Genetic mutations have been found in three generations of butterflies living near Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. The gruesome discovery has led scientists to fear that the leaking radiation could affect other species.
I was so taken by James Howard Kunstler’s book The Long Emergency back in 2005 that I immediately invited him to be the keynote speaker for the Vermont Independence Convention that year in the Vermont State House in Montpelier. After reading his compelling novel,World Made By Hand, about life in a post oil world, I invited him to speak at our 2008 convention as well. In both appearances he made it clear that while he thought the Empire was in deep trouble, a secessionist he was not.
More recently I have been reading his blogpost bearing the quaint title Clusterfuck Nation, which is one of the most vitriolic attacks on America and Americans I have ever read. Kunstler really does not like Americans.
Edward Abbey [1927-1989], the late novelist, essayist, and environmental activist, was a confirmed political “liberal” (perhaps even an extremist), who believed that the degradation of the land and culture of the American Southwest was a crime against nature, and that the least any one of us could do was to try to defend it from the resource exploiters and population pressures which endangered it.
In an essay written for (solicited, actually, by) the august New York Times, Abbey took the contrarian position regarding Mexican immigration. The Times refused to publish it, or give Abbey his “kill fee”–perfect proof that he’d stepped over the line. Rather than publish the “embarrassing” article, they pretended that it hadn’t ever been written. It didn’t matter whether Abbey was right or wrong–a figure of his authority disagreeing about immigration was just too potent a threat to the liberal biases the Times felt bound to observe. In the long run, however, as always, trying to resist the truth is always a bad strategy, as Abbey’s essay has continued to be a cautionary document for those who get too caught up in the apologetics of unfettered (and illegal) immigration. I’m reprinting the essay in toto here, since it appears several other places online, copyright fears be damned (at least until someone threatens me with a lawsuit).
In last month’s Rio +20 (UN Conference for Sustainable Development) declaration, “The Economy We Need,”RIPESS (French acronym for Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social and Solidarity Economy) dismisses the “so-called green economy” model promulgated “by governments and corporations” with the contempt it deserves.
There are at least two problems with the green economy movement. The first is highlighted in the RIPESS declaration: It is really a greenwashed attempt to create a new, greenwashed model of capital accumulation for global corporate capitalism, based on “the commodification of the commons.”
Green (or Progressive, or Cognitive) Capitalism, like the first Industrial Revolution, is based on a large-scale process of primitive accumulation (a technical term Marxists use that means “massive robbery”).
The primitive accumulation preceding the rise of the factory system in industrial Britain involved the enclosure of common lands: First of a major portion of the Open Fields for sheep pasturage over several centuries in late medieval and early modern times, then the Parliamentary Enclosures of common pasture, woodland and waste in the 18th century.
The new greenwashed model of corporate-state capitalism, as the RIPESS declaration suggests, achieves primitive accumulation through the enclosure of the information commons. Economist Paul Romer calls it the “new growth theory.” It’s based on enclosing digital information and innovation — things which are naturally free — as a source of rents. This “progressive” model of capitalism, promoted by Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Bono, is even more heavily reliant on patents and copyrights than the existing version of corporate capitalism.
Amazon Watch, International Rivers, Movimento Xingu Vivo
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | June 23, 2012
For more information, contact:
Brent Milliken, +55 61 8153 7009, email@example.com
Verena Glass, +55 11 9853 9950, firstname.lastname@example.org
Altamira, Brazil – Indigenous peoples affected by the controversial Belo Monte dam complex now under construction along the Xingu River in the Brazilian Amazon have occupied a coffer dam that cuts across channels of the river since last Thursday June 21. Warriors from the Xikrin and Juruna indigenous groups arrived from the Bacajá River and Big Bend of the Xingu River in order to occupy one of Belo Monte’s main dams and work camps, expressing dissatisfaction with the blatant disregard of their rights and the dam building consortium’s non-compliance with socio-environmental mitigation measures. The groups independently organized the action and are demanding the presence of the Norte Energia (NESA) dam-building consortium and the Brazilian government.
My decision to focus my activism in the sustainability movement has nothing to do with the horror stories climate change and Peak Oil aficionados tell about the horrible future my children and grandchildren face. I have never found terrifying or guilt-tripping people an effective way to engage them politically. It always seems far more likely to generate demoralization and apathy. I choose to focus my time and energy on sustainability-related issues based on the conviction that people who wish to survive coming economic and ecological crisis will need be extremely well organized. After thirty years of organizing, I find that sustainability engages people at the neighborhood and community level in a way no other issue can.
My friends and neighbors get it. They are all affected by the skyrocketing cost of fossil fuels, mainly because high energy and transportation costs make everything more expensive. They are all acutely aware that something in society has to change drastically. This realization makes them open, to varying degrees, to trying new, less energy intensive ways of doing business and meeting their families’ basic needs.
The only stumbling block I face in organizing around sustainability is efforts by the corporate media to demonize us as liberals or “greenies.” I can see why they do this. Corporate media coverage of climate change and sustainability-related topics is heavily dominated by the fossil fuel industry, which has a vested interest in discouraging people from reducing their use of oil, natural gas and coal.
How Terms like “Conservative” and “Liberal” Lost Their Meaning
By Wayne John Sturgeon
Richard Hunt, former editor of the UK based “Green Anarchist” and “Alternative Green” magazines, died may 2nd 2012. He was 79 years old. Green Anarchist, a publication he launched in the mid to late 80s, was a very beautifully illustrated magazine (Richard was an excellent artist) with a spirit very akin to the traveller, squatter, free festival and counter cultural punk scene of the time. Richard would finance, write, edit,and illustrate this magazine until he was kicked out by the other editors for supposed reactionary views. These reactionary views apparently consisted of supporting traditional gender roles (despite being very pro-homosexual) admitting to a natural patriotism (he was opposed to the first Iraq war but felt an kindred affinity to the british service personnel) and being concerned on enviromental and sustainabillity grounds as to the impact mass immigration would have on the eco-system of the U. K., etc.
He parted to form Alternative Green magazine in the early 90s. Green Anarchist then changed into a much more aggressive, vanguardist, anarcho-primitivist, “propaganda of the deed” type mag that alienated and divided many and almost landed its editors a lengthy jail term before disappearing completely. Alternative Green (subtitled “green anarchism for the polictically incorrect”) seeked to transcend both left and right dogmatism aiming at a synthesis of what Richard would refer to as “the loyality of the right with the compassion of the left.”
On February 16, Michigan’s Governor Snyder signed into law a sweeping emergency financial management bill, one that will give him wide powers to appoint financial managers across the state. Cities in financial distress will be assigned emergency managers, who will have the power to suspend collective bargaining, terminate city employees, even dissolve local governments completely — whatever is deemed necessary in the pursuit of a “balanced budget.”
Critics have called it the most undemocratic legislative measure in recent United States history.
The plan, Gov. Snyder claims, is a response to the very real budget problems facing Michigan. Many cities across the state face default. Add to that high unemployment, cities in disrepair, and the collapse of vital industries, and the situation can rightly be deemed an emergency.
Perhaps no city is more emblematic of the challenges facing the state than Detroit. The city has an annual budget deficit of $155 million, and long-term debt totaling $5.7 billion. Less than half of its students graduate high school. There are parts of the city where streetlights don’t come on at night and trash goes uncollected.
What does it mean when the Right is becoming more revolutionary minded than the Left? Nowadays, there are “left-conservatives”, “left-libertarians”, “left-secessionists”, “conservative revolutionaries”, “left-nationalists”, “national-syndicalists”, “national-anarchists”, “national-bolsheviks”, “national-maoists”, “left-populists”, “left-decentralists”, “national-communists” and lots of other labels that defy the left/right stereotype. What does is mean that the official Left has become a haven of moribund predictability regurgitating the most superficial cliches’?
What if a revolutionary Right emerged that was able to outmaneuver the totalitarian humanists of the Left by maintaining a more revolutionary position, absorbing untapped social energies ignored by the Left, undercutting the Left’s support base, and operating within a general populist framework?
There are a wide variety of lumpen elements and outgroups that are ignored or despised by the Left, despite the leftoids claim to be the champion of the oppressed and downtrodden? What about the handicapped, the mentally ill, students, youth, prostitutes and other sex workers, prisoners, prisoner’s rights activists, advocates for the rights of the criminally accused, the homeless and homeless activists, anti-police activists, advocates of alternative medicine, drug users, the families of drug war prisoners, immigrants, lumpen economic elements (jitney cab drivers, peddlers, street vendors), gang members and many others too numerous to name?
Who is it that stands for the workers and the poor? Is it the Left with its commitment to New Class managerial bureaucratic welfarism? Who stands for the people of rural American farming communities? Is is the cosmopolitan Left with its hostility to all things traditional? Who stands for the environment? Is it the middle class do-gooders of the Sierra Club? Or is it the ecological revolutionaries of the Earth Liberation Front?
What kind of economic outlook is more revolutionary? A Left offering more welfare statism or a revolutionary Right offering a negative income tax that by passes the bureaucratic middlemen of the welfare state, cutting taxes and regulation from the bottom up and eliminating corporate, bank and military welfare from the top down, and developing worker cooperatives, mutual banks, community development corporations, land trusts, kibbutzim and anarcho-syndicalist unions.
In the area of race relations, which is more revolutionary? More affirmative action, welfare, coercive intergrationism and multiculturalist propaganda? Or a system of reparations to America’s minority nationalities, political autonomy, cultural self-determination, economic development and self-sufficiency?
In foreign policy, what is more radical? “Human rights internationalism” or shutting down the American empire, dismantling the standing army and replacing the military-industrial complex with a decentralized militia confederation?
In criminal law, who has the more radical position? Liberals advocating civilian review boards and drug courts or revolutionaries favoring shutting down the police state and prison-industrial complex altogether along comprehensive prisoner amnesty?
As we build a movement towards such ends, look for the Left to attempt to obstruct our efforts at every turn.