists. And we want you to know us. We are your neighbors and children. We are those who refuse to play by rules we know are stacked against us. We are those who will not become snitches. We are those who fight back against police violence. We are those who speak out against totalitarianism. We are those who defend our countries against occupying armies. We are those who would set fire to a bulldozer or a new luxury home rather than let a forest be cut down. Those who would rather hear the sound of shattering glass than a politician’s speech.

The real terrorists are those who care.

The greatest crime is to sympathize with us. The greatest patriotism is to pretend we are monsters.

“I want to live among people who are conscious that we live in a war. A war against life, against the spirit. I want to live among people who don’t look down at their feet, or won’t look you in the eyes when you speak of struggle or insurrection, because in their heart they know they have surrendered, and because — maybe, just maybe — they never really hated the system. Among people who have not been bought, who did not take the pills they were offered, because they preferred to struggle with their feeling of pathological anxiety than to live in the dead zone. People who don’t pretend to be struggling when it is obvious that what they are doing is turning a battlefield into a garden. I want to be in a place where the war is admissible.” (Anonymous Spanish poet)

The social war …
… is what we call the reality we were born into.

Its existence is the greatest kept secret of our civilization. Naming it is the first act of rebellion, the first step towards claiming control over our own lives.

We thought it was a one-sided war, waged by Authority, against us. We thought we had no hope but to ignore it, to turn this battlefield into a garden. We hoped it would pass us by. But it’s only encircling us, tighter and tighter, watching our every move while offering us a million more ways to buy into the system, to participate in our own domination.

And most do participate, first of all by shying away from admitting the war. They’ll talk about change, about politics, about reform, about corruption, but they will never talk about war unless they mean something happening far away. Because to admit the existence of the war waged against us is to admit that we are combatants, and if we see that we are not fighting back, then we would have to admit that we have surrendered. That we have already been defeated.

But just because we’re not free does not mean we are powerless. In fact, all this surveillance sends an obvious message: the government is afraid of us. Because we will never be powerless. We have the power, the responsibility, to fight back. The war waged against all of society can become a social war as we join together to fight against those who have stolen our lives, broken up our communities, poisoned our world. By declaring war, society, community, humanity, can rise from its grave. Because for too long, we have been fleeing the catastrophe of our original defeat, through the wreckage of generations piling high enough to block out the sun; exiled into a future grown nightmarish with the lack of possibility.

A state of affairs that pretends to be something complete, a perfected civilization, which we can only sit back and accept, actually demands that we make a choice: fight against it, or surrender to it.

Many people are already fighting, all over the world. We are fighting in whatever ways are available to us. Destroying the system bit by bit, whether by burning a bank or sabotaging an oil pipeline. Overcoming the alienation that constitutes our invisible prison bars, by taking to the streets in protest or talking with our fellow workers and organizing a collective force against the power of the bosses.

Deserting and disobeying all the rules written against us, by squatting and stealing for our survival, refusing military service, rejecting the roles we’re assigned, as good mother, good student, good citizen. Rewriting the usual endings, by supporting prisoners rather than letting them disappear in isolation, by beating up rapists and homophobes rather than suffering their violence, by creating forms of love that only strengthen us rather than containing and limiting us. Taking control over our surroundings, by painting graffiti on the walls or occupying space and planting gardens. By arming ourselves with the ability to create a new world and destroy the one that has been imposed on us.

We don’t expect you’ll join us, not right away, because to be honest about your place in the world and take action means to declare war against your life support system, to attack the chains that confine you but also keep you safe, dangling above the abyss that the system has dug out of our lives.

To choose your own side in the social war is to jump into that abyss. But this is the only chance we have at living.

And as soon as you take the plunge, you will find there are others who have your back, others who will fight alongside you. For the first time, you will know what it means not to be alone. Until then, keep your eyes open. Don’t believe the lies they tell about us. You may think that by fighting back, we are being irresponsible, but know that we are not the empty-headed whiners, not the self-absorbed brats they may portray us as. We know very well the consequences of our actions, and each of us face down the possibility of death or life imprisonment every day. We all have friends who have been tortured or killed in this fight. We continue to fight, because we are in love with all the possible worlds that are not allowed to bloom.

You may think we are the ideological, cold-blooded monsters they say we are, but hear how loudly the blood rushes through our hearts. If we can wish death on politicians, cops, and CEOs, it is only because we cannot ignore the feeling of rage for all the ways they have brutalized us and our world. Calculating people would not enter this fight, because we have so little hope of winning. The cold, calculating ones are those who become politicians. We continue fighting, because we hate all authority, and love freedom, which cannot be given, but must be taken.

____________

This essay was published here by The Arctic Circle Collective in autumn 2010 and is reprinted with with permission after minor editing.

Comments 141

  • Would we be continuing ‘their’ agenda if we respond to “Something is wrong, and the signs of it are everywhere” with declaration of war? Is there a way to come together that would render the powers that be irrelevant. Shed ‘it’ like the skin of a snake.

  • Posted without comment just a big heavy sigh….
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27465.htm
    Egypt’s Military to Warn Against “Chaos and Disorder”

    By Reuters

    February 13, 2011 — CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s new military rulers will issue a warning against anyone who creates “chaos and disorder,” an army source said Sunday.

    The source said the military statement was now expected to appear Monday, not Sunday as the source had said earlier.

    The Higher Military Council will also ban meetings by labour unions or professional syndicates, effectively forbidding strikes, and tell all Egyptians to get back to work after the unrest that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

    The army will also say it acknowledges and protects the right of people to protest, the source said.

    (Reporting by Marwa Awad, writing by Alistair Lyon)

  • Dang, Guy McPherson, you better be careful. You said in your last post that the government has labeled you an insane terrorist.

    Ha ha, I hope the government doesn’t discover this quoted article and actually attempt to retaliate against you or something.

    On a more serious note, I’m frankly amazed that we all haven’t woken up sooner.

    There are MILLIONS of people who hate the way things are, for different reasons, across about at least 40 or 50 completely different perspectives, yet somehow every one thinks there are only 2.

    I could give you at least three or four conservative libertarian websites who are angrily speaking up against governments violating their citizens’ rights, and several more right-wing fringe authors like John Taylor Gatto for example, and yet somehow most conservatives think liberals are to blame for our problems.

    I could give you thousands of both leftist and liberal authors who hate the way things are, yet they’re stuck hating each other even worse than they hate the conservatives.

    The Muslims and the Communists hate the way things are, but somehow the Muslims think Communism is godless.

    Both Tibet and China have suffered brutal regimes, both indigenous and mutually imposed, yet each of them thinks the other one is keeping up this sick order, and each of them would be right.

    The religious fundamentalists also decry our culture’s obsession with money, yet somehow they think the problem lies with the atheists who ALSO hate this culture…

    Seriously, what the hell is going on? I could do basic Google searches and have at least four million results up the YIN-YANG with people who recognize that something is off about our culture, each coming from a different background or group…

    …so why haven’t we organized a “mass movement” about it? Are we so obsessed with our differences that we can’t cooperate about parts of American culture we ALL think are wrong?

    It boggles the mind! It’s like that quote about all the Indians wanting to be chiefs.

    And every time we try to reach across the aisle and work together, we get idiotic homilies like “well, life just sucks for everyone so we just gotta suck it up.”

    How? Just…how? I don’t think there are as many ignorant people as Guy McPherson thinks, in fact maybe about a third of the country knows what’s really going on and could potentially change things within a generation if they all rose up en masse, but that third is getting splintered into sixty different groups all of whom hate each other! The Alex Jones crowd, the Derrick Jensen crowd, the fundamentalists, the atheists, the young anarchists, the old retirement home folks…

    Has anyone else here noticed what I’m talking about? Or is it just me?

  • Librarian, excellent!

    “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made the dramatic announcement this morning that he is prepared to call in the Wisconsin National Guard to respond if there is any unrest among state employees in the wake of his announcement that he wants to revoke nearly all of their collective bargaining rights.”

    http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2011/2/11/walker-says-he-will-call-in-national-guard-if-state-employees-balk-at-his-proposal

  • Oddly enough, I was in a bookstore last night looking for a copy of “The Monkey Wrench Gang,” as I loaned mine out years ago and never got it back.

    Needless to say, they do not stock that title.

  • The “Arctic” persons are no different from the ruling elites: both groups claim for themselves (and only for themselves) the moral rectitude in the initiation of force in any discrete interaction – the “Arctic” persons might tender the excuse that the other party has already used force eleswhere.

  • Where the hell did all these pacifists come from? Am I at a Friends Meeting or something? What privilege at work!

    Like most propaganda, of course this piece is over the top, but to discard and reject any notion of fighting back against corporate and state dominance, what all know of as a destructive dominant culture(read: self-defense in any case), as playing into ‘their’ agenda? Gimme a break.

  • The only logical outcome of the non-aggression principle is anarchy. Anything else is an exchange of one set of farmers (of the human livestock) for another. The “Arctic” persons, by rejecting non-aggression, set the stage to themselves become the farmers of the human livestock when they get the chance.

  • Self-defense is morally valid. Initiating force is not. The adversary’s initiation of force in some prior encounter does not count.

  • “Self-defense is morally valid. Initiating force is not. The adversary’s initiation of force in some prior encounter does not count.”

    That made absolutely zero sense, in any capacity.

  • This is loopey, I am done with this page. I cannot believe the swift change in tone.

  • See, this is what I’m TALKING about!

    Presumably Robin Datta is on the same side as the Arctic, since they both hate this dominant culture, but Datta hates the Arctic even worse than their supposed common enemy!

    THAT is why the human race can’t solve anything! We can’t amass the numbers because people with similar views end up fighting each other.

  • [Librarian] ‘I don’t think there are as many ignorant people as Guy McPherson thinks, in fact maybe about a third of the country knows what’s really going on and could potentially change things within a generation if they all rose up en masse, but that third is getting splintered into sixty different groups all of whom hate each other!’

    I think that was part of this article’s basic assumptions, and perhaps one of those things that Guy is trying to communicate (though I can’t speak for him) – that the very ignorance of the strategy on the part of the elite to splinter us is an effective deterrent to mass rebellion and that those of us who do not understand that strategy, therefore live lives in ignorance, no matter how well informed we are or how right we believe our understanding of the world is.

    The analysis of the article is beautifully spot on. I do not believe I have ever heard a more cogent expression of where we stand as a society of human cattle. It is the conclusion with which I would raise issue – that we need to fight back by any means available to sabotage and weaken the system from the bottom up, including and especially, through personal and organised violent means.

    As an observer, I can see, however, that this is precisely what is beginning to happen around the world as people lose hope and find themselves in positions where they have lost everything and have nothing remaining to lose. Sometimes the effort is purely on an individual basis, as stated in the article, and in others, people align themselves with an organised group to carry out subversive acts. But is that the right way to fight this? Should we fight this, if civilisation is already on the brink of massive failure? What are the alternatives?

    First, please be reminded that violence is not the only solution that the article calls for by any means. Disengagement is one mentioned. Starting a garden is one (seems innocent enough, but it is an act of taking back some of your independence). Non-violent civil disobedience is one. There are many ways of biting the heels of the beast that rules – and each bite weakens him.

    I personally think Robin is correct here – violence is not the solution. Violence only begets violence. We teach our children that violence is the answer from the cradle. We spank them in punishment. We teach them at every turn by many means that violence is an acceptable, indeed preferred, alternative to reasoned non-violent action. We do it through video games, television, movies, comic books, books, sports, and other means. From their earliest days their little heads are filled with violence as an answer to their problems every day in so many subtle ways that they grow up knowing little else how can we be surprised by this? When all your heroes are presented as people of violence rather than intellectuals, scientists, artists, non-violent activists what else can you expect? Even the intellectuals, the scientists and the artists are coloured by this paradigm as is shown in many of their works and even in how they raise their own families. Violence is deeply embedded in our global culture, and oft-times we simply do not recognise it for what it truly is – the product of an elite strategy of control of the masses.

    Why don’t we see that we are being splintered? Why don’t we see that we are programmed for violence and prejudice? Difficult questions.

    But we know the end, and it won’t change no matter what our stand on these issues – the death of civilisation.

  • Cleitophon

    What is ‘loopey’? Are you objecting to the article Guy presented, or the responses? I would be interested in your opinion as to how we or Guy might have suddenly changed tone.

  • Nothing we “do” matters anymore – the game is up. IMHO we do what feels right for us to “do” not because we achieve some glorious solution to the problems about us, but because we are incapable of solving the problems around us. Plant a tree, hug a baby, demonstrate, rise up, doesn’t matter. We are puny little self absorbed creatures, filled with the belief that we matter yet the universe is vast and just goes on being with or without us. Yet what we do on a daily basis with the people closest to us matters immensely to us and them.

    From Dimitry Orlov

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2011/02/announcing-reinventing-collapse-20.html

    “Well the whole climate change debate, it almost makes me laugh because people say things and the words, if you look at it what do they mean, they don’t mean anything and the most important question is “what do we do?” I have a problem with defining we and I have a problem with defining “do” just on a semantic level, I think that that particular question is completely meaningless. “We” includes melting tundra we don’t actually tell it what to do it does whatever it wants to. And “do” involves people who are completely beyond our control politically, economically, or otherwise. So it doesn’t really even matter what we decide. People have this inflated picture of what policy can achieve that is not based on what policy has achieved in the past. There is one example of a great policy issue that Al Gore talks about which is limitations on refrigerants that were destroying the ozone layer. Well that was a bit of a success but it only involved a few chemical manufacturers around the planet. So those could be individually talked to and replacements could be found. What they’ve achieved is that the ozone hole is now not growing anymore but its not shrinking either so it’s not really a complete success and that’s really the only success story that they have. In terms of global warming it seems like we’re in for a roller coaster ride. It’s not even that we can predict what’s happen, but we can certainly predict that there will be a lot of upheaval. We don’t need scientists to tell us that. I’ve been living in New England for decades now and I’m used to the ocean being cold. So if in the middle of the summer I jump in the ocean and its body temperature you don’t have to be a scientist to tell me that something is going very strangely here. You know, it’s really quite obvious. People who are a little bit more in tune with the elements, people who have spent a lot of time outdoors, you can talk to them. Very few of them will tell you that, oh this is nothing out of the ordinary, this is the usual thing. So we’re in for a great deal of climate upheaval. I would predict that when the industrial economies around the world start crashing there will be a huge amount of reforestation that will happen. So then we might have a mini ice age because of that and then that might run its course and something else will happen. The kind of goldilocks climate that has allowed human populations to swell to billions of individuals, that period of climatic history seems to have ended already. We’re in a different planet now; we’re in a different world.”

  • This is either attention seeking drivel, as in “I’m SO much more hard corps than all those other wussier peak-oilers out there”, or it is an illegal incitement to violence and terrorism. As such, I have complained to the authorities. Shame Guy! Shame!

  • Incitement to violence is loopey, “wishing death” upon people is nuts!

    I agree utterly with Eclipse Now on this issue.

    Now, how the hell do i remove my account?

  • Personally, I don’t think the article is an incitement to violence. It is a statement of understanding why violence is perpetrated in many countries. The article is global in scope in that it is identifying with the insurgency in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, and yes, the United States. It recognises that different people in different situations in different cultures have different approaches to combat the ‘occupation’. It is saying, at least as I understand it, that differences aside, it is aligning itself with these resistance movements wherever they are.

    It never asks you to go out and kill someone. Not once does it advocate this, though this organisation seems certainly not against such actions. But it understands why someone would. Just as it understands why someone would burn down a bank building. It is saying we all have a common enemy and each of us must choose for ourselves how we fight, or not.

    I think your advising the authorities is a mistake. There is no one on this site, including Guy, who is advocating violence.

    It is a sad, sad day when we can not even discuss such issues without someone informing the authorities. I know. It is your duty. Just as in the film Equilibrium, eh?

    Don’t concern yourself with the account – there is no such. You are not on a membership list here so you don’t have to worry about those authorities making the wrong assumptions about you. I would, however, suggest that you erase your Internet browser history and your cookies and remove the site from your bookmarks. You have already clearly and publicly stated that you object to the alleged terrorist activity taking place on this site, so you should be relatively safe there. Of course, if the authorities decide to call you a terrorist anyway (which they can without cause), you have no legal recourse as your Patriot Act allows them to do so without court oversight. They will now be able to hold you indefinitely without trial or access to legal support no matter how you object. But hopefully, you won’t find yourself in that position. Maybe the authorities will be of an understanding nature in your case. Just be careful.

  • Oops….it was Eclipse Now who notified the authorities. Many apologies for that – senior moment, I’m afraid. EN – it is both you and Cleitophon who should be taking the precautionary measures I suggested.

  • [Kathy]’Yet what we do on a daily basis with the people closest to us matters immensely to us and them. ‘

    Exactly! Given the inevitability of the human predicament, I would strongly suggest that we enjoy to the greatest extent possible each day we yet have.

  • Yet more examples of what I was talking about:

    I checked out Eclipse Now’s Blog, and he and us would actually be in agreement about some things (he’s much more fond of Social Liberalism than he is of Capitalism, for example).

    But he decides to “complain to the authorities” because of the one blog post on this site he disagrees with.

    I don’t think our problems are being caused by evil people anymore. And unlike scholars like Morris Berman or Chris Hedges (of whom I’m otherwise very fond), I don’t think the apathy of good people is causing our problems either. I think that the good people are too busy tearing each other apart, even on this VERY BLOG now.

    Eclipse Now, if you’re reading this, we are not your enemies. A number of us would agree with you on many things. Let’s put aside our differences and solve the problems we DO agree on FIRST, and then hash out our differences after that.

  • Well David Rovics is still singing despite having sung Burn it Down in more than one locale

    The song is about Rod Coranado
    “Rodney Adam Coronado (born July 3, 1966 in San Jose, California)[1] is a Native American (Pascua Yaqui) eco-anarchist and animal rights activist. He is an advocate and former activist for the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and a spokesperson for the Earth Liberation Front. He was a crew member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and a member of the editorial collective of the Earth First! Journal.[2]”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_Coronado
    On the other hand thanks to Adrian Lamo, Bradley Manning is in solitary confinement.

    Lots of dangers out there – but it doesn’t take and action or words to get in trouble with TPTB – all you have to do is be a 72 year old great grandmother who gives a bit of lip to a cop and you get tased. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15YExclX4Gc

    BUT there is one thing TPTB cannot take from us. They can take our freedom, they can take our health, they can take our life, but they cannot take our death. Whatever happens in the unsettled times ahead at some point we get release. Which of course is one reason why the church created an afterlife myth and other religions a reincarnation myth, so we would come to believe that there was no freedom in death, that they could control us into eternity. This control over death is of course why prisoners in Guantanamo who go on hunger strikes are force fed and death row prisoners who commit suicide are revived so the state can be the death deliverer. But when we are gone we are free and perhaps that knowledge can help us be a bit braver, a bit freer while we live.
    From the picture on the last post
    “Judge if you want, we are all going to die. I intend to deserve it.”

  • [Librarian]’I don’t think our problems are being caused by evil people anymore.’

    Agree somewhat. It is more structurally related than evil people related. The structure tends to attract people with sociopathic tendencies.

  • The quality and quantity of actual, real violence perpetrated against people by the armed nation-states of the world on a daily basis stretches the limits of comprehension, yet the dogmatic pacifists call the authorities (i.e. the perpetrators of the aforementioned actual, real violence) to snitch and stick to their (non) guns when people even raise the IDEA (in a virtual space, no less) of resisting in any other way that offends their privilege and their self-righteous, self-assigned status as the holders of moral truth. Unfuckingbelievable. You will be food for the crows.

    This is a textbook example of DJ’s Premise Four in action.

  • I am truly enjoying these responses!…. 😉 New voices. New viewpoints.

    Premise Four indeed – well spotted. With definite implications to Premise Seven.

  • The King of Bahrain gave about $2500 to each and every person in the kingdom. Last week.

    George HW Bush gave $300 to $800 to every working class person in America. A few years ago as part of the tax “cut” he gave primarily to the wealthy.

    Why? To continue to buy the people’s acquiescence while the rich get richer and increase their hold on power.

    The reason that the people of the developed world don’t rise up against the powers that be has nothing to do with diverging opinions or being unable to get along. It has everything to do with being just comfortable enough that the wrongs of the world around us don’t upset us enough to take action.

    Consciousness aside, we are nothing more than a collection of chemical reactions. If the stimulus is sufficient, action happens. The stimulus is not sufficient.

    Overthrowing the government or “throwing out the bums” or any other level of change requires sufficient motivation to meet the degree of change – sufficient enough to overcome the cost.

    So what will be the cost of collapse of the current world order, at least here in the U.S.?
    – No medical care at all except what your local doctor is willing to give you or barter with you – assuming he or she is able to keep the doors open. We don’t have “socialized” medicine, but through medicare, medicaid, and billions upon billions of assistance through other ways, the federal government funds more than 70% of healthcare. Without that cash, the system would collapse.
    – No retirement or disability checks. Tens of millions of elderly and people on disability would suddenly find themselves without any money to pay their gas bills, buy their groceries, etc.
    – No food stamps. Millions of low income people would be without food, almost overnight.
    – No unemployment checks. Millions of hardworking Americans who can’t find work would suddenly be without any financial means.
    – No police or military protection. I’m sure some means of controlling the masses would be implemented, but not without the billions of dollars that the government provides.
    – No schools, libraries, nor local government services. All of these receive their paychecks from the government – most get at least some from the federal government.
    – No infrastructure maintenance. The roads will crumble, the bridges will collapse, the water and sewer systems will stop functioning. The electricity will not flow.
    – No housing assistance for millions of low income people. This would put them on the street and suddenly cause property owners to be unable to meet their mortgage payments.
    – There are thousands of other ways that the government pushes money back to the masses.

    Each and every one of us from the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich is feeding at the public trough of government largess – in one form or another. To do anything other than accept the status quo risks cutting off that flow. It takes an awful lot of stimulation to risk that.

    All that being said, I think that very soon most of us won’t have any choice in the matter anyway. Collapse is happening all around us. As Kathy mentioned, nothing we “do” is really going to matter. We can’t stop the juggernaut careening toward us.

  • Kathy, unfortunately nation-states are now doing a lot more than simply force-feed prisoners to gain control over death, and not just the U.S. either.

    Japan, for example, in its animation and video games (the ones with actual plot in them anyway) keeps beating into its Japanese citizens’ heads that “wanting to die is selfish,” “anyone who commits suicide is selfish,” “the world is a wonderful place so why would anyone want to die,” etc. Japan has a strong “gaman” principle, that people must bear suffering without complaint or resistance, which supposedly is a sign of strength. This happened in 19th century England too, with all its poetry about bearing your burdens “manfully” and ridding yourself of the desire to feel pleasure.

    And not just Japan and England, but in the U.S., there are lots of rock songs and rap songs about how “selfish” it is to commit suicide, because “what about the feelings of those you leave behind?” “Suicide is an easy way out,” etc.

    Kathy, we don’t HAVE to force-feed prisoners to prevent them from seeking freedom in death. Now we instill massive guilt complexes over desiring even that freedom.

    I was speaking to one Christian fundamentalist online, and he angrily “typed” at the top of his lungs that the suffering we bear on Earth is a trial from God, and of course “each of us has an inner tendency to whine about it or try to get out of God’s Law” (his rude words, not mine). He said if anyone committed suicide, they would then burn in hell for not being “grateful” enough to see what God did give them. HE had to suffer, he said, and HE put up with it, so why shouldn’t anyone else?

    I tried to explain to him that what he was mis-labeling as an “inner tendency to whine” was, in reality, an inner tendency to seek freedom and to seek a life that wasn’t in chains, such as the sort of life Guy McPherson was advocating.

    I tried to explain to him that I was not actually advocating that people commit suicide, that my OWN life was actually pretty great and that I had absolutely no wish to die myself but I could see why people who labor like slaves would want to die.

    I tried to explain this in vain. He then “screamed” at me (yes, it was possible for his emotions to come through in his typing) that I was a stupid child that needed to “grow the fuck up” (his rude words, not mine) and realize that there were corporate rules that everyone had to follow, and he was sorry I didn’t “like” them. Then I tried to explain that it wasn’t a matter of “liking” or “not liking” the rules, that nobody should have to live a life of “masochism” brainwashed into “enjoying his own bondage.”

    Nothing doing. Nothing I said worked.

    Kathy, I think we may lose our “freedom in death” too soon enough, if nation-states keep manipulating people’s emotions so they feel nothing but guilt at the very idea.

  • Someone direct me to a Facebook page, or whatever way we can organize. Facebook seems like the way to go. Why not organize in this manner? I’m open to other suggestions. What’s holding things up? I am not advocating violence, but why not start to build a FB page that has hundreds, then thousands, then 10’s and 100’s of thousands, and millions of friends that can be organized to march on the corporate HQ of company X, Y and Z? Or whatever we decide, including US Congress or the White House!

  • Thanks for the vigorous exchange. I have a few thoughts I’d like to share:

    1. If you believe the tone of this blog has changed recently, you have not been reading my writing for the last two years (or more). I have heralded the important work of several anarchists while calling for greater resistance against the dominant paradigm. I’ve specifically called attention to the premises of Endgame, and asked for disagreement. I repeat that request now: http://www.endgamethebook.org/Excerpts/1-Premises.htm

    2. I have already attracted the attention of the government, as I’ve mentioned in this space.

    3. If not for the few of us willing to speak and act on behalf of the otherwise defenseless living planet, who will do it?

    Finally, a technical note: Nobody registers to comment on this blog, so you do not have an account. I have deleted your essay, Thomas Robinson (aka cleitophon), but your comments remain until the electrical grid fails. Good news, though: I doubt we have two years.

  • Librarian,
    Oh how ironic, the country of Kamakazi pilots and Hara-kiri now tells its people not to commit suicide.
    victorian.fortunecity.com/duchamp/410/seppuku.html – Cached – Similar
    yes,we don’t have to force feed most of the Islamic prisoners to keep them from committing suicide because their own religion instill the guilt. http://www.aljazeerah.info/Islam/Islamic%20subjects/2004%20subjects/June/Committing%20Suicide%20Is%20Strictly%20Forbidden%20in%20Islam,%20Adil%20Salahi.htm
    But some feel so powerless that suicide is the only way they can spit on the system that spits on them (literally in many cases), or perhaps because they know it will create a backlash (however small) in the liberal left of the US, they feel like martyr suicide fasters….. Mostly though I think they choose a possible punishment in the afterlife presided over by god rather than continuing in the hell provided by Uncle Same.

    I remember being told all my life that Jesus suffered more than any man. One day when I was in the process of demythologizing myself I realized what a bunch of bunk that was. Most who died of crucifixion died after 3 days of agony. He had less than one (if in fact he is a real historical person). Yeah he got whipped one time and thorns into his hand. Slaves in the US got whipped over and over. If they ran they might have their Achilles tendon sliced, if they tried to learn to read they might get a finger chopped off. Our prisoners get tortured for days, weeks, months even years. The Inquisition burned people alive. All of Jesus’ suffering was over in a day. I remember back when the teachers of guilt had child Kathy thinking I was personally responsible for Jesus’s suffering and I wasn’t even raised Catholic.

    No doubt many will choose not to live through the coming times if they are as harrowing as I expect. Of all the things we should own it is our own life. It should be ours to end if we wish, because we had no choice in starting it.

  • Dr. House

    Excellent post. I would only add that not only will federal money start disappearing, so will local money as well, as the cities and states are having great difficulty in paying off bonds due and having to live with reduced tax revenues. The entire US system is rotting from within. Garbage is piling up, police/fire services cut drastically, what little social net there is is being removed.

    Even in the UK we are having similar problems. Thank God for the NHS, however – it is still hanging in there (though under constant threat from the conservatives). But even that will fail in the next few years, I fear.

    Thank God the recovery is here though.

  • I hate to be the bearer of even MORE bad news, but:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/13/obama-budget-proposal-cut_n_822689.html

    Apparently it’s wasteful to help the poor, but not to cut our over-blown military budget, that we’re using on wars that we can’t even seem to win in the first place (never mind the wars being wrong to begin with), in tiny little countries…

    …and when I was reading the comments, without exception, the ones by Republicans were cheering the cuts because “we all have to make sacrifices,” but it didn’t seem to occur to them that this wouldn’t have been necessary if we cut our war budget.

    How is this even possible? Up to this point I thought people comparing our society to Orwell were exaggerating, but cheering the cutting of wasteful entitlements and NOT being upset over NOT cutting wasteful military spending seems like a case of “doublethink” to me, or the ability to hold two contradictory ideas at once.

  • “Presumably Robin Datta is on the same side as the Arctic, since they both hate this dominant culture”
    Actually, I do not constder any individual or gruop as “the enemy”. I prefer not to identify with those who compromise on the non-aggression principle: their condition deserves empathy, but not necessarily sympathy, (empathy= mugger approaches with a weapon and one realizes that the person has evil lntent; sympatgy = after being relieved of one’s wallet, one offers the mugger one’s gold watch also). One without committment to the non-aggression principle is a person with a moral handicap. A person with a broken leg should be offered appropriate care to let it heal properly; one without a leg can still be offered a prosthesis, but it is upto that individual whether or not they choose to wear it.
    I thought that “Ascent?” was a very good post, pointing to the diminishing returns
    with increasing complexity.
    In the Buddhist tradition the occurrence of enlightenment is referred to as the Great Death: if it occurs during an embodied state, that individual mass of chemical reactions (to quote TRDH) has one little death remaining, but nothing carries over beyonn that. In Hinduism the consciousness appears to merge with the universal Consciousness, but like the space inside a clay pot, it was never really separate from space outside the pot.

  • Guy, Jensen’s Endgame is an armchair terrorist’s manifesto which, fortunately, few take seriously enough to act upon. If you continue down this path, I fear that you will end up in a cell next to Kaczynski and your martyrdom will have been for naught. In a way I’m glad that you’re taking this militant stance though, because it gives people a clear choice: anarchy, the Stone Age and greatly reduced horizons for humanity, or civilization, the Space Age and an entire universe of possibilities. The choice is yours…

  • Your definitions of sympathy/empathy are inaccurate, I believe, but I don’t wish to parse words, and I have a more pressing point to make.

    Guy asked “If not for the few of us willing to speak and act on behalf of the otherwise defenseless living planet, who will do it?”

    And so do I, adding defenseless peoples, and cultures, dwindling traditional food systems and indigenous trade networks. Your non-aggression principle was practiced by many sucessful reformers and political leaders, pastors and monks. For this you have received suffrage, wage and labor reforms and better conditions for education and human rights. But in every single one of these struggles, EVERY SINGLE ONE, those who came before you were the recipients of slaughter, and oppressed peoples, slaves and refugees. Underground railroaders and repentant Quakers and Mennonites with rifles. These were pastors with congregations, defending their families and churches with force, and some of the last remaining defenders of the last uncompromised biological systems in the world. Your prescription of hoping to shame those that oppress and destroy into empathy with a principle of dogmatic pacifism, has been shown time and time again to be only a small portion of working, on-the-ground resistance and the accepted tactics of contemporary non-violent “resistance” are typically managed very well by those that wield the physical power of the dominant culture.

    But in the end, dogmatic pacifism, like the ideals expressed above, give the person expressing them what they want: a sense of doing something, while actually doing nothing. Militant civil disobedience is, of course a large component of any revolt and non-compliance and peaceful demonstrations imperative to any revolution. But, n the end, dogmatic, unrelenting pacifism is a philosophy only practiced by those who rely on the killing and dying of others in defense of their privilege to practice that philosophy.

    We don’t expect you to pick up a gun, Datta. We just expect you not to lecture and turn your back on those that do. And if you can manage that alone, we will be happy. Have a good day.

  • Premise Eighteen: Our current sense of self is no more sustainable than our current use of energy or technology.

    The sense of self … Eckhart Tolle

    http://www.youtube.com/user/mclarsen61#p/u/3/bG6pl4DTgDc

  • Cosmist, you have absolutely no clue what the word “terrorist” means if your assertion is to be taken literally. Funny how, you yourself, seem to have the same definition of “terrorist” as the private contracting companies and the state. I find that interesting.

    Carry on, Cosmist.

  • My definition of terrorist in this context is anyone who wants to destroy civilization and return humanity to a more primitive state. If this is what you want, you are my mortal enemy and I will happily report you to the proper authorities.

  • Cosmist, we have no need to destroy civilization, the authorities are doing that. Please report the authorities to themselves and ask them to stop themselves from destroying the planet that feeds them. Thanks so much.

  • Kathy, just fantastic!

  • Understand we are biological.

    Even as we try to break free of the chains of the predominant narrative, we become more deeply entangled in them. The predominant narrative gives us the creation myth premised on the understanding that we were placed on this Earth by some omnipotent being and given dominion over it.

    Those that would reject the myth nevertheless embrace the central premise that we are somehow apart from nature, we are the intelligent species, and that we represent the end of evolution.

    In fact, like every other species, when there is a surplus of food our population explodes until nature strikes a new balance. And like many other species, we spoil our own nest.

    Today, our nest is the entire globe and we have spoiled it. Through the artificial means of petro-chemicals and fossil fuels we have extended our food supply well beyond natural limits and our numbers have swelled far beyond the threshold of overshoot.

    And now the limits of nature and the consequences of fouling our nest on a global scale are appearing on the horizon like ghostly horsemen of the apocalypse.

    But we return to the narrative. Surley, being the intelligent species, that final product of evolution, we can develop technological solutions to depeleted fisheries, acidic oceans, poisoned rivers, depleted soils, squandered energy, and minds cleansed of the knowledge of past generations. Certainly, even if the technology is not there, we, as individuals, can deduce patterns, predict the future, and make the necessary changes to preserve a future for another seven generations and more.

    But as individuals we are only part of the whole. We are the drops that fill the bucket that pours into the stream that joins the river that empties into the ocean. And as no drop of water can stop a rising tide, so no individual can stop the course of human civilization as it fulfills its biological destiny with nature in coming to a new balance as energy, ecology, and economy collide into an age of scarcity.

    Hope has never wetted a dry mouth nor filled an empty belly.

    The tide is rising and the horsemen draw near. Find the means to live well for yourself and those you love and leave humanity to nature.

    The outer walls of the empire are crumbling. Time is of the essence.

  • And which authorities would those be “Cosmist”? Do you report locally, or do you go straight to the federal skirt to tug on, tattling? If you’re going to report people to the Gestapo, you really should get out of your mother’s basement and out from behind your pseudonym to do it. Dig?

    In any case, Carry on with your useless cosmo-babble, and nocturnal emissions featuring technocratic dystopias. It’s creative, I’ll give you that. But we have inevitability to plan for.

    Sorry for the ridicule folks, I hope it doesn’t ruin the spirit of the thread. No more responses to Cosmist for me, as he doesn’t represent any credible concerns and has literally threatened the group.

  • Danny, any authorities which will prevent you from destroying civilization — police, FBI, Pentagon, CIA, NSA, the UN, Interpol, FSB, PRC Central Committee, I’m not particular. Dig?

    You are right about one thing: my vision is creative, which is exactly the element missing from the destructive and myopic cosmic visions of Jensen, Kaczynski and the Arctic Imbeciles. The true lovers of Gaia and this biosphere are those at the apex of technological civilization who are trying to find a way to save our planet from certain doom by propagating life into the Cosmos. Humanity will go the way of the dinosaurs if we return to the Olduvai, and now that we know this we can never go back to our old ways if we value life. This is not cosmo-babble, it’s simply a hard fact of life on this planet. So for those who care about Earth-based life, I’m challenging you resist the lure of ignorance, and to build something that gets us out of this cradle instead of trying to tear everything down like an infant flinging feces at a wall. Grow up!

  • I prepared a pot of tea, but no black helicopters have arrived. Eclipse Now and The Cosmist, are you sure you’re calling the right number?

    With respect to obliterating other planets after we’re done destroying life on Earth, I think this applies: “Onward, then to the overwhelming technological challenges faced by co-opting the resources of other planets as if they are our own.” Read the entire essay here: https://guymcpherson.com/2009/07/earth-egg/

  • This reminds me of a passing thought I had the other day. Does anyone know how many people were involved in the initial discussions that eventually led to the Revolutionary War? I have this romantic (naive) idea that our independence began as a conversation in a pub by candlelight over a pint of ale. Surely their Tory neighbors looked upon them as ‘dangerous’ men.

    Few can do what many will consider only as a fleeting thought.

    We see signs of societal and environmental devastation all around us everyday. Yet, we’ve become so accustomed to it, that it appears normal. Is it rational to defend our right to continue this destruction at any cost? Or is it more rational to call for it’s immediate demise? We should remember that our humanity as well as our existence is at stake here.

    Thanks, Guy.

  • One doesn’t have to be all that creative to figure out that infinite growth on a finite planet does not add up. Why would we ever look to those who have put us in this mess to somehow creatively solve our dilemma? We can “progress” in a non-linear fashion. It’s simple if you would look around instead of just up.

  • Ya’ll run on over to the Cosmist’s six blogs http://www.blogger.com/profile/04622195596387968961 – you will notice quickly that the comments to his posts are almost non-existent. No one is interested in what he has to say. So he comes here and says inflammatory things and we all reward him with responses. He is very good at figuring out what kinds of things to say to keep us talking to him. He’s lonely cause no one gives a darn about what he writes so the best he can do is come here and stir up some controversy.

    Sorry to have to blow it for you Cosmist, but you really don’t have anything worthwhile to say. Please note how many comments Guy gets on his posts and compare to the very few that you get. Then shut up, go get some education and fitness training, because if anyone else goes off planet we do hope they take you with them. But you have a lot of work to do. You really need to get a higher degree than your undergraduate degree and you need to run every day. Jean if you are out there can you recommend a fitness course for Cosmist that would make him a candidate for astronaut? We are rooting for you and your off planet flight.

    Meantime, he is such a good troll it is hard not to be caught in his net, but perhaps now is really a good time to stop rewarding him by responding to his attempts to draw us into futile arguments. After a bit, perhaps he will get serious about preparing for his glorious future in the stars and we can all feel that we have had a part in his adventure by not encouraging him to waste his time here.

  • ‘But we have inevitability to plan for.’

    I like that. It’s not that we are planning to destroy civilisation. We are simply looking at the inevitable and planning for it. There is no master plot to overthrow anything. There is no desire to end life as we know it. But its demise is indeed inevitable and we must plan for that.

    It’s a matter of intelligent risk management – any organisation should risk manage. Hope for the best, plan for the worst. The worst is the downfall of modern civilisation.

    If we are wrong, then we will be pleasantly surprised and our kids will laugh at us and we can all get together for a beer and have a good laugh at ourselves.

    But if you are wrong and didn’t plan for it, God help us all, and your children will curse you forever.

  • @ those who think this is not an incitement to violence: I met a dad whose 19 year old boy committed suicide over peak oil, OK? This stuff *affects* young people. So when a Uni Lecturer starts blogging about this kind of stuff, don’t worry about how the intellectuals will receive it. Worry about the kids. Because they’re likely to DO something.

    I’ll highlight the ‘verses’ of this ‘manifesto of violence’ that would sing to me if I were a young kid looking for instruction. If my heart were crying out in rage at the government’s silence over peak oil and the whole calamity, what lines would speak to me?

    “Many people are already fighting, all over the world. We are fighting in whatever ways are available to us. Destroying the system bit by bit, whether by burning a bank or sabotaging an oil pipeline…

    …Deserting and disobeying all the rules written against us, by squatting and stealing for our survival…

    …We don’t expect you’ll join us, not right away…

    ….But this is the only chance we have at living.

    In other words terrorism is inevitable if I want to live. That’s what it says.

    Guy, are you trying to create the next Timothy McVeigh?

  • You know, The Cosmist, you once thanked me for being the only person on this board who had anything positive to say about you.

    I no LONGER have anything positive to say about you. If you must make an Appeal to Ridicule fallacy by calling anyone who disagrees with you an “infant” who is “throwing feces at the wall” needs to “grow up,” that means you can’t actually address McPherson’s arguments.

    You don’t appreciate “irony,” it seems. The person who must scream “grow up” at his opponents is the person who is often in most need of education and maturity. The mature person does not call his opponents children; he listens respectfully to his opponents and then voices his disagreements using evidence, not talking down to, patronizing, or behaving condescendingly to his opponents.

    So now, Cosmist, I officially don’t like you either. Once again, I invite you to look up the word “irony” in the dictionary, as you attempt to demonstrate your opponents’ childishness by childishly presenting them in the worst possible light, rather than remaining logical and letting both your and your opponent’s arguments speak for themselves.

    Honestly, “throwing feces at the wall?” How mature is THAT a comment to make?

    You boggle my mind.

  • EN do you realize how many people from our military commit suicide after serving their country by trying to buy a little more oil for the empire.

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/jan2010/suic-j06.shtml

    Do you know how many farmers in India and elsewhere are drinking pesticides sold to them by the empire so that we can make profits with no concern for the lives of these people.

    http://articles.cnn.com/2010-01-05/world/india.farmer.suicides_1_farmer-suicides-andhra-pradesh-vandana-shiva?_s=PM:WORLD

    I think your problem is that YOU are scared silly and trying to deal with your fear by denial. The system is destroying itself. Hardly needs any help from any of us. Save your anger for a suicidal civilization.

  • You still have no workable definition of the word “terrorism” and it troubles me. Do you defend the ‘rights’ of corporations to put in dangerous and ecosystem disturbing pipelines? I can make a better case for that being “terrorism”(affecting innocent life and killing it) than you could for sabotaging that pipeline.

    One thing about your anecdotal “suicide”: The financial markets, which kill, maim and starve thousands per day and march many thousands more off to war? It’s not real. It’s a cultural delusion. Peak oil is real. So at least this kid died worrying about something based in reality that ought affect him.

    But you’re exactly right about one thing: young people ARE likely to DO something, just not what you’re rushing to judgment about, or not where your silly, fear-based memes predetermine your thinking. Young people are likely to form affinity groups, and protect their neighborhoods and sources of food. Young people are likely to set up community-based educational programs, to learn how to coalesce as a unit and learn teamwork in the face of economic collapse. And yes, young people are likely to keep cops, who protect and serve only corporate assets and the wealthy, away. Why does this frighten you so?

    “Manifesto of violence”? Are you a fool? Is this, this essay, written in digital media, the most violent thing you can think of? Why are you not out there at recruiting offices, convincing kids not to join the military? Why aren’t you at YOUR university, protesting the military development and research going on there? Why aren’t you on your streets, protesting your government, as well as countless others? Why aren’t you using your energy to beg aboriginal peoples to impart on you a bit of their knowledge that hasn’t been lost?
    Because you’re a fool. You choose to inform on people that want change, and you choose to report people who want to work for the COMMON good of the planet and people inhabiting it, not just the “common” good of 750 million or so of the most privileged on the planet. You inform on the very people who would help you in situations such as we face.

    For someone with an “Advanced Diploma in Social Sciences” I would think you would understand a bit more the situation we face, and applaud efforts to prepare. Yes, actively and aggressively protecting our landbase IS TO BE CONSIDERED preparation, for we are trying to keep some biological systems intact to depend on.

    But hey, who knows, you might not need a biological system to depend upon, if you have a fairy-tale God of some sort. But all the rest of us have, in the actual, real world, is each other, and the planet. You can bet that through essays like this, and through a diverse number of tactics, we will find each other, and we will protect the planet, whether you come along or not.

    I understand your concern about general “violence”, but self defense is not violence, nor is arson, and your red herring about McVeigh only weakens your already lame and hobbling argument.

    So armed with this nee definition, the true one, we can now revise your scratchy prose into “In other words self defense is inevitable and ecological integrity is necessary if I want to live. That’s what it says.”

    Equating anyone who holds these ideals as Timothy McVeigh is contemptible and a willful untruth uttered on your part. Shame on you, and your ineffective whining.

  • Guy, I read your Earth egg post and enjoyed it. I’m glad to see that you’ve given some thought to the problems of space colonization. If you’re interested in learning more and lending your brain power to this effort, here is a fantastic reading list: http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=16838. This might be a stimulating way for you to pass your time between goat milkings. There is a big need for more biologists in space research, since the problem of a sustainable, self-contained biosphere is still unsolved. Maybe you and/or some of your students would like to do some research in this area?

  • Eclipse Now, I echo what Kathy says; actually, she and I seem to agree on a LOT of stuff. I digress.

    I can think of at least 15 sets of parents I’ve talked to about their child who committed suicide because he or she was gay and felt rejected by society, their church, or their parents.

    There are numerous case studies of children who’ve committed suicides because their parents seemed to hate each other or because they were being bullied at school or because their sweetie broke their heart . . .

    The list goes on and on. Actually, I find it remarkable that you know of only one teenager who has committed suicide over peak oil. Not because this is such scary stuff (it is) but because there are many, many troubled young people who don’t have the skills to cope with the world. Do we hide them away and protect them? Or do we make a concerted effort to teach them how to cope?

  • Everyone—I’ve very much enjoyed your comments, with only three inconsequential exceptions. This has been one of my favorite posts.

    Guy—you definitely moved me off my comfort zone with this one. For some reason I can’t explain, this essay got to me, in a way that Jensen’s “Endgame” did not. I can’t help but think of “The Matrix”, and feel like I just swallowed the red pill. The same thing has happened to me a couple of times before. I read Kunsler’s The Long Emergency back in 2005 or 6. It made an impact, but only after spending a long and hard weekend with Matt Savinar’s “LATOC” did I really understand what peak oil means to us. Then I found your website, and was thrown again after realizing that peak oil is not the problem, it may be the only solution to an even greater problem. (Mommy! I want to go home!)

    I’m curious to hear from some of you as to how long do you think this has been going on? Do you think this has been a gradual, unorganized attempt at control, or something more sinister—a conspiracy. I’m not much into conspiracy theory, and I don’t think I’ve been oppressed. But then, that’s the whole point of the matrix. Our leaders have known about peak oil and resource depletion and population crunch back several decades. President Carter tried to make us see the light. His defeat to Reagan showed them we weren’t interested. They saw what we wanted, seized the opportunity, and that’s what they’ve given us. And here we are. I’m not sure which pisses me off more. That they did this to us, or that we let them. Guess it doesn’t matter. The outcome is the same.

    This post also reminds me of the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller

    First they came for the communists and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

    I am not saying our present government is anything like the Nazis, (Hey! FBI! How you doing!) but it sure makes you wonder what it will lead to.

  • Once again, children and toddlers come to mind for me, like this one cute little girl I’ve babysat all my life who is now about to go to college. THEY certainly did not “refuse to listen to Carter,” but they’re the ones who will be held responsible for “America’s choice to listen to Reagan.”

    That’s the problem with societies “collectively” being punished for “their” sins…the actual IMPACT of the punishment ends up falling on the wrong people, who then quite understandably cry out that the punishment isn’t fair, because they didn’t actually commit the sins.

    It’s like back in ancient societies, where a father could rack up all sorts of financial debts, and then his son, once grown up, would be expected to pay debts he did not have the power to stop from happening because he was too young at the time.

    Only this time it’s not debts the young will be expected to pay, but “karma.” Except karma will bite the wrong people on the butt.

    That’s the part that sickens me the most.

  • kathy-‘civilization seems to promote rather than curb such abuses of the defenseless’. this comment made near the end of the last thread; i bring it here to ensure a fuller exposure to this response.

    yes, it does, kathy, and how surreal is that? we tend to blame culture for much we don’t like about ourselves and others, but for abuse to flourish, there have to be abusers. many of them acquire positions of power and ‘authority’, like police and prosecutors. i’ve read some mind-blowing nonfiction books exposing egregious and seemingly sadistic prosecutorial misconduct in the u.s. no one in more powerful positions seems inclined to discourage this official abuse of citizens/sheeple, for these officials are never held accountable for the harm they inflict (at most a slap on the wrist reprimand is given). then of course, there are our ‘friends’ in law enforcement. if one is paying attention, it’s apparent that they also literally get away with murder and many lesser offenses while working to ‘protect’ us. don’t get me wrong. it’s a relatively few bad apples that make headlines as officially sanctioned abusers; most aren’t that bad. having access to news covering the world also tends to make the abuse appear more prevalent than it actually is. but the fact that it exists, plain to see for anyone looking, and is condoned by higher officials, and this barely registers with the public, i find utterly surreal. apparently, most sheeple appreciate having ruthlessly brutal masters (no doubt to keep the ‘bad’ sheeple in line).

    the establishment sets a horrible role model of abuse, but i suspect even if somehow we could achieve competent, rational, humane governance, individual insanity and occasional abuse will still prevail. we have flawed dna. feet of clay.

    dr. house-‘there are many, many troubled young people who don’t have the skills to cope with the world. Do we hide them away and protect them? Or do we make a concerted effort to teach them how to cope?’

    it isn’t just young people who don’t cope well. i’m 52 and if not for disability payments i don’t know where or if i’d be right now.

    i think ‘skills’ is perhaps the wrong word to describe what many poor social functioners lack. i think it’s more profound and complex, rooted in insecure attachments, and in the case of ‘doomers’ (for lack of a better term), awareness that conventional ‘wisdom’, beliefs, and behavior is/are often egregiously insane.

    change and unpredictability are constant. trials ahead will be stressful foe all. some who are coping well now may be overwhelmed, while others who have been struggling may discover hidden abilities and do better. no doubt many/most will fail. nature always bats last.

  • There seem to be emerging different strategies of coping with collapse of industrial civilization here: active participation, or what could be called “monkey-wrenching,” advocated by the Arctic Circle essay; withdrawing support from the System, which may be exemplified by Guy; the “bunker” mentality of so-called “survivalists”; the “flight” example of Jews from Germany; a kind of fatalistic “do-nothing” mentality, emanating possibly from an overwhelming feeling of helplessness; and dreamy Roddenberry-ish/Sagan-y/”Space 1999″ dreams of space colonization and evolutionary leaps.

    In coming to grips with peak oil, AGW, and the realization that our civilization is run by sociopaths, I’ve wrestled with all these approaches, save the Space option, which I have no power to effect. I’ve vacillated from one to the other, settling at last on an uncomfortable combination of the Flight, Bunker, and McPherson strategies. This leaves me mentally exhausted most of the time, and otherwise a bit too intense for casual conversation, usually.

    I do not think the monkey-wrench approach is viable as a long-term coping strategy. I suppose it could be, but as has been stated there are not enough feet on the ground to create any meaningful force for change. As conditions deteriorate, I do not think this will change, as such actions become irrelevant in the face of the overwhelming need for security and to survive. Can anyone really envision willful destruction of still-functioning infrastructure, when there will be no chance of rebuilding afterward? Will there be enough social momentum to blow up oil pipelines in a world of $200/barrel crude? And with the arc of events trending unmistakably in those directions anyway, is it any surprise that there is no such will-at-large among the current populace?

    I’m forty years old, with a six year-old daughter and a wife of eleven years. It is MY generation, and the one following, that will bear the greatest burdens of transition to a post-peak world. Those of my generation who become octogenarians will remember an energy-rich past. (My grandchildren, if I have any, will know only a Kunstlerian “world made by hand.”) We will, maybe, remember the heated online debates such as the ones here at NBL, to which history afterward rendered judgment on humanity. By then, I will know the verdict.

    The Arctic Circle essay, to me, is a knee-jerk reaction to a system that is already in its death-throes. I believe, like Guy and others here, that our species and all life on Earth will be better off, the sooner that system is over and done with. For myself, I will not “go gentle into that good night.” For me, the greatest victory over murderous civilization will be survival into a world without said civilization.

    Just my .02.

  • “Each and every one of us from the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich is feeding at the public trough of government largess – in one form or another.”

    It may be kept is mind that governments have nothing. Everything they disburse has been confiscated from people.

    “anarchy, the Stone Age and greatly reduced horizons for humanity, or civilization, the Space Age and an entire universe of possibilities”……..
    Even with regard to technology , the way to progress is through anarchy. The weapons have to be put away, to stop the wasteful diversion of resources. Without the option to initiate the use of force against non-compliers, no organization can govern: the only logical outcome of non-aggression is anarchy: a society based on voluntary association of individuals without coercion.

    Everyday Anarchy

    Practical Anarchy

    Sympathy:
    A relationship or an affinity between people or things in which whatever affects one correspondingly affects the other.

    Empathy:
    Identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives.

    “We don’t expect you to pick up a gun, Datta. We just expect you not to lecture and turn your back on those that do.”

    Nor for that matter does the united States Army. I had my fair share of weapons qualifications (must admit that they were fun), and carried a sidearm for about six months during Desert Storm. That was because if the occasion arose, I was expected to return fire . However, as a physician, I was not expected to initiate the use of force. And it may be noted that in the infantry, the lead person’s back is to the followers. Incidentally the united States Army never did expect me to pick up a “gun”: in Army colloquialism, a gun is what one has in one’s shorts. A weapon is issued.

    While “unrelenting pacifism is a philosophy only practiced by those who rely on the killing and dying of others in defense of their privilege to practice that philosophy.” that “unrelenting pacifism” does not equate to non-aggression. Non-aggression implies the non-initiation of the use of force. It is a moral principle only if it is universal: if any exception is granted, as to a ruling elite, it is not a moral imperative, but a matter of personal preference and choice.

    Those who make an exception to non-aggression make that exception only for themselves: they recommend non-aggression as a guiding principle for all others. It does not matter whether they are a ruling elite advocating non-aggression for their human livestock or those members of a human livestock who advocate that the ruling elite practice non-aggression while themselves resorting to its use (with the intent of imposing their own system on the rest of the human livestock). Both are to be looked upon with a jaundiced eye.

    “There is a big need for more biologists in space research”. This is recognized by the three services of the united States Armed Forces: each of them has an institution devoted to this:
    The US Army School of Aviation Medicine
    Naval Aerospace Medical Institute
    USAF School of Aerospace Medicine

    Having had the good fortune to be a graduate of both the Army School (1975) and the Naval Institute (1978): and being a life member of the United States Army Association of Flight Surgeons, I think that space medical research is fascinating……

    One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Obama’s grandfather was a terrorist to the British, but a hero to the Kenyans. I had an uncle who was a member of the underground resistance to the British Raj – the organization involved in the assassination of members of the government, sabotage, etc. As a resuld of his brother’s associations, my father lived under suspicion by the government until he joined the British Indian Army during the Second World War.

  • I am often intrigued by those who wonder why, in the face of so many societal problems, why we just can’t seem to make progress. The article Guy posts addresses some of the frustrations that people have over these quite serious and life-threatening issues.

    We need to understand that it is not just the government that is becoming a threat to the activist. The REAL villains manipulating the government puppet are the large corporations who have an interest in protecting their profits and the status quo.

    They now are just beginning to come out and openly target dissenters with vigilante tactics. There was a time when this would have been unthinkable. It just goes to show how times and the political environment is changing for the worst.

    http://blogs.forbes.com/andygreenberg/2011/02/14/hbgary-ceo-also-suggested-tracking-intimidating-wikileaks-donors/

    And its not just the corporations and the government. It’s also those whose livelihoods depend upon the corporations and the government.

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/fight_for_a_world_without_coal_20110214/

    And this as an example

    http://www.heatisonline.org/contentserver/objecthandlers/index.cfm?ID=7440&Method=Full

    We live in an incredibly complex society. The government bureaucracy, the energy industry, the chemical industry, the agricultural industry, the military/industrial/intelligence/security industry – these industries represent a huge percentage of the American population and are quite threatened by such activism. When you consider these industries, you must be looking at well over half the population of the US in every state of the union and its economy devoted to these industries. This is a lot of people’s livelihoods at stake, and surely represents a massive portion of the resistance (both legal and otherwise through threats and intimidation and violence) on the part of politicians and people to make the changes necessary to a properly functioning society. Indeed, I might go so far as to make the claim that it is a “cultural” issue, not simply a giant conspiracy against the public.

    It is people protecting their interests and the interests of their families and the interests of the companies they work for which provide them with dinner on the table and retirement pensions. It is corporations protecting the interests of this quarter’s shareholder profits as directed explicitly by law by whatever legal means available. It is politicians protecting their campaign funds, most of which are derived from the corporations and their staffs. It is the bureaucrat protecting his territory and his job against all threat.

    These are some of the factors preventing both a technological revolution taking us to the stars and beyond, but also preventing action on environmental damage, habitat loss, proper water management, arable soil loss, alternative energy projects, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, resource depletion, and a host of other societal and environmental problems.

    In the words of someone wise I used to know, “It’s the economy, stupid! It’s ALWAYS the economy, and never ever forget that!”. If there were ever an example of “We can’t hold on. We can’t let go.”, this is one of them.

    Connect the dots to see where we are headed as a society and a global community.

  • As several of us have said, the global civilization hardly needs any help from us to crash. I have a friend who sends me agriculture information from time to time (he is in the ag industry). ”
    We know about wheat crops in Russia, China and Australia being impacted by unusual weather. Winter wheat in the US is the next to fall it seems “It is too early to accurately predict crop production for 2011, but there are problems to worry about. A lot of the U.S. winter wheat crop is in poor or very poor conditions due to the dry weather last fall which has continued into winter. No there is concern about winter kill with the freezing temperatures that have gripped unch of the country this week.”

    Meanwhile, Roundup may be having more effect on agriculture than creating resistant weeds.
    Here is just one small snippet of what roundup is doing “The glyphosate molecule grabs vital nutrients and doesn’t let them go. This process is called chelation and was actually the original property for which glyphosate was patented in 1964. It was only 10 years later that it was patented as an herbicide. When applied to crops, it deprives them of vital minerals necessary for healthy plant function–especially for resisting serious soilborne diseases. The importance of minerals for protecting against disease is well established. In fact, mineral availability was the single most important measurement used by several famous plant breeders to identify disease-resistant varieties.”

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/031138_Monsanto_Roundup.html#ixzz1E23kpG6N

    Basically for a variety of reasons, fields that have been heavily sprayed with roundup are starting to cause Sudden Death Syndrome in corn and soy “Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), a serious plant disease that ravaged the Midwest in 2009 and ’10, driving down yields and profits.”

    So terrorist companies like Monsanto are hard at work creating the conditions that have brought down previous civilizations, leaving precious little left to do for those of us who know that the only salvation for the human species and so many others is that collapse. They will keep solving “problems” until the solutions do them in…..

  • And will they stop doing this in the face of truth?

  • I notice Obama is now showing his true colours (green for campaign money) with his new budget….showing the business community and conservatives that he can cut into the little people’s lives as much as they…he is not going to be outdone by anyone…defense budget? O No! Can’t touch that! Homeland Security? – O let’s add 32 billion more for that those x-ray scanners!!! Fuck the little people and their low income assistance. let them freeze….and let them eat cake whilst doing it (if they can afford it)

  • John, “I’m curious to hear from some of you as to how long do you think this has been going on? Do you think this has been a gradual, unorganized attempt at control, or something more sinister—a conspiracy.”

    I try to understand where we are and it seems to me we have, in a sense, been here many times before. This time our species is in danger of extinction where as in the past, say the example of Easter Island, we were at crisis point that offered an opportunity for understanding and we chose to ignore it. We as a species have had many similar opportunities. Then there is the conundrum – “That they did this to us, or that we let them” I feel that because we as a species have given power to money we each are responsible for what we see before us. We have each bought the ‘story’ that we tell each other … those with money have power. There are other stories that have gotten sidelined. Stories of the dignity of each human contribution, what we give to each other that has not the least to to with money, the power we have as members of the human community. It is very important how we talk to each other, the stories we tell each other. Each individual has the responsibility to recognize in themselves the conditioning of the current insane worldview. It is a continuous endeavor – self awareness/self knowledge … to the degree we can gain clarity and the ability to voice our true humanness will be the way to move forward on a new path.

    How about this ‘story’ to tell each other … people bound together, for the good of each for the other, has power beyond our wildest imagination.

  • … power of visuals/music

    (found this on M. Ruppert’s site collaspenet)

  • ok, the above link takes you to almost the end … not a bad place to start it turns out …

  • John Stassek – I don’t think it’s a conspiracy. It’s a philosophy, and one with a very long history. With the reading you’ve already done on Peak Oil, I’d suggest Riane Eisler’s “The Chalice and The Blade” to begin to get a grasp of that history, but more importantly from my perspective, a sense of the possibility of creating an alternative that works for life–because it works with life–to have progress without empire.

  • Christopher – “a bit too intense for casual conversation” – wow, can I ever relate to that 🙂

  • John, I tend to think Dave is right. There are conspiracies for sure such as the coup in the US when they took out JFK. But as far as some grand conspiracy, I don’t think so. Labeling it a philosophy I think is about right – a philosophy that upper crust sociopaths find quite compatible with their nature. A philosophy that allows various groups of PTB to rationalize their varied conspiracies – sometimes conspiracies against each other. When Ayn Rand came on the scene she verbalized some of that and made it more acceptable to tout as a philosophy openly. Greed is good becomes acceptable to the adherents of a religion that taught it was a deadly sin.

  • Ye olde “greed is good” meme is something we’ve been trying to escape for a long time. Searching for my answer to the origins of the Revolutionary War, I found this writing from John Adams in 1776:

    “There must be a positive Passion for the public good, the public Interest, Honor, Power, and Glory, established in the Minds of the People, or there can be no Republican Government, nor any real Liberty. And this public Passion must be Superior to all private Passions. Men must be ready, they must pride themselves, and be happy to sacrifice their private Pleasures, Passions, and Interests, nay their private Friendships and dearest connections, when they Stand in Competition with the Rights of society.”

  • When times get tough, the farmers will cull the least productive of the human livestock. Any farmer would.

  • Then, Datta, we agree that the many tactics described in this essay are gritty and harsh-seeming, but, above all, self-defense.

  • Robin [When times get tough, the farmers will cull the least productive of the human livestock. Any farmer would.]

    Well, since the stockbrokers are trading bets on bets which is nothing but funny money, they should be the first to be culled?

  • kathy, just posted a reply to u at the end of the previous discussion titled ‘or die trying’.

  • It’s always the economy. And that is not always simply “greed” and the lust for power (though at certain levels of the economy, this is most true!). I believe that a significant source of this lack of ability to move off centre and make the difficult decisions is, as I stated above, the issue of jobs and tax base. People are not likely to make decisions that will endanger their own jobs or those of their constituencies if in government. In the US you have a country that now has a huge and well-distributed military-related infrastructure. This is one of the prime reasons, I believe, that the military budget is rarely any more at risk – the US has become highly dependent upon it. And the military ( military here also includes the defence budget as well – Homeland Defence) justifies its budget by war/terrorism or the threat of war/terrorism.

    It matters not how irrational the fear of terrorism, the real underlying threat is now to the broadly distributed national economy.

    This is really a very important point to make. For certain there exists an elite class whose culture/philosophy is different from ours, and sociopathic in nature. But that cultural layer insulates itself and controls the country (world?) largely through its productive assets, many of which are multi-national in nature and not well controllable at a national level. So when political pressure is required, they often turn to bribes (campaign money) and their own staffs (us, the sheeple) tp apply that pressure. And frequently we do not even realise that our efforts are being guided and funded by these folks. The US system, with its democratic facade, is well-engineered to the application of power supposedly through its people.

    And as the military budget is seldom cut, then society is faced with other cuts, often targeting entitlement programmes, social safety nets, education, environmental programmes, etc.

    So it is not simply greed. It is the masses of people and their jobs and standards of living that form the huge inertia behind which the elite rule. Quite impressive, I must say.

  • Kathy

    RE: Your Monsanto Herbicide post above.

    You will be happy to know that Roundup-resistant crops have now been approved by the Feds.

    http://www.truth-out.org/feds-approve-monsanto-herbicide-resistant-crops67796

    Capitalism at work.

  • “Then, Datta, we agree that the many tactics described in this essay are gritty and harsh-seeming, but, above all, self-defense.”

    Those included under “we agree” are persons who claim for themselves the moral rectitude to initiate force at a moment in time when they are not being physically aggressed against. Such abrogation of the non-aggression principle places them in the same category as the livestock farmers.

  • “Well, since the stockbrokers are trading bets on bets which is nothing but funny money, they should be the first to be culled?”

    They are expanding the supply of “symbols of symbols” and “symbols of symbols of symbols”. In that way they dilute the value of the “symbols” that the human livestock own: just another method to milk the human livestock. They are providing a valuable service to the farmers.

  • Robin, if by the farmers you mean TPTB, they have their time. The lords and priests of Easter Island had their time too. But you can’t eat statutes, fish without wood to make boats, eat gold or silver much less digital money.

    I am reminded of the bus strike in Montgomery. Rich women sometimes resorted to picking up their maids as they could not function without them or apparently even with them late. What will TPTB do if all the “worthless” people who do the actual work stopped working. Who would shine their shoes, shave them, tie their ties.

    Doesn’t matter in the end, all die, even JP Getty and his earless grandson are now gone. No point in wasting time wishing the PTB would fall or get theirs. They will moulder in the grave like the rest of us. But don’t forget the Tsar and his family running for their lives and Louis and Marie Antoinette on the block. Interestingly enough France and Russia went on without them as in fact they were quite useless.

  • Events could get quite interesting..
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/165111.html
    “Citing Western intelligence sources, the US daily World Tribune said on Friday that the 86-year-old Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud was suffering from back and heart ailments as well as signs of dementia. The king has been recovering from two operations in the United States in late 2010…The intelligence sources said Abdullah’s medical condition had deteriorated sharply over the last few days. “He has suffered a major medical setback,” said one intelligence source, stressing that he was not in danger of imminent death. “

  • Robin Datta said: “…are persons who claim for themselves the moral rectitude to initiate force at a moment in time when they are not being physically aggressed against. Such abrogation of the non-aggression principle places them in the same category as the livestock farmers.”

    Your analysis completely overlooks the systemic nature of the violence enacted upon our bodies (spiritual, psychic, physical) in every moment of our existence in late capitalist society. There need not be a “moment in time” as such, in order to establish aggression on the part of TPTB. Because the nature of the violence is inherent to the functioning of the system, there rarely is such a crude manifestation of a “moment in time when they are not being physically agressed against.” In fact, we are ALWAYS, at each and every moment, being aggressed against. The violence of our world, as it appears in our lives as privileged, Western subjects, is more of a grinding down and wearing away of our ability to maintain our integrity (spiritual, psychic, physical.) This is still violence, and it is certainly still aggression. Cross a certain line and the violence becomes more intelligible; a person in a blue suit beats you with a stick, or shocks you with a stun gun, or rends your flesh with a firearm when you resist in any other way than the limited way you propose. Or perhaps the bombs and bullets of the armed forces of nation-states destroy you. Let me be clear: An act of resistance against systemic violence IS self-defense.

    You seem to be making an argument for your moral superiority to that of the “farmers” and those who violate your magical “non-aggression” principle. This tells us that you believe that you are not like those people, those that would violate this principle. I disagree that you are somehow, as you say, in a different “category” as those who violate your sacred principle. I recognize that the same forces that cause evil capitalists to enact the systemic violence we face are fully within my capacity as a human to enact as well. The difference is that I CHOOSE not to enact violence upon my fellow creatures, human and non-human. THAT is morality. Not some magic spell that I hold up as a talisman to ward off evil thoughts of hurting others. I CHOOSE to disallow people who hurt me the ability to do so. Aggressively, if necessary. Using force to defend oneself is a fundamental aspect of existence. It doesn’t matter if the violence being done to you is visible or invisible. We are all in the same category of beings as it relates to our ability to enact violence, and claiming you are somehow separate from those beings who choose to enact violence instead of enacting benevolence is downright elitist and morally compromised, simply because it denies a full humanity to the enactors of violence, and a full range of response on the part of those being abused. The “farmers” are human, just like you, and we are all more or less capable of commiting the same violence. The difference lies in the choice one makes, and that is a profound example of moral behavior. I choose to resist and defend myself and all other beings from the onslaught of the real immorality that threatens our very existence. Please take your “non-aggression” principle and lock it up in that ivory tower of pseudo-sainthood that you seem to be constructing for yourself, and stop denouncing people who know in their bodies (all of them) that what they are doing to defend themselves is right and good. By defending the privilege of the exploiters, you are actually being violent and aggressive when you do so.

    When you denounce others, by virtue of your self-perceived superior morality, you conspire to protect the abusers. Knock it off.

  • Pickle

    Well stated. But perhaps a point that needs to be made is the use of the terms “violence” in Pickle’s part and “aggression” on Robin’s part – terms not at all the same in meaning. I interpret what I have read by both of you that you seem to be using the terms almost synonymously. Aggression is not always violent, nor does it necessarily imply violence. And violence is not always an aggressive act, nor does it necessarily imply aggression.

    Oxford Dict. defines aggression as “The action of attacking without provocation” This can be violent or or other hostile behaviour or attitude.

    Violence, OTOH, is behaviour involving physical force with the intent to hurt, damage, or kill. Or it can be strength of emotion to overpower and cause emotional harm.

    Violence can be the outcome of aggression, or not. Aggression is always an unprovoked attack – whether it be a disease, the taking of territory not belonging to someone, harmful behaviour towards someone, or so many other things.

    One can be non-aggressive and quite violent. “Unprovoked” is the key word, in my opinion. If the continuing attack is unprovoked such as is described quite ably by Pickle, then this represents, violent or not, clear aggression.

    OTOH if Pickle responds by attacking the attacker, by any means that he chooses, it represents a response to a provocation on the part of the aggressor, and therefore, can in no way be interpreted as an aggressive act. It might be an illegal act, but it is not an aggressive act. It might be moral, or not.

    Civilisation represents the ultimate tool to commit deep and thorough aggression upon people, destroying their ability to function freely, think independently, and manage their own destiny. Through behavioural modification methods (themselves egregious acts of aggression), the civil and criminal law that protect the elite and discriminate against the little person, and through wars, the people face an unrelenting onslaught of aggression by an calculating and sociopathic elite power structure.

    Any means that people feel compelled to use in order to throw off the shackles of that aggression, and to destroy it utterly, is, IMHO, fair and decent act of survival and the protection of the species as well as the natural world.

    My thinking only.

  • ‘Doesn’t matter in the end, all die, even JP Getty and his earless grandson are now gone. No point in wasting time wishing the PTB would fall or get theirs. They will moulder in the grave like the rest of us.’

    While this statement is true, of course, it does absolutely nothing to comfort me or give me heart. I know that the evildoers of this world eventually die, as do all of us – this is pretty obvious. But I do not believe that we should simply wait for that death in light of the horrific damage done whilst they live.

    Do we have a moral obligation to see that they do as little damage as possible? Should we, each of us in our own ways, resist? Or should we each turn aside and live our own lives as best we can in the face of evil?

  • Victor, good point. Game plan?

  • Kathy – still mulling that one over. This has to be a very personal decision for anyone faced with the realisation that civilisation is soul-destroying and an environmental threat. We have already discussed several of the options a person has for dealing with this. I must admit to being in turmoil at times over it. Because of that, I know that I am not yet settled on a plan for myself. Stay tuned.

  • Kathy Says:
    February 16th, 2011 at 7:50 am

    >. No point in wasting time wishing the PTB would fall or get theirs. They will moulder in the grave like the rest of us. But don’t forget the Tsar and his family running for their lives and Louis and Marie Antoinette on the block. Interestingly enough France and Russia went on without them as in fact they were quite useless.

    Kathy. I think you forgot that the Bourbons came back, with full English help, in pomp and luxury on 1814, having ‘learned nothing and changed nothing’.

    They ruled just like the ancien regime for another 34 years when Napoleon III took over. After that one was driven out by the Germans, there was an attempt to put another Bourbon prince, the last of the line, to the throne; he refused only because he didn’t want the throne to pass on to the rival of Bourbons, the House of Orleans.

    And, although Czar Nicholas and his family are dead, his cousin left descendants and one of them is living in Russia, well taken care by Putin and Medvedev.

    TPTB will survive. I bet the last survivors of Easter Island when the Chileans arrived were the descendants from the kings and priests.

  • Victor… I appreciate the way you clarified the difference between violence and aggression, and I agree. I think the same clarification process should be applied to the term civilization.

    What you are calling civilization is what I call imperialism/domination/exploitation/oppression/repression… none of which I consider to be particularly civilized… all of which are intimately bound up with what we know as Western civilization in general, and the Industrial Growth Society in particular.

    We do, I believe, have a moral obligation to resist, stop, and replace the system that is causing all the physical, psychological, and spiritual damage. As Derrick Jensen says, by any means necessary. Kathy asks for a game plan, and this is indeed necessary. It should be obvious that merely slapping band-aids on symptoms in a rather willy-nilly manner is ineffective.

    In my mind, the alternative must be systemic. This means it must have a strong foundation and must be sustainable. I believe this means it must function the way life does on a living sensuous planet that has been supporting life and its increasing complexity for billions of years.

    So, this means overcoming our separation from the natural world, focusing on cooperation instead of competition, basing our governance on an Earth jurisprudence, and building our economies on steady-state principles.

    Relocalization (a beginning subset of which is embodied in the Transition Movement) provides a practical process to create a sustainable future. For a society or a civilization to be considered sustainable, it must be based on ecological integrity, social justice, economic equity, and participatory democracy. We must be willing to admit that true justice cannot exist without sustainability, and without justice there will be no peace.

    Our common goal can be a sustainable future, and our shared values those that protect and enhance life, as expressed in the Earth Charter.

    How does that sound as a foundation for a game plan?

  • I am sure that as the Czar and family were gunned down it was great comfort that his cousin might leave descendants who might live on in Russia. I am sure as Louis and Marie saw the guillotine descending they were comforted with the thought that the Bourbons might come back. Death happens to individuals and at the moment of death the future of their line is hardly relevant.

    If every PTB was wiped off the face of the earth in the next minute out of the remainder of the oppressed would arise new PTB. For example per wiki Stalin was born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili to Ketevan Geladze and Besarion Jughashvili, a cobbler, in the town of Gori, Georgia. Ah so a cobbler’s son becomes the man Power after the Czars…

    Civilization itself has to fall but luckily for us TPTB are working hard on that project. Frankly sometimes I think it may well be best if humans did go extinct.

    Of Easter Island
    “A series of devastating events killed or removed almost the entire population in the 1860s. In December 1862, Peruvian slave raiders struck. Violent abductions continued for several months, eventually capturing around 1,500 men and women, half of the island’s population.[21] Among the people they captured was the island’s paramount chief and his heir as well as those who knew how to read and write the rongorongo script, the only Polynesian script to have been found to date. When the slave raiders were forced to repatriate the people they had kidnapped, they knowingly disembarked carriers of smallpox together with a few survivors on each of the islands. This created devastating epidemics from Easter Island to the Marquesas islands.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Island

  • One of the most lucid anarchist statements I’ve ever read. Who is the “other” against which we fight? Ran Prieur (Google him) suggests it isn’t the “politicians, cops and CEOs” identified here. It isn’t people: it’s the logic of control. Those above us who carry out its diktat are properly seen as just a higher order of slave. Even the guy at the top is a slave, because if he were to see the full horror of the trap we are in, and seek to overturn the ruling order, he would be summarily replaced. The slaves below him would call for his head.

    “Repressive systems are not planned by shadowy elites,” says Ran Prieur. “The elites are just feeding on them, like vultures on a carcass. The deadness on which they feed is the deadness of human attention: the vast majority of humans go through life on autopilot. If you manage to stay off autopilot, you have a good chance to thrive in any age. … To try to build Utopia, a system in which everyone can be on autopilot and still thrive, is foolishness. But if everyone is paying attention, Utopia is inevitable.”

  • Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) – a threat to civilisation?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/9020059.stm

    And now coming to a sun near you?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12485104

    Interesting.

  • Martin

    Indeed you are correct on the whole. It is the structure of civilisation which enslaves us all – top to bottom. Civilisation by definition represents increasing complexity, this complexity having order and complexity associated with it. As it is built, we become dependent upon its fabric. Unfortunately, as complexity increases, so too does fragility. When it becomes so large, so complex, so fragile, the time comes when it simply falls apart.

    We are almost there.

  • Kathy:

    >Among the people they captured was the island’s paramount chief and his heir as well as those who knew how to read and write the rongorongo script, the only Polynesian script to have been found to date.

    Well, well, well. At least the line of the Easter Island’s paramount chief, the one responsible for building the Moai and causing war and destruction, did survive till the 19th century. Not bad, since the civilization collapsed 300+ years ago before that point.

    The current PTB might die out in the future, but that will be after practically all hoi polloi has perished first. Lasting 300 years after the show was over is no small deal.

  • “I CHOOSE to disallow people who hurt me the ability to do so. Aggressively, if necessary.”

    If that includes the initiation of force, that puts one in the same category as the farmers of the human livestock: the only difference is that one group is the ruling elite and the other group could potentially displace and replace them. Both have to be rejected.

    The initiation of force is distinctly different from
    “The violence of our world, as it appears in our lives as privileged, Western subjects, is more of a grinding down and wearing away of our ability to maintain our integrity (spiritual, psychic, physical.)”

    “You seem to be making an argument for your moral superiority to that of the “farmers” and those who violate your magical “non-aggression” principle.”

    Others cannot abrogate one’s “magical non-aggression principle”. Each individual has to decide for oneself whether or not to subscribe to it. “Moral superiority” is a matter of personal opinion: people generally considers themselves and like-minded persons morally “superior” to those who differ from them.

    “I disagree that you are somehow, as you say, in a different “category” as those who violate your sacred principle.”

    Once again, one cannot violate another’s principle. What each person does is upto that person. And there is nothing sacred – one may recollect the Bodhidharma.

    There is a famous story about his first visit to the emperor in southern China, who told Bodhidharma that he had built countless temples, copied countless sutras, and given supplies to countless monks. So he asked Bodhidharma how great was his resulting merit. Bodhidharma replied, “No merit at all.” That was the beginning of the destruction of “praying Buddhism.” The emperor then asked, “What is holy teaching?” And Bodhidharma replied, “Vast emptiness with nothing sacred in it.”

    “When you denounce others, by virtue of your self-perceived superior morality, you conspire to protect the abusers.”

    Conspiracy requires: 1) Two or more persons – one person is not a conspiracy; 2) Planning in secret – an manifest declaration of one’s policy does not count; and 3) An immoral or illegal objective – rejection of a potential future set of ruling elites along with the present ones should not fall into that category.

    “Who is the “other” against which we fight? ,,, it isn’t the “politicians, cops and CEOs” identified here. It isn’t people: it’s the logic of control. Those above us who carry out its diktat are properly seen as just a higher order of slave. Even the guy at the top is a slave, because if he were to see the full horror of the trap we are in, and seek to overturn the ruling order, he would be summarily replaced.”

    Well said. But the hierarchy of human livestock have been so thoroughly conditioned that they do not recognize this. One does not have to chase out darkness: lighting a little light will do.

    Here is the feed Ran Prieur and the home page Ran Prieur

  • Martin Knight and Robin Datta … love it!

  • Dave Ewoldt, that “game plan” of yours sounds like an elaborate fantasy created by a well-fed member of industrial civilization sitting comfortably at his computer. It’s not very challenging to point out the flaws in your thinking, but as a service to humanity I will once again be the lone voice of reason in this den of madmen.

    First of all, “separation from the natural world” is a logical impossibility. Everything that exists is natural, so arbitrarily placing certain products of human intelligence outside of nature is absurd. Is making fire part of nature? If so, are nuclear power plants? If the answer is no, then do you intend to live naked in the wilderness with no tools or weapons?

    Secondly, show me a species that strives for a steady-state existence, I can’t think of any. I don’t have a PhD in biology, but I think Guy will agree that life strives to fill every available ecological niche, and we are no exception. What you are suggesting is a total fantasy that has no basis in nature. Since the first microbes terraformed our planet billions of years ago by converting rock into biomass, life has been outrageous, ambitious, unsustainable and in violation of the status quo. Human beings are just a particularly successful example of this impulse, and we are just getting started. In fact the analogy of the microbes is an excellent one, because we have the opportunity to do for the larger Cosmos what those bold creatures did for our planet eons ago: bring it to life.

    So Mr. Ewoldt and anyone who agrees with him, please enlarge your vision, educate yourself and think more deeply before proposing these schemes for dismantling human civilization. There is no sustainability on this planet or in this universe; if an asteroid doesn’t destroy us in the next billion years the heating of the sun will, along with the entire biosphere. The dinosaurs did not go extinct from too much civilization and neither will we, but we will go extinct from too little civilization with probability one!

  • I have enlarged my vision, per Cosmist, and have found Cosmist to be full of shit! (Cosmic shit, of course.) In fact, he is so full of shit that I could not have noticed the enormity of it without said vision enlargement. Kind of like a gas giant, viewed up close! So thanks to Cosmist. Most kind.

    He admits to have been of the “doomer” mindset once, though by his posts here, I don’t think he really knows what that label really means. Whatever. Now, though, he’s removed himself from us “madmen” (don’t forget the madwomen, Cosmist!), dwelling enigmatically in his Oort Cloud where he does not have to worry about the Real World. The latter apparently troubled him so much, as he tried to come to grips with it (this was during his earthly existence, btw), that he decided it would be better to abandon Reality for something Different. Basically he would have us — and here I plagiarize somebody, I disremember who, it may have been Guy — stand outside our doors on clear nights and sing, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” accompanied no doubt by a suitably galactic John Williams or John Barry score.

    I think my intellect may be too small to adequately comprehend the enormity of Cosmist’s mental leap. Again, whatever. I gotta go follow Kathy’s link and read about King Abdullah Abdulaziz-al-Something-or-Other. If he dies, will the cosmic shit hit the fan?

    You bet your sweet bippy!

  • i just posted another comment at the end of the previous thread (or die trying). i think some of u will like it, some may hate it. it should elicit some reaction/response. i’m curious to see if and how it does.

  • RD – There are no categories. There are spectrums. The initiation of force is not different from the violence we face. You are wrong. It was “initiated” at some point in the past, or rather it had no distinct point as such, and has been growing with the complexity of human society. It is aggression, and it is unrelenting. And Hui-Neng would have slapped Bodhidharma in his mouth. You see only with your eyes, and only in the crudest of conceptualizations of the use of force, violence, and self-defense.

    Other than that, you fail to understand almost everything I said in response to your ridiculous assertions. You still fail to understand the systemic nature of the violence under discussion. That is unforgivable for one who claims the moral high ground with regards to violence.

    Cosmist – I had something typed up, but then I decided to just go with Christopher’s assessment of your last post.

    Victor – thanks for the specificity WRT to violence and aggression. Good post.

  • I try to ignmore the nonsense The Cosmist writes but this is just so hilarious it has to be quoted:

    ‘My definition of terrorist in this context is anyone who wants to destroy civilization and return humanity to a more primitive state’.

    Destroying civilisation and returning humanity to a more primitive state (or annihilating humanty altogether) is, of course, exactly what all governments, democratic or otherwise, are doing. Whether they want to destroy life on this planet or are just to damned stupid to even know what what they are doing, the result is the same. However, hter is plenty of evidence that TPOTB are perfectly aware of all the issues and have deliberately chosen to ignore them.

    So, destruction of civilisation and destruction of the life support systems for all higher life forms on this planet is exactly what all governments promote (via their idiotic economic growth and so-called development policies).

    I therefore have to disagree with what Victor wrote earlier: since government actively promote widespread suffering and eventual annihilation of practically everything of value on this planet, and enforce their dysfuntional policies via extreme violence, governments and their agents must, by definition be evil.