Departed January 11, 2013
"I just can't believe someone so brilliant is gone so soon." /ƒETCHCOMMS/
This is an irreconcilable loss for humanity! We were fortunate to share his association, and as stewards, responsible to adopt his endeavors into our care, and conservancy. RIP ()
- 1 Words Along The Way
- 2 Words of Interest
- 3 Chess
- 4 Energy 1
- 5 Energy 2
- 6 Ideas
- 7 Survival of an American
- 8 Book List (and other media)
Words Along The Way
"Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have ever lived a more simple and meagre life than the poor. The ancient philosophers, Chinese, Hindoo, Persian, and Greek, were a class than which none has been poorer in outward riches, none so rich in inward. We know not much about them. It is remarkable that we know so much of them as we do. The same is true of the more modern reformers and benefactors of their race. None can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage ground of what we should call voluntary poverty. Of a life of luxury the fruit is luxury, whether in agriculture, or commerce, or literature, or art."
Pause. Breathe. Continue.
"There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers. Yet it is admirable to profess because it was once admirable to live. To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live, according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically. The success of great scholars and thinkers is commonly a courtier-like success, not kingly, not manly. They make shift to live merely by conformity, practically as their fathers did, and are in no sense the progenitors of a nobler race of men. But why do men degenerate ever? What makes families run out? What is the nature of the luxury which enervates and destroys nations? Are we sure that there is none of it in our own lives? The philosopher is in advance of his age even in the outward form of his life. He is not fed, sheltered, clothed, warmed, like his contemporaries. How can a man be a philosopher and not maintain his vital heat by better methods than other men?"
Words of Interest
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- "Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reforms. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions, yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both." (emphasis added) -Frederick Douglass, American abolitionist and author, born a slave.
- “...develop a tolerance for cognitive dissonance, a greater subtlety of consciousness.” -Robert Thurman from The Jewel Tree of Tibet: A Complete Course on Essential Tibetan Buddhism
- "When I asked him how a meditative Buddhist type could handle so much action, Thurman said, 'There's a stereotype that Buddhism is quietistic: leave the world, drop out -- drop dead basically.' Then he laughed and talked about how meditation can also release enormous amounts of energy. Thurman enjoys his contradictions. To him, Buddhist enlightenment is 'the tolerance of cognitive dissonance, the ability to cope with the beauty of complexity.'" -Rodger Kamenetz quoting Robert Thurman in a New York Times Magazine article on May 5, 1996
- "Um... I-I-I personally see the learning process as a movement closer and closer to an unattainable truth-- like you're walking--going through a deep tunnel, and as you get deeper into it you see how much more there is to learn. Um... so I don't have any--"
- (interviewer) "Does that make you happy or sad?"
- "That makes me happy."
- (interviewer) "Okay."
- "I think that, that's a--I mean-- (chuckle) I like that. I think that's beautiful. That's quite--that, that's kind of the... My favorite definition of, of wisdom is Robert Thurman's which is tolerance of cognitive dissonance."
- (interviewer) "Hmmh"
- "Um... It really makes sense to me, and that's how I, I view the learning process and, and life in general." (emphasis added) -Joshua Waitzkin in an interview on April 10, 2008
- The Encyclopedia Britannica Online defines a social norm as a "rule or standard of behaviour shared by members of a social group. Norms may be internalized—i.e., incorporated within the individual so that there is conformity without external rewards or punishments, or they may be enforced by positive or negative sanctions from without. The social unit sharing particular norms may be small (e.g., a clique of friends) or may include all adult members of a society. 'Norms are more specific than values or ideals: honesty is a general value, but the rules defining what is honest behaviour in a particular situation are norms." (emphasis added)
- "Everything was better back when everything was worse. The truth in this is that when everything was worse, people's expectations were lower, so that it was possible occasionally to have an experience that exceeded expectations. ... We tend to romanticize poverty. ... People are not happy in stinking hell holes of abject poverty. What is true is that once you cross subsistence, whatever subsistence is in your society, additional increases in wealth have virtually no affect on well-being. There's a huge, steep curve going from zero to subsistence, but once you cross that line the curve flattens out. This is worth knowing in case you have a choice between x and making more money. Almost certainly x is what you should choose." (emphasis added) -Barry Schwartz in a presentation given on April 27, 2006 summarizing themes from his book The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
- "The students are aware of meaningful activity going on outside the university. For there is some meaningful activity going on in America today – in the civil-rights movement, certainly. At the same time, but much more dimly, each student is aware of how barren of essential meaning and direction is the activity in which he is primarily involved, as a card-carrying student. I write “each student is aware” but I realize that this is to express more hope than fact. In less than a tenth of the students at the University of California, Berkeley during the Free Speech Movement is this “awareness” a “consciousness.” This consciousness of the poverty of one’s immediate environment is a difficult thing to come by. In most it must remain a dim awareness. It is far easier to become aware of (and angry at) the victimization of others than to perceive one’s own victimization. It is far easier to become angry when others are hurt. This is so for a number of reasons. Fighting for others’ rights cannot engender nearly so great a guilt as striking rebelliously at one’s own immediate environment. Also, it is simply easier to see the injustice done others – it’s “out there.” Many of us came to college with what we later acknowledge were rather romantic expectations, perhaps mostly unexpressed at first, about what a delight and adventure learning would be. We really did have unanswered questions searching for words, though to say so sounds almost corny. But once at college we quickly lose much of the romantic vision; although, fortunately, some never give in to the disappointment. Discovering that college is really high school grown up and not significantly more challenging, many console themselves with the realization that it is not much more either." (emphasis added) -Mario Savio, author of the Introduction of Berkeley: The New Student Revolt by Hal Draper published in 1965
Epicurus, Ataraxia, and the Stoics
For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by ataraxia, peace and freedom from fear, and "aponia", the absence of pain, and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that pleasure and pain are the measures of what is good and bad, that death is the end of the body and the soul and should therefore not be feared, that the gods do not reward or punish humans, that the universe is infinite and eternal, and that events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space.— from Epicurus Wikipedia article as of 09:15, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Ataraxia (Ἀταραξία) is a Greek term used by Pyrrho and Epicurus for a limpid state, characterized by freedom from worry or any other preoccupation.
For the Epicureans, ataraxia was synonymous with the only true happiness possible for a person. It signifies the state of robust tranquility that derives from eschewing faith in an afterlife, not fearing the gods because they are distant and unconcerned with us, avoiding politics and vexatious people, surrounding oneself with trustworthy and affectionate friends and, most importantly, being an affectionate, virtuous person, worthy of trust.For the Pyrrhonians, owing to one's inability to say which sense impressions are true and which ones are false, it is the quietude that arises from suspending judgment on dogmatic beliefs or anything non-evident and continuing to inquire.— from Ataraxia Wikipedia article as of 09:15, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
The stoics considered destructive emotions to be the result of errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of "moral and intellectual perfection," would not undergo such emotions. Stoics were concerned with the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will (called prohairesis) that is in accord with nature. Because of this, the Stoics presented their philosophy as a way of life, and they thought that the best indication of an individual's philosophy was not what a person said but how he or she behaved. Later Roman Stoics, such as Seneca and Epictetus, emphasized that because "virtue is sufficient for happiness," a sage was immune to misfortune.— from Stoicism Wikipedia article as of 09:15, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
The KNIGHT is kneeling before a small altar. It is dark and quiet around him. The air is cool and musty. Pictures of saints look down on him with stony eyes. Christ's face is turned upwards, His mouth open as if in a cry of anguish. On the ceiling beam there is a representation of a hideous devil spying on a miserable human being. The KNIGHT hears a sound from the confession booth and approaches it. The face of DEATH appears behind the grille for an instant, but the KNIGHT doesn't see him. KNIGHT I want to talk to you as openly as I can, but my heart is empty. DEATH doesn't answer. KNIGHT The emptiness is a mirror turned towards my own face. I see myself in it, and I am filled with fear and disgust. DEATH doesn't answer. KNIGHT Through my indifference to my fellow men, I have isolated myself from their company. Now I live in a world of phantoms. I am imprisoned in my dreams and fantasies. DEATH And yet you don't want to die. KNIGHT Yes, I do. DEATH What are you waiting for? KNIGHT I want knowledge. DEATH You want guarantees? KNIGHT Call it whatever you like. Is it so cruelly inconceivable to grasp God with the senses? Why should He hide himself in a mist of half-spoken promises and unseen miracles? DEATH doesn't answer. KNIGHT How can we have faith in those who believe when we can't have faith in ourselves? What is going to happen to those of us who want to believe but aren't able to? And what is to become of those who neither want to nor are capable of believing? The KNIGHT stops and waits for a reply, but no one speaks or answers him. There is complete silence. KNIGHT Why can't I kill God within me? Why does He live on in this painful and humiliating way even though I curse Him and want to tear Him out of my heart? Why, in spite of everything, is He a baffling reality that I can't shake off? Do you hear me? DEATH Yes, I hear you. KNIGHT I want knowledge, not faith, not suppositions, but knowledge. I want God to stretch out His hand towards me, reveal Himself and speak to me. DEATH But He remains silent. KNIGHT I call out to Him in the dark but no one seems to be there. DEATH Perhaps no one is there. KNIGHT Then life is an outrageous horror. No one can live in the face of death, knowing that all is nothingness. DEATH Most people never reflect about either death or the futility of life. KNIGHT But one day they will have to stand at that last moment of life and look towards the darkness. DEATH When that day comes ... KNIGHT In our fear, we make an image, and that image we call God. DEATH You are worrying ... KNIGHT Death visited me this morning. We are playing chess together. This reprieve gives me the chance to arrange an urgent matter. DEATH What matter is that? KNIGHT My life has been a futile pursuit, a wandering, a great deal of talk without meaning. I feel no bitterness or self-reproach because the lives of most people are very much like this. But I will use my reprieve for one meaningful deed. DEATH Is that why you are playing chess with Death? KNIGHT He is a clever opponent, but up to now I haven't lost a single man. DEATH How will you outwit Death in your game? KNIGHT I use a combination of the bishop and the knight which he hasn't yet discovered. In the next move I'll shatter one of his flanks. DEATH I'll remember that. DEATH shows his face at the grill of the confession booth for a moment but disappears instantly. KNIGHT You've tricked and cheated me! But we'll meet again, and I'll find a way. DEATH (invisible) We'll meet at the inn, and there we'll continue playing. The KNIGHT raises his hand and looks at it in the sunlight which comes through the tiny window. KNIGHT This is my hand. I can move it, feel the blood pulsing through it. The sun is still high in the sky and I, Antonius Block, am playing chess with Death. He makes a fist of his hand and lifts it to his temple.
Here are some thoughts and links about energy. These are merely my thoughts attempting to organize a bit.
Preface: the US EIA "Energy Information Administration" has some great highlights of world energy use. Note that the British Thermal Unit (BTUs) seem to be the standard unit of energy used, but I converted to Joules below because I'm more familiar with them (1 BTU = 1,055.05585 Joules or about 1 kilojoule).
Some of this data is from wikipedia, so be sure to add salt and a bit of healthy skepticism.
Population of Earth's human race: ~6.7 billion
Energy consumption of humans on Earth: ~500 exajoules (5 x 10^20 Joules) or as average instantaneous power consumption (AIPC, let's call it): ~16 terawatts (16 x 10^12 Watts)
Population of Africa: ~900 million
Energy consumption of Africa per year: ~15 exajoules or as AIPC: ~0.5 terawatts
Population of United States: ~300 million
Energy consumption of United States: ~102 exajoules or as AIPC: ~3.2 terawatts
Population of California: ~36 million
Energy consumption of California: ~9 exajoules or as AIPC: ~0.3 terawatts
From the above data:
Earth's human race power per capita: ~2,390 Watts per person
Africa's power per capita: ~556 Watts per person
United States power per capita: ~10,800 Watts per person --wow!
California power per capita: ~8,330 Watts per person
Looks like we Californians are ~20% below the national average, but still 3 to 4 times the world average.
These figures include all sectors of energy use, which can be denominated as follows:
~40% - industrial (~27% via oil derivatives)
~20% - transportation (~66.6% via oil derivatives)
~10% - residential
~ 5% - commercial
~75% - total
Where is the other 25%? Wikipedia says it's "lost in energy transmission and generation" but I'm not sure exactly what that applies to each sector.
So what are the sources of all this energy? Well...the sun! But we extract most of it in a form much different from its initial age-old recipients:
~37% - Oil
~25% - Coal
~23% - Natural Gas
~6% - Nuclear
~4% - Biomass
~3% - Hydroelectric
~0.5% - Solar thermal
~0.3% - Wind
~0.2% - Geothermal
~0.2% - Biofuel
~0.04% - Solar photovoltaic
~0.76% - Unknown
100% - Total
A bit on solar energy. The highest efficiency for photovoltaics (solar panels) in the lab is ~40% but these systems are rarely mass-produced. 10% - 15% efficiency is typical of most photovoltaic arrays. The majority of direct-sunlight electric energy production does not come from photovoltaic electrochemical conversion, but from concentrated solar thermal conversion. In fact, the highest capacity solar power plants on Earth were built in the mid-80's in the Mojave Desert in California. The 9 installations together are called Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS). The array's efficiency is ~20% and total capacity is ~350 megawatts ( http://www.flagsol.com/SEGS_tech.htm ). For comparison, a small nuclear power plant or a typical coal power plant produces about 500 megawatts.
Another example of concentrated sunlight generation are the two arrays of large parabolic mirrors being developed and built by Stirling Energy Systems ( SES, http://www.stirlingenergy.com ) in California. One is a 300 megawatt system in Imperial City, California and the other is a 500 megawatt system being build in the Mojave Desert, east of Barstow. Each unit produces 25 kilowatts of power with 30% efficiency. SES has "project and technical development offices" in Tustin, California. Here's some video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYKOjnCwmG8 .
The first energy independent city in America is Rock Port, Missouri, via wind power. Cost them a pretty penny... http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1568/
- The human body radiates on the order of 100 Joules per second, or 100 Watts. It does this to the keep-a-kindle the inner fire, to maintain body temperature. This estimate is reasonable since 2000 food Calories (kilocalories) consumed in the period of 1 day, 2000 kilocalories / 1 day, equals ~96.85 Watts, meaning that you radiate energy at about the same rate as a 100 Watt incandescent light bulb. The difference is that the incandescent light bulb converts around 10% of that energy into visible light, and about 90% into heat, whereas, while a rest, the body converts almost all of its energy into heat.
- When traveling long distances, an increasing number of humans use an artificially energized vehicle. They want this for several reasons. They may want to get to their destination in a very short time. They might not want to get sweaty. They may not be physically able to transport themselves the desired distance. If the human does not use their own energy for travel, from what energy source does the vehicle derive? There are several:
- Non-renewable energy
- Renewable energy
Survival of an American
Typical American disconnected from food and water supply.
Typical American offered loan from banks. Debt results. Buys car and other things to facilitate employment to pay debt. Works to make interest payments. From where do the banks get their lending power?
Hopes, desires, values, behavior originate from media consumption. Advertisements appeal to subconscious urges and emotions resulting in see, want, envy, buy. Climb social status latter through materialism. Repeat. Real values and principles have no chance to develop.
To be continued...
Book List (and other media)
Read (and other actions, past tense)
|“||The Founding Fathers of the United States were well aware of the hazards of democracy. In the Constitutional Convention debates, the main framer, James Madison, warned of these hazards.
Naturally taking England as his model, Madison observed that “In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place,” undermining the right to property.
The basic problem that Madison foresaw in “framing a system which we wish to last for ages” was to ensure that the actual rulers will be the wealthy minority so as “to secure the rights of property agst. the danger from an equality & universality of suffrage, vesting compleat power over property in hands without a share in it.”
Scholarship generally agrees with the Brown University scholar Gordon S. Wood's assessment that “The Constitution was intrinsically an aristocratic document designed to check the democratic tendencies of the period.”
Long before Madison, Artistotle, in his Politics, recognized the same problem with democracy.
Reviewing a variety of political systems, Aristotle concluded that this system was the best—or perhaps the least bad—form of government. But he recognized a flaw: The great mass of the poor could use their voting power to take the property of the rich, which would be unfair.
Madison and Aristotle arrived at opposite solutions: Aristotle advised reducing inequality, by what we would regard as welfare state measures. Madison felt that the answer was to reduce democracy.
In his last years, Thomas Jefferson, the man who drafted the United States' Declaration of Independence, captured the essential nature of the conflict, which has far from ended. Jefferson had serious concerns about the quality and fate of the democratic experiment. He distinguished between “aristocrats and democrats.”
The aristocrats are “those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes.”
The democrats, in contrast, “identify with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depository of the public interest.”
Today the successors to Jefferson's “aristocrats” might argue about who should play the guiding role: technocratic and policy-oriented intellectuals, or bankers and corporate executives.
It is this political guardianship that the genuine libertarian tradition seeks to dismantle and reconstruct from below, while also changing industry, as Dewey put it, “from a feudalistic to a democratic social order” based on workers' control, respecting the dignity of the producer as a genuine person, not a tool in the hands of others.
Like Karl Marx's Old Mole—“our old friend, our old mole, who knows so well how to work underground, then suddenly to emerge”—the libertarian tradition is always burrowing close to the surface, always ready to peek through, sometimes in surprising and unexpected ways, seeking to bring about what seems to me to be a reasonable approximation to the common good.
- Proclama de la Junta Tuitiva (Proclamation of the Tuitiva Council) Junta Tuitiva de los Derechos del Rey y del Pueblo (Tuitiva Council of Rights of the King and of the People)
Hasta aquí. hemos tolerado una especie de destierro en el seno mismo de nuestra patria; hemos visto con indiferencia por más de tres siglos sometida nuestra primitiva libertad al despotismo y tiranía de un usurpador injusto que, degradándonos de la especie humana, nos ha mirado como a esclavos; hemos guardando un silencio bastante parecido a la estupidez que se nos atribuye por el inculto español, sufriendo con tranquilidad que el mérito de los americanos haya sido siempre un presagio de humillación y ruina.
Ya es tiempo, pues, de sacudir yugo tan funesto a nuestra felicidad, como favorable al orgullo nacional español. Ya es tiempo, en fin de levantar el estandarte de la libertad en estas desgraciadas colonias, adquiridas sin el menor titulo y conservadas con la mayor injusticia y tiranía.
Valerosos habitantes de La Paz y de todo el Imperio del Perú, revelad vuestros proyectos para la ejecución; aprovechaos de las circunstancias en que estamos; no miréis con desdén la felicidad de nuestro suelo, ni perdáis jamás de vista la unión que debe reinar en todos, para ser en adelante tan felices como desgraciados hasta el presente.
En la ciudad de Nuestra Señora de La Paz, a los 27 días del mes de julio de 1809.
|“||“The anarchist tradition,” writes Ramnath, “is a discursive field in which the boundaries are defined by a thematic, not a problematic,” which is to say that anarchism “is a thematic larger than any of its myriad manifestations, all of which can be considered anarchism if they refer to that thematic – if they are part of the anarchist conversation.” She continues, “This is also analogous to contrasting language as [quoting Chatterjee] ‘a language system shared by a given community of speakers’ – that is anarchists – with parole, ‘a concrete speech act of individual speakers’ – that is, what’s said or done by any type of anarchist.” The thematic that defines anarchism’s boundaries, says Ramnath, “is the quest for collective liberation in its most meaningful sense, by maximizing the conditions for autonomy and egalitarian social relationships, sustainable production and reproduction.”
It is appropriate that Ramnath turns to a subaltern studies theorist for a framework to define the boundaries of anarchism. Early subaltern studies in particular shares much common ground, though not consciously so, with the early anarchist theorists. Ranajit Guha’s notion of subaltern consciousness, for example, is strikingly similar to Bakunin’s notion of peasant consciousness. In one of the formative works of the subaltern school–Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India–Ranajit Guha wrote, “To acknowledge the peasant as the maker of his own rebellion is to attribute, as we have done in this work, a consciousness to him.” That consciousness is encapsulated by the word “insurgency.” Insurgency is, said Guha, “the name of that consciousness which informs the activity of the rural masses known as jacquerie, revolt, uprising, etc. or to use their Indian designations – dhing, bidroha, ulgulan, hool, fituri and so on.” Compare this to Bakunin’s notion of peasant consciousness. Bakunin asked, for the masses (Guha’s subaltern classes), “of what does political consciousness consist?” to which he answered, “It can be assured by only one thing – the goddess of revolt.”
Both Guha and Bakunin rejected the Marxist notion of what Hobsbawm called “pre-political people.” Engels described peasant Slavs as not having a history of their own independent of what their imperialist masters imposed on them. Hobsbawm, writing in the Marxist tradition, asserted that “traditional forms of peasant discontent” were “virtually devoid of any explicit ideology, organization, or programme.” Marxists and bourgeois nationalists both saw peasant insurgency as a spontaneous, disorganized, random lashing out of the pre-political and unconscious masses. In Elementary Aspects, Guha showed that peasant insurgency was indeed the expression of peasant consciousness and organization, and that peasant insurgents in India–rather than randomly lashing out–were discriminating in their targets for destruction or inversion. Bakunin likewise noted discrimination of targets, and hence consciousness, in peasant uprisings in Europe. “The Calabrian peasants” for example, wrote Bakunin, “began by looting the castles [estates] and the city mansions of the wealthy bourgeois, but took nothing from the people.”
For Guha, “There was nothing in the militant movements of [India’s] rural masses that was not political. This could hardly have been otherwise under the conditions in which they worked, lived and conceptualized the world.” The material conditions, exploitation, and relationships of stark inequality imposed on them by a variety of forms of authority gave peasants almost no choice but to be politically conscious for the sake of their own survival and dignity. Likewise, Bakunin wrote, “The peasants are made revolutionary by necessity, by the intolerable realities of their lives.” Authoritarian impositions, said Guha, led peasants to develop a negative consciousness. That is to say, “His identity amounted to the sum of his subalternity. In other words, he learnt to recognize himself not by the properties and attributes of his own social being but by a diminution, if not negation, of those of his superiors.” Because of this negative consciousness, insurgency often assumed the form of destruction and inversion of the symbols of authority. Bakunin recognized this same kind of negative consciousness of the peasantry, and he trusted and encouraged it as a progressive force. In one of his most misunderstood, misused, and most quoted lines, Bakunin wrote: “Let us therefore trust the eternal Spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unfathomable and eternal source of all life. The passion for destruction is a creative passion, too!”
Guha and Bakunin both saw the inability to acknowledge peasant consciousness as, in Guha’s words, “elitist as well as erroneous.” Marxist interpretations, Guha continues, have been able to recognize as real and worthwhile only those movements that conform to Marxist theory, or that give the credit to Marxist organizations: “…they err who fail to recognize the trace of consciousness in the apparently unstructured movements of the masses.” Bakunin called for Marxists, and the urban workers Marxists claimed to represent, to “abandon their contemptuous attitude...City workers must overcome their anti-peasant prejudices not only in the interests of the Revolution, or for strategic reasons, but as an act of elementary justice.” If Marxists were to fail to do this, warned Bakunin, then Marx’s claim that peasants are counter-revolutionary would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The ruling class, Bakunin explained, have already come to recognize peasant consciousness, and they have learned how to manipulate it to their own ends. If Marxists continue down the path of contempt for the rural masses, it will be to the detriment of all.
These kinds of critiques, shared by anarchists and subalternists, go a long way in explaining why anarchism rather than Marxism, was so influential in the global radical anticolonialist movement in the early twentieth century. The anarchist movement in the era facilitated a transnational anticolonial network, and Indian radicals were very much a part of creating that network. Perhaps the most widely read book that deals with this network is Benedict Anderson’s Under Three Flags. As insightful as Anderson’s book is, it only gives a picture of a slice of that transnational network. He seems to willfully leave out the United States from the story, and as a result, much is missing, as cities such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco were vitally important points in that network. The anarcho-syndicalist IWW alone, founded in Chicago in 1905, connected radical antiauthoritarians on every continent.
Har Dayal, founder of the Ghadar party, was active in the IWW before founding Ghadar. Near Oakland, California he founded a training school for anarchist propagandists that he named “the Bakunin Institute.” Not only did the U.S. act as a base for US-Indian radical solidarity, but also it facilitated a type of South-South solidarity as well; for example, in the U.S., the Ghadar Party and the Mexican anarchist PLM movement worked together against their common enemies of capitalism, imperialism, and colonialism.
While in U.S., Indian antiauthoritarian radicals developed a uniquely South Asian anarchism that drew on South Asian cultures and traditions as much as it did on Western anarchism. In other words, instead of remaking themselves in anarchism’s image, they remade anarchism in their own image, using anarchism to serve their own anticolonialist ends rather than using their anticolonialism for anarchist ends. They gravitated to anarchism because it was the clearest articulation of their ideas in terms of tactics, theory, and vision for the future; it was fluid enough to accommodate wide diversity (which was highly necessary for any movement attempting to be effective in South Asia), and more than any other movement available to them at the time, it connected them to like-minded radicals around the world facilitating transnational radical solidarity.
Living is no laughing matter:
- unknown title Yekîneyên Parastina Jin (Women’s Protection Units) Yekîneyên Jinên Azad ên Star (YJA STAR)
|“||We may be the children of the lands of Amed and Cizira, Dersim and Colemerg. We may be the hearts of the lands spanning out from Qobane to Qamislo, Halabja, Hewler to Slemani, Mahabad to Urmiya and the skirts of the Zagros Mountains. We may be the daughters of the Sun, children of Kurdistan.
We carry the fight of the Women across the World. Thousands of us don’t only fight ISIS. We carry on our shoulders the ideological weight of those stoned in Afghanistan or genitally mutilated in Somalia. The Women who are sexually enslaved across the world, discriminated, paid less, not represented, forcibly married, abused and victimized by domestic rape.
We are here to empower Women, break Male patriarchy, represent the silent. The sacrifices of Kurdish Women are for all of you. We are here to stay and to set precedent for the World. Embrace the Revolution.
Yekîneyên Parastina Jin (Women’s Protection Units - Rojavaye Kurdistan)
YJA STAR (Kurdish: Yekîneyên Jinên Azad ên Star - Bakure Kurdistan)
|“||...those who have a voice are obligated to use it for the good of the people.||”|
|“||A decisive victory in the history of the Free Women... Kobane, taken from IS in January 2015, after three months of ferocious fighting. Ever since the women have been advancing on all fronts. 'We, as the women's defence units - YPJ - and as Kurdish women, we think that the fighting for Kobane is symbolic. Women are the x-factor which enables us to break IS. Women fought on all fronts, they fought IS in the trenches, The YPJ embraces all women. We are convinced that if all women united then terrorism would vanish.' Young Syriac girls are now creating their own fighting units. A first for these Eastern Christians.
'Attention! -Long live -the Syriac academy! -Long live -the Syriac academy! -Freedom! Freedom! -Freedom! Freedom!'
'Firstly, we Syriacs have always been oppressed, but we never rebelled before. Now the winds of change have come from Iraq, it all started there.'
A young European has enlisted with them. The Jihadists are recruiting apprentice killers in Europe, but the women's movement attracts hundreds from across the globe to fight IS' barbarity.
40 years after Sakin's story began these girs are starting their own. It is not just the Kurds picking up the mantle.
'This whole thing about a women's army is not just about a combat against an enemy such as IS. Women, wherever they are, need projection. In Rojava, the men have understood: they know now that the Women's Force is a right. And they have realised that the mentality of the men leads to subjugation. This mentality does not allow for equality, for justice between men and women.'
The pioneers can once again be found in Qandil, where an acaemy for re-educating men has existed for many years.
|“||Ella Baker has been referred to as both the mid-wife who helped deliver SNCC and the founder who helped articulate the base principles from which the group developed. For instance, SNCC was committed to group-centered leadership, to mass direct action, to organizing in the tradition of developing people's capacity to work on their own behalf, and to community building that was participatory and involved local people in decision-making with the goal of developing local leaders. In looking to the lessons of Ella Baker's organizing strategies, it is useful to look at SNCC to see how these concepts were experimented with and applied. From the examples of SNCC, we can draw both insights and inspiration for the work that we are doing today.
Charles Payne writes in his book, I've Got the Light of Freedom: "SNCC may have the firmest claim to being called the borning organization [as in inspiring and helping shape other organizations]. SNCC initiated the mass-based, disruptive political style we associate with the sixties, and it provided philosophical and organizational models and hands-on training for people who would become leaders in the student power movement, anti-war movement, and the feminist movement. SNCC forced the civil rights movement to enter the most dangerous areas of the South. It pioneered the idea of young people 'dropping out' for a year or two to work for social change. It pushed the proposition that merely bettering the living conditions of the oppressed was insufficient; that has to be done in conjunction with giving those people a voice in the decisions that shape their lives. As SNCC learned to see beyond the lunch counter, the increasingly radical philosophies that emerged within the organization directly and indirectly encouraged a generation of scholars and activists to reconsider the ways that social inequality is generated and sustained."
One model of organizing in SNCC was the Freedom School used in Mississippi. The Freedom Schools prioritized political education informed by daily reality to connect day-to-day experiences with an institutional analysis. The Freedom Schools focused on building leadership and training organizers. SNCC envisioned the schools to operate as "parallel institutions" or what many anarchists refer to today as "counter-institutions". Charlie Cobb, who first proposed the creation of the Freedom Schools said that the schools were to be "an educational experience for students which will make it possible for them to challenge the myths of our society, to perceive more clearly its realities and to find alternatives and ultimately, new directions for action". Curriculum at the schools ranged from "Introducing the Power Structure", to critiques of materialism in "Material Things and Soul Things". There were classes on non-violence and direct action as well as classes on economics and how the power structure manipulates the fears of poor whites. The lessons learned from the Freedom Schools can help us to envision programs that educate as well as train people to take action.
Ella Baker devoted her time, energy and wisdom to SNCC, which came to embody those principles of participatory democracy and grassroots community organizing that she had helped to develop throughout her lifetime as a radical organizer. Both Baker and SNCC struggled to create collective leadership, to engage in activism that empowered others to become active, to generate change from the bottom up and to experiment with expanding democratic decision making into everyday life.
The history and experiences of SNCC offer much to organizers today, in terms of how we go about our work and how we envision our goals. One organizer from SNCC, Bob Zellner, described being an organizer as similar to a juggling act, "Organizers had to be morale boosters, teachers, welfare agents, transportation coordinators, canvassers, public speakers, negotiators, lawyers, all while communicating with people who range from illiterate sharecroppers to well-off professionals and while enduring harassment from agents of the law and listening with one ear for threats of violence. Exciting days and major victories are rare". Ella Baker described community organizing as 'spade work', as in the hard work gardening when you prepare the soil for seeds for the next season. It is hard work, but it is what makes it possible for the garden to grow.
Charles Payne warns us repeatedly to look at the everyday work that builds movements and creates social change and to draw from those experiences in order to learn the lessons for our work today. He writes, "Overemphasizing the movement's more dramatic features, we undervalue the patient and sustained effort, the slow, respectful work, that made the dramatic moments possible".
From here, he develops an analysis of how sexism operates in organizing efforts. He explores why it is that in most histories of social movements, the profound impact of women is rarely mentioned. In the Civil Rights movements it was women and young people who were the backbone of the struggle. On this Payne writes, "We know beyond dispute that women were frequently the dominant force in the movement. Their historical invisibility is perhaps the most compelling example of the way our shared images of the movement distort and confuse the historical reality. There is a parallel with the way in which we typically fail to see women's work in other spheres. Arlene Daniels, among others, has noted that what we socially define as 'work' are those activities that are public rather than private and those activities for which we get paid. In the same way, the tendency in the popular imagination and in much scholarship has been to reduce the movement to stirring speeches - given by men - and dramatic demonstrations - led by men. The everyday maintenance of the movement, women's work, overwhelmingly, is effectively devalued, sinking beneath the level of our sight".
As organizers today, it is crucial that we look at our own work and consider what activities we place value on. How do we treat the people making the grand speeches and leading the rallies? And how do we treat the people making the phone calls, facilitating the meetings, distributing the flyers, raising money, taking time out to listen to the troubles of other organizers, coordinating child-care, cooking all day, patiently answering dozens of questions from new volunteers or potential supporters, or working really hard to make other people in the group or project feel listened to, respected, heard, valued and supported?
|“||The Political Cost
Whatever good was accomplished by the Communist Party, the U.S. working class paid a price. In the words of a radical who observed some of this history, “For generations now, as elements and sections of American workers and intellectuals became radicalized, and as they moved toward a revolutionary socialist point of view, they were drawn into the orbit of the organization that purported to represent revolutionary dissent. Pulled into the Communist party, throbbing with revolutionary ardor and idealism, they were used—for another purpose.... In levies of thousands and tens of thousands, they were used up, betrayed, sold out, eviscerated, disillusioned: they were processed through the CP machine, spitted, and then spit out. No one really knows how many hundreds of thousands, in all, were thus turned into sterilized ‘exes’ or ‘former people’; perhaps as many as a couple million.” (Hal Draper 1984) The miseducation and wearing-out of these militants is why the radical movement of the ‘sixties had to start up virtually from scratch.
We are currently in a time of great tension. The social system, of the U.S. and the whole world, faces terrible problems: economic inequality and stagnation, wars (and the threat of nuclear war), climate change and other ecological catastrophes, and continuing racial and gender oppression. Yet so far popular upheaval and mass movement have been fairly limited. Even the lessons of the last popular radicalization—in the ‘sixties—seem inadequate for today. This is beginning to change, but developments are still slow.
So some radicals look back to the earlier radical period of the ‘thirties. Then there was a (relatively) large party calling itself “communist.” It had roots in the working class, control of significant unions, and influence in a wide range of popular life. Combined with the apparent body of Marxist theory, this makes the one-time Communist Party look impressive. It raises nostalgia.
But this is a “false memory,” however historically researched. Whatever it accomplished, the party had a goal of a totalitarian and state-capitalist society, as existed in Stalin’s Soviet Union. Its practical activities were not truly geared to the interests of the U.S. working class. Its programs were almost entirely reformist, except for occasional ultra-leftism. Despite the idealism of its members, its leaders were cynical and fraudulent.
|“||...I don't think a- a man who gets as old as I have become, can say he's reached any conclusions because he becomes more and more puzzled and more and more fascinated by the mystery of life as he goes on living. I- my own feelings about life are toward the optimistic and hopeful side. And I don't know if a man works out a philosophy or whether his philosophy emanates from his nature. But whether that's true or no, I think it's terribly important that some people like me exist to keep affirming the beauties of life to offset others, even more eloquent perhaps, who are decrying life and scoffing at it and telling you what's wrong with it. Surely there are things that are wrong. Then we must also admit that there are things that are right and beautiful and make it wonderful to be on earth. And this, if it isn't my mission, is at least one of my chief aims.||”|
|“||Last week, something remarkable happened. The Bank of England let the cat out of the bag. In a paper called "Money Creation in the Modern Economy", co-authored by three economists from the Bank's Monetary Analysis Directorate, they stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong, and that the kind of populist, heterodox positions more ordinarily associated with groups such as Occupy Wall Street are correct. In doing so, they have effectively thrown the entire theoretical basis for austerity out of the window.
To get a sense of how radical the Bank's new position is, consider the conventional view, which continues to be the basis of all respectable debate on public policy. People put their money in banks. Banks then lend that money out at interest – either to consumers, or to entrepreneurs willing to invest it in some profitable enterprise. True, the fractional reserve system does allow banks to lend out considerably more than they hold in reserve, and true, if savings don't suffice, private banks can seek to borrow more from the central bank.
The central bank can print as much money as it wishes. But it is also careful not to print too much. In fact, we are often told this is why independent central banks exist in the first place. If governments could print money themselves, they would surely put out too much of it, and the resulting inflation would throw the economy into chaos. Institutions such as the Bank of England or US Federal Reserve were created to carefully regulate the money supply to prevent inflation. This is why they are forbidden to directly fund the government, say, by buying treasury bonds, but instead fund private economic activity that the government merely taxes.
It's this understanding that allows us to continue to talk about money as if it were a limited resource like bauxite or petroleum, to say "there's just not enough money" to fund social programmes, to speak of the immorality of government debt or of public spending "crowding out" the private sector. What the Bank of England admitted this week is that none of this is really true. To quote from its own initial summary: "Rather than banks receiving deposits when households save and then lending them out, bank lending creates deposits" … "In normal times, the central bank does not fix the amount of money in circulation, nor is central bank money 'multiplied up' into more loans and deposits."
In other words, everything we know is not just wrong – it's backwards. When banks make loans, they create money. This is because money is really just an IOU. The role of the central bank is to preside over a legal order that effectively grants banks the exclusive right to create IOUs of a certain kind, ones that the government will recognise as legal tender by its willingness to accept them in payment of taxes. There's really no limit on how much banks could create, provided they can find someone willing to borrow it. They will never get caught short, for the simple reason that borrowers do not, generally speaking, take the cash and put it under their mattresses; ultimately, any money a bank loans out will just end up back in some bank again. So for the banking system as a whole, every loan just becomes another deposit. What's more, insofar as banks do need to acquire funds from the central bank, they can borrow as much as they like; all the latter really does is set the rate of interest, the cost of money, not its quantity. Since the beginning of the recession, the US and British central banks have reduced that cost to almost nothing. In fact, with "quantitative easing" they've been effectively pumping as much money as they can into the banks, without producing any inflationary effects.
What this means is that the real limit on the amount of money in circulation is not how much the central bank is willing to lend, but how much government, firms, and ordinary citizens, are willing to borrow. Government spending is the main driver in all this (and the paper does admit, if you read it carefully, that the central bank does fund the government after all). So there's no question of public spending "crowding out" private investment. It's exactly the opposite.
Why did the Bank of England suddenly admit all this? Well, one reason is because it's obviously true. The Bank's job is to actually run the system, and of late, the system has not been running especially well. It's possible that it decided that maintaining the fantasy-land version of economics that has proved so convenient to the rich is simply a luxury it can no longer afford.
But politically, this is taking an enormous risk. Just consider what might happen if mortgage holders realised the money the bank lent them is not, really, the life savings of some thrifty pensioner, but something the bank just whisked into existence through its possession of a magic wand which we, the public, handed over to it.
|“||The political goals of rioters in Baltimore are not unclear—just as they were not unclear when poor, Black people rioted in Ferguson last fall. When the free market, real estate, the elected government, the legal system have all shown you they are not going to protect you—in fact, that they are the sources of the greatest violence you face—then political action becomes about stopping the machine that is trying to kill you, even if only for a moment, getting the boot off your neck, even if it only allows you a second of air. This is exactly what blocking off streets, disrupting white consumerism, and destroying state property are designed to do.
Black people know this, and have employed these tactics for a very, very long time. Calling them uncivilized, and encouraging them to mind the Constitution is racist, and as an argument fails to ground itself not only in the violent political reality in which Black people find themselves, but also in our centuries-long tradition of resistance, one that has taught effective strategies for militance and direct action to virtually every other current movement for justice.
And while I don’t believe that every protester involved in attacking police cars and corporate storefronts had the same philosophy, did what they did for the same reasons, it cannot be discounted that when there is a larger national outcry in defense of plate-glass windows and car doors than for Black young people, a point is being made; When there is more concern for white sports fans in the vicinity of a riot than the Black people facing off with police, there is mounting justification for the rage and pain of Black communities in this country.
- PALABRAS DEL EZLN EN EL 22 ANIVERSARIO DEL INICIO DE LA GUERRA CONTRA EL OLVIDO (WORDS OF THE EZLN ON THE 22ND ANNIVERSARY OF THE BEGINNING OF THE WAR AGAINST OBLIVION) Comité Clandestino Revolucionario Indígena Comandancia General del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation)
|“||Podemos decirlo sin pena: las comunidades zapatistas no sólo están mejor que hace 22 años. Su nivel de vida es superior al de quienes se han vendido a los partidistas de todos los colores.
Antes para saber si alguien era zapatista se veía si traía paliacate rojo o pasamontañas.
Ahora basta ver si sabe trabajar la tierra; si cuida su cultura; si estudia para conocer la ciencia y la técnica; si se respeta como mujeres que somos; si tiene la mirada en alto y limpia; si sabe que manda como colectivo; si ve los cargos de gobierno autónomo rebelde zapatista como servicio y no como negocio; si cuando le preguntan algo que no sabe, responde “no lo sé… todavía”; si cuando se burlan diciéndole que los zapatistas ya no existen, que son muy pocos, responde “no preocupas, ya vamos a ser más, de repente tarda, pero sí vamos a ser más”; si mira lejos en calendarios y geografías; si sabe que el mañana se siembra hoy.
Pero pues sí, reconocemos que nos falta mucho por hacer, nos hace falta organizarnos más y mejor.
Por eso nos tenemos que esforzar más por prepararnos para realizar más y mejor nuestros trabajos de gobernarnos, porque ahí viene de nuevo el mal de los males: el mal sistema capitalista.
Y tenemos que saber cómo enfrentarlo. Ya tenemos 32 años de experiencias de lucha de Rebeldía y Resistencia.
Ya somos lo que somos.
|“||We can say this without shame: the Zapatista communities are not only better off than they were 22 years ago; their quality of life is better than those who sold out to political parties of all colors and stripes.
Before, in order to know if someone was Zapatista, you checked to see if they had a red bandana or a balaclava.
Now it is enough to see if they work the land, if they take care of their culture, if they study science and technology, if they respect the women that we are, if their gaze is straight and clear, if they know that it is the collective that rules, if they see the job of the autonomous Zapatista government in rebellion as a service and not a business; if when you ask them something they don’t know they respond “I don’t know…yet”; if when someone mocks them saying that the Zapatistas no longer exist or are very few they respond, “don’t worry, there will be more of us, it may take awhile, but there will be more”; if their gaze reaches far in calendars and geographies; if they know that tomorrow is planted today.
We recognize of course that there is much left to do, we must organize ourselves better and organize ourselves more.
That is why we must make an even greater effort to prepare ourselves to more effectively and more extensively carry out the work of governing ourselves, because the worst of the worst, the capitalist system, will come back at us again.
We have to know how to confront it. We have 32 years of experience already in our struggle of rebellion and resistance.
And we have become what we are.
|“||We extend our unconditional support to the journalists’ movement proposed on December 21, 2015 in Jagdalpur district of Chhattisgarh demanding the enactment of a protection law for scribes and immediate release of two reporters Santosh Yadav and Somaru Naag, who were arrested in September and July this year in fabricated cases and charged under Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA). We have seen a surge in the attack on right to freedom of expression in recent times where journalists have been intimidated, bullied and even killed in different parts of the country. This has raised questions over legitimacy of democratically elected governments and is threatening the basic principles of democracy.
Chhattisgarh is notably different in this respect as journalists here are forced to take sides either with the state or with the Maoist insurgents. In the distant areas of Dantewada, survival of a journalist depends on the meager concessions given by either police or Maoists. If in case he dares to sympathize with the marginalized tribals sandwiched between police and insurgents and eventually finds it difficult to suppress his voice of conscience, then he is destined to death or is sent behind bars. This deplorable condition is outlined in the case of Nemichandra Jain and Sai Reddy, who were first sent to jail on charges of being Maoist informer and when released, killed by Maoists who termed them as police agents. Santosh Yadav and Somaru Naag are victims of the same vicious circle who are now facing severe torture inside Jagdalpur jail since last few months but unfortunately, no collective voice has been raised in their support at national level until date.
Although, journalists in Bastar have successfully agitated in the past. They have equally condemned the state and police atrocities as well as opposed intimidation of free speech by Maoists. When journalist Nemichandra Jain was killed by Maoists, there was a huge mobilization among fraternity and a collective decision was taken not to publish any news item on insurgents. This collective action forced a written apology from Maoist spokesperson Gudsa Usendi. When Sai Reddy was murdered, journalists decided to enter the Maoist stronghold and dissent to send a direct message that terror on free speech will not be tolerated. Journalists there have taken the same position against police and state machinery. These past events and agitations only prove that journalists of Bastar are collectively fighting to preserve the fundamental right to freedom of expression and speech.
|“||So for example NOII campaigns have focused on the lack of access to safety and services when nonstatus women face domestic violence or on the impacts of healthcare cuts on the reproductive health of refugee women, while the work around the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women is rooted in the ongoing legacy of gendered colonial violence and its specific contours in terms of child apprehensions, poverty, and death that Indigenous women disproportionately suffer.
Finally, and I think this is critical, is an expansive understanding of feminism. To me feminism is not only about issues affecting women or those outside the gender binary—in terms of violence against women or reproductive justice—but also about completely shifting our paradigms of what justice and equality means and how we embody it – in particular our relationship to community care and the gendered division of labour that sustains it. For me feminism’s most transformative potential lies in the valuing of relational work, in care work like childcare, eldercare and emotional labour, in lifting up ancestral knowledge of grandmothers about land stewardship and how we manifest our responsibilities and accountabilities to each other, and in nurturing our communities and families through interdependency and resiliency. So dismantling patriarchy to me is as much about breaking down a system that privileges male and cisgendered supremacy as it is about breaking down a societal paradigm predicated on competition, domination, commodification, expendability, and isolation.
|“||Economists now worship at the alter of abstract theory...||”|
|“||When it comes to advising the governments, I'm always reminded that Joseph Schumpeter said when asked, 'what is economics about?', he said "three things: politics politics and politics" and so at the core, economics is about politics and about power, and the question for the economist is 'who's power are you going to serve as an expert?' Are you going to serve the public good of society, are you going to serve private consulting patrons, are you going to server institutions of power, or are you going to serve the people more generally? And those questions face every individual wherever they are in life, but a public expert in particular.||”|
- "Out Beyond Ideas" Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
- "Only Breath" Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī
Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu
|“||Finding out about things, figuring out the real story—what you call research—is part of life now for some of us. Mostly just to get over the indignity of living in a pool of propaganda, of being lied to all the time, if nothing else.||”|
|“||I wouldn’t say that it’s all Macaulay’s fault. There is something clerky and calculating about our privileged classes. They see themselves as the State or as advisors to the State, rarely as subjects. If you read columnists and editorials, most have a very clerky, “apply-through-proper-channels” approach. As though they are a shadow cabinet. Even when they are critical of the State they are what a friend once described as “reckless at slow speed.” So I don’t think my transgressions as far as they are concerned has only to do with my style. It’s about everything—style, substance, politics, speed. I think it worries them that I’m not a victim and that I don’t pretend to be one. They love victims and victimology. My writing is not a plea for aid or for compassion towards the poor. We’re not asking for more NGOs or charities or foundations in which the rich can massage their egos and salve their consciences with their surplus money. The critique is structural.||”|
|“||...we should become the resistance.||”|
|“||AR: Everywhere—not just in America...repress, beat up, shoot, jail those you can, and throw money at those whom you can’t—and gradually sandpaper the edge off them. They’re in the business of creating what we in India call Paaltu Sher, which means Tamed Tigers. Like a pretend resistance...so you can let off steam without damaging anything.
JC: The first time you spoke at the World Social Forum...when was that?
AR: In 2002, I think, Porto Alegre...just before the US invasion of Iraq.
JC: In Mumbai. And then you went the next year and it was....
AR: Totally NGO-ised. So many major activists had turned into travel agents, just having to organise tickets and money, flying people up and down. The forum suddenly declared, “Only non-violence, no armed struggles....” They had turned Gandhian.
JC: So anyone involved in armed resistance....
AR: All out, all out. Many of the radical struggles were out. And I thought, fuck this. My question is, if, let’s say, there are people who live in villages deep in the forest, four days walk from anywhere, and a thousand soldiers arrive and burn their villages and kill and rape people to scare them off their land because mining companies want it—what brand of non-violence would the stalwarts of the establishment recommend? Non-violence is radical political theatre.
JC: Effective only when there’s an audience....
AR: Exactly. And who can pull in an audience? You need some capital, some stars, right? Gandhi was a superstar. The people in the forest don’t have that capital, that drawing power. So they have no audience. Non-violence should be a tactic—not an ideology preached from the sidelines to victims of massive violence.... With me, it’s been an evolution of seeing through these things.
JC: You begin to smell the digestive enzymes....
AR: (Laughing) But you know, the revolution cannot be funded. It’s not the imagination of trusts and foundations that’s going to bring real change.
JC: But what’s the bigger game that we can name?
AR: The bigger game is keeping the world safe for the Free Market. Structural Adjustment, Privatisation, Free Market fundamentalism—all masquerading as Democracy and the Rule of Law. Many corporate foundation-funded NGOs—not all, but many—become the missionaries of the “new economy”. They tinker with your imagination, with language. The idea of “human rights”, for example—sometimes it bothers me. Not in itself, but because the concept of human rights has replaced the much grander idea of justice. Human rights are fundamental rights, they are the minimum, the very least we demand. Too often, they become the goal itself. What should be the minimum becomes the maximum—all we are supposed to expect—but human rights aren’t enough. The goal is, and must always be, justice.
JC: The term human rights is, or can be, a kind of pacifier—filling the space in the political imagination that justice deserves?
AR: Look at the Israel-Palestine conflict, for example. If you look at a map from 1947 to now, you’ll see that Israel has gobbled up almost all of Palestinian land with its illegal settlements. To talk about justice in that battle, you have to talk about those settlements. But, if you just talk about human rights, then you can say, “Oh, Hamas violates human rights”, “Israel violates human rights”. Ergo, both are bad.
JC: You can turn it into an equivalence....
AR: ...though it isn’t one. But this discourse of human rights, it’s a very good format for TV—the great atrocity analysis and condemnation industry (laughs). Who comes out smelling sweet in the atrocity analysis? States have invested themselves with the right to legitimise violence—so who gets criminalised and delegitimised? Only—or well that’s excessive—usually, the resistance.
JC: So the term human rights can take the oxygen out of justice?
AR: Human rights takes history out of justice.
JC: Justice always has context....
AR: I sound as though I’m trashing human rights...I’m not. All I’m saying is that the idea of justice—even just dreaming of justice—is revolutionary. The language of human rights tends to accept a status quo that is intrinsically unjust—and then tries to make it more accountable. But then, of course, Catch-22 is that violating human rights is integral to the project of neoliberalism and global hegemony.
|“||During the last few hours with Ed, Dan had recounted in horrifying and empirical detail the history of the nuclear arms race—a history of lies—an apocalyptic tome of charnel monologues and murder rites.
At one point, Dan referred to Robert McNamara, his boss in the Pentagon, as a “moderate”. Roy’s eyes snapped wide open at the assertion. Dan then explained how, compared to the other lunatics in the Pentagon like Edwin Teller and Curtis LeMay, he was one. McNamara’s moderate and reasonable argument, Dan said, was that the United States needed only 400 warheads instead of 1,000. Because after 400, there were “diminishing returns on genocide”. It begins to flatten out. “You kill most people with 400, so if you have 800, you don’t kill that many more—400 warheads would kill 1.2 billion people out of the then total population of 3.7 billion. So why have 1,000?”
|“||JC: You must be a Marxist.
AR: I have plenty of Marxism in me, I do...but Russia and China had their bloody revolutions and even while they were Communist, they had the same idea about generating wealth—tear it out of the bowels of the earth. And now they have come out with the same idea in the end...you know, capitalism. But capitalism will fail, too. We need a new imagination. Until then, we’re all just out here....
AR: Thousands of years of ideological, philosophical and practical decisions were made. They altered the surface of the earth, the coordinates of our souls. For every one of those decisions, maybe there’s another decision that could have been made, should have been made.
JC: Can be made....
AR: Of course. So I don’t have the Big Idea. I don’t have the arrogance to even want to have the Big Idea. But I believe the physics of resisting power is as old as the physics of accumulating power. That’s what keeps the balance in the universe...the refusal to obey. I mean what’s a country? It’s just an administrative unit, a glorified municipality. Why do we imbue it with esoteric meaning and protect it with nuclear bombs? I can’t bow down to a municipality....it’s just not intelligent. The bastards will do what they have to do, and we’ll do what we have to do. Even if they annihilate us, we’ll go down on the other side.
GOD'S glory and my country's shame,
As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day,
Is that Eric Garner worked
|“||The question, then, is this: what are the main historical tendencies we are witnessing now, and how can they be finessed for the benefit of the global population? The answer is clear. We are in the early stages of the very protracted collapse of corporate capitalism and the nation-state system itself. We know that ‘climate change’ is going to constitute a global cataclysm; we know that, under the impact of neoliberal policies, the world's social fabric is being torn apart; and even the business press recognizes that economic trends of underconsumption and overproduction portend catastrophe.
Ironically enough – but ‘dialectically’ predictable – neoliberalism is, therefore, going to precipitate the demise of the very system whose consummation it is, namely the capitalist nation-state system of privatization, marketization, rapacious environmental exploitation, endless economic growth and savage imperialism. All of this is becoming unsustainable, and a titanic global backlash is inevitable.
What radicals are doing now, in short, and should be doing, is to contribute to the undermining – the self-undermining – of corporate capitalism and the construction of an alternative. These are the historically most significant tendencies of the present.
But they will not play out in the short run. As the failure of old Marxist and anarchist revolutionary dreams from the 1870s to the 1940s showed, history prefers to progress slowly, not by means of sudden, willed insurrections that overthrow the old order and sweepingly usher in a new one. We are in for a century or two of gradual change, partly ‘interstitial’, as a new society is slowly built up within the decaying shell of the old. Glimmers of the possible new world are already appearing, some of them in the work of Gar Alperovitz and the journalism of Yes! Magazine.
If allied with social and political movements, the solidarity economy in some form may represent the future. And it is humanity's best hope. The long-term alternative is something like a Hobbesian state of nature.
Amidst the horrific tragedies, one may take comfort in the knowledge that at least it is not permanent. In fact, myopic anti-social politics is undermining the ruling class and its economy, by destroying the conditions for its long-term survival. It may destroy most life on earth in the process, or it may not; but the Left should recognize, in any case, that the coming crises in every country of the world will not mean the extinguishing of hope. Nor will they signify the death, or even the shameful defeat, of the Left. For the phenomenon of leftists' continual setbacks is largely a necessary result of the distribution of class power in our economic system.
More importantly, though, what happened in the Americas in the 1930s will happen globally this time: social semi-collapse will impel the downtrodden and the cast-off to fight together for their very survival, and to invent new forms of social and economic organization, and to build a new Left, a less centralized and bureaucratic one than in the heyday of the centralized and bureaucratic nation-state.
|“||One doesn’t have to indulge in academic verbiage in order to express one of the central impulses of theEnlightenment: its recognition of the value of the individual. This is classical liberalism, as expressed by, say, Kant or Wilhelm von Humboldt (whom Chomsky likes to quote)–this essentially anti-authoritarian appreciation of the dignity and freedom of the individual. This is also, you may notice, morality. Respect and compassion for “the other,” the other person, the other sex, the other race, the other nationality: this is the kernel of true liberalism and true morality, as encapsulated by the Golden Rule. Express yourself freely as long as you don’t harm others, and express yourself so as to do good to others: liberalism and morality. These are the starting points and the endpoints of everything Chomsky has to say with regard to politics and society.||”|
|“||Chomsky, however, is perfectly aware of what his liberalism commits him to, and as far as I know he has never deviated from the classical liberal path in his public statements or actions. There are two things that generally deserve notice in our dealings with people and our estimation of them: first, to what extent do they recognize–fearlessly, if need be–claims of reason and logic? And second, to what extent do they act–again, with courage–on the basis of empathy and compassion (or respect for others)? These are the basic criteria we should use in judging someone’s value as a human being. Chomsky understands this, and so should we.
Our society, of course, sees things differently, in an illiberal and immoral way, which is precisely why it has to be dismantled and rebuilt. Society judges things in terms of power, authority, wealth, race, popularity, charisma, physical beauty, and other qualities that have either no relation or a negative relation to morality and rationality. Insofar as we, as individuals, periodically succumb to these illiberal tendencies, we must try to root them out of ourselves, even if that goal can never be completely fulfilled. We’re only human, after all.
|“||Consider, also, his pithy analyses of what elementary morality requires. While other intellectuals and self-styled philosophers–often mere apologists for Western crimes–wade in the muck of “good intentions” (ours are good, theirs are bad) and subjectivism and idealized thought-experiments, Chomsky states flatly and clearly that, basically, two things are involved in acting morally: applying to yourself the standards you apply to others, and choosing how to act by considering the predictable consequences of your actions–not by having “good intentions.”
With these two rules in mind, we have the tools to judge our own and others’ morality. Unfortunately, neither we nor others typically come out smelling like roses if we’re honest in our evaluations, because it’s extremely difficult to rigorously apply to yourself (or people you identify with) the standards you apply to others. Humans are born to deceive themselves about the moral significance of their actions.
|“||For two centuries Americans believed that they were as far ahead of Europe, in both virtue and promise, as Europe was ahead of the rest of the world. But American exceptionalism did not survive the Dark Years: we no longer think of ourselves as singled out by divine favor. We are now, once again, a constitutional democracy, but we have proved as vulnerable as Germany, Russia and India to dictatorial takeovers. We have a sense of fragility, of susceptibility to the vicissitudes of time and chance, which Walt Whitman and John Dewey may never have known.||”|
- Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung? (Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment?) (wiki article) Immanuel Kant; translated by Lewis White Beck
|“||Aufklärung ist der Ausgang des Menschen aus seiner selbst verschuldeten Unmündigkeit. Unmündigkeit ist das Unvermögen, sich seines Verstandes ohne Leitung eines anderen zu bedienen. Selbstverschuldet ist diese Unmündigkeit, wenn die Ursache derselben nicht am Mangel des Verstandes, sondern der Entschließung und des Muthes liegt, sich seiner ohne Leitung eines anderen zu bedienen. Sapere aude! Habe Muth dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen! ist also der Wahlspruch der Aufklärung.||”|
|“||Faulheit und Feigheit sind die Ursachen, warum ein so großer Theil der Menschen, nachdem sie die Natur längst von fremder Leitung frei gesprochen (naturaliter majorennes), dennoch gerne Zeitlebens unmündig bleiben; und warum es Anderen so leicht wird, sich zu deren Vormündern aufzuwerfen. Es ist so bequem, unmündig zu sein. Habe ich ein Buch, das für mich Verstand hat, einen Seelsorger, der für mich Gewissen hat, einen Arzt der für mich die Diät beurtheilt, u. s. w. so brauche ich mich ja nicht selbst zu bemühen. Ich habe nicht nöthig zu denken, wenn ich nur bezahlen kann; andere werden das verdrießliche Geschäft schon für mich übernehmen. Daß der bei weitem größte Theil der Menschen (darunter das ganze schöne Geschlecht) den Schritt zur Mündigkeit, außer dem daß er beschwerlich ist, auch für sehr gefährlich halte: dafür sorgen schon jene Vormünder, die die Oberaufsicht über sie gütigst auf sich genommen haben. Nachdem sie ihr Hausvieh zuerst dumm gemacht haben, und sorgfältig verhüteten, daß diese ruhigen Geschöpfe ja keinen Schritt außer dem Gängelwagen, darin sie sie einsperreten, wagen durften; so zeigen sie ihnen nachher die Gefahr, die ihnen drohet, wenn sie es versuchen allein zu gehen. Nun ist diese Gefahr zwar eben so groß nicht, denn sie würden durch einigemahl Fallen wohl endlich gehen lernen; allein ein Beispiel von der Art macht doch schüchtern, und schrekt gemeiniglich von allen ferneren Versuchen ab.||”|
|“||Es ist also für jeden einzelnen Menschen schwer, sich aus der ihm beinahe zur Natur gewordenen Unmündigkeit herauszuarbeiten. Er hat sie sogar lieb gewonnen, und ist vor der Hand wirklich unfähig, sich seines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen, weil man ihn niemals den Versuch davon machen ließ. Satzungen und Formeln, diese mechanischen Werkzeuge eines vernünftigen Gebrauchs oder vielmehr Mißbrauchs seiner Naturgaben, sind die Fußschellen einer immerwährenden Unmündigkeit. Wer sie auch abwürfe, würde dennoch auch über den schmalesten Graben einen nur unsicheren Sprung thun, weil er zu dergleichen freier Bewegung nicht gewöhnt ist. Daher giebt es nur Wenige, denen es gelungen ist, durch eigene Bearbeitung ihres Geistes sich aus der Unmündigkeit heraus zu wikkeln, und dennoch einen sicheren Gang zu thun.||”|
|“||Daß aber ein Publikum sich selbst aufkläre, ist eher möglich; ja es ist, wenn man ihm nur Freiheit läßt, beinahe unausbleiblich. Denn da werden sich immer einige Selbstdenkende, sogar unter den eingesetzten Vormündern des großen Haufens, finden, welche, nachdem sie das Joch der Unmündigkeit selbst abgeworfen haben, den Geist einer vernünftigen Schätzung des eigenen Werths und des Berufs jedes Menschen selbst zu denken um sich verbreiten werden. Besonders ist hiebei: daß das Publikum, welches zuvor von ihnen unter dieses Joch gebracht worden, sie hernach selbst zwingt darunter zu bleiben, wenn es von einigen seiner Vormünder, die selbst aller Aufklärung unfähig sind, dazu aufgewiegelt worden; so schädlich ist es Vorurtheile zu pflanzen, weil sie sich zuletzt an denen selbst rächen, die, oder deren Vorgänger, ihre Urheber gewesen sind. Daher kann ein Publikum nur langsam zur Aufklärung gelangen. Durch eine Revolution wird vielleicht wohl ein Abfall von persönlichem Despotism und gewinnsüchtiger oder herrschsüchtiger Bedrükkung, aber niemals wahre Reform der Denkungsart zu Stande kommen; sondern neue Vorurtheile werden, eben sowohl als die alten, zum Leitbande des gedankenlosen großen Haufens dienen.||”|
|“||Zu dieser Aufklärung aber wird nichts erfordert als Freiheit; und zwar die unschädlichste unter allem, was nur Freiheit heißen mag, nämlich die: von seiner Vernunft in allen Stükken öffentlichen Gebrauch zu machen. Nun höre ich aber von allen Seiten rufen: räsonnirt nicht! Der Offizier sagt: räsonnirt nicht, sondern exercirt! Der Finanzrath: räsonnirt nicht, sondern bezahlt! Der Geistliche: räsonnirt nicht, sondern glaubt! (Nur ein einziger Herr in der Welt sagt: räsonnirt, so viel ihr wollt, und worüber ihr wollt; aber gehorcht!) Hier ist überall Einschränkung der Freiheit.||”|
|“||...nicht frei, und darf es auch nicht sein, weil er einen fremden Auftrag ausrichtet. Dagegen als Gelehrter, der durch Schriften zum eigentlichen Publikum, nämlich der Welt, spricht, mithin der Geistliche im öffentlichen Gebrauche seiner Vernunft, genießt einer uneingeschränkten Freiheit, sich seiner eigenen Vernunft zu bedienen und in seiner eigenen Person zu sprechen. Denn daß die Vormünder des Volks (in geistlichen Dingen) selbst wieder unmündig sein sollen, ist eine Ungereimtheit, die auf Verewigung der Ungereimtheiten hinausläuft.
Aber sollte nicht eine Gesellschaft von Geistlichen, etwa eine Kirchenversammlung, oder eine ehrwürdige Klassis (wie sie sich unter den Holländern selbst nennt) berechtigt sein, sich eidlich unter einander auf ein gewisses unveränderliches Symbol zu verpflichten, um so eine unaufhörliche Obervormundschaft über jedes ihrer Glieder und vermittelst ihrer über das Volk zu führen, und diese so gar zu verewigen? Ich sage: das ist ganz unmöglich. Ein solcher Kontrakt, der auf immer alle weitere Aufklärung vom Menschengeschlechte abzuhalten geschlossen würde, ist schlechterdings null und nichtig; und sollte er auch durch die oberste Gewalt, durch Reichstäge und die feierlichsten Friedensschlüsse bestätigt sein. Ein Zeitalter kann sich nicht verbünden und darauf verschwören, das folgende in einen Zustand zu setzen, darin es ihm unmöglich werden muß, seine (vornehmlich so sehr angelegentliche) Erkenntnisse zu erweitern, von Irrthümern zu reinigen, und überhaupt in der Aufklärung weiter zu schreiten. Das wäre ein Verbrechen wider die menschliche Natur, deren ursprüngliche Bestimmung gerade in diesem Fortschreiten besteht; und die Nachkommen sind also vollkommen dazu berechtigt, jene Beschlüsse, als unbefugter und frevelhafter Weise genommen, zu verwerfen. Der Probierstein alles dessen, was über ein Volk als Gesetz beschlossen werden kann, liegt in der Frage: ob ein Volk sich selbst wohl ein solches Gesetz auferlegen könnte? Nun wäre dieses wohl, gleichsam in der Erwartung eines bessern, auf eine bestimmte kurze Zeit möglich, um eine gewisse Ordnung einzuführen; indem man es zugleich jedem der Bürger, vornehmlich dem Geistlichen, frei ließe, in der Qualität eines Gelehrten öffentlich...
|“||Ein größerer Grad bürgerlicher Freiheit scheint der Freiheit des Geistes des Volks vortheilhaft, und setzt ihr doch unübersteigliche Schranken; ein Grad weniger von jener verschaft hingegen diesem Raum, sich nach allem seinen Vermögen auszubreiten. Wenn denn die Natur unter dieser harten Hülle den Keim, für den sie am zärtlichsten sorgt, nämlich den Hang und Beruf zum freien Denken, ausgewikkelt hat; so wirkt dieser allmählig zurük auf die Sinnesart des Volks (wodurch dieses der Freiheit zu handeln nach und nach fähiger wird), und endlich auch sogar auf die Grundsätze der Regierung, die es ihr selbst zuträglich findet, den Menschen, der nun mehr als Maschine ist, seiner Würde gemäß zu behandeln.||”|
|“||Property will lose a certain attribute which sanctifies it now. The absolute ownership of it-"the right to use or abuse"-will be abolished, and possession, use, will be the only title. It will be seen how impossible it would be for one person to "own" a million acres of land, without a title deed, backed by a government ready to protect the title at all hazards, even to the loss of thousands of lives. He could not use the million acres himself, nor could he wrest from its depths the possible resources it contains.
People have become so used to seeing the evidences of authority on every hand that most of them honestly believe that they would go utterly to the bad if it were not for the policeman's club or the soldier's bayonet. But the anarchist says, "Remove these evidence of brute force, and let man feel the revivifying influences of self responsibility and self control, and see how we will respond to these better influences."
|“||To the governing class the anarchists say: "Gentlemen, we ask no privilege, we propose no restriction; nor, on the other hand, will we permit it. We have no new shackles to propose, we seek emancipation from shackles. We ask no legislative sanction, for co-operation asks only for a free field and no favors; neither will we permit their interference.("?) It asserts that in freedom of the social unit lies the freedom of the social state. It asserts that in freedom to possess and utilize soil lie social happiness and progress and the death of rent. It asserts that order can only exist where liberty prevails, and that progress leads and never follows order. It asserts, finally, that this emancipation will inaugurate liberty, equality, fraternity. That the existing industrial system has outgrown its usefulness, if it ever had any is I believe admitted by all who have given serious thought to this phase of social conditions.||”|
It doesn’t interest me
|“||...how thin is the thread that we grasp for survival...||”|
|“||As a result of such practices, over three quarters of the population had warrants out for the arrest at any given time. The entire population was criminalized.
It's important to remember though that these were not criminal warrants. The inhabitants were not even being accused of actual crimes (that is, felonies or misdemeanors.) Parking tickets, or tickets for unmoved lawns or improperly placed trash receptacles, are not criminal matters, they are violations of administrative codes having the same legal standing as, say, a supermarket's failure to take a loaf of bread past the due date off their shelves. They were simply being treated as if they were criminals.
Obviously, this picture has almost nothing to do with anything we normally consider "justice." Still, if the image of police terrorizing and manhandling citizens over parking fines seems bizarre, it's partly because we tend to forget who and what the police actually are. The police spend very little of their time dealing with violent criminals—indeed, police sociologists report that only about 10% of the average police officer's time is devoted to criminal matters of any kind. Most of the remaining 90% is spent dealing with infractions of various administrative codes and regulations: all those rules about how and where one can eat, drink, smoke, sell, sit, walk, and drive. If two people punch each other, or even draw a knife on each other, police are unlikely to get involved. Drive down the street in a car without license plates, on the other hand, and the authorities will show up instantly, threatening all sorts of dire consequences if you don't do exactly what they tell you.
The police, then, are essentially just bureaucrats with weapons. Their main role in society is to bring the threat of physical force—even, death—into situations where it would never have been otherwise invoked, such as the enforcement of civic ordinances about the sale of untaxed cigarettes.
For most of American history, police enforcement of such regulations was not considered a major source of funding for local government. But today, in many municipalities, as much as 40% of the money governments depend on comes from the kinds of predatory policing that has become a fact of life for the citizens of Ferguson. How did this happen? Some of it, of course, has to do with populist anti-tax movements, beginning with California's Proposition 13. But much of it has happened because in recent decades, local governments have become deeply indebted to large, private financial institutions—many of the same ones that brought of us the crash of 2008. (In Ferguson, for instance, the amount of revenue collected in fines corresponds almost exactly to that shelled out to service municipal debt.) Increasingly, cities find themselves in the business of arresting citizens in order to pay creditors.
But the banks themselves are using very similar methods. Most financial institutions themselves now acquire the majority of their profits from penalizing members of the general public for rule-breaking. According to a 2012 report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, overdraft and insufficient funds fees made up sixty-one percent of bank profits from consumer checking accounts; and in 2009, J. P Morgan Chase, the biggest bank in America, reported 71% of its total profits derived from fees and penalties. Put another way, this means that the profitability of America's banks is based on knowingly creating rules so complicated that they know a significant portion of their customers won't to be able to follow them—and then punishing those customers for failing to do so.
|“||In a very real sense, the "middle class" is not an economic category, it's a social one. To be middle class is to feel that the fundamental institutional structures of society are, or should be, on your side. If you see a policeman and you feel more safe, rather than less, then you can be pretty sure you're middle class. Yet for the first time since polling began, most Americans in 2012 indicated they do not, in fact, consider themselves middle class.||”|
|“||Bookchin wrote two major Civilization Narratives: The Ecology of Freedom (1982) and Urbanization Against Cities (1986). Öcalan wrote several, such as The Roots of Civilization and parts of The PKK and the Kurdish Question and even the more recent Road Map.
They harnessed their Civilization Narratives to serve current political problematics. The Ecology of Freedom is, among other things, an argument against mainstream, reformist environmentalists, in favor radical social ecology. Bookchin wanted to show these cautious liberals that they could aim for more than mere state reforms—that they should and could think in terms of achieving an ecological society. People lived communally in the past, and they could do so again.
So he highlighted the early preliterate societies in human history that he called “organic society,” tribal, communal and nonhierarchical, living in cooperation with each other. He identified the specific features that made them cooperative: the means of life were distributed according to customs of usufruct (use of resources as needed), complementarity (ethical mutuality), and the irreducible minimum (the right of all to food, shelter, and clothing). “From this feeling of unity between the individual and the community emerges a feeling of unity between the community and its environment,” he wrote; these organic societies lived in harmony with the natural world.
He then traced a dialectical development: the rise of hierarchy, immanently, out of organic society: patriarchy and the domination of women; gerontocracy; shamans and priests; warriors and chiefs and states; class society. Thereafter the idea of dominating nature arose, reconceiving nature as an object to be exploited.
For Bookchin, hierarchy’s legacy of domination is countered by a longstanding legacy of freedom—resistance movements throughout history that have embodied principles from organic society—usufruct, complementarity, the irreducible minimum. The potential still remains for a dialectical transcendence of domination in a free cooperative society that could make possible a cooperative relationship with nature. He called this set of ideas social ecology.
- Así como hoy matan negros (Just as today they kill blacks) Pablo Neruda
Así como hoy matan negros
|“||In the last few days, the U.S. government census figures have revealed that 1 in 2 Americans have fallen into poverty or are struggling to live on low incomes.||”|
|“||Since 2007, banks have foreclosed around eight million homes. It is estimated that another eight to ten million homes will be foreclosed before the financial crisis is over. This approach to resolving one part of the financial crisis means many, many families are living without adequate and secure housing. In addition, approximately 3.5 million people in the U.S. are homeless, many of them veterans. It is worth noting that, at the same time, there are 18.5 million vacant homes in the country.||”|
|“||We grow up in a controlled society, where we are told that when one person kills another person, that is murder, but when the government kills a hundred thousand, that is patriotism.||”|
|“||History is important. If you don't know history it is as if you were born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, anybody up there in a position of power can tell you anything, and you have no way of checking up on it.||”|
|“||I think the Kurdish struggle is quite explicitly anti-capitalist in both countries. It’s their starting point. They’re managed to come up with a kind of formula: One can’t get rid of capitalism without eliminating the state, one can’t get rid of the state without getting rid of patriarchy. However, the Rojavans have it quite easy in class terms because the real bourgeoisie, such as it was in a mostly very agricultural region, took off with the collapse of the Baath regime. They will have a long-term problem if they don’t work on the educational system to ensure a developmentalist technocrat stratum doesn’t eventually try to take power, but in the meantime, it’s understandable they are focusing more immediately on gender issues. In Turkey, well, I don’t know nearly as much, but I do have the sense things are much more complicated.||”|
manathil uruthi vendum
Let the mind be firm
|“||Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.||”|
|“||Infrastructure alone, however, will not be enough. The resistance needs a vibrant cultural component. It was the spirituals that nourished the souls of African-Americans during the nightmare of slavery. It was the blues that spoke to the reality of black people during the era of Jim Crow. It was the poems of Federico Garcia Lorca that sustained the republicans fighting the fascists in Spain. Music, dance, drama, art, song, painting were the fire and drive of resistance movements. The rebel units in El Salvador when I covered the war there always traveled with musicians and theater troupes. Art, as Emma Goldman pointed out, has the power to make ideas felt. Goldman noted that when Andrew Undershaft, a character in George Bernard Shaw’s play “Major Barbara,” said poverty is “[t]he worst of crimes” and “All the other crimes are virtues beside it,” his impassioned declaration elucidated the cruelty of class warfare more effectively than Shaw’s socialist tracts. The degradation of education into vocational training for the corporate state, the ending of state subsidies for the arts and journalism, the hijacking of these disciplines by corporate sponsors, severs the population from understanding, self-actualization and transcendence. In aesthetic terms the corporate state seeks to crush beauty, truth and imagination. This is a war waged by all totalitarian systems.
Culture, real culture, is radical and transformative. It is capable of expressing what lies deep within us. It gives words to our reality. It makes us feel as well as see. It allows us to empathize with those who are different or oppressed. It reveals what is happening around us. It honors mystery. “The role of the artist, then, precisely, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through the vast forest,” James Baldwin wrote, “so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.”
Artists, like rebels, are dangerous. They speak a truth that totalitarian systems do not want spoken. “Red Rosa now has vanished too. …” Bertolt Brecht wrote after Luxemburg was murdered. “She told the poor what life is about, And so the rich have rubbed her out.” Without artists such as musician Ry Cooder and playwrights Howard Brenton and Tarell Alvin McCraney we will not succeed. If we are to face what lies ahead, we will not only have to organize and feed ourselves, we will have to begin to feel deeply, to face unpleasant truths, to recover empathy and to live passionately. Then we can fight.
|“||The American Negro has the great advantage of having never believed the collection of myths to which white Americans cling: that their ancestors were all freedom-loving heroes, that they were born in the greatest country the world has ever seen, or that Americans are invincible in battle and wise in peace, that Americans have always dealt honorably with Mexicans and Indians and all other neighbors or inferiors, that American men are the world's most direct and virile, that American women are pure. Negroes know far more about white Americans than that; it can almost be said, in fact, that they know about white Americans what parents—or, anyway, mothers—know about their children, and that they very often regard white Americans that way. And perhaps this attitude, held in spite of what they know and have endured, helps to explain why Negroes, on the whole, and until lately, have allowed themselves to feel so little hatred. The tendency has really been, insofar as this was possible, to dismiss white people as the slightly mad victims of their own brainwashing.||”|
|“||Now, there is simply no possibility of a real change in the Negro's situation without the most radical and far-reaching changes in the American political and social structure. And it is clear that white Americans are not simply unwilling to effect these changes; they are, in the main, so slothful have they become, unable even to envision them. It must be added that the Negro himself no longer believes in the good faith of white Americans—if, indeed, he ever could have.||”|
|“||Behind what we think of as the Russian menace lies what we do not wish to face, and what white Americans do not face when they regard a Negro: reality—the fact that life is tragic. Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death—ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible to life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return. One must negotiate this passage as nobly as possible, for the sake of those who are coming after us. But white Americans do not believe in death, and this is why the darkness of my skin so intimidates them. And this is also why the presence of the Negro in this country can bring about destruction. It is the responsibility of free men to trust and to celebrate what is constant—birth, struggle, and death are constant, and so is love, though we may not always think so—and to apprehend the nature of change, to be able and willing to change. I speak of change not on the surface but in the depths—change in the sense of renewal. But renewal becomes impossible if one supposes things to be constant that are not—safety, for example, or money, or power. One clings then to chimeras, by which one can only be betrayed, and the entire hope—the entire possibility—of freedom disappears. And by destruction I mean precisely the abdication by Americans of any effort really to be free.||”|
|“||This is because white Americans have supposed “Europe” and “civilization” to be synonyms – which they are not – and have been distrustful of other standards and other sources of vitality, especially those produced in America itself, and have attempted to behave in all matters as though what was east for Europe was also east for them. What it comes to is that if we, who can scarcely be considered a white nation, persist in thinking of ourselves as one, we condemn ourselves, with the truly white nations, to sterility and decay, whereas if we could accept ourselves as we are, we might bring new life to Western achievements, and transform them. The price of this transformation is the unconditional freedom of the Negro; it is not too much to say that he, who has been so long rejected, must now be embraced, and at no matter what psychic or social risk. He is the key figure in his country, and the American future is precisely as bright or as dark as his. And the Negro recognizes this, in a negative way. Hence the question: Do I really want to be integrated into a burning house?
White Americans find it as difficult as white people elsewhere do to divest themselves of the notion that they are in possession of some intrinsic value that black people need, or want. And this assumption--which, for example, makes the solution to the Negro problem depend on the speed which Negroes accept and adopt white standards—is revealed in all kinds of striking ways, from Bobby Kennedy's assurance that a Negro can become President in forty hears to the unfortunate tone of warm congratulation with which so many liberals address their Negro equals. It is the Negro, of course, who is presumed to have become equal—an achievement that not only proves the comforting fact that perseverance has no color but also overwhelmingly corroborates the white man's sense of his own value. Alas, this value can scarcely be corroborated in any other way; there is certainly little enough in the white man's public or private life that one should desire to imitate. White men, as the bottom of their hearts, know this. Therefore, a vast amount of the energy that goes into what we call the Negro problem is produced by the white man’s profound desire not to be judged by those who are not white, not to be seen as he is, and at the same time a vast amount of the white anguish is rooted in the white man’s equally profound need to be seen as he is, to be released from the tyranny of his mirror. All of us know, whether or not we are able to admit it, that mirrors can only lie, that death by drowning is all that awaits out there. It is for this reason that love is so desperately sought and so cunningly avoided. Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word “love” here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace—not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth. And I submit, then, that the racial tensions that menace Americans today have little to do with real antipathy—on the contrary, indeed—and are involved only symbolically with color. These tensions are rooted in the very same depths as those from which love springs, or murder. The white man’s unadmitted—and apparently, to him, unspeakable—private fears and longings are projected onto the Negro. The only way he can be released from the Negro’s tyrannical power over him is to consent, in effect, to become black himself, to become a part of that suffering and dancing country that he now watches wistfully from the heights of his lonely power and, armed with spiritual traveller’s cheques, visits surreptitiously after dark. How can one respect, let alone adopt, the values of a people who do not, on any level whatever, live the way they say they do, or the way they say they should? I cannot accept the proposition that the four-hundred-year travail of the American Negro should result merely in his attainment of the present level of the American civilization. I am far from convinced that being released from the African witch doctor was worthwhile if I am now—in order to support the moral contradictions and the spiritual aridity of my life—expected to become dependent on the American psychiatrist. It is a bargain I refuse. The only thing white people have that black people need, or should want, is power—and no one holds power forever.
White people cannot, in the generality, be taken as models of how to live. Rather, the white man is himself in sore need of new standards, which will release him from his confusion and place him once again in fruitful communion with the depths of his own being. And I repeat: The price of the liberation of the white people is the liberation of the blacks—the total liberation, in the cities, in the towns, before the law, and in the mind. Why, for example—especially knowing the family as I do—I should want to marry your sister is a great mystery to me. But your sister and I have every right to marry if we wish to, and no one has the right to stop us. If she cannot raise me to her level, perhaps I can raise her to mine.
|“||...were they profound structures. to what extent did they really have this living substance that i have spoken of. and i must say... i mean an this i thi-- w-- this is th'late '70s and i had really begun to see the results and begun to see the kind of things that were happening out there in the world when this stuff was applied, and i was-- i was not happy with what i saw. i felt that we had fallen very far short of the mark that we had intended but i also realized that... that whatever was going wrong or was not adequate, wasn't going to be corrected by writing a few more patterns or making the patterns a little bit better. there seemed to be something more fundamental that was missing... so i started looking for what that thing was...
the other things that happened or at that same-- round that same time, was that i began to notice that there were a small number of structural characteristics, that appeared to exist recursively in space and that were-- sort of the more fundamental stuff that the patterns were made of. these were very uhm, simple ideas i mean i can name some of them very simply, uh, levels of scale, or positive space, or alternating repetition, one or two a little bit mysterious one called the void, so for in there's 15 of these things but uhm, i began to notice that uhm, the particulars that were being gathered together in various particular individual patterns, seemed really to come always from, these 15 or so deep properties that kept occurring again and again and again. now the other thing that was happening around this time this is the late '70s early '80s, is that uhm... we-- my my colleagues and i began toughening up our ability to discriminate between living-- more living structure and less living structure. that is at the time at doing the pattern language we had been rather intuitive about that and not very rigorous, and uhm, we were just trying to be uh, just trying to do a good job in some some intuitive sense but, uh, but at this point we, felt it was pretty important to get a fix on well what is the difference between a chair that has a more living structure and a chair that has a less living structure, or the same for a door nob or the same for a main street in a town or or or large structure and small in other words, but the question is, if you want to say this one has life this one has less life can you say that with any degree of accuracy. can it in fact be made a relatively objective matter which people will agree about if they perform the same experiments...
...and we did find such techniques, such experimental techniques... and the use of them greatly sharpened our ability to distinguish, well okay what was really going on and which structures then correlated with the presence of life in an object or in a bit of the environment... and so these 15 properties that i've mentioned that were, sort of the substrate of the patterns we had discovered began showing up more and more clearly as the main correlates of this living structure in places, buildings, things, s-- outdoor space and so forth. and i need to say a word about the kinds of criteria. and i say well yes we did find objective criteria. because you've got to understand in my discipline where the-- there is tremendous vested interest y-- among architect that there is no such things as truth because everybody wants to do their own damn stupid thing you know and get away with it. so, depending on who you talk to they'd say well this uh, stuff alexander has been telling you is a lotta horseshit. there is no such thing as objectivity about this and so forth. well anyway i'm here today and they're not here so i'm telling you there is such a thing... [laughter]
Now the nature of these experiments is very peculiar, in a way. because what the experiments ask-- let-- let's suppose that we were trying to uhm... we well let me t-- we got a sidewalk somewhere a bit of a street, and we got another sidewalk and another bit of street and we're trying to come to conclusions about which one... is a more living structure...
And my belief by the way and i s-- i probably should start with this, i mean when i began trying to find these experimental methods, my belief always was that there really is such a thing and that actually everybody kind of knows it but that it has been suppressed, that is because of the uh world-view we have and the way of looking at things and the nervousness about uh, intellectual rigor. uh that, in a away though people though they k-- have these judgments within them somehow are separated from their ability to make these judgments correctly. in other words what i am trying to say is and this is just the sort of instinct that i had going in, was that this is something childish really that everybody knows but for some reason we're so messed up that we can't see it. and uh-- so these experiments were in effect designed to penetrate that and cut through it...
The essence of these experiments is that you take the two things that you're trying to compare and ask, for instance, is my wholeness increasing in the presence of this object or in the presence of this one and is it more or less. and you might say well, strange question i mean what if the answer is don't know or don't have any effect and so forth. perfectly reasonable that that could happen. what turns out to happen is, that if you say well yes yes it's a difficult question it's uh-- kinda sounds a little nutty but please humors me and please answer the question. then it turns out first of all that there is quite striking agreement, it's li-- not 100 percent but very strong, stronger-- as strong agreement as one gets in a lot of scientific experiments of other kinds...
And that uhm... the really strange part is that the things which are then measured by experiments of that sort, are not, you see, it's sort of s-- all of these different experiments have to do with something like that. do you feel more whole. do you feel more alive in the presence of this thing. do you feel that this one is more a picture of your own true self than this thing you know whatever, we're always looking at two entities of some kind and comparing them as to which one has more life...
It appears to be a rank bit of subjectivity in other words it sounds like well okay fine i mean maybe this is the truth about human beings, in the sense about our cognition or about our perception or about our feelings, but that's not necessarily the same as saying living structure as such is a real thing that resides in those objects. but anyway to cut a long story short, it turns out that this k-- these kind of measurements do correlate with real structural features in the thing and with the presence of life in the thing, measured by other methods... so that it isn't just some subjective i groove to this i groove and so on but it is a way of measuring a real deep condition in the particular things that are being compared or looked at. now what's odd about this... and in a way as our work went further and further... it kep bringing big practical matters always back to the human person.
So in other words...
|“||The official doctrines suffer from a number of familiar "market inefficiencies," among them the failure to take into account the effects on others in market transactions. The consequences of these "externalities" can be substantial. The current financial crisis is an illustration. It is partly traceable to the major banks and investment firms' ignoring "systemic risk" -- the possibility that the whole system would collapse -- when they undertook risky transactions.
Environmental catastrophe is far more serious: The externality that is being ignored is the fate of the species. And there is nowhere to run, cap in hand, for a bailout.
In future, historians (if there are any) will look back on this curious spectacle taking shape in the early 21st century. For the first time in human history, humans are facing the significant prospect of severe calamity as a result of their actions -- actions that are battering our prospects of decent survival.
Those historians will observe that the richest and most powerful country in history, which enjoys incomparable advantages, is leading the effort to intensify the likely disaster. Leading the effort to preserve conditions in which our immediate descendants might have a decent life are the so-called "primitive" societies: First Nations, tribal, indigenous, aboriginal.
The countries with large and influential indigenous populations are well in the lead in seeking to preserve the planet. The countries that have driven indigenous populations to extinction or extreme marginalization are racing toward destruction.
|“||It can last no longer, it will come to a bad end," they cry everywhere.
But, between this pacific arguing and insurrection or revolt, there is a wide abyss,--that abyss which, for the greatest part of humanity, lies between reasoning and action, thought and will,--the urge to act. How has this abyss been bridged? How is it that men who only yesterday were complaining quietly of their lot as they smoked their pipes, and the next moment were humbly saluting the local guard and gendarme whom they had just been abusing,--how is it that these same men a few days later were capable of seizing their scythes and their iron-shod pikes and attacking in his castle the lord who only yesterday was so formidable? By what miracle were these men, whose wives justly called them cowards, transformed in a day into heroes, marching through bullets and cannon balls to the conquest of their rights? How was it that words, so often spoken and lost in the air like the empty chiming of bells, were changed into actions?
The answer is easy.
Action, the continuous action, ceaselessly renewed, of minorities brings about this transformation. Courage, devotion, the spirit of sacrifice, are as contagious as cowardice, submission, and panic.
What forms will this action take? All forms,--indeed, the most varied forms, dictated by circumstances, temperament, and the means at disposal. Sometimes tragic, sometimes humorous, but always daring; sometimes collective, sometimes purely individual, this policy of action will neglect none of the means at hand, no event of public life, in order to keep the spirit alive, to propagate and find expression for dissatisfaction, to excite hatred against exploiters, to ridicule the government and expose its weakness, and above all and always, by actual example, to awaken courage and fan the spirit of revolt.
When a revolutionary situation arises in a country, before the spirit of revolt is sufficiently awakened in the masses to express itself in violent demonstrations in the streets or by rebellions and uprisings, it is through action that minorities succeed in awakening that feeling of independence and that spirit of audacity without which no revolution can come to a head.
Men of courage, not satisfied with words, but ever searching for the means to transform them into action,--men of integrity for whom the act is one with the idea, for whom prison, exile, and death are preferable to a life contrary to their principles,--intrepid souls who know that it is necessary to dare in order to succeed,-- these are the lonely sentinels who enter the battle long before the masses are sufficiently roused to raise openly the banner of insurrection and to march, arms in hand, to the conquest of their rights.
|“||By actions which compel general attention, the new idea seeps into people's minds and wins converts. One such act may, in a few days, make more propaganda than thousands of pamphlets.
Above all, it awakens the spirit of revolt: it breeds daring.
|“||Finally the revolution breaks out, the more terrible as the preceding struggles were bitter.
The direction which the revolution will take depends, no doubt, upon the sum total of the various circumstances that determine the coming of the cataclysm. But it can be predicted in advance, according to the vigor of revolutionary action displayed in the preparatory period by the different progressive parties.
One party may have developed more clearly the theories which it defines and the program which it desires to realize; it may have made propaganda actively, by speech and in print. But it may not have sufficiently expressed its aspirations in the open, on the street, by actions which embody the thought it represents...
|“||I reject feeling nostalgic for the bittersweet struggles of the past.
It is clear that the Sixties, which was never really The Sixties, is being wielded as a bludgeon against today's young risktakers; a barrier, a legendary era which can never be equaled today.
|“||...the '60s is enshrined as a heroic time of huge demonstrations, militancy and organizing. It was never all that.
Sixties activism was almost always small, isolated, surrounded by hostile, angry crowds.
|“||But history is seized, not given, change wrenched as a result of struggles from below. The women who challenged the mangling of our bodies -- the sisters did not know how it was going to turn out. The youth on the freedom rides, the lunch counters, the voter registration drives, urban insurrections, demonstrations against police brutality, struggles for Puerto Rican independence, Chicano liberation, Native American land, resources and dignity -- no one knew how it would turn out. The young men who resisted the draft, who deserted the military, who fought in Vietnam and returned to join the anti-war movement and threw their medals back at the White House, the veterans who today warn and educate about the dread of real war -- they did not know how it would turn out. Dr. King himself was an angry, developing radical -- a constant work in progress, not an airbrushed saint.||”|
- "Albert Camus' speech at the Nobel Banquet at the City Hall in Stockholm, December 10, 1957"
|“||For myself, I cannot live without my art. But I have never placed it above everything. If, on the other hand, I need it, it is because it cannot be separated from my fellow men, and it allows me to live, such as I am, on one level with them. It is a means of stirring the greatest number of people by offering them a privileged picture of common joys and sufferings. It obliges the artist not to keep himself apart; it subjects him to the most humble and the most universal truth. And often he who has chosen the fate of the artist because he felt himself to be different soon realizes that he can maintain neither his art nor his difference unless he admits that he is like the others. The artist forges himself to the others, midway between the beauty he cannot do without and the community he cannot tear himself away from. That is why true artists scorn nothing: they are obliged to understand rather than to judge. And if they have to take sides in this world, they can perhaps side only with that society in which, according to Nietzsche's great words, not the judge but the creator will rule, whether he be a worker or an intellectual.
By the same token, the writer's role is not free from difficult duties. By definition he cannot put himself today in the service of those who make history; he is at the service of those who suffer it. Otherwise, he will be alone and deprived of his art. Not all the armies of tyranny with their millions of men will free him from his isolation, even and particularly if he falls into step with them. But the silence of an unknown prisoner, abandoned to humiliations at the other end of the world, is enough to draw the writer out of his exile, at least whenever, in the midst of the privileges of freedom, he manages not to forget that silence, and to transmit it in order to make it resound by means of his art.
None of us is great enough for such a task. But in all circumstances of life, in obscurity or temporary fame, cast in the irons of tyranny or for a time free to express himself, the writer can win the heart of a living community that will justify him, on the one condition that he will accept to the limit of his abilities the two tasks that constitute the greatness of his craft: the service of truth and the service of liberty. Because his task is to unite the greatest possible number of people, his art must not compromise with lies and servitude which, wherever they rule, breed solitude. Whatever our personal weaknesses may be, the nobility of our craft will always be rooted in two commitments, difficult to maintain: the refusal to lie about what one knows and the resistance to oppression.
|“||If we should want to substitute one government for another, that is, impose our desires upon others, it would only be necessary to combine the material forces needed to resist the actual oppressors and put ourselves in their place.
But we do not want this; we want Anarchism which is a society based on free and voluntary accord – a society in which no one can force his wishes on another and in which everyone can do as he pleases and together all will voluntarily contribute to the well-being of the community. But because of this Anarchism will not have definitively and universally triumphed until all men will not only not want to be commanded but will not want to command; nor will Anarchism have succeeded unless they will have understood the advantage of solidarity and know how to organise a plan of social life wherein there will no longer be traces of violence and imposition.
And as the conscience, determination, and capacity of men continuously develop and find means of expression in the gradual modification of the new environment and in the realisation of the desires in proportion to their being formed and becoming imperious, so it is with Anarchism; Anarchism cannot come but little by little – slowly, but surely, growing in intensity and extension.
Therefore, the subject is not whether we accomplish Anarchism today, tomorrow, or within ten centuries, but that we walk towards Anarchism today, tomorrow, and always.
|“||Having overthrown the government and all the existing dangerous institutions which with force it defends, having conquered complete freedom for all and with it the means of regulating labour without which liberty would be a lie, and while we are struggling to arrive at this point, we do not intend to destroy those things which we little by little will reconstruct.
For example, there functions in the present society the service of supplying food. This is being done badly, chaotically, with great waste of energy and material and with capitalist interests in view; but after all, one way or another we must eat. It would be absurd to want to disorganise the system of producing and distributing food unless we could substitute for it something better and more just.
|“||I cannot improve on Rosa Luxemburg’s eloquent critique of Leninist doctrine: a true social revolution requires a “spiritual transformation in the masses degraded by centuries of bourgeois class rule . . . it is only by extirpating the habits of obedience and servility to the last root that the working class can acquire the understanding of a new form of discipline, self-discipline arising from free consent”. And as part of this “spiritual transformation”, a true social revolution will, furthermore, create – by the spontaneous activity of the mass of the population – the social forms that enable people to act as free creative individuals, with social bonds replacing social fetters, controlling their own destiny in freedom and solidarity.||”|
|“||Marine phytoplankton have a crucial role in Earth's biogeochemical cycles, and form the basis of marine ecosystems. Data from satellite remote sensing — available since 1979 — have provided evidence that phytoplankton biomass has fluctuated on the decadal scale, linked to climate forcing, but a few decades of data are insufficient to indicate long-term trends. Daniel Boyce and colleagues now put these results in a long-term context by estimating local, regional and global trends in phytoplankton biomass since 1899, based on a range of sources including measurements of ocean transparency with a device known as a Secchi disk, and shipboard analyses of various types. What emerges from the records is a century of decline of global phytoplankton biomass. The authors estimate that the decline of phytoplankton standing stock has been greatest at high latitudes, in equatorial regions, in oceanic areas and in more recent years. Trends in most areas are correlated significantly to increasing ocean warming, and leading climate indices.||”|
|“||If there are certain pages of Mr Bertrand Russell's book, Power, which seem rather empty, that is merely to say that we have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men. It is not merely that at present the rule of naked force obtains almost everywhere. Probably that has always been the case. Where this age differs from those immediately preceding it is that a liberal intelligentsia is lacking. Bully-worship, under various disguises, has become a universal religion, and such truisms as that a machine-gun is still a machine-gun even when a "good" man is squeezing the trigger — and that in effect is what Mr Russell is saying — have turned into heresies which it is actually becoming dangerous to utter.||”|
|“||He sees clearly enough that the essential problem of today is “the taming of power” and that no system except democracy can be trusted to save us from unspeakable horrors. Also that democracy has very little meaning without approximate economic equality and an educational system tending to promote tolerance and tough-mindedness.||”|
|“||Underlying this is the idea that common sense always wins in the end. And yet the peculiar horror of the present moment is that we cannot be sure that this is so. It is quite possible that we are descending into an age in which two and two will make five when the Leader says so. Mr. Russell points out that the huge system of organized lying upon which the dictators depend keeps their followers out of contact with reality and therefore tends to put them at a disadvantage as against those who know the facts. This is true so far as it goes, but it does not prove that the slave-society at which the dictator is aiming will be unstable. It is quite easy to imagine a state in which the ruling caste deceive their followers without deceiving themselves. Dare anyone be sure that something of the kind is not coming into existence already? One has only to think of the sinister possibilities of the radio, state-controlled education and so forth, to realize that “the truth is great and will prevail” is a prayer rather than an axiom.||”|
|“||If we want to remain faithful to Mandela’s legacy, we should thus forget about celebratory crocodile tears and focus on the unfulfilled promises his leadership gave rise to. We can safely surmise that, on account of his doubtless moral and political greatness, he was at the end of his life also a bitter, old man, well aware how his very political triumph and his elevation into a universal hero was the mask of a bitter defeat. His universal glory is also a sign that he really didn’t disturb the global order of power.||”|
- LEFT FOR DEAD Aut Omnia
|“||The left is fucked. It has no present, no future and no hope. Despite this, it remains incapable of engaging with the majority of the population, whose lives are defined by the same three realities. The peculiar imagined community around which the left is built coheres with all the tenacity of a spinning lie. The great combined forces of labour and the academy are bound together merely by the stories they weave and the delusions they perpetuate. The closeness is claustrophobic, but instead of breaking for air they huddle ever closer, crushing themselves together out of fear for the dark around them.
We are approaching true dystopia. As the last remnants of the welfare state burn to warm the bourgeoisie, people freeze to death on streets of empty houses.
|“||And our topic is topsy-turvy: civil disobedience. As soon as you say the topic is civil disobedience, you are saying our problem is civil disobedience. That is not our problem.... Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is the numbers of people all over the world who have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. And our problem is that scene in All Quiet on the Western Front where the schoolboys march off dutifully in a line to war. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world, in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem. We recognize this for Nazi Germany. We know that the problem there was obedience, that the people obeyed Hitler. People obeyed; that was wrong. They should have challenged, and they should have resisted; and if we were only there, we would have showed them. Even in Stalin's Russia we can understand that; people are obedient, all these herdlike people.||”|
|“||Between 2005 and 2009, the mortgage crisis, fueled by racially discriminatory lending practices, destroyed 53% of African American wealth and 66% of Hispanic wealth, figures that stagger the imagination.||”|
- Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot's prison letters to Slavoj Žižek Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Slavoj Žižek
|“||I feel compelled to speak about the specific political and economic practices of my country. The last time I felt this angry was in 2011 when Putin declared he was running for the presidency for a third time. My anger and resolve led to the birth of Pussy Riot. What will happen now? Time will tell.
Here in Russia I have a strong sense of the cynicism of so-called first-world countries towards poorer nations. In my humble opinion, "developed" countries display an exaggerated loyalty towards governments that oppress their citizens and violate their rights. The European and US governments freely collaborate with Russia as it imposes laws from the middle ages and throws opposition politicians in jail. They collaborate with China, where oppression is so bad that my hair stands on end just to think about it. What are the limits of tolerance? And when does tolerance become collaboration, conformism and complicity?
To think, cynically, "let them do what they want in their own country", doesn't work any longer, because Russia and China and countries like them are now part of the global capitalist system.
- Anarchism, Or The Revolutionary Movement Of The Twenty-first Century Andrej Grubacic and David Graeber
|“||Everywhere from Eastern Europe to Argentina, from Seattle to Bombay, anarchist ideas and principles are generating new radical dreams and visions. Often their exponents do not call themselves “anarchists”. There are a host of other names: autonomism, anti-authoritarianism, horizontality, Zapatismo, direct democracy... Still, everywhere one finds the same core principles: decentralization, voluntary association, mutual aid, the network model, and above all, the rejection of any idea that the end justifies the means, let alone that the business of a revolutionary is to seize state power and then begin imposing one’s vision at the point of a gun. Above all, anarchism, as an ethics of practice — the idea of building a new society “within the shell of the old” — has become the basic inspiration of the “movement of movements” (of which the authors are a part), which has from the start been less about seizing state power than about exposing, de-legitimizing and dismantling mechanisms of rule while winning ever-larger spaces of autonomy and participatory management within it.||”|
|“||For an anarchist, in fact, to try to create non-alienated experiences, true democracy, is an ethical imperative; only by making one’s form of organization in the present at least a rough approximation of how a free society would actually operate, how everyone, someday, should be able to live, can one guarantee that we will not cascade back into disaster. Grim joyless revolutionaries who sacrifice all pleasure to the cause can only produce grim joyless societies.||”|
|“||Anarchism, in the standard accounts, usually comes out as Marxism’s poorer cousin, theoretically a bit flat-footed but making up for brains, perhaps, with passion and sincerity. Really the analogy is strained. The “founders” of anarchism did not think of themselves as having invented anything particularly new. The saw its basic principles — mutual aid, voluntary association, egalitarian decision-making — as as old as humanity. The same goes for the rejection of the state and of all forms of structural violence, inequality, or domination (anarchism literally means “without rulers”) — even the assumption that all these forms are somehow related and reinforce each other. None of it was seen as some startling new doctrine, but a longstanding tendency in the history human thought, and one that cannot be encompassed by any general theory of ideology.
On one level it is a kind of faith: a belief that most forms of irresponsibility that seem to make power necessary are in fact the effects of power itself. In practice though it is a constant questioning, an effort to identify every compulsory or hierarchical relation in human life, and challenge them to justify themselves, and if they cannot — which usually turns out to be the case — an effort to limit their power and thus widen the scope of human liberty. Just as a Sufi might say that Sufism is the core of truth behind all religions, an anarchist might argue that anarchism is the urge for freedom behind all political ideologies.
Schools of Marxism always have founders. Just as Marxism sprang from the mind of Marx, so we have Leninists, Maoists, Althusserians... (Note how the list starts with heads of state and grades almost seamlessly into French professors — who, in turn, can spawn their own sects: Lacanians, Foucauldians....)
Schools of anarchism, in contrast, almost invariably emerge from some kind of organizational principle or form of practice: Anarcho-Syndicalists and Anarcho-Communists, Insurrectionists and Platformists, Cooperativists, Councilists, Individualists, and so on.
Anarchists are distinguished by what they do, and how they organize themselves to go about doing it. And indeed this has always been what anarchists have spent most of their time thinking and arguing about. They have never been much interested in the kinds of broad strategic or philosophical questions that preoccupy Marxists such as Are the peasants a potentially revolutionary class? (anarchists consider this something for peasants to decide) or what is the nature of the commodity form? Rather, they tend to argue about what is the truly democratic way to go about a meeting, at what point organization stops empowering people and starts squelching individual freedom. Is “leadership” necessarily a bad thing? Or, alternately, about the ethics of opposing power: What is direct action? Should one condemn someone who assassinates a head of state? When is it okay to throw a brick?
Marxism, then, has tended to be a theoretical or analytical discourse about revolutionary strategy. Anarchism has tended to be an ethical discourse about revolutionary practice. As a result, where Marxism has produced brilliant theories of praxis, it’s mostly been anarchists who have been working on the praxis itself.
|“||But the three essentials that run throughout all manifestations of anarchist ideology are definitely there — anti-statism, anti-capitalism and prefigurative politics (i.e. modes of organization that consciously resemble the world you want to create. Or, as an anarchist historian of the revolution in Spain has formulated “an effort to think of not only the ideas but the facts of the future itself”. This is present in anything from jamming collectives and on to Indy media, all of which can be called anarchist in the newer sense. In some countries, there is only a very limited degree of confluence between the two coexisting generations, mostly taking the form of following what each other is doing — but not much more.
One reason is that the new generation is much more interested in developing new forms of practice than arguing about the finer points of ideology. The most dramatic among these have been the development of new forms of decision-making process, the beginnings, at least, of an alternate culture of democracy. The famous North American spokescouncils, where thousands of activists coordinate large-scale events by consensus, with no formal leadership structure, are only the most spectacular.
|“||I used to stay to my students at uni. Escape! They haven't locked the gates yet. You still have time to get out. In the real world you'll find a few truths out for yourself. But don't stay here. You can't find anything out here.||”|
|“||...we have seen that the social structure rests on the basis of ideas, which implies that changing the structure presupposes changed ideas. In other words, social ideas must change first before a new social structure can be built.
The social revolution, therefore, is not an accident, not a sudden happening. There is nothing sudden about it, for ideas don't change suddenly. They grow slowly, gradually, like the plant or flower. Hence the social revolution is a result, a development, which means that it is evolutionary. It develops to the point when considerable numbers of people have embraced the new ideas and are determined to put them into practice. When they attempt to do so and meet with opposition, then the slow, quiet, and peaceful social evolution becomes quick, militant, and violent. Evolution becomes revolution.
Bear in mind, then, that evolution and revolution are not two separate and different things. Still less are they opposites, as some people wrongly believe. Revolution is merely the boiling point of evolution.
Because revolution is evolution at its boiling point you cannot "make" a real revolution any more than you can hasten the boiling of a tea kettle. It is the fire underneath that makes it boil: how quickly it will come to the boiling point will depend on how strong the fire is.
The economic and political conditions of a country are the fire under the evolutionary pot.
|“||Summing up what I have said about revolution, we must come to the conclusion that
1) a social revolution is one that entirely changes the foundation of society, its political, economic, and social character;
2) such a change must first take place in the ideas and opinions of the people, in the minds of men;
3) oppression and misery may hasten revolution, but may thereby also turn it into failure, because lack of evolutionary preparation will make real accomplishment impossible;
4) only that revolution can be fundamental, social and successful, which will be the expression of a basic change of ideas and opinions.
From this it obviously follows that the social revolution must be prepared. Prepared in the sense of furthering the evolutionary process, of enlightening the people about the evils of present-day society and convincing them of the desirability and possibility, of the justice and practicability of a social life based on liberty; prepared, moreover, by making the masses realize very clearly just what they need and how to bring it about.
Such preparation is not only an absolutely necessary preliminary step. Therein lies also the safety of the revolution, the only guarantee of its accomplishing its objects.
It has been the fate of most revolutions -- as a result of lack of preparation -- to be sidetracked from their main purpose, to be misused and led into blind alleys.
- "A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse", an excerpt from The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement David Graeber
|“||It’s fashionable nowadays to view the social movements of the late sixties as an embarrassing failure. A case can be made for that view. It’s certainly true that in the political sphere, the immediate beneficiary of any widespread change in political common sense—a prioritizing of ideals of individual liberty, imagination, and desire; a hatred of bureaucracy; and suspicions about the role of government—was the political Right. Above all, the movements of the sixties allowed for the mass revival of free market doctrines that had largely been abandoned since the nineteenth century. It’s no coincidence that the same generation who, as teenagers, made the Cultural Revolution in China was the one who, as forty-year-olds, presided over the introduction of capitalism. Since the eighties, “freedom” has come to mean “the market,” and “the market” has come to be seen as identical with capitalism—even, ironically, in places like China, which had known sophisticated markets for thousands of years, but rarely anything that could be described as capitalism.||”|
|“||Labor, similarly, should be renegotiated. Submitting oneself to labor discipline—supervision, control, even the self-control of the ambitious self-employed—does not make one a better person. In most really important ways, it probably makes one worse. To undergo it is a misfortune that at best is sometimes necessary. Yet it’s only when we reject the idea that such labor is virtuous in itself that we can start to ask what is virtuous about labor. To which the answer is obvious. Labor is virtuous if it helps others. A renegotiated definition of productivity should make it easier to reimagine the very nature of what work is, since, among other things, it will mean that technological development will be redirected less toward creating ever more consumer products and ever more disciplined labor, and more toward eliminating those forms of labor entirely.
What would remain is the kind of work only human beings will ever be able to do: those forms of caring and helping labor that are at the very center of the crisis that brought about Occupy Wall Street to begin with. What would happen if we stopped acting as if the primordial form of work is laboring at a production line, or wheat field, or iron foundry, or even in an office cubicle, and instead started from a mother, a teacher, or a caregiver? We might be forced to conclude that the real business of human life is not contributing toward something called “the economy” (a concept that didn’t even exist three hundred years ago), but the fact that we are all, and have always been, projects of mutual creation.
At the moment, probably the most pressing need is simply to slow down the engines of productivity. This might seem a strange thing to say—our knee-jerk reaction to every crisis is to assume the solution is for everyone to work even more, though of course, this kind of reaction is really precisely the problem—but if you consider the overall state of the world, the conclusion becomes obvious. We seem to be facing two insoluble problems. On the one hand, we have witnessed an endless series of global debt crises, which have grown only more and more severe since the seventies, to the point where the overall burden of debt—sovereign, municipal, corporate, personal—is obviously unsustainable. On the other, we have an ecological crisis, a galloping process of climate change that is threatening to throw the entire planet into drought, floods, chaos, starvation, and war. The two might seem unrelated. But ultimately they are the same. What is debt, after all, but the promise of future productivity? Saying that global debt levels keep rising is simply another way of saying that, as a collectivity, human beings are promising each other to produce an even greater volume of goods and services in the future than they are creating now. But even current levels are clearly unsustainable. They are precisely what’s destroying the planet, at an ever-increasing pace.
Even those running the system are reluctantly beginning to conclude that some kind of mass debt cancellation—some kind of jubilee—is inevitable. The real political struggle is going to be over the form that it takes. Well, isn’t the obvious thing to address both problems simultaneously? Why not a planetary debt cancellation, as broad as practically possible, followed by a mass reduction in working hours: a four-hour day, perhaps, or a guaranteed five-month vacation? This might not only save the planet but also (since it’s not like everyone would just be sitting around in their newfound hours of freedom) begin to change our basic conceptions of what value-creating labor might actually be.
|“||My children often ask me, "Daddy, where does 'austerity' come from?" And I tell them:
Once upon a time, there was a good fairy named John Maynard Keynes. He wanted to stop depressions, financial crises and suffering, so he conceived of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He said, 'When a nation's foreign exchange earnings drop (say, if the price of oil rises or Greek tourism falls because its currency is overvalued), the countries taking the poor nations' money, rich countries like Germany and the United State, would lend it back via the IMF.
By this rule, the rich lending to the poor, the world prospered and lived happily ever after . . . until the 1980s, when a wicked witch, known as the Iron Lady, and America's gaga grandpa, Reagan of the Rich, insisted that the IMF and the World Bank beat poor nations with a stick called, "structural adjustment."
Nations facing destitution because of higher oil costs, currency imbalance or predatory interest rate demands were "structurally adjusted." Structural adjustment is a cruel and debilitating potion of mass firings of public employees, cheap sell-offs of national assets and deregulation of corporate profiteering. This ripping the wings off the better angels of government is called, "austerity."
The good fairy Keynes had warned about this evil potion, this snake oil called "austerity." Cutting government spending during a recession, he said, will only make things worse.
And that's what happened: In every single case, the "adjusted" nations' economies were devastated.
|“||If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property. Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility, but this may or may not be done, according to the will and convenience of the society, without claim or complaint from anybody.||”|
- The Political Economy of American Foreign Policy: Its Concepts, Strategy, and Limits Woodrow Wilson Foundation, William Yandell Elliott, National Planning Association
- Regarding the threat posed by the spread in the 20th century of the Soviet Bloc,
|“||It has meant: A serious reduction of the potential resource base and market opportunities of the West owing to the subtraction of the communist areas from the international economy and their economic transformation in ways which reduce their willingness and ability to complement the industrial economies of the West.||”|
- The Last Question Isaac Asimov
- Mark Shepherd's 106 acre permaculture farm in Viola, Wisconsin Chuck Burr interviewing Mark Shepard
|“||We live on planet earth. Planet earth works in certain ways. Observe how planet earth works, design a system to work within the system conditions of planet earth while creating Permaculture paradise. Blogging all day or sitting around bitching about all the things that suck in the world is not earth care.
Providing comfy, crash-pads for lazy, virtual humans is not People care. Giving somebody paper dollars when they do my bidding is not equitable share. Teaching people how to actually ‘for real’ apply Permaculture design on the actual planet and grow their own food, fuel, medicines and fibers in perennial, ecological systems, is earth care.
- "We stand on the cusp of one of humanity's most dangerous moments."
|“||It is not accidental that the economic crisis will converge with the environmental crisis. In his book The Great Transformation (1944), Karl Polanyi laid out the devastating consequences – the depressions, wars and totalitarianism – that grow out of a so-called self-regulated free market. He grasped that “fascism, like socialism, was rooted in a market society that refused to function.” He warned that a financial system always devolves, without heavy government control, into a Mafia capitalism – and a Mafia political system – which is a good description of our financial and political structure. A self-regulating market, Polanyi wrote, turns human beings and the natural environment into commodities, a situation that ensures the destruction of both society and the natural environment. The free market’s assumption that nature and human beings are objects whose worth is determined by the market allows each to be exploited for profit until exhaustion or collapse. A society that no longer recognizes that nature and human life have a sacred dimension, an intrinsic value beyond monetary value, commits collective suicide. Such societies cannibalize themselves until they die. This is what we are undergoing.
If we build self-contained structures, ones that do as little harm as possible to the environment, we can weather the coming collapse. This task will be accomplished through the existence of small, physical enclaves that have access to sustainable agriculture, are able to sever themselves as much as possible from commercial culture and can be largely self-sufficient. These communities will have to build walls against electronic propaganda and fear that will be pumped out over the airwaves. Canada will probably be a more hospitable place to do this than the United States, given America’s strong undercurrent of violence. But in any country, those who survive will need isolated areas of land as well as distance from urban areas, which will see the food deserts in the inner cities, as well as savage violence, leach out across the urban landscape as produce and goods become prohibitively expensive and state repression becomes harsher and harsher.
The increasingly overt uses of force by the elites to maintain control should not end acts of resistance. Acts of resistance are moral acts. They begin because people of conscience understand the moral imperative to challenge systems of abuse and despotism. They should be carried out not because they are effective but because they are right. Those who begin these acts are always few in number and dismissed by those who hide their cowardice behind their cynicism. But resistance, however marginal, continues to affirm life in a world awash in death. It is the supreme act of faith, the highest form of spirituality and alone makes hope possible. Those who carried out great acts of resistance often sacrificed their security and comfort, often spent time in jail and in some cases were killed. They understood that to live in the fullest sense of the word, to exist as free and independent human beings, even under the darkest night of state repression, meant to defy injustice.
When the dissident Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was taken from his cell in a Nazi prison to the gallows, his last words were: “This is for me the end, but also the beginning.” Bonhoeffer knew that most of the citizens in his nation were complicit through their silence in a vast enterprise of death. But however hopeless it appeared in the moment, he affirmed what we all must affirm. He did not avoid death. He did not, as a distinct individual, survive. But he understood that his resistance and even his death were acts of love. He fought and died for the sanctity of life. He gave, even to those who did not join him, another narrative. . .
|“||Where do you turn in the midst of a world bent on self-annihilation, a world where lives are snuffed out at random? Whom do you reach for to keep from disintegrating under the pressure, the carnage, and the loneliness? Who speaks to you in such trance-like misery?||”|
|“||Reading great poems, novels, and essays helps us to cope with our own insecurities and uncertainty, allowing us to plunge to the very depths of our inner being, depths that often lie beyond articulation. These writers help us to define ourselves and give words to grief and pain and joy that would otherwise lie beyond our reach. And reading like this saves us from the deadening textual criticism and academic snobbery that overpowers and destroys the heart and soul of great art.||”|
|“||NOTHING appears more surprizing to those, who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and the implicit submission, with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find, that, as FORCE is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular. The soldan of EGYPT, or the emperor of ROME, might drive his harmless subjects, like brute beasts, against their sentiments and inclination: But he must, at least, have led his mamalukes, or prætorian bands, like men, by their opinion.||”|
|“||When men act in a faction, they are apt, without shame or remorse, to neglect all the ties of honour and morality, in order to serve their party; and yet, when a faction is formed upon a point of right or principle, there is no occasion, where men discover a greater obstinacy, and a more determined sense of justice and equity. The same social disposition of mankind is the cause of these contradictory appearances.||”|
|“||Portions of the High Plains Aquifer are rapidly being depleted by farmers who are pumping too much water to irrigate their crops, particularly in the southern half in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Levels have declined up to 242 feet in some areas, from predevelopment — before substantial groundwater irrigation began — to 2011.||”|
|“||...neighbors have met the prospect of dwindling water in starkly different ways. A brother is farming on pivot half-circles. A brother-in-law moved most of his operations to Iowa. Another farmer is suing his neighbors, accusing them of poaching water from his slice of the aquifer.
A fourth grows corn with an underground irrigation system that does not match the yields of water-wasting center-pivot rigs, but is far thriftier in terms of water use and operating costs.
For his part, Mr. Yost continues to pump. But he also allowed that the day may come when sustaining what is left of the aquifer is preferable to pumping as much as possible.
|“||Such steady improvements in farming methods can explain a steady rise in population, but not the great boom of the past few centuries. Mechanization and sanitation may account for later stages of the boom, but not its beginnings, which pre-date farm machinery and public health. The take-off point was about a century after Columbus. This was when the strange fruits of the Spanish conquest began to be digested. Europe received the greatest subsidy of all when half a planet, fully developed but almost unprotected, fell suddenly into its hands.
If America had been a wilderness, the invaders wouldn't have got much out of it for a long time. Every field would have had to be won from the forest, every crop imported and adapted, every mine discovered, every road cut across trackless deserts and ranges. But this unknown world had had its own Neolithic Revolutions, and had built a series of civilizations on a rich agrarian base.
The three Americas formed a complex world much like Asia, teeming with 80 to 100 million people — between a fifth and a fourth of the human race. The most powerful polities in 1500 were the Aztec Empire, a city-state system dominated by the conurbation known as Mexico, and the Inca Empire, or Tawantinsuyu, stretching three thousand miles down the spine of the Andes and Pacific coast. Each of these had roughly 20 million people — midway in scale between ancient Egypt and Rome. With a quarter-million citizens, the Aztec capital was then the biggest city in the Americas and one of the half dozen biggest in the world. The Inca Empire was less urban but tightly organized, with 14,000 miles of paved roads, a command economy, and vast terracing irrigation projects built by a labour-tax system, rather than slavery. Though hardly a workers' paradise, it soon began to look like one to survivors under Spanish rule. Both these empires were young, the heirs of others, and might have had centuries ahead of them if no outsiders had arrived. But they awaited intruders like orchards of ripe fruit.
|“||Europeans did not find a wilderness here," the American historian Francis Jennings has written, "they made one."
For the Spanish, disease was a better weapon than a neutron bomb because just enough Amerindians survived to work the mines. Aztec and Inca treasures were only a down payment on all the gold and silver that would flow across the Atlantic for centuries. Karl Marx was among the first economists to see that, financially, the Industrial Revolution begins with Atahuallpa's gold. "An indispensable condition for the establishment of manufacturing industry," he said in 1847, "was the accumulation of capital facilitated by the discovery of America and the importation of its precious metals." The Genoese and German bankers who underwrote Spain's empire were awash in bullion looking for something to do. Much found its way to northern Europe, financing shipbuilding, bun foundries, and other imperial ventures. Much also went on European wars — and wars between peers are mothers of invention.
|“||The world we have today is the gift of the New World.
The New World, then, really was Eldorado. It was also Utopia. Early reports of Amazonian societies had influenced Sir Thomas More's book of that name, published in 1516. A century later, the bestselling writer Garcilaso de la Vega, who was half Inca, promoted his mother's fallen empire as the ideal state. In North America, the influence was more direct, a matter of daily example. The early frontier culture was a hybrid, a place where Indians grew orchards and whites took up scalping. Settlers fought, traded, and intermarried with self-governing native peoples who practised social equality, free debate in council, and the rule of consensus. "Their whole constitution breathes nothing but liberty!" wrote James Adair, of the Cherokees, in 1775. Benjamin Franklin had made similar observations about the Iroquois Confederacy, which he urged the Thirteen Colonies to emulate. The whites were particularly impressed by the way dissenters would simply leave the rest of their nation and form an independent group. Here — spread before the eyes of colonists resentful of a distant crown — were freedom, democracy, and the right of secession.
It was, and still is, not well known that these native democracies were largely a post-Columbian development, blooming in the open spaces left by the great dying of the 1500s
|“||The experiment of civilization has long had its doubters, even in times when change moves too slowly for most people to remark. The tales of Icarus, Prometheus, and Pandora illustrate the risks of being too clever by half, a theme also known to Genesis. Perhaps the most insightful ancient story of this kind — particularly as it comes from a civilization that had suffered collapse — is the "Rebellion of the Tools" in the Maya creation epic, the Popol Vuh, where human beings are overthrown by their farm and household implement:
And all [those things] began to speak. . . . "You . . . shall feel our strength. We shall grind and tear your flesh to pieces," said their grinding stones. . . . At the same time, their griddles and pots spoke: "Pain and suffering you have caused us. . . . You burned us as if we felt no pain. Now you shall feel it, we shall burn you."
As Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier pointed out, this is our first explicit warning of the threat in the machine.
|“||No doubt many will say that we stand here to prove those gloomy Victorians wrong. But do we? They man have been wrong on the details they imagined for our times, but they were right to foresee trouble. Just ahead lay the Great War and 12 million dead, the Russian Revolution, the Great Slump — leading to Hitler, the death camps, the Second World War (with 50 million dead), the atom bomb. And these in turn to the Korean War, the Cold War, the near-fatal Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, Cambodia, Rwanda. Even the most pessimistic Victorian might have been surprised to learn that the twentieth century would slaughter more than 100 million in its wars — twice the entire population of the Roman Empire. The price of history does indeed go up.||”|
|“||We still have differing cultures and political systems but at the economic level there is now only one big civilization, feeding on the whole planet's natural capital. We're logging everywhere, fishing everywhere, irrigating everywhere, building everywhere, and no corner of the biosphere escapes our haemorrhage of waste. The twentyfold growth in world trade since the 1970s has meant that hardly anywhere is self-sufficient. Every Eldorado has been looted, every Shangri-La equipped with a Holiday Inn. Joseph Tainter notes this interdependence, warning that "collapse, if and when it comes again, will this time be global. . . . World cvilization will disintegrate as a whole."||”|
|“||Rather than claiming divine inspiration, we can come to greater clarity about the desperate state of the ecosphere and its human inhabitants through evidence and reason. It is time for a calm, measured apocalypticism which recognizes that the ecosphere sets norms, which we have ignored for too long, and that we need to develop a new sense of solidarity, among humans and with the larger living world.
So, speaking apocalyptically need not leave us stuck in a corner with the folks predicting lakes of fire, rivers of blood, or bodies lifted up to the heavens. Instead, it can focus our attention on ecological realities and on the unjust and unsustainable human systems that have brought us to this point.
This “revelation” is simple: We’ve built a world based on the assumption that we will have endless energy to subsidize endless economic expansion, which was supposed to magically produce justice. That world is over, both in reality and in dreams. Either we begin to build a different world, or there will be no world capable of sustaining a large-scale human presence.
|“||The big systems that structure our world, especially capitalism and the extractive economy, are incompatible with social justice and ecological sustainability. Those who have opportunities to write and speak out have a responsibility to articulate the radical analysis necessary to understand the problems and begin to identify solutions.
To think apocalyptically is not to give up on ourselves, but only to give up on the arrogant stories—religious and secular—that we modern humans have been telling about ourselves. Our hope for a decent future—indeed, any hope for even the idea of a future—depends on our ability to tell stories not of how humans have ruled the world but how we can live in the world.
We are all apocalyptic now, whether we like it or not.
|“||The currents of anarchist thought that interest me (there are many) have their roots, I think, in the Enlightenment and classical liberalism . . . The ideas have been reinvented continually; in my opinion, because they reflect real human needs and perceptions. The Spanish Civil War is perhaps the most important case, though we should recall that the anarchist revolution that swept over a good part of Spain in 1936, taking various forms, was not a spontaneous upsurge, but had been prepared in many decades of education, organization, struggle, defeat, and sometimes victories. It was very significant. Sufficiently so as to call down the wrath of every major power system: Stalinism, fascism, western liberalism, most intellectual currents and their doctrinal institutions -- all combined to condemn and destroy the anarchist revolution, as they did; a sign of its significance, in my opinion.||”|
|“||Prospects for freedom and justice are limitless. The steps we should take depend on what we are trying to achieve. There are, and can be, no general answers. The questions are wrongly put. I am reminded of a nice slogan of the rural workers' movement in Brazil (from which I have just returned): they say that they must expand the floor of the cage, until the point when they can break the bars. At times, that even requires defense of the cage against even worse predators outside: defense of illegitimate state power against predatory private tyranny in the United States today, for example, a point that should be obvious to any person committed to justice and freedom -- anyone, for example, who thinks that children should have food to eat -- but that seems difficult for many people who regard themselves as libertarians and anarchists to comprehend. That is one of the self-destructive and irrational impulses of decent people who consider themselves to be on the left, in my opinion, separating them in practice from the lives and legitimate aspirations of suffering people.||”|
|“||Generally speaking observation of the law of Truth is understood merely to mean that we must speak the Truth. But we in the Ashram should understand the word Satya or Truth in a much wider sense. There should be truth in thought, truth in speech, and truth in action. To the man who has realized this truth in its fullness, nothing else remains to be known, because all knowledge is necessary included in it. What is not included in it is not truth, and so not true knowledge; and there can be no inward peace without true knowledge. If we once learn how to apply this never failing test of Truth, we will at once able to find out what is worth doing, what is worth seeing, what is worth reading.||”|
|“||Regrettable it may be, but the campaigns for greater sexual freedom have not always been properly understood by our young male comrades, and in many instances, they have attracted into our ranks a large number of youths of both sexes who could not care less about the social question and who are just on the look-out for an opening for their own amorous adventures. There are some who have construed that freedom as an invitation to over-indulgence and who look upon every woman that passes their way as a target for their appetites...
In our centres, rarely frequented by young women, I have noticed that conversations between the sexes rarely revolve around an issue, let alone a work-related matter; the moment a youth comes face to face with someone of the opposite sex, the sexual issue casts its spell and free love seems to be the sole topic of conversation. And I have seen two types of female response to this. One, instant surrender to the suggestion; in which case it is not long before the woman winds up as a plaything of masculine whims and drifts away completely from any social conscience. The other is disenchantment: whereby the woman who arrived with loftier ambitions and aspirations comes away disappointed and ends up withdrawing from our ranks. Only a few women with strength of character who have learned to gauge the worth of things for themselves manage to weather this.
- The Failure of Gun Legislation in the Senate Tells us we Need to fight for our Democracy David Graeber
|“||Nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or Constitution does it say anything about the United States being a democracy. In fact, men like Adams, Madison, and even Jefferson were staunchly opposed to democracy, which they defined as “the powers of government exercised by the people”—whether directly through popular assemblies, or by extension, through the direct election of representatives closely bound to the popular will. Most were also quite explicit about their reasons. How could we possibly have majority rule, wrote John Adams, in a country where only one or two million people own any significant amount of property, and 9 million do not? It could only led to the cancellation of debts and expropriation of the wealthy. One need only glance at the opening remarks of the Constitutional Convention of 1789, delivered by George Washington protégé Edmund Randolph, then Governor of Virginia, to get a sense of why they felt that system of checks and balances needed to be created:
"Our chief danger arises from the democratic parts of our constitutions. It is a maxim which I hold incontrovertible, that the powers of government exercised by the people swallows up the other branches. None of the constitutions have provided sufficient checks against the democracy. The feeble Senate of Virginia is a phantom. Maryland has a more powerful senate, but the late distractions in that State, have discovered that it is not powerful enough. The check established in the constitution of New York and Massachusetts is yet a stronger barrier against democracy, but they all seem insufficient."
|“||If prison authorities do not understand why thousands of inmates not directly affected by solitary confinement would join the protests, at great risk to themselves, they have only themselves to blame. They are victims of their own censorship.
If they were to listen to the inmates, they would understand that protests are almost always the product of what prisoners perceive to be officials’ abuse of arbitrary power. They are generally done by men made desperate by the lack of options to address their grievances. At the heart of the problem is a lack of open communications and freedom of expression.
|“||When we consider the responsibility of intellectuals, our basic concern must be their role in the creation and analysis of ideology.||”|
|“||THUS IT WOULD SEEM NATURAL to describe the consensus of Bell's intellectuals in somewhat different terms from his. Using the terminology of the first part of his essay, we might say that the Welfare State technician finds justification for his special and prominent social status in his "science," specifically, in the claim that social science can support a technology of social tinkering on a domestic or international scale. He then takes a further step, ascribing in a familiar way a universal validity to what is in fact a class interest: he argues that the special conditions on which his claim to power and authority are based are, in fact, the only general conditions by which modern society can be saved; that social tinkering within a Welfare State framework must replace the commitment to the "total ideologies" of the past, ideologies which were concerned with a transformation of society. Having found his position of power, having achieved security and affluence, he has no further need for ideologies that look to radical change. The scholar-expert replaces the "free-floating intellectual" who "felt that the wrong values were being honored, and rejected the society," and who has now lost his political role (now, that is, that the right values are being honored).
Conceivably, it is correct that the technical experts who will (or hope to) manage the "industrial society" will be able to cope with the classical problems without a radical transformation of society. It is conceivably true that the bourgeoisie was right in regarding the special conditions of its emancipation as the only general conditions by which modern society would be saved. In either case, an argument is in order, and skepticism is justified when none appears.
- Poet, Author Alice Walker Meets the Inner Journey with Global Activism in "The Cushion in the Road" Amy Goodman and Aaron Maté interviewing Alice Walker
|“||...the harm that you do to others is the harm that you do to yourself and you cannot think then that you can cause wars in other parts of the world and destroy people and drone them without this having a terrible impact on your own soul and your own consciousness.
...I think unless the people are given information about what is happening to them, they will die in ignorance. And I think that's the big sin. I mean if there is such a thing as a sin, that's it: to destroy people and not have them have a clue about how this is happening.
- Noam Chomsky: Obama's Attack on Civil Liberties Has Gone Way Beyond Imagination Mike Stivers interviewing Noam Chomsky
- Declaration of the Social Movements Assembly of the World Social Forum of Tunisia, 2013
- Libertarias Vicente Aranda
- Letter from Birmingham Jail (annotated version) Martin Luther King, Jr.
|“||You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling, for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.
The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.
|“||Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea.||”|
- "The Character of Man" Mark Twain
- The Myth of Human Progress Chris Hedges
- Lessons in organization and dignity from the Zapatistas Marta Molina
- Pancho Ramos Stierle: Nonviolence Is Radical Sarah van Gelder in conversation with Pancho Ramos Stierle
- Noam Chomsky: America, Moral Degenerate Eric Bailey in conversation with Noam Chomsky
- Homage to Catalonia George Orwell
- Why Mass Incarceration Defines Us As a Society Chris Hedges
- Why Socialism? Albert Einstein
- The concept of power and the Zapatistas John Holloway
- Чёрный монах (Chyorny monakh, or "The Black Monk") Anton Chekhov
- Pedagogy of the Oppressed Paulo Freire
|“||The central problem is this: How can the oppressed as divided, unauthentic beings, participate in developing the pedagogy of their liberation? Only as they discover themselves to be "hosts" of the oppressor can they contribute to the midwifery of their liberating pedagogy. As long as they live in the duality in which to be is to be like, and to be like is to be like the oppressor, this contribution is impossible. The pedagogy of the oppressed is an instrument for their critical discovery that both they and their oppressors are manifestations of dehumanization.
Liberation is thus a childbirth, and a painful one. The man or woman who emerges is a new person, viable only as the oppressor-oppressed contradiction is superseded by the humanization of all people. Or to put it another way, the solution of this contradiction is born in the labor which brings into the world this new being: no longer oppressor nor longer oppressed, but human in the process of achieving freedom.
This solution cannot be achieved in idealistic terms. In order for the oppressed to he able to wage the struggle for their liberation, they must perceive the reality of oppression not as a closed world from which there is no exit, but as a limiting situation which they can transform. This perception is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for liberation; it must become the motivating force for liberating action. Nor does the discovery by the oppressed that they exist in dialectical relationship to the oppressor, as his antithesis -- that without them the oppressor could not exist -- in itself constitute liberation. The oppressed can overcome the contradiction in which they are caught only when this perception enlists them in the struggle to free themselves.
This same is true with respect to the individual oppressor as a person. Discovering himself to be an oppressor may cause considerable anguish, but it does not necessarily lead to solidarity with the oppressed. Rationalizing his guilt through paternalistic treatment of the oppressed, all the while holding them fast in a position of dependence, will not do. Solidarity requires that one enter into the situation of those with whom one is solidary; it is a radical posture. If what characterizes the oppressed is their subordination to the consciousness of the master, as Hegel affirms, true solidarity with the oppressed means fighting at their side to transform the objective reality which has made them these "beings for another." The oppressor is solidary with the oppressed only when he stops regarding the oppressed as an abstract category and sees them as persons who have been unjustly dealt with, deprived of their voice, cheated in the sale of their labor -- when he stops making pious, sentimental, and individualistic gestures and risks an act of love. True solidarity is found only in the plenitude of this act of love, in its existentiality, in its praxis. To affirm that men and women are persons and as persons should be free, and yet to do nothing tangible to make this affirmation a reality, is a farce.
|“||Once again, the two educational concepts and practices under analysis come into conflict. Banking education (for obvious reasons) attempts, by mythicizing reality, to conceal certain facts which explain the way human beings exist in the world; problem-posing education sets itself the task of demythologizing. Banking education resists dialogue; problem-posing education regards dialogue as indispensable to the act of cognition which unveils reality. Banking education treats students as objects of assistance; problem-posing education makes them critical thinkers. Banking education inhibits creativity and domesticates (although it cannot completely destroy) the intentionality of consciousness by isolating consciousness from the world, thereby denying people their ontological and historical vocation of becoming more fully human. Problem-posing education bases itself on creativity and stimulates true reflection and action upon reality, thereby responding to the vocation of persons as beings who are authentic only when engaged in inquiry and creative transformation. In sum: banking theory and practice, as immobilizing and fixating forces, fail to acknowledge men and women as historical beings; problem-posing theory and practice take the peoples historicity as their starting point.
Problem-posing education affirms men and women as beings in the process of becoming—as unfinished, uncompleted beings in and with a likewise unfinished reality. Indeed, in contrast to other animals who are unfinished, but not historical, people know themselves to be unfinished; they are aware of their incompletion. In this incompletion and this awareness lie the very roots of education as an exclusively human manifestation. The unfinished character of human beings and the transformational character of reality necessitate that education be an ongoing activity.
Education is thus constantly remade in the praxis. In order to be, it must become. Its "duration" (in the Bergsonian meaning of the word) is found in the interplay of the opposites permanence and change. The banking method emphasizes permanence and becomes reactionary; problem-posing education—which accepts neither a "well-behaved" present nor a predetermined future—roots itself in the dynamic present and becomes revolutionary.
Problem-posing education is revolutionary futurity. Hence it is prophetic (and, as such, hopeful). Hence, it corresponds to the historical nature of humankind. Hence, it affirms women and men as beings who transcend themselves, who move forward and look ahead, for whom immobility represents a fatal threat, for whom looking at the past must only be a means of understanding more clearly what and who they are so that they can more wisely build the future. Hence, it identifies with the movement which engages people as beings aware of their incompletion—an historical movement which has its point of departure, its Subjects and its objective.
|“||Every thematic investigation which deepens historical awareness is thus really educational, while all authentic education investigates thinking. The more educators and the people investigate the people's thinking, and are thus jointly educated, the more they continue to investigate. Education and thematic investigation, in the problem-posing concept of education, are simply different moments of the same process.||”|
|“||Violence is initiated by those who oppress, who exploit, who fail others as persons -- not by those who are oppressed, exploited, and unrecognized. It is not the unloved who initiate disaffection, but those who cannot love because they love only themselves. It is not the helpless, subject to terror, who initiate terror, but the violent, who with their power create the concrete situation which begets the "rejects of life." It is not the tyrannized who initiate despotism, but the tyrants. It is not the despised who initiate hatred, but those who despise. It is not those whose humanity is denied them who negate humankind, but those who denied that humanity (thus negating their own as well). Force is used not by those who have become weak under the preponderance of the strong, but by the strong who have emasculated them. For the oppressors, however, it is always the oppressed (whom they obviously never call "the oppressed" but -- depending on whether they are fellow countrymen or not --"those people" or "the blind and envious masses" or "savages" or "natives" or "subversives") who are disaffected, who are "violent," "barbaric," "wicked," or "ferocious" when they react to the violence of the oppressors.
Yet it is -- paradoxical though it may seem -- precisely in the response of the oppressed to the violence of their oppressors that a gesture of love may be found. Consciously or unconsciously, the act of rebellion by the oppressed (an act which is always, or nearly always, as violent as the initial violence of the oppressors) can initiate love. Whereas the violence of the oppressors prevents the oppressed from being fully human, the response of the latter to this violence is grounded in the desire to pursue the right to be human. As the oppressors dehumanize others and violate their rights, they themselves also become dehumanized. As the oppressed, fighting to be human, take away the oppressors' power to dominate and suppress, they restore to the oppressors the humanity they had lost in the exercise of oppression.
It is only the oppressed who, by freeing themselves, can free their oppressors. The latter, as an oppressive class, can free neither others nor themselves. It is therefore essential that the oppressed wage the struggle to resolve the contradiction in which they are caught; and the contradiction will he resolved by the appearance of the new man: neither oppressor nor oppressed, but man in the process of liberation. If the goal of the oppressed is to become fully human, they will not achieve their goal by merely reversing the terms of the contradiction, by simply changing poles.
|“||...it is common in meetings to hear the speakers using ‘globalization movement’ and ‘anti-globalization movement’ pretty much interchangeably.
The phrase ‘globalization movement’, though, is really quite apropos. If one takes globalization to mean the effacement of borders and the free movement of people, possessions and ideas, then it’s pretty clear that not only is the movement itself a product of globalization, but the majority of groups involved in it—the most radical ones in particular—are far more supportive of globalization in general than are the IMF or WTO. It was an international network called People’s Global Action, for example, that put out the first summons for planet-wide days of action such as J18 and N30—the latter the original call for protest against the 1999 WTO meetings in Seattle. And PGA in turn owes its origins to the famous International Encounter for Humanity and Against Neoliberalism, which took place knee-deep in the jungle mud of rainy-season Chiapas, in August 1996; and was itself initiated, as Subcomandante Marcos put it, ‘by all the rebels around the world’. People from over 50 countries came streaming into the Zapatista-held village of La Realidad. The vision for an ‘intercontinental network of resistance’ was laid out in the Second Declaration of La Realidad: ‘We declare that we will make a collective network of all our particular struggles and resistances, an intercontinental network of resistance against neoliberalism, an intercontinental network of resistance for humanity’:
Let it be a network of voices that resist the war Power wages on them. A network of voices that not only speak, but also struggle and resist for humanity and against neoliberalism. A network that covers the five continents and helps to resist the death that Power promises us.
This, the Declaration made clear, was ‘not an organizing structure; it has no central head or decision maker; it has no central command or hierarchies. We are the network, all of us who resist.’
- Howard Zinn: Anarchism Shouldn't Be a Dirty Word Interview with Howard Zinn
- The Tyranny of Structurelessness Jo Freeman
|“||While engaging in this trial-and-error process, there are some principles we can keep in mind that are essential to democratic structuring and are also politically effective:
1) Delegation of specific authority to specific individuals for specific tasks by democratic procedures. Letting people assume jobs or tasks only by default means they are not dependably done. If people are selected to do a task, preferably after expressing an interest or willingness to do it, they have made a commitment which cannot so easily be ignored.
2) Requiring all those to whom authority has been delegated to be responsible to those who selected them. This is how the group has control over people in positions of authority. Individuals may exercise power, but it is the group that has ultimate say over how the power is exercised.
3) Distribution of authority among as many people as is reasonably possible. This prevents monopoly of power and requires those in positions of authority to consult with many others in the process of exercising it. It also gives many people the opportunity to have responsibility for specific tasks and thereby to learn different skills.
4) Rotation of tasks among individuals. Responsibilities which are held too long by one person, formally or informally, come to be seen as that person's "property" and are not easily relinquished or controlled by the group. Conversely, if tasks are rotated too frequently the individual does not have time to learn her job well and acquire the sense of satisfaction of doing a good job.
5) Allocation of tasks along rational criteria. Selecting someone for a position because they are liked by the group or giving them hard work because they are disliked serves neither the group nor the person in the long run. Ability, interest, and responsibility have got to be the major concerns in such selection. People should be given an opportunity to learn skills they do not have, but this is best done through some sort of "apprenticeship" program rather than the "sink or swim" method. Having a responsibility one can't handle well is demoralizing. Conversely, being blacklisted from doing what one can do well does not encourage one to develop one's skills. Women have been punished for being competent throughout most of human history; the movement does not need to repeat this process.
6) Diffusion of information to everyone as frequently as possible. Information is power. Access to information enhances one's power. When an informal network spreads new ideas and information among themselves outside the group, they are already engaged in the process of forming an opinion -- without the group participating. The more one knows about how things work and what is happening, the more politically effective one can be.
7) Equal access to resources needed by the group. This is not always perfectly possible, but should be striven for. A member who maintains a monopoly over a needed resource (like a printing press owned by a husband, or a darkroom) can unduly influence the use of that resource. Skills and information are also resources. Members' skills can be equitably available only when members are willing to teach what they know to others.
When these principles are applied, they insure that whatever structures are developed by different movement groups will be controlled by and responsible to the group. The group of people in positions of authority will be diffuse, flexible, open, and temporary. They will not be in such an easy position to institutionalize their power because ultimate decisions will be made by the group at large. The group will have the power to determine who shall exercise authority within it.
|“||Classical liberalism asserts as its major idea an opposition to all but the most restricted and minimal forms of state intervention in personal or social life. Well this conclusion is quite familiar, however the reasoning that leads to it is less familiar and, I think, a good deal more important than the conclusion itself.
One of the earliest and most brilliant expositions of this position is in Wilhelm von Humboldt's "Limits of State Action", which was written in 1792, though not published for 60 or 70 years after that. In his view: "The state tends to make man an instrument to serve its arbitrary ends, overlooking his individual purposes. And, since man is in his essence a free, searching, self-perfecting being, it follows that the state is a profoundly anti-human institution." That is, its actions, its existence, are ultimately incompatible with the full harmonious development of human potential in it's richest diversity. Hence incompatible with what Humboldt, and in the following century Marx, Bakunin, Mill, and many others, what they see as the true end of man. And for the record I think that this is an accurate description.
|“||Humboldt goes on to develop at least the rudiments of a theory of exploitation and of alienated labour that suggests in significant ways, I think, the early Marx. Humboldt in fact continues these comments that I quoted, about the cultivation of the understanding through spontaneous action, in the following way: He says, "Man never regards what he possesses as so much his own, as what he does and the laborer who tends the garden is perhaps in a truer sense its owner, than the listless voluptuary who enjoys its fruits. And since truly human action is that which flows from inner impulse, it seems as if all peasants and craftsmen might be elevated into artists, that is men who love their labor for its own sake, improve it by their own plastic genius and inventive skill, and thereby cultivate their intellect, ennoble their character, and exult and refine their pleasures; and so humanity would be ennobled by the very things which now, though beautiful in themselves, so often go to degrade it." "Freedom is undoubtedly the indispensable condition without which even the pursuits most congenial to individual human nature can never succeed in producing such salutary influences. Whatever does not spring from a man's free choice, or is only the result of instruction and guidance, does not enter into his very being but remains alien to his true nature. He does not perform it with truly human energies, but merely with mechanical exactness. And if a man acts in a mechanical way, reacting to external demands or instruction, rather than in ways determined by his own interests and energies and power," he says, "we may admire what he does, but we despise what he is."
For Humboldt then, man is born to enquire and create, and when a man or a child chooses to enquire or create out of its own free choice, then he becomes, in his own terms, "an artist rather than a tool of production or a well trained parrot". This is the essence of his concept of human nature. And I think that it is very revealing and interesting compared with Marx, with the early Marx manuscripts, and particularly his account of "the alienation of labour when work is external to the worker, not part of his nature, so that he does not fulfill himself in his work but denies himself and is physically exhausted and mentally debased. This alienated labour that casts some of the workers back into a barbarous kind of work and turns others into machines, thus depriving man of his species character, of free conscious activity and productive life." Recall also Marx's well known and often quoted reference to a higher form of society, in which labour has become not only a means of life but also the highest want in life. And recall also his repeated criticism of the specialized labour which, "mutilates the worker into a fragment of a human being, degrades him to become a mere appurtenance of the machine, makes his work such a torment that its essential meaning is destroyed, estranges from him the intellectual potentialities of the labour process in very proportion to the extent to which science is incorporated into it as an independent power."
Robert Tucker for one has rightly emphasized that Marx sees the revolutionary more as a frustrated producer, than as a dis-satisfied consumer. And this, far more radical, critique of capitalist relations of production, flows directly, often in the same words, from the libertarian thought of The Enlightenment. For this reason, I think, one must say that classical liberal ideas, in their essence though not in the way they developed, are profoundly anti-capitalist. The essence of these ideas must be destroyed for them to serve as an ideology of modern industrial capitalism.
Writing in the 1780's and early 1790's, Humboldt had no conception of the forms that industrial capitalism would take. Consequently, in this classic of classical liberalism, he stresses the problem of limiting state power, and he is not overly concerned with the dangers of private power. The reason is that he believes in and speaks of the essential equality of condition of private citizens, and of course he has no idea, writing in 1790, of the ways in which the notion of private person would come to be reinterpreted in the era of corporate capitalism. "He did not foresee", I now quote the anarchist historian Rudolf Rocker: "he did not foresee that democracy, with its model of equality of all citizens before the law, and liberalism, with its right of man over his own person, both would be wrecked on the realities of capitalistic economy." Humboldt did not foresee that in a predatory capitalistic economy, state intervention would be an absolute necessity. To preserve human existence. To prevent the destruction of the physical environment. I speak optimistically of course.
As Karl Polanyi for one has pointed out: "The self-adjusting market could not exist for any length of time without annihilating the human and natural substance of society. It would have physically destroyed man and transformed his surroundings into a wilderness." I think that's correct. Humboldt also did not foresee the consequences of the commodity character of labor. The doctrine, again in Polanyi's words, "that it is not for the commodity to decide where it should be offered for sale, to what purpose it should be used, at what price it should be allowed to change hands, in what manner it should be consumed or destroyed." But the commodity in this case is of course human life. And social protection was therefore a minimal necessity to constrain the irrational and destructive workings of the classical free market.
Nor did Humboldt understand in 1790 that capitalistic economic relations perpetuated a form of bondage which, long before that in fact, as early as 1767, Simon Linguet had declared to be "even worse than slavery," writing: "it is the impossibility of living by any other means that compels our farm labourers to till the soil, whose fruits they will not eat, and our masons to construct buildings in which they will not live. It is want that drags them to those markets where they await masters, who will do them the kindness of buying them. It is want that compels them to go down on their knees to the rich man in order to get from him permission to enrich him. What effective gain has the suppression of slavery brought him? 'He is free,' you say. That is his misfortune. These men, it is said, have no master. They have one, and the most terrible, the most imperious of masters: that is, need. It is this that that reduces them to the most cruel dependence." And if there is something degrading to human nature in the idea of bondage, as every spokesman for the enlightenment would insist, then it would follow that a new emancipation must be awaited, what Fourier referred to as the third and last emancipatory phase of history. The first having made serfs out of slaves, the second wage earners out of serfs and the third which will transform the proletariat freemen by eliminating the commodity character of labour, ending wage slavery and bringing the commercial, industrial and financial institutions, under democratic control.
|“||There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.||”|
|“||Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being. And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers, and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort, and advancing on Chaos and the Dark.||”|
|“||The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them.||”|
|“||A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.— 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' —Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.||”|
|“||I hope in these days we have heard the last of conformty and consistency. Let the words be gazetted and ridiculous henceforward. Instead of the gong for dinner, let us hear a whistle from the Spartan fife. Let us never bow and apologize more. A great man is coming to eat at my house. I do not wish to please him; I wish that he should wish to please me. I will stand here for humanity, and though I would make it kind, I would make it true. Let us affront and reprimand the smooth mediocrity and squalid contentment of the times, and hurl in the face of custom, and trade, and office, the fact which is the upshot of all history, that there is a great responsible Thinker and Actor working wherever a man works; that a true man belongs to no other time or place, but is the centre of things. Where he is, there is nature||”|
|“||It is hardly necessary to stress the fact that the ability to love as an act of giving depends on the character development of the person. It presupposes the attainment of a predominantly productive orientation; in this orientation the person has overcome dependency, narcissistic omnipotence, the wish to exploit others, or to hoard, and has acquired faith in his own human powers, courage to rely on his powers in the attainment of his goals. To the degree that these qualities are lacking, he is afraid of giving himself—hence of loving.
Beyond the element of giving, the active character of love becomes evident in the fact that it always implies certain basic elements, common to all forms of love. These are care, responsibility, respect and knowledge.
That love implies care is most evident in a mother’s love for her child. No assurance of her love would strike us as sincere if we saw her lacking in care for the infant, if she neglected to feed it, to bathe it, to give it physical comfort; and we are impressed by her love if we see her caring for the child. It is not different even with the love for animals or flowers. If a woman told us that she loved flowers, and we saw that she forgot to water them, we would not believe in her “love” for flowers. Love is the active concern for the life and the growth of that which we love. Where this active concern is lacking, there is no love. This element of love has been beautifully described in the book of Jonah. God has told Jonah to go to Nineveh to warn its inhabitants that they will be punished unless they mend their evil ways. Jonah runs away from his mission because he is afraid that the people of Nineveh will repent and that God will forgive them. He is a man with a strong sense of order and law, but without love. However, in his attempt to escape, he finds himself in the belly of a whale, symbolizing the state of isolation and imprisonment which his lack of love and solidarity has brought upon him. God saves him, and Jonah goes to Nineveh. He preaches to the inhabitants as God has told him, and the very thing he was afraid of happens. The men of Nineveh repent their sins, mend their ways, and God forgives them and decides not to destroy the city. Jonah is intensely angry and disappointed; he wanted “justice” to be done, not mercy. At last he finds some comfort in the shade of a tree which God has made to grow for him to protect him from the sun. But when God makes the tree wilt, Jonah is depressed and angrily complains to God. God answers: “Thou hast had pity on the gourd for the which thou hast not labored neither madest grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night. And should I not spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand people that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?” God’s answer to Jonah is to be understood symbolically. God explains to Jonah that the essence of love is to “labor” for something and “to make something grow,” that love and labors are inseparable. One loves that for which one labors, and one labors for that which one loves.
Care and concern imply another aspect of love; that of responsibility. Today responsibility is often meant to denote duty, something imposed upon one from the outside. But responsibility, in its true sense, is an entirely voluntary act; it is my response to the needs, expressed or unexpressed, of another human being. To be “responsible” means to be able and ready to “respond.” Jonah did not feel responsible to the inhabitants of Nineveh. He, like Cain, could ask: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The loving person responds. The life of his brother is not his brother’s business alone, but his own. He feels responsible for his fellow men, as he feels responsible for himself. This responsibility, in the case of the mother and her infant, refers mainly to the care for physical needs. In the love between adults it refers mainly to the psychic needs of the other person.
Responsibility could easily deteriorate into domination and possessiveness, were it not for a third component of love, respect. Respect is not fear and awe; it denotes, in accordance with the root of the word (respicere = to look at), the ability to see a person as he is, to be aware of his unique individuality. Respect means the concern that the other person should grow and unfold as he is. Respect, thus, implies the absence of exploitation. I want the loved person to grow and unfold for his own sake, and in his own ways, and not for the purpose of serving me. If I love the other person, I feel one with him or her, but with him as he is, not as I need him to be as an object for my use. It is clear that respect is possible only if I have achieved independence; if I can stand and walk without needing crutches, without having to dominate and exploit anyone else. Respect exists only on the basis of freedom: “l’amour est l’enfant de la liberté” as an old French song says; love is the child of freedom, never that of domination.
To respect a person is not possible without knowing him; care and responsibility would be blind if they were not guided by knowledge. Knowledge would be empty if it were not motivated by concern. There are many layers of knowledge; the knowledge which is an aspect of love is one which does not stay at the periphery, but penetrates to the core. It is possible only when I can transcend the concern for myself and see the other person in his own terms. I may know, for instance, that a person is angry, even if he does not show it overtly; but I may know him more deeply than that; then I know that he is anxious, and worried; that he feels lonely, that he feels guilty. Then I know that his anger is only the manifestation of something deeper, and I see him as anxious and embarrassed, that is, as the suffering person, rather than as the angry one.
Knowledge has one more, and a more fundamental, relation to the problem of love. The basic need to fuse with another person so as to transcend the prison of one’s separateness is closely related to another specifically human desire, that to know the “secret of man.” While life in its merely biological aspects is a miracle and a secret, man in his human aspects is an unfathomable secret to himself—and to his fellow man. We know ourselves, and yet even with all the efforts we may make, we do not know ourselves. We know our fellow man, and yet we do not know him, because we are not a thing, and our fellow man is not a thing. The further we reach into the depth of our being, or someone else’s being, the more the goal of knowledge eludes us. Yet we cannot help desiring to penetrate into the secret of man’s soul, into the innermost nucleus which is “he.”
There is one way, a desperate one, to know the secret: it is that of complete power over another person; the power which makes him do what we want, feel what we want, think what we want; which transforms him into a thing, our thing, our possession. The ultimate degree of this attempt to know lies in the extremes of sadism, the desire and ability to make a human being suffer; to torture him, to force him to betray man’s secret in his suffering. In this craving for penetrating man’s secret, his and hence our own, lies an essential motivation for the depth and intensity of cruelty and destructiveness. In a very succinct way this idea has been expressed by Isaac Babel. He quotes a fellow officer in the Russian civil war, who has just stamped his former master to death, as saying: “With shooting—I’ll put it this way—with shooting you only get rid of a chap. . . . With shooting you’ll never get at the soul, to where it is in a fellow and how it shows itself. But I don’t spare myself, and I’ve more than once trampled an enemy for over an hour. You see, I want to get to know what life really is, what life’s like down our way.”
In children we often see this path to knowledge quite overtly. The child takes something apart, breaks it up in order to know it; or it takes an animal apart; cruelly tears off the wings of a butterfly in order to know it, to force its secret. The cruelty itself is motivated by something deeper: the wish to know the secret of things and of life.
The other path to knowing “the secret” is love. Love is active penetration of the other person, in which my desire to know know is stilled by union. In the act of fusion I know you, I know myself, I know everybody—and I “know” nothing. I know in the only way knowledge of that which is alive is possible for man—by experience of union—not by any knowledge our thought can give. Sadism is motivated by the wish to know the secret, yet I remain as ignorant as I was before. I have torn the other being apart limb from limb, yet all I have done is to destroy him. Love is the only way of knowledge, which in the act of union answers my quest. In the other person, I find myself, I discover myself, I discover us both, I discover man.
The longing to know ourselves and to know our fellow man has been expressed in the Delphic motto “Know thyself.” It is the mainspring of all psychology. But inasmuch as the desire is to know all of man, his innermost secret, the desire can never be fulfilled in knowledge of the ordinary kind, in knowledge only by thought. Even if we knew a thousand times more of ourselves, we would never reach bottom. We would still remain an enigma to ourselves, as our fellow man would remain an enigma to us. The only way of full knowledge lies in the act of love: this act transcends thought, it transcends words. It is the daring plunge into the experience of union. However, knowledge in thought, that is psychological knowledge, is a necessary condition for full knowledge in the act of love. I have to know the other person and myself objectively, in order to be able to see his reality, or rather, to overcome the illusions, the irrationally distorted picture I have of him. Only if I know a human being objectively can I know him in his ultimate essence, in the act of love.
The problem of knowing man is parallel to the religious problem of knowing God. In conventional Western theology the attempt is made to know God by thought, to make statements about God. It is assumed that I can know God in my thought. In mysticism, which is the consequent outcome of monotheism (as I shall try to show later on), the attempt is given up to know God by thought, and it is replaced by the experience of union with God in which there is no more room—and no need—for knowledge about God.
The experience of union, with man, or religiously speaking, with God, is by no means irrational. On the contrary, it is as Albert Schweitzer has pointed out, the consequence of rationalism, its most daring and radical consequence. It is based on our knowledge of the fundamental, and not accidental, limitations of our knowledge. It is the knowledge that we shall never “grasp” the secret of man and of the universe, but that we can know, nevertheless, in the act of love. Psychology as a science has its limitations, and, as the logical consequence of theology is mysticism, so the ultimate consequence of psychology is love.
Care, responsibility, respect and knowledge are mutually interdependent. They are a syndrome of attitudes which are to be found in the mature person; that is, in the person who develops his own powers productively, who only wants to have that which he has worked for, who has given up narcissistic dreams of omniscience and omnipotence, who has acquired humility based on the inner strength which only genuine productivity can give.
|“||The most fundamental kind of love, which underlies all types of loves is brotherly love. By this I mean the sense of responsibility, care, respect, knowledge of any other human being, the wish to further his life. This is the kind of love the Bible speaks of when it says: love thy neighbor as thyself. Brotherly love is love for all human beings; it is characterized by its very lack of exclusiveness. If I have developed the capacity for love, then I cannot help loving my brothers. In brotherly love there is experience of union with all men, of human solidarity, of human atonement. Brotherly love is based on the experience that we are all one. The differences in talents, intelligence, knowledge are negligible in comparison with the identity of the human core common to all men.||”|
|“||...an attitude of love toward themselves will be found in all those who are capable of loving others. Love, in principle, is indivisible as far as the connection between "objects" and one's own self is concerned. Genuine love is an expression of productiveness and implies care, respect, responsibility and knowledge. It is not an "affect" in the sense of being affected by somebody, but an active striving for the growth and happiness of the loved person, rooted in one's own capacity to love.
To love somebody is the actualization and concentration of power to love. The basic affirmation contained in love is directed toward the beloved person as an incarnation of essentially human qualities. Love of one person implies love of man as such. The kind of "division of labor," as William James calls it, by which one loves one's family but is without feeling for the "stranger," is a sign of a basic inability to love. Love of man is not, as is frequently supposed, an abstraction coming after the love for a specific person, but it is its premise, although genetically it is acquired in loving specific individuals.
From this it follows that my own self must be as much an object of my love as another person. The affirmation of one's own life, happiness, growth, freedom is rooted in one's capacity to love, i.e., in care, respect, responsibility, and knowledge. If an individual is able to love productively, he loves himself too; if he can love only others, he cannot love at all.
|“||The most important step in learning concentration is to learn to be alone with oneself without reading, listening to the radio, smoking or drinking. Indeed, to be able to concentrate means to be able to be alone with oneself - and this ability is precisely a condition for the ability to love. If I am attached to another person because I cannot stand on my own feet, he or she may be a lifesaver, but the relationship is not one of love. Paradoxically, the ability to be alone is the condition for the ability to love. Anyone who tries to be alone with himself will discover how difficult it is. He will begin to feel restless, fidgety, or even to sense considerable anxiety. He will be prone to rationalize his unwillingness to go on with this practice by thinking that it has no value, is just silly, that it takes too much time, and so on, and so on. He will also observe that all sorts of thoughts come to his mind which take possession of him. He will find himself thinking about his plans for later in the day, or about some difficulty in a job he has to do, or where to go in the evening, or about any number of things that will fill his mind - rather than permitting it to empty itself. It would be helpful to practice a few very simple exercises, as, for instance, to sit in a relaxed position (neither slouching, nor rigid), to close one's eyes, and to try to see a white screen in front of one's eyes, and to try to remove all interfering pictures and thoughts, then to try to follow one's breathing; not to think about it, nor force it, but· to follow it - and in doing so to sense it; furthermore to try to have a sense of "I"; I = myself, as the center of my powers, as the creator of my world. One should, at least, do such a concentration exercise every morning for twenty minutes (and if possible longer) and every evening before going to bed.||”|
- Life Without Principle Henry David Thoreau
- 2011: A Brave New Dystopia Chris Hedges
- The Way of Zen Alan Watts
- The Story of Philosophy Will Durant
- The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger
- La Historia de los Colores (The Story of Colors) Subcomandante Marcos and illustrated by Domitila Domínguez
- A Place Called Chiapas Nettie Wild Betsy Carson Kirk Tougas Manfred Becker
- The Sea Wolf Jack London
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Robert Pirsig
|“||This a priori motorcycle has been built up in our minds over many years from enormous amounts of sense data and it is constantly changing as new sense data come in. Some of the changes in this specific a priori motorcycle I'm riding are very quick and transitory, such as its relationship to the road. This I'm monitoring and correcting all the time as we take these curves and bends in the road. As soon as the information's of no more value I forget it because there's more coming in that must be monitored. Other changes in this a priori are slower: Disappearance of gasoline from the tank. Disappearance of rubber from the tires. Loosening of bolts and nuts. Change of gap between brake shoes and drums. Other aspects of the motorcycle change so slowly they seem permanent...the paint job, the wheel bearings, the control cables...yet these are constantly changing too. Finally, if one thinks in terms of really large amounts of time even the frame is changing slightly from the road shocks and thermal changes and forces of internal fatigue common to all metals.
It's quite a machine, this a priori motorcycle. If you stop to think about it long enough you'll see that it's the main thing. The sense data confirm it but the sense data aren't it. The motorcycle that I believe in an a priori way to be outside of myself is like the money I believe I have in the bank. If I were to go down to the bank and ask to see my money they would look at me a little peculiarly. They don't have "my money" in any little drawer that they can pull open to show me. "My money" is nothing but some east-west and north-south magnetic domains in some iron oxide resting on a roll of tape in a computer storage bin. But I'm satisfied with this because I've faith that if I need the things that money enables, the bank will provide the means, through their checking system, of getting it. Similarly, even though my sense data have never brought up anything that could be called "substance" I'm satisfied that there's a capability within the sense data of achieving the things that substance is supposed to do, and that the sense data will continue to match the a priori motorcycle of my mind. I say for the sake of convenience that I've money in the bank and say for the sake of convenience that substances compose the cycle I'm riding on. The bulk of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason is concerned with how this a priori knowledge is acquired and how it is employed.
Kant called his thesis that our a priori thoughts are independent of sense data and screen what we see a "Copernican revolution." By this he referred to Copernicus' statement that the earth moves around the sun. Nothing changed as a result of this revolution, and yet everything changed. Or, to put it in Kantian terms, the objective world producing our sense data did not change, but our a priori concept of it was turned inside out. The effect was overwhelming. It was the acceptance of the Copernican revolution that distinguishes modern man from his medieval predecessors.
What Copernicus did was take the existing a priori concept of the world, the notion that it was flat and fixed in space, and pose an alternative a priori concept of the world, that it's spherical and moves around the sun; and showed that both of the a priori concepts fitted the existing sensory data.
Kant felt he had done the same thing in metaphysics. If you presume that the a priori concepts in our heads are independent of what we see and actually screen what we see, this means that you are taking the old Aristotelian concept of scientific man as a passive observer, a "blank tablet," and truly turning this concept inside out. Kant and his millions of followers have maintained that as a result of this inversion you get a much more satisfying understanding of how we know things.
|“||Poincaré concluded that the axioms of geometry are conventions, our choice among all possible conventions is guided by experimental facts, but it remains free and is limited only by the necessity of avoiding all contradiction. Thus it is that the postulates can remain rigorously true even though the experimental laws that have determined their adoption are only approximative. The axioms of geometry, in other words, are merely disguised definitions.
Then, having identified the nature of geometric axioms, he turned to the question, Is Euclidian geometry true or is Riemann geometry true?
He answered, The question has no meaning.
As well ask whether the metric system is true and the avoirdupois system is false; whether Cartesian coordinates are true and polar coordinates are false. One geometry can not be more true than another; it can only be more convenient. Geometry is not true, it is advantageous.
Poincaré then went on to demonstrate the conventional nature of other concepts of science, such as space and time, showing that there isn't one way of measuring these entities that is more true than another; that which is generally adopted is only more convenient.
Our concepts of space and time are also definitions, selected on the basis of their convenience in handling the facts.
This radical understanding of our most basic scientific concepts is not yet complete, however. The mystery of what is space and time may be made more understandable by this explanation, but now the burden of sustaining the order of the universe rests on "facts." What are facts?
Poincaré proceeded to examine these critically. Which facts are you going to observe? he asked. There is an infinity of them. There is no more chance that an unselective observation of facts will produce science than there is that a monkey at a typewriter will produce the Lord's Prayer.
The same is true of hypotheses. Which hypotheses? Poincaré wrote, "If a phenomenon admits of a complete mechanical explanation it will admit of an infinity of others which will account equally well for all the peculiarities disclosed by experiment." This was the statement made by Phædrus in the laboratory; it raised the question that failed him out of school.
If the scientist had at his disposal infinite time, Poincaré said, it would only be necessary to say to him, "Look and notice well"; but as there isn't time to see everything, and as it's better not to see than to see wrongly, it's necessary for him to make a choice.
Poincaré laid down some rules: There is a hierarchy of facts.
The more general a fact, the more precious it is. Those which serve many times are better than those which have little chance of coming up again. Biologists, for example, would be at a loss to construct a science if only individuals and no species existed, and if heredity didn't make children like parents.
Which facts are likely to reappear? The simple facts. How to recognize them? Choose those that seem simple. Either this simplicity is real or the complex elements are indistinguishable. In the first case we're likely to meet this simple fact again either alone or as an element in a complex fact. The second case too has a good chance of recurring since nature doesn't randomly construct such cases.
- The Glass Castle Jeannette Walls
- An Unquite Mind Kay Redfield Jamison
- The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: An Investigative Reporter Exposes the Truth about Globalization, Corporate Cons, and High Finance Fraudsters Greg Palast
- On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (essay) Henry David Thoreau
|“||I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe — "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.||”|
|“||They who know of no purer sources of truth, who have traced up its stream no higher, stand, and wisely stand, by the Bible and the Constitution, and drink at it there with reverence and humility; but they who behold where it comes trickling into this lake or that pool, gird up their loins once more, and continue their pilgrimage toward its fountain-head.||”|
- Walden Henry David Thoreau
- Culture Jam Kalle Lasn
- On the Road Jack Kerouac
- The Universe in a Nutshell Stephen Hawking
- On Hacking Richard Stallman
|“||The hacking community developed at MIT and some other universities in the 1960s and 1970s. Hacking included a wide range of activities, from writing software, to practical jokes, to exploring the roofs and tunnels of the MIT campus. Other activities, performed far from MIT and far from computers, also fit hackers' idea of what hacking means: for instance, I think the controversial 1950s "musical piece" by John Cage, 4'33", is more of a hack than a musical composition. The palindromic three-part piece written by Guillaume de Machaut in the 1300s, "Ma Fin Est Mon Commencement", was also a good hack, even better because it also sounds good as music. Puck appreciated hack value.
It is hard to write a simple definition of something as varied as hacking, but I think what these activities have in common is playfulness, cleverness, and exploration. Thus, hacking means exploring the limits of what is possible, in a spirit of playful cleverness. Activities that display playful cleverness have "hack value".
Hackers typically had little respect for the silly rules that administrators like to impose, so they looked for ways around. For instance, when computers at MIT started to have "security" (that is, restrictions on what users could do), some hackers found clever ways to bypass the security, partly so they could use the computers freely, and partly just for the sake of cleverness (hacking does not need to be useful). However, only some hackers did this—many were occupied with other kinds of cleverness, such as placing some amusing object on top of MIT's great dome, finding a way to do a certain computation with only 5 instructions when the shortest known program required 6, writing a program to print numbers in roman numerals, or writing a program to understand questions in English.
|“||Every decision a person makes stems from the person's values and goals. People can have many different goals and values; fame, profit, love, survival, fun, and freedom, are just some of the goals that a good person might have. When the goal is a matter of principle, we call that idealism.
My work on free software is motivated by an idealistic goal: spreading freedom and cooperation. I want to encourage free software to spread, replacing proprietary software that forbids cooperation, and thus make our society better.
That's the basic reason why the GNU General Public License is written the way it is—as a copyleft. All code added to a GPL-covered program must be free software, even if it is put in a separate file. I make my code available for use in free software, and not for use in proprietary software, in order to encourage other people who write software to make it free as well. I figure that since proprietary software developers use copyright to stop us from sharing, we cooperators can use copyright to give other cooperators an advantage of their own: they can use our code.
Free as in freedom
The term “free software” is sometimes misunderstood—it has nothing to do with price. It is about freedom. Here, therefore, is the definition of free software.
A program is free software, for you, a particular user, if:
Since “free” refers to freedom, not to price, there is no contradiction between selling copies and free software. In fact, the freedom to sell copies is crucial: collections of free software sold on CD-ROMs are important for the community, and selling them is an important way to raise funds for free software development. Therefore, a program which people are not free to include on these collections is not free software.
Because of the ambiguity of “free”, people have long looked for alternatives, but no one has found a better term. The English language has more words and nuances than any other, but it lacks a simple, unambiguous, word that means “free”, as in freedom—“unfettered” being the word that comes closest in meaning. Such alternatives as “liberated”, “freedom”, and “open” have either the wrong meaning or some other disadvantage.
Copyleft and the GNU GPL
The goal of GNU was to give users freedom, not just to be popular. So we needed to use distribution terms that would prevent GNU software from being turned into proprietary software. The method we use is called “copyleft”.
Copyleft uses copyright law, but flips it over to serve the opposite of its usual purpose: instead of a means for restricting a program, it becomes a means for keeping the program free.
The central idea of copyleft is that we give everyone permission to run the program, copy the program, modify the program, and distribute modified versions—but not permission to add restrictions of their own. Thus, the crucial freedoms that define “free software” are guaranteed to everyone who has a copy; they become inalienable rights.
- The Doors of Perception Aldous Huxley
- Night Elie Wiesel
- Various Michael Crichton novels
- The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy J. R. R. Tolkien
- Ender's Game Orson Scott Card
- Brave New World Aldous Huxley
- The Giver Lois Lowry
Unread (and other actions)
- Fight Club Chuck Palahniuk
- Watership Down Richard Adams
- Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell
- Animal Farm George Orwell
- The Corporation Joel Bakan
- Ecology of Commerce Paul Hawken
- Dune Frank Herbert
- Foundation Isaac Asimov
- Propaganda Edward Bernays
|“||THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.
We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet. They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons—a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million—who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.
|“||But clearly it is the intelligent minorities which need to make use of propaganda continuously and systematically. In the active proselytizing minorities in whom selfish interests and public interests coincide lie the progress and development of America. Only through the active energy of the intelligent few can the public at large become aware of and act upon new ideas.
Small groups of persons can, and do, make the rest of us think what they please about a given subject. But there are usually proponents and opponents of every propaganda, both of whom are equally eager to convince the majority.
|“||WHO are the men who, without our realizing it, give us our ideas, tell us whom to admire and whom to despise, what to believe about the ownership of public utilities, about the tariff, about the price of rubber, about the Dawes Plan, about immigration; who tell us how our houses should be designed, what furniture we should put into them, what menus we should serve on our table, what kind of shirts we must wear, what sports we should indulge in, what plays we should see, what charities we should support, what pictures we should admire, what slang we should affect, what jokes we should laugh at?||”|
|“||Modern industrial civilization has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilization has been individual material gain, which is accepted as legitimate, even praiseworthy, on the grounds that private vices yield public benefits, in the classic formulation. Now, it has long been understood, very well, that a society that is based on this principle will destroy itself in time. It can only persist, with whatever suffering and injustice that it entails, as long as it is possible to pretend that the destructive forces that humans create are limited, that the world is an infinite resource, and that the world is an infinite garbage can. At this stage of history either one of two things is possible. Either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community interests, guided by values of solidarity, sympathy and concern for others, or alternatively there will be no destiny for anyone to control. As long as some specialized class is in a position of authority, it is going to set policy in the special interests that it serves. But the conditions of survival, let alone justice, require rational social planning in the interests of the community as a whole, and by now that means the global community. The question is whether privileged elite should dominate mass communication and should use this power as they tell us they must—namely to impose necessary illusions, to manipulate and deceive the stupid majority and remove them from the public arena. The question in brief, is whether democracy and freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avoided. In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than values to be treasured; they may well be essential to survival.||”|
- Fast Food Nation Eric Schlosser
- The World's Religions Huston Smith
- What to Listen for in Music Aaron Copland
- The Pilgrim's Progress John Bunyan
- Qur'an Various Authors
- Bible Various Authors
|“||16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts;
17 do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this," declares the LORD.
|“||34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.
35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
|“||35 'For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
40b 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'
|“||ΠΡΑΞΕΙΣ ΤΩΝ ΑΠΟΣΤΟΛΩΝ 4:32-35 1550 Stephanus New Testament (TR1550)
32 του δε πληθους των πιστευσαντων ην η καρδια και η ψυχη μια και ουδε εις τι των υπαρχοντων αυτω ελεγεν ιδιον ειναι αλλ ην αυτοις απαντα κοινα
33 και μεγαλη δυναμει απεδιδουν το μαρτυριον οι αποστολοι της αναστασεως του κυριου ιησου χαρις τε μεγαλη ην επι παντας αυτους
34 ουδε γαρ ενδεης τις υπηρχεν εν αυτοις οσοι γαρ κτητορες χωριων η οικιων υπηρχον πωλουντες εφερον τας τιμας των πιπρασκομενων
35 και ετιθουν παρα τους ποδας των αποστολων διεδιδοτο δε εκαστω καθοτι αν τις χρειαν ειχεν
|“||1 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
|“||25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.||”|
The more laws and restrictions there are,
- The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism Max Weber
- Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei (The Manifesto of the Communist Party) Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
- Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge George Berkeley
- Beobachtungen über das Gefühl des Schönen und Erhabenen (Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime) Immanuel Kant
- The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God Immanuel Kant
- Kritik der reinen Vernunft (Critique of Pure Reason) Immanuel Kant
- Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics Immanuel Kant
- Discours de la méthode (Discourse on Method) René Descartes
- Iliad Homer
- Odyssey Homer
- A Brief History of Time Stephen Hawking
- A Briefer History of Time Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow
- Industrial Society and Its Future Theodore Kaczynski
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X Alex Haley
- The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin
- Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man Marshall McLuhan
|“||In a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that, in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium - that is, of any extension of ourselves - result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology. Thus, with automation, for example, the new patterns of human association tend to eliminate jobs, it is true. That is the negative result. Positively, automation creates roles for people, which is to say depth of involvement in their work and human association that our preceding mechanical technology had destroyed. Many people would be disposed to say that it was not the machine, but what one did with the machine, that was its meaning or message. In terms of the ways in which the machine altered our relations to one another and to ourselves, it mattered not in the least whether it turned out cornflakes or Cadillacs. The restructuring of human work and association was shaped by the technique of fragmentation that is the essence of machine technology. The essence of automation technology is the opposite. It is integral and decentralist in depth, just as the machine was fragmentary, centralist, and superficial in its patterning of human relationships.
The instance of the electric light may prove illuminating in this connection. The electric light is pure information. It is a medium without a message, as it were, unless it is used to spell out some verbal ad or name. This fact, characteristic of all media, means that the "content" of any medium is always another medium. The content of writing is speech, just as the written word is the content of print, and print is the content of the telegraph. If it is asked, "What is the content of speech?," it is necessary to say, "It is an actual process of thought, which is in itself nonverbal." An abstract painting represents direct manifestation of creative thought processes as they might appear in computer designs. What we are considering here, however, are the psychic and social consequences of the designs or patterns as they amplify or accelerate existing processes. For the "message" of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human ; affairs. The railway did not introduce movement or transportation or wheel or road into human society, but it accelerated and enlarged the scale of previous human functions, creating totally new kinds of cities and new kinds of work and leisure. This happened whether the railway functioned in a tropical or a northern environment, and is quite independent of the freight or content of the railway medium. The airplane, on the other hand, by accelerating the rate of transportation, tends to dissolve the railway form of city, politics, and association, quite independently of what the airplane is used for.
Let us return to the electric light. Whether the light is being used for brain surgery or night baseball is a matter of indifference. It could be argued that these activities are in some way the "content" of the electric fight, since they could not exist without the electric light. This fact merely underlines the point that "the medium is the message" because it is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action. The content or uses of such media are as diverse as they are ineffectual in shaping the form of human association. Indeed, it is only too typical that the "content" of any medium blinds us to the character of the medium. It is only today that industries have become aware of the various kinds of business in which they are engaged. When IBM discovered that it was not in the business of making office equipment or business machines, but that it was in the business of processing information, then it began to navigate with clear vision. The General Electric Company makes a considerable portion of its profits from electric light bulbs and lighting systems. It has not yet discovered that, quite as much as A.T.&T., it is in the business of moving information.
The electric light escapes attention as a communication medium just because it has no "content." And this makes it an invaluable instance of how people fail to study media at all. For it is not till the electric light is used to spell out some brand name that it is noticed as a medium. Then it is not the light but the "content" (or what is really another medium) that is noticed. The message of the electric light is like the message of electric power in industry, totally radical, pervasive, and decentralized. For electric light and power are separate from their uses, yet they eliminate time and space factors in human association exactly as do radio, telegraph, telephone, and TV, creating involvement in depth.
- Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace Lawrence Lessig
- The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World Lawrence Lessig
- Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity Lawrence Lessig
- Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman Richard Stallman
- Hopscotch Julio Cortázar
- Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present Michael Oren
- Travels Michael Crichton
- Next Michael Crichton
- The Republic Plato
- Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Jared Diamond
- Why Is It Always About You? Sandy Hotchkiss
- Happiness Is a Choice chapters 8 and 9 Frank Minirth and Paul Meier
- Great Books of the Western World Encyclopædia Britannica Inc.
- The Stand Stephen King
- Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) Isaac Newton
- The Razor's Edge W. Somerset Maugham
- The Art of Learning Joshua Waitzkin
- Black Elk Speaks Black Elk and John Neihardt
- The Law of Peoples John Rawls
- Simulacra and Simulation Jean Baudrillard
- Neuromancer William Gibson
- Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World Kevin Kelly
- Introducing Evolutionary Psychology Dylan Evans
- The Theory of the Leisure Class Thorstein Veblen
- Children of Men Phyllis Dorothy James
- The Voyage of the Beagle Charles Darwin
- Roads to Freedom Bertrand Russell
- The Hunt for Red October Tom Clancy
- Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra) Friedrich Nietzsche
- The New Rulers of the World John Pilger
- Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press Alexander Cockburn
- Killing Hope: U. S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II William Blum - READ THIS ONE ASAP
|“||The standard "textbook" account of what took place in Iran in 1953 is that-whatever else one might say for or against the operation-the United States saved Iran from a Soviet/Communist takeover. Yet, during the two years of American and British subversion of a bordering country, the Soviet Union did nothing that would support such a premise.
When the British Navy staged the largest concentration of its forces since World War II in Iranian waters, the Soviets took no belligerent steps; nor when Great Britain instituted draconian international sanctions which left Iran in a deep economic crisis and extremely vulnerable, did the oil fields "fall hostage" to the Bolshevik Menace; this, despite "the whole of the Tudeh Party at its disposal" as agents, as Roosevelt put it. Not even in the face of the coup, with its imprint of foreign hands, did Moscow make a threatening move; neither did Mossadegh at any point ask for Russian help.
One year later, however, the New York Times could editorialize that "Moscow ... counted its chickens before they were hatched and thought that Iran would be the next 'People's Democracy'. At the same time, the newspaper warned, with surprising arrogance, that "underdeveloped countries with rich resources now have an object lesson in the heavy cost that must be paid by one of their number which goes berserk with fanatical nationalism."
- Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA Tim Weiner
- The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America Peter Dale Scott
- Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina Peter Dale Scott
- An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations Adam Smith
|“||The second duty of the sovereign, that of protecting, as far as possible, every member of the society from the injustice or oppression of every other member of it, or the duty of establishing an exact administration of justice, requires, too, very different degrees of expense in the different periods of society.
Among nations of hunters, as there is scarce any property, or at least none that exceeds the value of two or three days' labour, so there is seldom any established magistrate or any regular administration of justice. Men who have no property can injure one another only in their persons or reputations. But when one man kills, wounds, beats, or defames another, though he to whom the injury is done suffers, he who does it receives no benefit. It is otherwise with the injuries to property. The benefit of the person who does the injury is often equal to the loss of him who suffers it. Envy, malice, or resentment are the only passions which can prompt one man to injure another in his person or reputation. But the greater part of men are not very frequently under the influence of those passions, and the very worst of men are so only occasionally. As their gratification too, how agreeable soever it may be to certain characters, is not attended with any real or permanent advantage, it is in the greater part of men commonly restrained by prudential considerations. Men may live together in society with some tolerable degree of security, though there is no civil magistrate to protect them from the injustice of those passions. But avarice and ambition in the rich, in the poor the hatred of labour and the love of present ease and enjoyment, are the passions which prompt to invade property, passions much more steady in their operation, and much more universal in their influence. Wherever there is great property there is great inequality. For one very rich man there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many. The affluence of the rich excites the indignation of the poor, who are often both driven by want, and prompted by envy, to invade his possessions. It is only under the shelter of the civil magistrate that the owner of that valuable property, which is acquired by the labour of many years, or perhaps of many successive generations, can sleep a single night in security. He is at all times surrounded by unknown enemies, whom, though he never provoked, he can never appease, and from whose injustice he can be protected only by the powerful arm of the civil magistrate continually held up to chastise it. The acquisition of valuable and extensive property, therefore, necessarily requires the establishment of civil government. Where there is no property, or at least none that exceeds the value of two or three days' labour, civil government is not so necessary.
|“||But what all the violence of the feudal institutions could never have effected, the silent and insensible operation of foreign commerce and manufactures gradually brought about. These gradually furnished the great proprietors with something for which they could exchange the whole surplus produce of their lands, and which they could consume themselves without sharing it either with tenants or retainers. All for ourselves and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. As soon, therefore, as they could find a method of consuming the whole value of their rents themselves, they had no disposition to share them with any other persons. For a pair of diamond buckles, perhaps, or for something as frivolous and useless, they exchanged the maintenance, or what is the same thing, the price of the maintenance of a thousand men for a year, and with it the whole weight and authority which it could give them. The buckles, however, were to be all their own, and no other human creature was to have any share of them; whereas in the more ancient method of expense they must have shared with at least a thousand people. With the judges that were to determine the preference this difference was perfectly decisive; and thus, for the gratification of the most childish, the meanest, and the most sordid of all vanities, they gradually bartered their whole power and authority.||”|
- The Devil Drives: A Life of Sir Richard Burton Fawn M. Brodie
- Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History Fawn M. Brodie
- The Jefferson Image in the American Mind Merrill D. Peterson
- Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation Merrill D. Peterson
- Common Sense Thomas Paine
- A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace John Perry Barlow
- What Has Government Done to Our Money? Murray Rothbard
- The Paradox of Choice Barry Schwartz
- Marijuana Reconsidered Lester Grinspoon
- What to Eat Marion Nestle
- The Botany of Desire Michael Pollan
- The Omnivore's Dilemma Michael Pollan
- Second Nature Michael Pollan
- The Shock Doctrine Naomi Klein
|“||Of all the constraints on the new government, it was the market that proved most confining—and this, in a way, is the genius of unfettered capitalism: it’s self-enforcing. Once countries have opened themselves up to the global market’s temperamental moods, any departure from Chicago School orthodoxy is instantly punished by traders in New York and London who bet against the offending country’s currency, causing a deeper crisis and the need for more loans, with more conditions attached. Mandela acknowledged the trap in 1997, telling the ANC’s national conference, "The very mobility of capital and the globalisation of the capital and other markets, make it impossible for countries, for instance, to decide national economic policy without regard to the likely response of these markets."||”|
- Confessions of an Economic Hit Man John Perkins
- The Creature from Jekyll Island G. Edward Griffin
- Pieces of Eight: The Monetary Powers and Disabilities of the United States Edwin Vieira
- Money: Ye shall have honest weights and measures James E. Ewart
- The Law Frédéric Bastiat
- Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions Edwin Abbott Abbott
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll
- Through the Looking-Glass Lewis Carroll
- The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot Naomi Wolf
- The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates Ralph Ketcham
- The Tecate Journals: Seventy Days on the Rio Grande Keith Bowden
- How to Lie with Statistics Darrell Huff
- Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror Michael Scheuer
- The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test Tom Wolfe
- The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations James Surowiecki
- The Long Tail Chris Anderson
- Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams
- Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy David D. Burns
- Cognitive Therapy of Depression Aaron T. Beck A. John Rush Brian F. Shaw Gary Emery
- The Revolution: A Manifesto Ron Paul
- Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health L. Ron Hubbard
- Scientology: A New Slant on Life L. Ron Hubbard
- Moveable Feasts: From Ancient Rome to the 21st Century, the Incredible Journeys of the Food We Eat Sarah Murray
- The Puzzle Palace James Bamford
- Body of Secrets James Bamford
- A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies James Bamford
- America's Great Depression Murray Rothbard
- The Roosevelt Myth John T. Flynn
- Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government Robert Higgs
- Depression, War and Cold War: Studies in Political Economy Robert Higgs
- Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand
- Space Cadet Robert A. Heinlein
- Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein
- Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West Benazir Bhutto
- Brain Rules Dr. John Medina
- The Jungle Book Rudyard Kipling
- The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence Ray Kurzweil
- Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things Michael Braungart and William McDonough
- The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science Dr. Norman Doidge
- 2001: A Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke
- The City and the Stars Arthur C. Clarke
- The Songs of Distant Earth Arthur C. Clarke
- Rendezvous with Rama Arthur C. Clarke
- The Fountains of Paradise Arthur C. Clarke
- The Size of the World Jeff Greenwald
- Mister Raja's Neighborhood: Letters from Nepal Jeff Greenwald
- Shopping for Buddhas Jeff Greenwald
- The Art of Computer Programming Donald Knuth
- Stumbling on Happiness Daniel Gilbert
- Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth Richard Buckminster Fuller
- John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights David S. Reynolds recommended by classmate John D.
- The Black Swan Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- Be Here Now Ram Dass
- Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything Steven Levitt
- The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness Ronald David Laing
- The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge Carlos Castaneda
- A Separate Reality Carlos Castaneda
- 孫子兵法 (Chinese); Sūn Zǐ Bīng Fǎ (pinyin) (The Art of War) Sun Tzu
- Buddenbrooks Thomas Mann
- Future Shock Alvin Toffler
|“||We have the opportunity to introduce additional stability points and rituals into our society, such as new holidays, pageants, ceremonies, and games. Such mechanisms could not only provide a backdrop of continuity in everyday life but serve to integrate societies and cushion them somewhat against the fragmenting impact of super-industrialism.||”|
|“||The black revolt of the 1950s and 1960s-North and South-came as a surprise. But perhaps it should not have. The memory of oppressed people is one thing that cannot be taken away, and for such people, with such memories, revolt is always an inch below the surface. For blacks in the United States, there was the memory of slavery, and after that of segregation, lynching, humiliation. And it was not just a memory but a living presence-part of the daily lives of blacks in generation after generation.
In the 1930s, Langston Hughes wrote a poem, "Lenox Avenue Mural":
What happens to a dream deferred?
In a society of complex controls, both crude and refined, secret thoughts can often he found in the arts, and so it was in black society. Perhaps the blues, however pathetic, concealed anger; and the jazz, however joyful, portended rebellion.
- The Outline of History H. G. Wells
- In Defense of Women H. L. Mencken
- 西游记 (Chinese); Xī Yóu Jì (pinyin) (Journey to the West) Wu Cheng'en
- Up Against the Wall MotherF**ker: A Memoir of the '60s, with Notes for Next Time Osha Newman
- "Takin' it to the streets": a sixties reader Various Authors
- The Zapatista Reader Tom Hayden
|“||Man is fundamentally a creative, searching, self-perfecting being: "to inquire and to create–these are the centers around which all human pursuits more or less directly revolve." But freedom of thought and enlightenment are not only for the elite. Once again echoing Rousseau, Humboldt states: "there is something degrading to human nature in the idea of refusing to any man the right to be a man." He is, then, optimistic about the effects on all of "the diffusion of scientific knowledge by freedom and enlightenment." But "all moral culture springs solely and immediately from the inner life of the soul, and can only be stimulated in human nature, and never produced by external and artificial contrivances. . . . The cultivation of the understanding, as of any of man's other faculties, is generally achieved by his own activity, his own ingenuity, or his own methods of using the discoveries of others. . . ." Education, then, must provide the opportunities for self-fulfillment; it can at best provide a rich a challenging environment for the individual to explore, in his own way. Even a language cannot, strictly speaking, be taught, but only "awakened in the mind: one can only provide the thread along which it will develop itself." I think that Humboldt would have found congenial much of Dewey's thinking about education. And he might also have appreciated the recent revolutionary extension of such ideas, for example, by the radical Catholics of Latin America who are concerned with the "awakening of consciousness," referring to "the transformation of the passive exploited lower classes into conscious and critical masters of their own destinies" much in the manner of Third World revolutionaries elsewhere. He would, I am sure, have approved of their criticism of schools that are more preoccupied with the transmission of knowledge than with the creation among other values, of a critical spirit. From the social point of view, the educational systems are oriented to maintaining the existing social and economic structures instead of transforming them.||”|
- Outliers Malcolm Gladwell
- The Immense Journey: An Imaginative Naturalist Explores the Mysteries of Man and Nature Loren Eiseley
- The Firmament of Time Loren Eiseley
- A New Kind of Science Stephen Wolfram
- Debunking Economics Steve Keen
- The Condition of Postmodernity David Harvey
- The Limits of Capital David Harvey
- The Geopolotics of Capitalism (essay) David Harvey
- Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography David Harvey
- Leviathan, The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil Thomas Hobbes
- The Iron Heel Jack London
circus pirade by jim tully *claytons list begins liquid gold: the lore and logic of using urine to grow plants by carol steinfeld frostbite by arno rafael minkkinen alone at sea by hannes lindemann a language older than words by derrick jensen hunger by knut hamsun the thiefs journal by jean genet prison writings in 20th century america by h bruce franklin together alone by ron falconer sea kayaking: a manual for long distance touring by john dowd rolling nowhere by ted conover alone by richard byrd stone hotel by raegan butcher willard and his bowling trophies by richard brautigan you cant win by jack black boat building and boating by daniel beard stories of eva luna by isabel allende the american dream and zoo story by edward albee desert solitaire by edward abbey *end of claytons list for you
- Fear of Freedom (UK title) Escape from Freedom (US title) Erich Fromm
- How to Read a Book chapter one Mortimer Jerome Adler
- Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle Carl Jung
- The Undiscovered Self Carl Jung
- Tropic of Cancer Henry Miller
- Unto This Last John Ruskin
- Det sjunde inseglet (The Seventh Seal), a film by Ingmar Bergman
- The Fugitive, a poem by Rabindranath Tagore
- First As Tragedy, Then As Farce Slavoj Žižek
- The Claim of Reason Stanley Cavell
- Das Kapital: Kritik der politischen Ökonomie (The Capital: Critique of Political Economy) Karl Marx
- The Limits to Growth Donella Meadows
- Beyond Developmentality Debal Deb
- The Corrections Jonathan Franzen
- How to Be Alone Jonathan Franzen
- Freedom Jonathan Franzen
- The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness Ronald David Laing
- The Kingdom of God Is Within You Leo Tolstoy
- A Letter to a Hindu Leo Tostoy
- Atma Siddhi Shrimad Rajchandra
- Man's Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl
- Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business Neil Postman
|“||We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.
But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another-slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision ... people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.
- The Cult of the Amateur Andrew Keen
- Wild Nights David Deida
- Gender Trouble Judith Butler
- The China Study T. Colin Campbell
- The Diary of Adam and Eve Mark Twain
- The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey Spencer Wells
- Stillness Speaks Eckhart Tolle
- The Perennial Philosophy Aldous Huxley
- What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry John Markoff
- The Will to Believe William James
- The Principles of Psychology William James
- The Varieties of Religious Experience William James
- Training for the Life of the Spirit Gerald Heard
- The Closing of the American Mind Allan Bloom
- Here on Earth Tim Flannery
- The End of Faith Sam Harris
- Exercices de style (Exercises in Style) Raymond Queneau
- Letters to a Young Poet Rainer Maria Rilke
- Keep the Aspidistra Flying George Orwell
- The Human Condition Hannah Arendt
- Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe Hayden White
- La Rebelión de las Masas (The Rebellion of the Masses) José Ortega y Gasset
- El Ingenioso Hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha (The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha) Miguel de Cervantes
- Post-Scarcity Anarchism Murray Bookchin
- Our Synthetic Environment Murray Bookchin
- Silent Spring Rachel Carson
- Debt: The First 5,000 Years David Graeber
|“||Freuchen tells how one day, after coming home hungry from an unsuccessful walrus-hunting expedition, he found one of the successful hunters dropping off several hundred pounds of meat. He thanked him profusely. The man objected indignantly:
"Up in our country we are human!" said the hunter. "And since we are human we help each other. We don't like to hear anybody say thanks for that. What I get today you may get tomorrow. Up here we say that by gifts one makes slaves and by whips one makes dogs."
|“||The last thirty years have seen the construction of a vast bureaucratic apparatus for the creation and maintenance of hopelessness, a giant machine designed, first and foremost, to destroy any sense of possible alternative futures. At its root is a veritable obsession on the part of the rulers of the world... with ensuring that social movements cannot be seen to grow, flourish, or propose alternatives; that those who challenge existing power arrangements can never, under any circumstances, be perceived to win.||”|
|“||Ancient Rome (Property and Freedom)
German legal theorist Rudolf von Jhering famously remarked that ancient Rome had conquered the world three times: the first time through its armies, the second through its religion, the third through its laws. He might have added: each time more thoroughly. The Empire, after all, only spanned a tiny portion of the globe; the Roman Catholic Church has spread farther; Roman law has come to provide the language and conceptual underpinnings of legal and constitutional orders everywhere. Law students from South Africa to Peru are expected to spend a good deal of their time memorizing technical terms in Latin, and it is Roman law that provides almost all our basic conceptions about contract, obligation, torts, property, and jurisdiction-and, in a broader sense, of citizenship, rights, and liberties on which political life, too, is based.
This was possible, Jhering held, because, the Romans were the first to turn jurisprudence into a genuine science. Perhaps-but for all that, it remains true that Roman law has a few notoriously quirky features, some so odd that they have confused and confounded jurists ever since Roman law was revived in Italian universities in the High Middle Ages. The most notorious of these is the unique way it defines property. In Roman law, property, or dominium, is a relation between a person and a thing, characterized by absolute power of that person over that thing. This definition has caused endless conceptual problems. First of all, it's not clear what it would mean for a human to have a " relation" with an inanimate object. Human beings can have relations with one another. But what would it mean to have a "relation" with a thing? And if one did, what would it mean to give that relation legal standing? A simple illustration will suffice: imagine a man trapped on a desert island. He might develop extremely personal relationships with, say, the palm trees growing on that island . If he's there too long, he might well end up giving them all names and spending half his time having imaginary conversations with them. Still, does he own them? The question is meaningless. There's no need to worry about property rights if noone else is there.
Clearly, then, property is not really a relation between a person and a thing. It's an understanding or arrangement between people concerning things. The only reason that we sometimes fail to notice this is that in many cases-particularly when we are talking about our rights over our shoes, or cars, or power tools-we are talking of rights held, as English law puts it, "against all the world"-that is, understandings between ourselves and everyone else on the planet, that they will all refrain from interfering with our possessions, and therefore allow us to treat them more or less any way we like. A relation between one person and everyone else on the planet is, understandably, difficult to conceive as such. It's easier to think of it as a relationship with a thing. But even here, in practice this freedom to do as one likes turns out to be fairly limited. To say that the fact that I own a chainsaw gives me an "absolute power" to do anything I want with it is obviously absurd. Almost anything I might think of doing with a chainsaw outside my own home or land is likely to be illegal, and there are only a limited number of things I can really do with it inside. The only thing " absolute" about my rights to a chainsaw is my right to prevent anyone else from using it.
Nonetheless, Roman law does insist that the basic form of property is private property, and that private property is the owner's absolute power to do anything he wants with his possessions. Twelfth-century Medieval jurists came to refine this into three principles, usus (use of the thing), fructus (fruits, i.e., enjoyment of the products of the thing), and abusus (abuse or destruction of the thing), but Roman jurists weren't even interested in specifying that much, since in a certain way, they saw the details as lying entirely outside the domain of law. In fact, scholars have spent a great deal of time debating whether Roman authors actually considered private property to be a right (ius), for the very reason that rights were ultimately based on agreements between people, and one's power to dispose of one's property was not: it was just one's natural ability to do whatever one pleased when social impediments were absent.
- L'Étranger (The Stranger) Albert Camus
- El amor en los tiempos del cólera (Love in the Time of Cholera) Gabriel García Márquez ~ WOW
- The Gift Marcel Mauss
- Manual of Ethnography Marcel Mauss
- Under the Net Iris Murdoch
- Living My Life Emma Goldman
- Metaphors We Live By George Lakoff and Mark Johnson
- Philosophy in the Flesh: the Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought George Lakoff
- The Stuff of Thought: Language As a Window Into Human Nature Steven Pinker
- Voices from the Love Generation Leonard Wolf
- The Love Book Lenore Kandel
- Turtle Island Gary Snyder
For the Children
The rising hills, the slopes,
- Civilization and Its Discontents Sigmund Freud
- Anarchism, Marxism and the Future of the Left. Interviews and Essays, 1993-1998 Murray Bookchin
- Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism Sheldon S. Wolin
|“||Inverted totalitarianism reverses things. It is all politics all of the time but a politics largely untempered by the political. Party squabbles are occasionally on public display, and there is a frantic and continuous politics among factions of party, interest groups, competing corporate powers, and rival media concerns. And there is, of course, the culminating moment of national elections when the attention of the nation is required to make a choice of personalities rather than a choice between alternatives. What is absent is the political, the commitment to finding where the common good lies amidst the welter of well-financed, highly organized, single-minded interests rabidly seeking governmental favors and overwhelming the practices of representative government and public administration by a sea of cash.||”|
- London Letters George Orwell
- Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought Sheldon S. Wolin
|“||While the versions of totalitarianism represented by Nazism and Fascism consolidated power by suppressing liberal political practices that had sunk only shallow cultural roots, Superpower represents a drive towards totality that draws from the setting where liberalism and democracy have been established for more than two centuries. It is Nazism turned upside-down, “inverted totalitarianism.” While it is a system that aspires to totality, it is driven by an ideology of the cost-effective rather than of a “master race” (Herrenvolk), by the material rather than the “ideal.”||”|
- La Trahison des Clercs (The Betrayal of the Intellectuals, or The Treason of the Learned) Julien Benda
- The Great Transformation Karl Polanyi
- Fascism and the American Scene Dwight Macdonald
- Public Opinion Walter Lippmann
- The Anatomy of Revolution Crane Brinton
- Go Tell It on the Mountain James Baldwin
- Братья Карамазовы (Brat'ya Karamazovy, The Brothers Karamozov) Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- The Dispossessed Ursula K. Le Guin
- In the Presence of Fear: Three Essays for a Changed World Wendell Berry
- The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community David Korten
- When Corporations Rule the World David Korten
- México Profundo: Una Civilización Negada (Deep Mexico: A Civilisation Denied) Guillermo Bonfil Batalla
- Transformation and Healing: Sutra on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness Thích Nhất Hạnh
- Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation Norman E. Rosenthal
- The Evolving Self Robert Kegan
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness Michelle Alexander
- The Cross and the Lynching Tree James Hal Cone
- Race Matters Cornel West
- Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism Cornel West
- The New Industrial State John Kenneth Galbraith
- The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature Steven Pinker
- Жизнь и судьба (Life and Fate) Vasily Grossman
- Anarchist Portraits Paul Avrich
- The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom Jonathan Haidt
- The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations Ori Brafman
- Black Folk Here and There: An Essay in History and Anthropology St. Clair Drake
- Les Damnés de la Terre (The Wretched of the Earth) Frantz Fanon
|“||National liberation, national renaissance, the restoration of nationhood to the people, commonwealth: whatever may be the headings used or the new formulas introduced, decolonization is always a violent phenomenon. At whatever level we study it--relationships between individuals, new names for sports clubs, the human admixture at cocktail parties, in the police, on the directing boards of national or private banks--decolonization is quite simply the replacing of a certain "species" of men by another "species" of men. Without any period of transition, there is a total, complete, and absolute substitution. It is true that we could equally well stress the rise of a new nation, the setting up of a new state, its diplomatic relations, and its economic and political trends. But we have precisely chosen to speak of that kind of tabula rasa which characterizes at the outset all decolonization. Its unusual importance is that it constitutes, from the very first day, the minimum demands of the colonized. To tell the truth, the proof of success lies in a whole social structure being changed from the bottom up. The extraordinary importance of this change is that it is willed, called for, demanded. The need for this change exists in its crude state, impetuous and compelling, in the consciousness and in the lives of the men and women who are colonized. But the possibility of this change is equally experienced in the form of a terrifying future in the consciousness of another "species" of men and women: the colonizers.
Decolonization, which sets out to change the order of the world, is, obviously, a program of complete disorder. But it cannot come as a result of magical practices, nor of a natural shock, nor of a friendly understanding. Decolonization, as we know, is a historical process: that is to say that it cannot be understood, it cannot become intelligible nor clear to itself except in the exact measure that we can discern the movements which give it historical form and content. Decolonization is the meeting of two forces, opposed to each other by their very nature, which in fact owe their originality to that sort of substantification which results from and is nourished by the situation in the colonies. Their first encounter was marked by violence and their existence together--that is to say the exploitation of the native by the settler--was carried on by dint of a great array of bayonets and cannons. The settler and the native are old acquaintances. In fact, the settler is right when he speaks of knowing "them" well. For it is the settler who has brought the native into existence and who perpetuates his existence. The settler owes the fact of his very existence, that is to say, his property, to the colonial system.
- Beloved Toni Morrison
- The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues Angela Davis
- Creative Evolution Henri Bergson
- Rules for Radicals Saul Alinsky
- Control Without Hierarchy Deborah M. Gordon
- Anarchism Today Randall Amster
- The Russian Anarchists Paul Avrich
- De Optimo Genere Oratorum (The Best Kind of Orator) Marcus Tullius Cicero
- The Essential James Luther Adams: Selected Essays and Addresses James Luther Adams
- The Essence of Chaos Edward Lorenz
- Chaos: Making a New Science James Gleick
- The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood James Gleick
- The Age of Missing Information Bill McKibben
- The End of Nature Bill McKibben
- Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future Bill McKibben
- The Global Warming Reader Bill McKibben
- Strength to Love Martin Luther King, Jr.
- De la démocratie en Amérique (On Democracy in America) Alexis de Tocqueville
|“||It is easy to perceive that the lot of these unhappy beings inspires their masters with but little compassion and that they look upon slavery not only as an institution which is profitable to them, but as an evil which does not affect them. Thus the same man who is full of humanity towards his fellow creatures when they are at the same time his equals becomes insensible to their afflictions as soon as that equality ceases.||”|
|“||When a workman is unceasingly and exclusively engaged in the fabrication of one thing, he ultimately does his work with singular dexterity; but at the same time he loses the general faculty of applying his mind to the direction of the work. He every day becomes more adroit and less industrious; so that it may be said of him, that in proportion as the workman improves the man is degraded. What can be expected of a man who has spent twenty years of his life in making heads for pins? and to what can that mighty human intelligence, which has so often stirred the world, be applied in him, except it be to investigate the best method of making pins’ heads? When a workman has spent a considerable portion of his existence in this manner, his thoughts are forever set upon the object of his daily toil; his body has contracted certain fixed habits, which it can never shake off: in a word, he no longer belongs to himself, but to the calling which he has chosen. It is in vain that laws and manners have been at the pains to level all barriers round such a man, and to open to him on every side a thousand different paths to fortune; a theory of manufactures more powerful than manners and laws binds him to a craft, and frequently to a spot, which he cannot leave: it assigns to him a certain place in society, beyond which he cannot go: in the midst of universal movement it has rendered him stationary.
In proportion as the principle of the division of labor is more extensively applied, the workman becomes more weak, more narrow-minded, and more dependent. The art advances, the artisan recedes. On the other hand, in proportion as it becomes more manifest that the productions of manufactures are by so much the cheaper and better as the manufacture is larger and the amount of capital employed more considerable, wealthy and educated men come forward to embark in manufactures which were heretofore abandoned to poor or ignorant handicraftsmen. The magnitude of the efforts required, and the importance of the results to be obtained, attract them. Thus at the very time at which the science of manufactures lowers the class of workmen, it raises the class of masters.
Whereas the workman concentrates his faculties more and more upon the study of a single detail, the master surveys a more extensive whole, and the mind of the latter is enlarged in proportion as that of the former is narrowed. In a short time the one will require nothing but physical strength without intelligence; the other stands in need of science, and almost of genius, to insure success. This man resembles more and more the administrator of a vast empire – that man, a brute. The master and the workman have then here no similarity, and their differences increase every day. They are only connected as the two rings at the extremities of a long chain. Each of them fills the station which is made for him, and out of which he does not get: the one is continually, closely, and necessarily dependent upon the other, and seems as much born to obey as that other is to command. What is this but aristocracy?
- Great Plains Ian Frazier
- League of the Iroquois Lewis H. Morgan
- Записки из подполья (Zapiski iz podpol'ya, or Notes from the Underground) Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The so-called paradox of freedom is the argument that freedom in the sense of absence of any constraining control must lead to very great restraint, since it makes the bully free to enslave the meek. The idea is, in a slightly different form, and with very different tendency, clearly expressed in Plato.
Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.
- Gitanjali Rabindranath Tagore
- On Growth and Form D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson
- The Resistance to Theory Paul de Man
- Of Grammatology Jacques Derrida
- An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
- Message to Siberia Александр Сергеевич Пушкин (Alexander Pushkin)
- To*** Kern Александр Сергеевич Пушкин (Alexander Pushkin)
- Anarchy and Christianity Jacques Ellul
- How to Do Things With Words John Langshaw Austin
- Дама с собачкой (Dama s sobachkoy, or "The Lady with the Dog") Anton Chekhov
- Change the World Without Taking Power (online) John Holloway
- Experience and Nature John Dewey
- John Dewey and American Democracy Robert Brett Westbrook
- Les Lois psychologiques de l'évolution des peuples (The Psychology of Peoples) Gustave Le Bon
- La psychologie des foules (The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind) Gustave Le Bon
- Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution Simon Schama
- A Theory of Justice John Rawls
- What is Enlightenment? Michel Foucault
- In Over Our Heads: the Mental Demands of Modern Life Robert Kegan
- The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness In a World In Crisis Jeremey Rifkin
- What Is to be Done? Leo Tolstoy
- Les Misérables Victor Hugo
- Progress and Poverty: An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth: The Remedy Henry George
- The Rise of the Meritocracy Michael Youngebullience
- Selling Free Enterprise: The Business Assault on Labor and Liberalism, 1945-60 Elizabeth Fones-Wolf
- Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
- A Key Into the Language of America Roger Williams
- The Chalice and The Blade: Our History, Our Future Riane Eisler
- Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations Clay Shirky
- Utopia or Oblivion Richard Buckminster Fuller
- Critical Path Richard Buckminster Fuller
- Много ли человеку земли нужно? (Mnogo li cheloveku zemli nuzhno) (Russian) How Much Land Does a Man Require? Leo Tolstoy
- The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom online Yochai Benkler
|“||The economics of long-distance mass distribution systems necessary to reach this constantly increasing and more dispersed relevant population were typified by high up-front costs and low marginal costs of distribution. These cost characteristics drove cultural production toward delivery to ever-wider audiences of increasingly high production-value goods, whose fixed costs could be spread over ever-larger audiences-like television series, recorded music, and movies. Because of these economic characteristics, the mass-media model of information and cultural production and transmission became the dominant form of public communication in the twentieth century.
The Internet presents the possibility of a radical reversal of this long trend. It is the first modern communications medium that expands its reach by decentralizing the capital structure of production and distribution of information, culture, and knowledge. Much of the physical capital that embeds most of the intelligence in the network is widely diffused and owned by end users. Network routers and servers are not qualitatively different from the computers that end users own, unlike broadcast stations or cable systems, which are radically different in economic and technical terms from the televisions that receive their signals. This basic change in the material conditions of information and cultural production and distribution have substantial effects on how we come to know the world we occupy and the alternative courses of action open to us as individuals and as social actors. Through these effects, the emerging networked environment structures how we perceive and pursue core values in modern liberal societies.
|“||Sociability—that is, the need of the animal of associating with its like—the love of society for society’s sake, combined with the “joy of life,” only now begins to receive due attention from the zoologists. We know at the present time that all animals, beginning with the ants, going on to the birds, and ending with the highest mammals, are fond of plays, wrestling, running after each other, trying to capture each other, teasing each other, and so on. And while many plays are, so to speak, a school for the proper behavior of the young in mature life, there are others which, apart from their utilitarian purposes, are, together with dancing and singing, mere manifestations of an excess of forces – ‘the joy of life,’ and a desire to communicate in some way or another with other individuals of the same or of other species – in short, a manifestation of sociability proper, which is a distinctive feature of all the animal world. Whether the feeling be fear, experienced at the appearance of a bird of prey, or “a fit of gladness” which bursts out when the animals are in good health and especially when young, or merely the desire of giving play to an excess of impressions and of vital power—the necessity of communicating impressions, of playing, of chattering, or of simply feeling the proximity of other kindred living beings pervades Nature, and is, as much as any other physiological function, a distinctive feature of life and impressionability. This need takes a higher development and attains a more beautiful expression in mammals, especially amidst their young, and still more among the birds; but it pervades all Nature, and has been fully observed by the best naturalists, including Pierre Huber, even amongst the ants, and it is evidently the same instinct which brings together the big columns of butterflies which have been referred to already.||”|
|“||We cry shame on the feudal baron who forbade the peasant to turn a clod of earth unless he surrendered to his lord a fourth of his crop. We call those the barbarous times. But if the forms have changed, the relations have remained the same, and the worker is forced, under the name of free contract, to accept feudal obligations. For, turn where he will, he can find no better conditions. Everything has become private property, and he must accept, or die of hunger.
The result of this state of things is that all our pro-duction tends in a wrong direction. Enterprise takes nothought for the needs of the community. Its only aim isto increase the gains of the speculator. Hence the constant fluctuations of trade, the periodical industrial cri-ses, each of which throws scores of thousands of workers on the streets.
The working people cannot purchase with their wages the wealth which they have produced, and industry seeks foreign markets among the monied classes of other nations. In the East, in Africa, everywhere,in Egypt, Tonkin or the Congo, the European is thusbound to promote the growth of serfdom. And so he does. But soon he finds everywhere similar competitors. All the nations evolve on the same lines, and wars, perpetual wars, break out for the right of precedence in the market. Wars for the possession of the East, wars forthe empire of the sea, wars to impose duties on importsand to dictate conditions to neighbouring states; wars against those “blacks” who revolt! The roar of the cannon never ceases in the world, whole races are massa-cred, the states of Europe spend a third of their budgets in armaments; and we know how heavily these taxes fallon the workers.
Education still remains the privilege of a small minority, for it is idle to talk of education when the workman’s child is forced, at the age of thirteen, to go down into the mine or to help his father on the farm. It is idle to talk of studies to the worker, who comes home in the evening crushed by excessive toil with its brutalizing atmosphere. Society is thus bound to remain divided intotwo hostile camps, and in such conditions freedom is a vain word. The Radical begins by demanding a greater extension of political rights, but he soon sees that the breath of liberty leads to the uplifting of the proletariat, and then he turns round, changes his opinions, and reverts to repressive legislation and government by the sword.
A vast array of courts, judges, executioners, policemen, and gaolers is needed to uphold these privileges; and this array gives rise in its turn to a whole system of espionage, of false witness, of spies, of threats and corruption.
The system under which we live checks in its turn the growth of the social sentiment. We all know that without uprightness, without self‐respect, without sympathy and mutual aid, human kind must perish, as perish the few races of animals living by rapine, or the slave‐keeping ants. But such ideas are not to the taste of the ruling classes, and they have elaborated a whole system of pseudo‐science to teach the contrary.
Fine sermons have been preached on the text that those who have should share with those who have not, but he who would act out this principle is speedily informed that these beautiful sentiments are all very well in poetry, but not in practice. “To lie is to degrade and besmirch oneself,” we say, and yet all civilized life becomes one huge lie. We accustom ourselves and our children to hypocrisy, to the practice of a double‐faced morality. And since the brain is ill at ease among lies, we cheat ourselves with sophistry. Hypocrisy and sophistry become the second nature of the civilized man.
But a society cannot live thus; it must return to truth or cease to exist.
Thus the consequences which spring from the orig-inal act of monopoly spread through the whole of social life. Under pain of death, human societies are forced to return to first principles: the means of production being the collective work of humanity, the product should be the collective property of the race. Individual appropriation is neither just nor serviceable. All belongs to all. All things are for all men, since all men have need of them, since all men have worked in the measure oftheir strength to produce them, and since it is not possible to evaluate every one’s part in the production of the world’s wealth.
All things are for all. Here is an immense stock of tools and implements; here are all those iron slaves which we call machines, which saw and plane, spin and weave for us, unmaking and remaking, working up raw matter to produce the marvels of our time. But nobody has the right to seize a single one of these machines and say, “This is mine; if you want to use it you must pay mea tax on each of your products,” any more than the feudal lord of medieval times had the right to say to the peasant, “This hill, this meadow belong to me, and you must pay me a tax on every sheaf of corn you reap, onevery rick you build.”
All is for all! If the man and the woman bear their fair share of work, they have a right to their fair share of all that is produced by all, and that share is enough tosecure them well‐being. No more of such vague formulas as “The Right to work,” or “To each the whole result of his labour.” What we proclaim is THE RIGHT TO WELL‐BEING: WELL‐BEING FOR ALL!
- The written works of Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin
- Moby-Dick Herman Melville
- Faust Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- Aus meinem Leben: Dichtung und Wahrheit (From my Life: Poetry and Truth) Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- Poor People's Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail Frances Fox Piven
- America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy Gar Alperovitz
- The Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberties and Commons for All Peter Linebaugh
- Magna Carta Libertatum or The Great Charter of the Liberties of England
- Carta de Foresta (Charter of the Forest)
- Two Treatises of Government John Locke
- War Is a Racket wiki article Smedley D. Butler
|“||War Is A Racket
WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.
How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?
Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few -- the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.
And what is this bill?
This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.
- Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum (The Ego and Its Own) Max Stirner
- The Theory of Moral Sentiments Adam Smith
- Such, Such Were the Joys George Orwell
- L'Homme révolté (The Rebel) Albert Camus
- Re-creating the Circle: The Renewal of American Indian Self-Determination Stephen M. Sachs, Barbara Morris, LaDonna Harris and Deborah Esquibel Hunt
- The Revolutionist Keith Gessen
- About Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette John Nichols
- No Logo Naomi Klein
- A Language Older Than Words Derrick Jensen
- The Culture of Make Believe Derrick Jensen
- Strangely Like War: The Global Assault on Forests Derrick Jensen with George Draffan
- Endgame, Volume 1: The Problem of Civilization Derrick Jensen
- Endgame, Volume 2: Resistance Derrick Jensen
- How Shall I Live My Life?: On Liberating the Earth from Civilization Derrick Jensen
- Resistance Against Empire Derrick Jensen
- Dreams Derrick Jensen
- Deep Green Resistance Derrick Jensen
- Truths Among Us: Conversations on Building a New Culture Derrick Jensen
- Earth at Risk: Building a Resistance Movement to Save the Planet Derrick Jensen
- War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning Chris Hedges
- What Every Person Should Know About War Chris Hedges
- American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America Chris Hedges
- Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle Chris Hedges
- The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress Chris Hedges
- Death of the Liberal Class Chris Hedges
- Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt Chris Hedges with Joe Sacco
- For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook Waziyatawin Angela Wilson, Michael Yellow Bird, and Angela Cavender Wilson
|“||[Decolonization is] the intelligent, calculated, and active resistance to the forces of colonialism that perpetuate the subjugation and/or exploitation of our minds, bodies, and lands, and it is engaged for the ultimate purpose of overturning the colonial structure and realizing Indigenous liberation.||”|
- Declaration Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri
- Now and Then: The Poems of Gil Scott-Heron Gil Scott-Heron
- The Face of Imperialism Michael Parenti
- The Cross and the Lynching Tree James Hal Cone
- "Ain't I a Woman?" Sojourner Truth
- Masters of War: Latin American and U.S. Aggression from the Cuban Revolution through the Clinton Years Clara Nieto
- Recovering the Sacred: The Power of Naming and Claiming Winona LaDuke
- La fuerza moral y organizativa del EZLN (The force moral and organizational of the EZLN) Jaime Martínez Veloz
- Se movilizan más de 40 mil zapatistas en 5 municipios de Chiapas (Are mobilized more than 40 thousand zapatistas in 5 municipalities of Chiapas) Hermann Bellinghausen
- Aplausos y gritos de apoyo al paso de las marchas indígenas (Applause and cries of support to the step of the marches indigenous) Elio Henríquez
- Derrumbe y renacimiento en el mundo maya zapatista (Collapse and renaissance in the world mayan zapatista) Luis Hernández Navarro
- Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West John Ralston Saul
|“||Cynicism, ambition, rhetoric and the worship of power — these were the characteristics commonly found in the courts of the eighteenth century. They are the characteristics of courtiers, which is precisely what our modern and dispassionate elites have become. And courtliness is the characteristic they most encourage throughout the population. The new message of the eighteenth century wasn't complicated. It attempted simply to break the captive logic of arbitrary power and superstition with reason and scepticism. Now that same self-justifying logic has asserted itself within the new system. It took us four and a half centuries to break the power of divine revelation, only to replace it with the divine revelation of reason. We must therefore break again, this time with arbitrary logic and the superstition of knowledge.
But in this maze of logic, the unforgiving extremes function with the greatest of ease. The acquisitive, the cynical, the religious fanatics of raw competition, the exploiters of society — all of them find the tools of reason, as shaped by time, to their particular liking. And yet, to argue against reason means arguing as an idiot or as an entertainer who seeks only to amuse. The structures of argument have been co-opted so completely by those who work the system that when an individual reaches for the words and phrases which he senses will express his case, he finds that they are already in active use in the service of power. This now amounts to a virtual dictatorship of vocabulary. It isn't really surprising that a society based upon structure and logic should determine the answer to most questions by laying out the manner in which they are posed. Somehow we must do today what Voltaire once did — scratch away the veneer in order to get at the basic foundations. We must rediscover how to ask simple questions about ourselves.
Technology and knowledge advance with great speed. That is, or can be, good. Man, however, does not change. He is as he was the day the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer decided to go on speaking out against Nazi anti-Semitism knowing that this could only lead him to a death camp. He is also as he was the day he cheered in the Roman circus, the day he crucified Christ, the day he slaughtered the unarmed Valdesians, the day he opened the first gas oven at Auschwitz, the day he tortued rebels in Malaysia, Algeria and Vietnam. In his last interview, the French historian Fernand Braudel ended by saying that although knowledge meant man had less excuse for his barbarism, he was nevertheless "profoundly barbaric." There are no inherited characteristics to help us avoid repeating the actions of our parents or grandparents. We are born with the schizophrenia of good and evil within us, so that each generation must persevere in self-recognition and in self-control. In ceding to the automatic reassurances of our logic, we have abandoned once more those powers of recognition and of control. Darkness seems scarcely different from light, with the web of structure and logic woven thick across both. We must therefore cut away these layers of false protection if we wish to regain control of our common sense and morality.
- The American Crisis Thomas Paine
- The Age of Reason; Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology Thomas Paine
- Agrarian Justice Thomas Paine
- The Marriage of Heaven and Hell William Blake
- Our Word Is Our Weapon: Selected Writings of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos Subcomandante Marcos Chapter One
|“||After the Zapatista deployment, the high command of the federal army surrounds their ruptured blockade with silence, and, represented by the mass media, declares it is pure propaganda on the part of the EZLN. The federales' pride is deeply wounded: the Zapatistas have broken the blockade and, adding insult to injury, various municipalities have been taken by a unit headed by a woman. Much money is spent to keep this unacceptable event from the people. Due to the involuntary actions of her armed compañeros, and the deliberate actions of the government, Ana María and the Zapatista women at her side are ignored and kept invisible.
II. Today ...
I HAVE ALMOST finished writing this when someone arrives ...
Doña Juanita. After Old Don Antonio dies, Doña Juanita allows her life to slow down to the gentle pace she uses when preparing coffee. Physically strong, Doña Juanita has announced she will die. "Don't be silly, grandmother," I say, refusing to meet her eyes. "Look, you," she answers. "If we must die in order to live, nothing will keep me from dying, much less a young brat like yourself," says and scolds Doña Juanita, Old Don Antonio's woman, a rebel woman all her life, and apparently, a rebel even in response to her death.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the blockade, she appears.
She. Has no military rank, no uniform, no weapon. Only she knows she is a Zapatista. Much like the Zapatistas, she has no face or name. She struggles for democracy, liberty, and justice, just like the Zapatistas. She is part of what the EZLN calls "civil society"—a people without a political party, who do not belong to "political society," made up of leaders of political parties. Rather, she is a part of that amorphous yet solid part of society that says, day after day, "Enough is enough!"
At first she is surprised at her own words. But over time, through the strength of repeating them, and above all living them, she stops being afraid of these words, stops being afraid of herself. She is now a Zapatista; she has joined her destiny with the new delirium of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, which so terrorizes political parties and Power's intellectuals. She has already fought against everyone—against her husband, her lover, her boyfriend, her children, her friend, her brother, her father, her grandfather. "You are insane," they say. She leaves a great deal behind. What she renounces, if one is talking about size, is much greater than what the empty-handed rebels leave behind. Her everything, her world, demands she forget "those crazy Zapatistas," while conformity calls her to sit down in the comfortable indifference that lives and worries only about itself. She leaves everything behind. She says nothing. Early one dawn she sharpens the tender point of hope and begins to emulate many times in one day, at least 364 times a year, the January 1 of her sister Zapatistas.
She smiles. Once she merely admired the Zapatistas, but no longer. Her admiration ended the moment she understood that they are a mirror of her rebellion, of her hope.
She discovers that she is born on January 1, 1994. From then on she feels that her life—and what was always said to be a dream and a utopia—might actually be a truth.
In silence and without pay, side by side with other men and women, she begins to knit that complex dream that some call hope: "Everything for everyone, nothing for ourselves."
She meets March 8 with her face erased, and her name hidden. With her come thousands of women. More and more arrive. Dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions of women who remember all over the world that there is much to be done and remember that there is still much to fight for. It appears that dignity is contagious, and it is the women who are more likely to become infected with this uncomfortable ill ...
This March 8 is a good time to remember and to give their rightful place to the insurgent Zapatistas, to the women who are armed and unarmed.
To remember the rebels and those uncomfortable Mexican women now bent over knitting that history which, without them, is nothing more than a badly made fable.
III. Tomorrow ...
IF THERE IS to be one, it will be made with the women, and above all, by them ...
- El Fuego y La Palabra: Una Historia del Movimiento Zapatista (The Fire and the Word: A History of the Zapatista Movement) Gloria Muñoz Ramírez, Subcomandante Marcos, and Hermann Bellinghausen
- La société du spectacle (The Society of the Spectacle) (Français, English 0, English 1) Guy Debord
- Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina (Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent) Eduardo Galeano
- Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair) Pablo Neruda
- Las uvas y el viento (The grapes and the wind) Pablo Neruda
- Intellectual origins of American Radicalism Staughton Lynd
- Chiapas: The Southeast in Two Winds: A Storm and a Prophecy Subcomandante Marcos (written in August of 1992, 1 year and 4 months before the Zapatista assertion)
|“||Antonio dreams of owning the land he works on, he dreams that his sweat is paid for with justice and truth, he dreams that there is a school to cure ignorance and medicine to scare away death, he dreams of having electricity in his home and that his table is full, he dreams that his country is free and that this is the result of its people governing themselves, and he dreams that he is at peace with himself and with the world. He dreams that he must fight to obtain this dream, he dreams that there must be death in order to gain life. Antonio dreams and then he awakens... Now he knows what to do and he sees his wife crouching by the fire, hears his son crying. He looks at the sun rising in the East, and, smiling, grabs his machete.
The wind picks up, he rises and walks to meet others. Something has told him that his dream is that of many and he goes to find them.
- The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years Murray Bookchin
- Native Son Richard Wright
- The Anarchist Revolution Nestor Makhno
|“||The free, non-governed society aims to embellish life with its intellectual and manual work. It will have as its resources all that nature gave man as well as nature's own inexhaustible riches; it makes man drunk with the beauty of the earth and exhilarated by his own, self-made freedom. Anarchist Communism will let man develop his creative independence in all directions; its adherents will be free and happy with life, guided by brotherly work and reciprocity. They will need no prisons, hangmen, spies, or agents, which are products of the bourgeoisie and socialists, for they will have no need of the idiot robber and murderer that is the State. Prepare yourselves, brother, to create this society! Prepare organizations and ideas! Remember that your organizations must be safe from attack. The enemy of your freedom is the state personified in five figures:
[ The property owner
[ The lover of war
[ The judge
[ The priest
[ Academics who distort the truth about man
These last make up "historical laws" and "judiciary norms", and scribble slickly in order to get money; they are busy all the time trying to prove the rightfulness of the first four's claims to power that degrades human life.
The enemy is strong. For millennia he has spent his time accumulating experience in robbery, violence, expropriation, and murder. He underwent an inner crisis and is now busy changing his outward aspect, but he is only doing this because his life has been threatened with the new, emerging knowledge. This new knowledge is waking man from his long sleep, freeing him from prejudices implanted by the five, giving him a weapon to fight for his true society. This change in the outer appearance of our enemy can be seen in reformism. It was evolved to combat the revolution in which he took part. In the Russian Revolution, the five seemed to have vanished off the face of the earth. .. but this was only appearance. In reality our enemy changed his features momentarily and is now calling up new recruits to fight against us. Bolshevik communism is especially revealing in this matter; but it will be a long time before this doctrine will forget man's struggle for true freedom.
The only reliable method for waging a successful struggle against enslavement is social revolution that engages the masses in a continual struggle (evolution).
- The Paris Commune and the Idea of the State Michail Bakunin
- The Great Turning as Compass and Lens Joanna Macy
- Vandana Shiva: Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Forest Vandana Shiva
- Кто виноват (Who is to Blame?) Алекса́ндр Ива́нович Ге́рцен (Alexander Ivanovich Herzen)
- In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays Bertrand Russell
- War is the Health of the State Paul Glavin and Chuck Morse in conversation with Howard Zinn
- The Race for What's Left: The Global Scramble for the World's Last Resources Michael T. Klare
- A People's History of American Empire Howard Zinn Paul Buhle Mike Konopacki
- Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance Noam Chomsky
- Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire Noam Chomsky
- A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction Christopher Wolfgang Alexander
- The speculative scrum driving up food prices Frederick Kaufman (professor)
|“||There were plenty of ways to get in on the action, but as an increasingly complex amalgam of food-based commodity derivatives piled one on top of the other, the more difficult it became to perceive what it was that lay at the bottom of the speculative scrum. What drove the global food market in 2011 – other than those old faithfuls, fear and greed? I put in a call to Professor Yaneer Bar-Yam, of the New England Complex Systems Institute (Necsi), to see if he might have an answer.
Necsi, based in Cambridge, draws on fields as various as maths, physics and computer science to provide new perspectives on – and perhaps even solve – pressing problems in economics, healthcare, international development, and military and ethnic violence. Last year, Bar-Yam and his colleagues published a paper called The Food Crises: A Quantitative Model of Food Prices Including Speculators and Ethanol Conversion, in which the Necsi crew mathematically isolated and quantified the effects of speculation as a driving force behind the bull market in global food derivatives.
"Prices have been way out of equilibrium in 2011," Bar-Yam told me. "The bubble has not burst yet."
According to Bar-Yam, the international thirst for biofuels has put a strain on arable land previously reserved for food production. At the same time as the rise of the biofuel mandate, the rise of investable commodity indexes and other electronically traded funds has offered investors of all stripes a chance to sink their cash in a sparkling new casino of derivative products. As a result, an ever-flowing spring of speculative capital sustains the status quo.
But just as food is no ordinary widget, speculation in commodity markets is not simply a matter of financial predation. "The high prices of food have resulted in accumulations of inventories at the same time as people can't afford food," said Bar-Yam, who noted that the Arab spring was triggered by the food-price bubble. In fact, Necsi's quantitative model of speculation predicted the uprisings in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, and warned that if food prices remain inflated, riots and revolutions will go global sometime between July 2012 and August 2013.
"We are at a critical point," said Bar-Yam. "We don't have a stay-the-course option right now."
|“||Roosevelt's administration came up with a simple solution: position limits. If you were not a participant in the food business – neither a farmer nor a baker – you could trade no more than 5,000 futures contracts. This prescription worked well, and endured until the late 1990s, when position limit exemptions were quietly granted to a number of large investment banks. Wall Street subsequently rushed into commodities, and the world is still reeling.
Commodity markets stand at the base of the $600tn global derivatives business, a generally unregulated miasma of over-the-counter swaps, index fund madness, and Wall Street roulette that ignited the mortgage meltdown, toppled AIG and Lehman Brothers, spurred the global currency crisis, and produced the present sorry state of the global economy, whereby a few chosen hedge fund managers haul in billions of dollars while 1 billion human beings find themselves unable to scrape together enough to eat.
Position limits are a proven dampener on speculative hysteria, and were supposed to be a part of the Dodd-Frank reforms. Gary Gensler, chairman of the CFTC, held hearings on the subject. But as the vote neared, noted Greenberger: "Wall Street overwhelmed the CFTC."
|“||Demand and supply certainly matter. But there’s another reason why food across the world has become so expensive: Wall Street greed.
It took the brilliant minds of Goldman Sachs to realize the simple truth that nothing is more valuable than our daily bread. And where there’s value, there’s money to be made. In 1991, Goldman bankers, led by their prescient president Gary Cohn, came up with a new kind of investment product, a derivative that tracked 24 raw materials, from precious metals and energy to coffee, cocoa, cattle, corn, hogs, soy, and wheat. They weighted the investment value of each element, blended and commingled the parts into sums, then reduced what had been a complicated collection of real things into a mathematical formula that could be expressed as a single manifestation, to be known henceforth as the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI).
For just under a decade, the GSCI remained a relatively static investment vehicle, as bankers remained more interested in risk and collateralized debt than in anything that could be literally sowed or reaped. Then, in 1999, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission deregulated futures markets. All of a sudden, bankers could take as large a position in grains as they liked, an opportunity that had, since the Great Depression, only been available to those who actually had something to do with the production of our food.
Change was coming to the great grain exchanges of Chicago, Minneapolis, and Kansas City – which for 150 years had helped to moderate the peaks and valleys of global food prices. Farming may seem bucolic, but it is an inherently volatile industry, subject to the vicissitudes of weather, disease, and disaster. The grain futures trading system pioneered after the American Civil War by the founders of Archer Daniels Midland, General Mills, and Pillsbury helped to establish America as a financial juggernaut to rival and eventually surpass Europe. The grain markets also insulated American farmers and millers from the inherent risks of their profession. The basic idea was the "forward contract," an agreement between sellers and buyers of wheat for a reasonable bushel price — even before that bushel had been grown. Not only did a grain "future" help to keep the price of a loaf of bread at the bakery – or later, the supermarket — stable, but the market allowed farmers to hedge against lean times, and to invest in their farms and businesses. The result: Over the course of the 20th century, the real price of wheat decreased (despite a hiccup or two, particularly during the 1970s inflationary spiral), spurring the development of American agribusiness. After World War II, the United States was routinely producing a grain surplus, which became an essential element of its Cold War political, economic, and humanitarian strategies — not to mention the fact that American grain fed millions of hungry people across the world.
- Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food Frederick Kaufman
- Michel Foucault, un parcours philosophique: au-delà de l'objectivité et de la subjectivité (published in English as Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics) Hubert Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow
- The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups Starhawk
- Paradise Lost John Milton
- The Book of Dust Philip Pullman
- Stolen Continents: The "New World" Through Indian Eyes Ronald Wright
- What is America?: A Short History of the New World Order Ronald Wright
- Utopian Legacies: A History of Conquest and Oppression in the Western World John Mohawk
- Human Impact on Ancient Environments Charles L. Redman
- The Collapse of Complex Societies Joseph Tainter
- Beyond Hope Derrick Jensen
- Michael Bakunin Max Nettlau
- Guerilla Open Access Manifesto Aaron Swartz
- Visión de los vencidos: Relaciones indígenas de la conquista (published in English as The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico) Miguel León-Portilla
- From Dictatorship to Democracy, A Conceptual Framework for Liberation wiki article Gene Sharp
- Gandhi Wields the Weapon of Moral Power: Three Case Histories Gene Sharp with a foreword by Albert Einstein
- The Politics of Nonviolent Action wiki article Gene Sharp
- Gandhi as a Political Strategist, with Essays on Ethics and Politics Gene Sharp with an introduction by Coretta Scott King
- Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential wiki article Gene Sharp with Joshua Paulson
- Self-Liberation, A Guide to Strategic Planning for Action to End a Dictatorship or Other Oppression wiki article Gene Sharp with the assistance of Jamila Raqib
- Society, Culture, and Personality: Their Structure and Dynamics, A System of General Sociology Pitirim Aleksandrovich Sorokin
- The Ways and Power of Love: Types, Factors, and Techniques of Moral Transformation Pitirim Aleksandrovich Sorokin
- Ethics for the New Millennium bstan 'dzin rgya mtsho, Tenzin Gyatso (the 14th Dalai Lama)
- Language and Politics Noam Chomsky with introduction by Carlos Peregrín Otero
- Introduction: The Third Emancipatory Phase of History
|“||Although the aspiration towards a just society appears to have been alive since at least biblical times, it was only in the 18th century that it emerged as a realistic possibility. Perhaps the most lucid of the 18th-century social critics that understood not only that society was changeable but that major changes wer long overdue was Rousseau. If we restrict our attention to the libertarian Rousseau of the Discourse on Inequality and see this work as an original development of Cartesian ideas (ignoring a crucial departure from them in his speculations on the origin of language), Chomsky can be seen, and has in fact been seen as "a new Rousseau" or the Rousseau of our age. It is in any case clear that the roots of Chomsky's social thought are to be found nin the Enlightenment, as he emphasizes at the end if I46.
In part inspired and propelled by some of the ideas Rousseau expressed perhaps better than anybody else, the 18th century succeeded in going beyond what has been called the first emancipatory phase of history, the one which had made serfs out of slaves, to the phase which made wage earners out of serfs. But since at least 1767 insightful revolutionaries have been aware that a wage earner is still a serf, and a serf is still a slave. For Chomsky, in particular, cultural development and committed action in support of social change should contribute to bringing about the conditions for "the fullest, richest, and most harmonious development of the potentialities of the individual, the community and the human race," as Wilhelm von Humboldt wrote towards the end of the 18th century (in 1792, to be exact) in his classic book on the limits of state action. For this to be possible we must go well beyond the political revolution the libertarians of the Enlightenment strived for to the economic revolution—the third eancipatory phase of history, which is to make unoppressed creative agents out of the wage earners, "a final act of liberation that places control over the economy in the hands of free and voluntary associations of producers."
Well-informed libertarian socialists have always argued that this major transformation cannot be brought about by the conquest and use of power but only by the general enlightenment and personal commitment of a large number of people willing to struggle for a more just organization of society.
|“||Who sets foreign policy?
What interests do these people represent?
What is the source of their power?
Few have been accomplished masters of this art since the Age of Enlightenment, and no one has, arguably, ever done it better than Chomsky. His contribution to our understanding of Orwell's problem and his social and political analyses of current issues are very much part of his revolutionary thought, comparable to the Freudian revolution. Because of this second component, Chomsky's revolution goes well beyond the revolution he spearheaded in linguistics and the cognitive sciences. It gives us no other choice than to squarely face the main issue to be resolved in the third emancipatory phase of history which is to place us on the outset of a new age.
There is still a third barrier that has to be overcome--perhaps the most insidious one: the difficulty one finds in identifying and exploring one's submerged fears, desires, motivations and self-serving beliefs.
|“||Confucius and Lao-Tse were living in China, all the schools of Chinese philosophy came into being, including those of Mo Ti, Chuang Tse, Lieh Tzu and a host of others; India produced the Upanishads and Buddha and, like China, ran the whole gamut of philosophical possibilities down to materialism, scepticism and nihilism; in Iran Zarathustra taught a challenging view of the world as a struggle between good and evil; in Palestine the prophets made their appearance from Elijah by way of Isaiah and Jeremiah to Deutero-Isaiah; Greece witnessed the appearance of Homer, of the philosophers - Parmenides, Heraclitus and Plato, - of the tragedians, of Thucydides and Archimedes. Everything implied by these names developed during these few centuries almost simultaneously in China, India and the West.||”|
|“||Written on the Occasion of the Massacre at Manchester||”|
'And these words shall then become
- A Defence of Poetry Percy Bysshe Shelley
- On the Practice of Sociology Pitirim Aleksandrovich Sorokin
- Critic of the Sensate Culture: Rediscovering the Genius of Pitirim Sorokin Russell Nieli
- Anarchism, The Zapatistas and The Global Solidarity Movement Roy Krøvel
- Se questo è un uomo (If This Is a Man) Primo Levi
- What Do You Care What Other People Think? Richard Feynman
- Confronting Empire Arundhati Roy
- Participatory Democracy in Action: Practices of the Zapatistas and the Movimento Sem Terra Amory Starr María Elena Martínez-Torres Peter Rosset
- Zapatista Spring: Anatomy of a Rebel Water Project Ramor Ryan
- Der Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain) Thomas Mann
- The Joy of Revolution Ken Knabb
- The Story of My Experiments with Truth Mohandas K. Gandhi
- Collected Poems William Butler Yeats
- Shunryu Suzuki Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
- Gitanjali Rabindranath Tagore
- Small Is Beautiful E. F. Schumacher
- A Guide for the Perplexed E. F. Schumacher
- Christ and Culture Reinhold Niebuhr
- The Nature and Destiny of Man Reinhold Niebuhr
- Think on These Things Krishnamurti
- The Trial Franz Kafka
- The Long Loneliness Dorothy Day
- I and Thou Martin Buber
- Tales of the Hasidim Martin Buber
- The Plague Albert Camus
- At the Heart of the White Rose: Letters and Diaries of Hans and Sophie Scholl Hans Scholl and Sophie Scholl
- Ishmael Daniel Quinn
- The American Discovery of Europe Jack D. Forbes
- Columbus and Other Cannibals: The Wetiko Disease of Exploitation, Imperialism, and Terrorism Jack D. Forbes
- Sex Slavery Voltairine de Cleyre
- Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism Richard Wolff
- The Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers Richard Evans Schultes Albert Hofmann
- Lady Chatterley's Lover D. H. Lawrence
- Birds, Beasts and Flowers D. H. Lawrence
- Mountain of Truth: The Counterculture Begins, Ascona, 1900-1920 Martin B. Green
- The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge Terence McKenna
- Über Psychopathische Minderwertigkeiten (On Psychopathic Inferiorities) Otto Gross
- Zur Phyllogenese der Ethik (Toward the Phyllogenesis of Ethics) Otto Gross
- Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing A.S. Neill
- The Joy of Revolution Ken Knabb
- Who Owns the Future Jaron Lanier
- Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture J. Russell Smith
- Full text of the March 2012 interview with Sam Mbah Jermery interviewing Sam Mbah
- FdCA Basic Strategy Document: The State Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (Federation of Anarchist Communists)
- No Treason Lysander Spooner
- The Struggle for Existence in Human Society Thomas Henry Huxley
- Le Deuxième Sexe (Second Sex) Simone de Beauvoir
- Zami: A New Spelling of My Name Audre Lorde
- The Color Purple Alice Walker
- To Hell With Dying Alice Walker
- Possessing the Secret of Joy Alice Walker
- One Day in December: Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution Nancy Stout
- Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth Pratibha Parmar
- Once Alice Walker
- Θεσμοφοριάζουσαι (Thesmophoriazousai, or Women Celebrating the Festival of the Thesmophoria) Aristophanes
- Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet Julian Assange in conversation with Jacob Appelbaum, Andy Müller-Maguhn, and Jérémie Zimmermann
|“||The new world of the internet, abstracted from the old world of brute atoms, longed for independence. But states and their friends moved to control our new world -- by controlling its physical underpinnings. The state, like an army around an oil well, or a customs agent extracting bribes at the border, would soon learn to leverage its control of physical space to gain control over our platonic realm. It would prevent the independence we had dreamed of, and then, squatting on fiber optic lines and around satellite ground stations, it would go on to mass intercept the information flow of our new world -- its very essence even as every human, economic, and political relationship embraced it. The state would leech into the veins and arteries of our new societies, gobbling up every relationship expressed or communicated, every web page read, every message sent and every thought googled, and then store this knowledge, billions of interceptions a day, undreamed of power, in vast top secret warehouses, forever. It would go on to mine and mine again this treasure, the collective private intellectual output of humanity, with ever more sophisticated search and pattern finding algorithms, enriching the treasure and maximizing the power imbalance between interceptors and the world of interceptees. And then the state would reflect what it had learned back into the physical world, to start wars, to target drones, to manipulate UN committees and trade deals, and to do favors for its vast connected network of industries, insiders and cronies.
But we discovered something. Our one hope against total domination. A hope that with courage, insight and solidarity we could use to resist. A strange property of the physical universe that we live in.
The universe believes in encryption.
It is easier to encrypt information than it is to decrypt it.
We saw we could use this strange property to create the laws of a new world. To abstract away our new platonic realm from its base underpinnings of satellites, undersea cables and their controllers. To fortify our space behind a cryptographic veil. To create new lands barred to those who control physical reality, because to follow us into them would require infinite resources.
And in this manner to declare independence.
|“||But certainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence... illusion only is sacred, truth profane. Nay, sacredness is held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of sacredness.||”|
|— Ludwig Feuerbach, Preface to the second edition of The Essence of Christianity|
|“||This perversion of the ethical values soon crystallized into the all-dominating slogan of the Communist Party: THE END JUSTIFIES ALL MEANS. Similarly in the past the Inquisition and the Jesuits adopted this motto and subordinated to it all morality. It avenged itself upon the Jesuits as it did upon the Russian Revolution. In the wake of this slogan followed lying, deceit, hypocrisy and treachery, murder, open and secret. It should be of utmost interest to students of social psychology that two movements as widely separated in time and ideas as Jesuitism and Bolshevism reached exactly similar results in the evolution of the principle. that the end justifies all means. The historic parallel, almost entirely ignored so far, contains a most important lesson for all coming revolutions and for the whole future of mankind.
There is no greater fallacy than the belief that aims and purposes are one thing, while methods and tactics are another, This conception is a potent menace to social regeneration. All human experience teaches that methods and means cannot be separated from the ultimate aim. The means employed become, through individual habit and social practice, part and parcel of the final purpose; they influence it, modify it, and presently the aims and means become identical. From the day of my arrival in Russia I felt it, at first vaguely, then ever more consciously and clearly. The great and inspiring aims of the Revolution became so clouded with and obscured by the methods used by the ruling political power that it was hard to distinguish what was temporary means and what final purpose. Psychologically and socially the means necessarily influence and alter the aims. The whole history of man is continuous proof of the maxim that to divest one's methods of ethical concepts means to Sink into the depths of utter demoralization. In that lies the real tragedy of the Bolshevik philosophy as applied to the Russian Revolution. May this lesson not be in vain.
No revolution can ever succeed as a factor of liberation unless the MEANS used to further it be identical in spirit and tendency with the PURPOSES to be achieved. Revolution is the negation of the existing, a violent protest against man's inhumanity to man with all the thousand and one slaveries it involves. It is the destroyer of dominant values upon which a complex system of injustice, oppression, and wrong has been built up by ignorance and brutality. -It is the herald of NEW VALUES, ushering in a transformation of the basic relations of man to man, and of man to society. It is not a mere reformer, patching up some social evils; not a mere changer of forms and institutions; not only a re-distributor of social well-being. It is all that, yet more, much more. It is, first and foremost, the TRANSVALUATOR, the bearer of new values. It is the great TEACHER Of the NEW ETHICS, inspiring man with a new concept of life and its manifestations in social relationships. It is the mental and spiritual regenerator.
Its first ethical precept is the identity of means used and aims sought. The ultimate end of all revolutionary social change is to establish the sanctity of human life, the dignity of man, the right of every human being to liberty and well being. Unless this be the essential aim of revolution, violent social changes would have no justification. For external social alterations can be, and have been, accomplished by the normal processes of evolution. Revolution, on the contrary, signifies not mere external change, but internal, basic, fundamental change. That internal change of concepts and ideas, permeating ever-larger social strata, finally culminates in the violent upheaval known as revolution. Shall that climax reverse the process of transvaluation, turn against it, betray it? That is what happened in Russia. On the contrary, the revolution itself must quic- ken and further the process of which it is the cumulative expression; its main mission is to inspire it, to carry it to greater heights, give it fullest scope for expression. Only thus is revolution true to itself.
Applied in practice it means that the period of the actual revolution, the so-called transitory stage, must be the introduction, the prelude to the new social conditions. It is the threshold to the NEW LIFE, the new HOUSE OF MAN AND HUMANITY. As such it must be of the spirit of the new life, harmonious with the construction of the new edifice.
To-day is the parent of to-morrow. The present casts its shadow far into the future. That is the law of life, individual and social. Revolution that divests itself of ethical values thereby lays the foundation of injustice, deceit, and oppression for the future society. The means used to prepare the future become its cornerstone. Witness the tragic condition of Russia. The methods of State centralization have paralysed individual initiative and effort;the tyranny of the dictatorship has cowed the people into slavish submission and all but extinguished the fires of liberty; organized terrorism has depraved and brutalized the masses and stifled every idealistic aspiration; institutionalized murder has cheapened human life,and all sense of the dignity of man and the value of life has been eliminated; coercion at everystep has made effort bitter, labour a punishment, has turned the whole of existence into a scheme of mutual deceit, and has revived the lowest and most brutal instincts of man. A sorry heritage to begin a new life of freedom and brotherhood.
It cannot be sufficiently emphasized that revolution is in vain unless inspired by its ultimate ideal. Revolutionary methods must be in tune with revolutionary aims. The means used to further the revolution must harmonize with its purposes. In short, the ethical values which the revolution is to establish in the new society must be initiated with the revolutionary activities of the so-called transitional period. The latter can serve as a real and dependable bridge to the better life only if built of the same material as the life to be achieved. Revolution is the mirror of the coming day; it is the child that is to be the Man of To-morrow. THE END
|“||We are now to determine whether the republican form shall be the basis of our government. -I admit there is weight in the objection of the gentleman from South Carolina; but no plan can steer clear of objections. That great powers are to be given, there is no doubt; and that those powers may be abused is equally true. It is also probable that members may lose their attachments to the States which sent them-Yet the first branch will control them in many of their abuses. But we are now forming a body on whose wisdom we mean to rely, and their permanency in office secures a proper field in which they may exert their firmness and knowledge. Democratic communities may be unsteady, and be led to action by the impulse of the moment. -Like individuals, they may be sensible of their own weakness, and may desire the counsels and checks of friends to guard them against the turbulency and weakness of unruly passions. Such are the various pursuits of this life, that in all civilized countries, the interest of a community will be divided. There will be debtors and creditors, and an unequal possession of property, and hence arises different views and different objects in government. This indeed is the ground-work of aristocracy; and we find it blended in every government, both ancient and modern. Even where titles have survived property, we discover the noble beggar haughty and assuming.
The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa, or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge of the wants or feelings of the day laborer. The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages. The landed interest, at present, is prevalent; but in process of time, when we approximate to the states and kingdoms of Europe; when the number of landholders shall be comparatively small, through the various means of trade and manufactures, will not the landed interest be overbalanced in future elections, and unless wisely provided against, what will become of your government? In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of the landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability. Various have been the propositions; but my opinion is, the longer they continue in office, the better will these views be answered.
|— James Madison|
- The Powell Memorandum, or "CONFIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM: Attack on American Free Enterprise System" Lewis F. Powell
|“||Perhaps the single most effective antagonist of American business is Ralph Nader, who — thanks largely to the media — has become a legend in his own time and an idol of millions of Americans.
. . .
The day is long past when the chief executive officer of a major corporation discharges his responsibility by maintaining a satisfactory growth of profits, with due regard to the corporation’s public and social responsibilities. If our system is to survive, top management must be equally concerned with protecting and preserving the system itself. This involves far more than an increased emphasis on “public relations” or “governmental affairs” — two areas in which corporations long have invested substantial sums.
A significant first step by individual corporations could well be the designation of an executive vice president (ranking with other executive VP’s) whose responsibility is to counter-on the broadest front-the attack on the enterprise system. The public relations department could be one of the foundations assigned to this executive, but his responsibilities should encompass some of the types of activities referred to subsequently in this memorandum. His budget and staff should be adequate to the task.
Possible Role of the Chamber of Commerce
But independent and uncoordinated activity by individual corporations, as important as this is, will not be sufficient. Strength lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations.
Moreover, there is the quite understandable reluctance on the part of any one corporation to get too far out in front and to make itself too visible a target.
The role of the National Chamber of Commerce is therefore vital. Other national organizations (especially those of various industrial and commercial groups) should join in the effort, but no other organizations appear to be as well situated as the Chamber. It enjoys a strategic position, with a fine reputation and a broad base of support. Also — and this is of immeasurable merit — there are hundreds of local Chambers of Commerce which can play a vital supportive role.
- The Crisis of Democracy Michel Crozier, Samuel P. Huntington, and Joji Watanuki for the Trilateral Commission
|“||The vitality of democracy in the United States in the 1960s produced a substantial increase in governmental activity and a substantial decrease in governmental authority.||”|
|— Samuel P. Huntington|
|“||Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.||”|
|“||Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum.
Love the sinner and hate the sin.
|— Augustine of Hippo, Opera Omnia, Vol II. Col. 962, letter 211|
- Kropotkin Was No Crackpot Stephen Jay Gould
- The Evolution of Cooperation Robert Axelrod and W. D. Hamilton
- The Evolution of Cooperation Robert Axelrod
- Empire Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri
- Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam Martin Luther King, Jr.
|“||Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins. But the day has passed for superficial patriotism. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth. "Ye shall know the truth," says Jesus, "and the truth shall set you free." Now, I've chosen to preach about the war in Vietnam because I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal.||”|
|“||Political power, in my opinion, cannot be our ultimate aim. It is one of the means used by men for their all-round advancement. The power to control national life through national representatives is called political power. Representatives will become unnecessary if the national life becomes so perfect as to be self-controlled. It will then be a state of enlightened anarchy in which each person will become his own ruler. He will conduct himself in such a way that his behaviour will not hamper the well-being of his neighbours. In an ideal State there will be no political institution and therefore no political power. That is why Thoreau has said in his classic statement that that government is the best which governs the least. [From Hindi] Sarvodaya, January, 1939||”|
|— Mohandas K. Gandhi, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi "Enlightened Anarchy - A Political Ideal" Volume 74 p. 380|
|“||If they were in a majority in the Congress and if they played an effective part in Hindu-Muslim clashes, they could stop them or at least give their lives in stopping them. If the bulk of Congressmen were truly non-violent, Muslims would be obliged to confess that Congressmen could not be accused of anti-Muslim bias. It is not enough for Congressmen to say that they have not been found guilty of incorrect attitude. I may be proved to be legally correct but may fail miserably if my action was examined in non-violent scales. But this non-violence has to be non-violence of the brave and the strong. It must come from inward conviction. I have, therefore, not hesitated to say that it is better to be violent if there is violence in our breasts than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. Violence is any day preferable to impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent.||”|
|“||I believe Gandhi is the only person who knew about real democracy — not democracy as the right to go and buy what you want, but democracy as the responsibility to be accountable to everyone around you. Democracy begins with freedom from hunger, freedom from unemployment, freedom from fear, and freedom from hatred. To me, those are the real freedoms on the basis of which good human societies are based.||”|
|“||Everything towards which man directs his attention, whether it is limited to the direct or indirect satisfaction of his merely physical wants, or to the accomplishment of external objects in general, presents itself in a closely interwoven relation with his internal sensations. Sometimes, moreover, there co-exists with this external purpose, some impulse proceeding more immediately from his inner being; and often, even, this last is the sole spring of his activity, the former being only implied in it, necessarily or incidentally. The more unity a man possesses, the more freely do these external manifestations on which he decides emanate from the inner springs of his being, and the more frequent and intimate is the cooperation of these two sources of motive, even when he has not freely selected these external objects. A man, therefore, whose character peculiarly interests us, although his life does not lose this charm in any circumstances or however engaged, only attains the most matured and graceful consummation of his activity, when his way of life is in harmonious keeping with his character.
In view of this consideration, it seems as if all peasants and craftsmen might be elevated into artists; that is, into men who love their labour for its own sake, improve it by their own plastic genius and inventive skill, and thereby cultivate their intellect, ennoble their character, and exalt and refine their enjoyments. And so humanity would be ennobled by the very things which now, though beautiful in themselves, so often go to degrade it. The more a man accustoms himself to dwell in the region of higher thoughts and sensations, and the more refined and vigorous his moral and intellectual powers become, the more he longs to confine himself to such external objects only as furnish ampler scope and material for his internal development; or, at least, to overcome all adverse conditions in the sphere allotted him, and transform them into more favourable phases. It is impossible to estimate a man’s advance towards the Good and the Beautiful, when his unremitting endeavours are directed to this one engrossing object, the development of his inner life; so that, superior to all other considerations, it may remain the same unfailing source, the ultimate goal of all his labours, and all that is corporeal and external may seem but as its instrument and veil.
How strikingly beautiful, to select an illustration, is the historical picture of the character fostered in a people by the undisturbed cultivation of the soil! The labour they bestow on the tillage of the land, and the bounteous harvest with which it repays their industry, bind them with sweet fetters to their fields and firesides. Their participation in the rich blessings of toil, and the common enjoyment of the ample fruits it earns, entwine each family with bonds of love, from whose gentle influence even the steer, the partner of their fatigue, is not wholly excluded. The seed which must be sown, the fruit which must be garnered—regularly returning, as they do, their yearly increase—instil a spirit of patience, trust, and frugality. The fact of their receiving everything immediately from the hand of benignant Nature,—the ever-deepening consciousness that, although the hand of man must first scatter the seed, it is not from human agency that the rich repletion of the harvest is derived,—the constant dependence on favourable and unfavourable skies, awaken presentiments of the existence of beings of a higher order, now instinct with dire foreboding, and now full of the liveliest joy—in the rapid alternations of fear and hope—and lead the soul to prayer and grateful praise. The visible image of the simplest sublimity, the most perfect order, and the gentlest beneficence, mould their lives into forms of simple grandeur and tenderness, and dispose their hearts to a cheerful submission to order and law. Always accustomed to produce, never to destroy, agriculture is essentially peaceful, and, while far beyond the reach of wrong and revenge, is yet capable of the most dauntless courage when roused to resist the injustice of unprovoked attack, and repel the invaders of its calm and happy contentment.
|“||More than a century ago the great political financier Mark Hanna said that two things are important in politics: money and I've forgotten the second one. Another thing for elementary school.
That's far more true today especially with the radical changes of the past thirty years. They're important to understand. These developments roughly the last 30-odd years followed one of the major changes in world order in the modern period, namely the dismantling of the post-Second World War economic system, so-called Bretton Woods system, which had been designed by the victors of the Second World War, the United States and Britain. The basic designers were John Maynard Keynes from Britain and the New Deal economist Harry Dexter White for the United States.
One central component of this system was regulation of currencies. In fact that was part of the basis for the huge economic growth for the next couple of decades, the highest in history. That was dismantled about 40 years ago. That was one factor that led to the huge explosion in the financial speculation and the vast growth of financial institutions. At that time they were small components of the economy and they were mostly doing what the banks are supposed to do in state capitalist systems, namely to direct unused funds like your bank to some kind of productive investment.
That was then. By 2007, just before the great crash, they gained about 40% of corporate profits in the U.S. Their profits come mostly from complex financial manipulations, actions that have little if any social or economic utility and are harmful to the economy and also to people in many ways.
- Native Son Richard Wright
- On War Carl von Clausewitz
- How Swedes and Norwegians broke the power of the ‘1 percent’ George Lakey
|“||By 1935, Norway was on the brink. The Conservative-led government was losing legitimacy daily; the 1 percent became increasingly desperate as militancy grew among workers and farmers. A complete overthrow might be just a couple years away, radical workers thought. However, the misery of the poor became more urgent daily, and the Labor Party felt increasing pressure from its members to alleviate their suffering, which it could do only if it took charge of the government in a compromise agreement with the other side.
This it did. In a compromise that allowed owners to retain the right to own and manage their firms, Labor in 1935 took the reins of government in coalition with the Agrarian Party. They expanded the economy and started public works projects to head toward a policy of full employment that became the keystone of Norwegian economic policy. Labor’s success and the continued militancy of workers enabled steady inroads against the privileges of the 1 percent, to the point that majority ownership of all large firms was taken by the public interest. (There is an entry on this case as well at the Global Nonviolent Action Database.)
The 1 percent thereby lost its historic power to dominate the economy and society. Not until three decades later could the Conservatives return to a governing coalition, having by then accepted the new rules of the game, including a high degree of public ownership of the means of production, extremely progressive taxation, strong business regulation for the public good and the virtual abolition of poverty. When Conservatives eventually tried a fling with neoliberal policies, the economy generated a bubble and headed for disaster. (Sound familiar?)
Labor stepped in, seized the three largest banks, fired the top management, left the stockholders without a dime and refused to bail out any of the smaller banks. The well-purged Norwegian financial sector was not one of those countries that lurched into crisis in 2008; carefully regulated and much of it publicly owned, the sector was solid.
- Lumumba Speaks: The Speeches and Writings of Patrice Lumumba, 1958–1961 Patrice Lumumba
- The Soul of Man under Socialism Oscar Wilde
|“||With the abolition of private property, then, we shall have true, beautiful, healthy Individualism. Nobody will waste his life in accumulating things, and the symbols for things. One will live. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.||”|
- Memoirs of a Revolutionist Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin
- Anarchism and Other Essays wiki article Emma Goldman
|“||The ignorant mass has in its favor that it makes no pretense of knowledge or tolerance. Acting, as it always does, by mere impulse, its reasons are like those of a child. "Why?" "Because." Yet the opposition of the uneducated to Anarchism deserves the same consideration as that of the intelligent man. What, then, are the objections? First, Anarchism is impractical, though a beautiful ideal. Second, Anarchism stands for violence and destruction, hence it must be repudiated as vile and dangerous. Both the intelligent man and the ignorant mass judge not from a thorough knowledge of the subject, but either from hearsay or false interpretation.||”|
|“||The emotions of the ignorant man are continuously kept at a pitch by the most blood-curdling stories about Anarchism. Not a thing too outrageous to be employed against this philosophy and its exponents. Therefore Anarchism represents to the unthinking what the proverbial bad man does to the child,--a black monster bent on swallowing everything; in short, destruction and violence.
Destruction and violence! How is the ordinary man to know that the most violent element in society is ignorance; that its power of destruction is the very thing Anarchism is combating? Nor is he aware that Anarchism, whose roots, as it were, are part of nature's forces, destroys, not healthful tissue, but parasitic growths that feed on the life's essence of society. It is merely clearing the soil from weeds and sagebrush, that it may eventually bear healthy fruit.
Someone has said that it requires less mental effort to condemn than to think. The widespread mental indolence, so prevalent in society, proves this to be only too true. Rather than to go to the bottom of any given idea, to examine into its origin and meaning, most people will either condemn it altogether, or rely on some superficial or prejudicial definition of non-essentials.
Anarchism urges man to think, to investigate, to analyze every proposition; but that the brain capacity of the average reader be not taxed too much, I also shall begin with a definition, and then elaborate on the latter.
ANARCHISM:--The philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by man-made law; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary.
|“||Someone has said that it requires less mental effort to condemn than to think. The widespread mental indolence, so prevalent in society, proves this to be only too true. Rather than to go to the bottom of any given idea, to examine into its origin and meaning, most people will either condemn it altogether, or rely on some superficial or prejudicial definition of non-essentials.
Anarchism urges man to think, to investigate, to analyze every proposition; but that the brain capacity of the average reader be not taxed too much, I also shall begin with a definition, and then elaborate on the latter.
ANARCHISM:--The philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by man-made law; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary.
The new social order rests, of course, on the materialistic basis of life; but while all Anarchists agree that the main evil today is an economic one, they maintain that the solution of that evil can be brought about only through the consideration of EVERY PHASE of life,--individual, as well as the collective; the internal, as well as the external phases.
A thorough perusal of the history of human development will disclose two elements in bitter conflict with each other; elements that are only now beginning to be understood, not as foreign to each other, but as closely related and truly harmonious, if only placed in proper environment: the individual and social instincts. The individual and society have waged a relentless and bloody battle for ages, each striving for supremacy, because each was blind to the value and importance of the other. The individual and social instincts,--the one a most potent factor for individual endeavor, for growth, aspiration, self-realization; the other an equally potent factor for mutual helpfulness and social well-being.
The explanation of the storm raging within the individual, and between him and his surroundings, is not far to seek. The primitive man, unable to understand his being, much less the unity of all life, felt himself absolutely dependent on blind, hidden forces ever ready to mock and taunt him. Out of that attitude grew the religious concepts of man as a mere speck of dust dependent on superior powers on high, who can only be appeased by complete surrender. All the early sagas rest on that idea, which continues to be the LEIT-MOTIF of the biblical tales dealing with the relation of man to God, to the State, to society. Again and again the same motif, MAN IS NOTHING, THE POWERS ARE EVERYTHING. Thus Jehovah would only endure man on condition of complete surrender. Man can have all the glories of the earth, but he must not become conscious of himself. The State, society, and moral laws all sing the same refrain: Man can have all the glories of the earth, but he must not become conscious of himself.
"The one thing of value in the world," says Emerson, "is the active soul; this every man contains within him. The soul active sees absolute truth and utters truth and creates." In other words, the individual instinct is the thing of value in the world. It is the true soul that sees and creates the truth alive, out of which is to come a still greater truth, the re-born social soul. Anarchism is the great liberator of man from the phantoms that have held him captive; it is the arbiter and pacifier of the two forces for individual and social harmony. To accomplish that unity, Anarchism has declared war on the pernicious influences which have so far prevented the harmonious blending of individual and social instincts, the individual and society.
Religion, the dominion of the human mind; Property, the dominion of human needs; and Government, the dominion of human conduct, represent the stronghold of man's enslavement and all the horrors it entails. Religion! How it dominates man's mind, how it humiliates and degrades his soul. God is everything, man is nothing, says religion. But out of that nothing God has created a kingdom so despotic, so tyrannical, so cruel, so terribly exacting that naught but gloom and tears and blood have ruled the world since gods began. Anarchism rouses man to rebellion against this black monster. Break your mental fetters, says Anarchism to man, for not until you think and judge for yourself will you get rid of the dominion of darkness, the greatest obstacle to all progress.
|“||But what about human nature? Can it be changed? And if not, will it endure under Anarchism?
Poor human nature, what horrible crimes have been committed in thy name! Every fool, from king to policeman, from the flatheaded parson to the visionless dabbler in science, presumes to speak authoritatively of human nature. The greater the mental charlatan, the more definite his insistence on the wickedness and weaknesses of human nature. Yet, how can any one speak of it today, with every soul in a prison, with every heart fettered, wounded, and maimed? John Burroughs has stated that experimental study of animals in captivity is absolutely useless. Their character, their habits, their appetites undergo a complete transformation when torn from their soil in field and forest. With human nature caged in a narrow space, whipped daily into submission, how can we speak of its potentialities?
Freedom, expansion, opportunity, and, above all, peace and repose, alone can teach us the real dominant factors of human nature and all its wonderful possibilities.
Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations.
This is not a wild fancy or an aberration of the mind. It is the conclusion arrived at by hosts of intellectual men and women the world over; a conclusion resulting from the close and studious observation of the tendencies of modern society: individual liberty and economic equality, the twin forces for the birth of what is fine and true in man.
|“||Advise when we have suggestions to offer; teach if we know more than others; set the example for a life based on free agreement between men; defend even with force if necessary and possible, our autonomy against any government provocation…but command, govern or rule—NEVER!
In this way we shall not achieve anarchy, which cannot be imposed against the will of the people, but at least we shall be preparing the way for it. We do not have to wait indefinitely for the state to wither away or for our rulers to become part of the people and to give up their power over us if we can talk them out of their position.
|“||All normative concepts are nonempirical, for they refer to what ought to be rather than to what is. Hence, we cannot justify the use of the concept of (normative) supreme authority by presenting instances. We must demonstrate by an a priori argument that there can be forms of human community in which some men have a moral right to rule. In short, the fundamental task of political philosophy is to provide a deduction of the concept of the state.||”|
|“||Only extreme economic decentralization could permit the sort of voluntary economic coordination consistent with the ideals of anarchism and affluence. At the present time, of course, such decentralization would produce economic chaos, but if we possessed a cheap, local source of power and an advanced technology of small-scale production, and if we were in addition willing to accept a high level of economic waste, we might be able to break the American economy down into regional and subregional units of manageable size. The exchanges between the units would be inefficient and costly — very large inventory levels, inelasticities of supply and demand, considerable waste, and so forth. But in return for this price, men would have increasing freedom to act autonomously. In effect, such a society would enable all men to be autonomous agents, whereas in our present society, the relatively few autonomous men are — as it were — parasitic upon the obedient, authority-respecting masses.||”|
- Why Hasn’t Democracy Slowed Rising Inequality? Adam Bonica, Nolan McCarty, Keith T. Poole, and Howard Rosenthal
- One Man's View Anonymous interviewer interviewing Noam Chomsky
|“||Personally I'm in favor of democracy, which means that the central institutions in the society have to be under popular control. Now, under capitalism we can't have democracy by definition. Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control. Thus, a corporation or an industry is, if we were to think of it in political terms, fascist; that is, it has tight control at the top and strict obedience has to be established at every level -- there's a little bargaining, a little give and take, but the line of authority is perfectly straightforward. Just as I'm opposed to political fascism, I'm opposed to economic fascism. I think that until major institutions of society are under the popular control of participants and communities, it's pointless to talk about democracy. In this sense, I would describe myself as a libertarian socialist -- I'd love to see centralized power eliminated, whether it's the state or the economy, and have it diffused and ultimately under direct control of the participants. Moreover, I think that's entirely realistic. Every bit of evidence that exists (there isn't much) seems to show, for example, that workers' control increases efficiency. Nevertheless, capitalists don't want it, naturally; what they're worried about is control, not the loss of productivity or efficiency.||”|
|“||It is my understanding of the movement that is called Existentialism and that is at least one hundred years old and that it rebels in the name of personality against the depersonalizing forces of technical society. For the sake of my special subject as well as the spirit of this volume, I want to begin with some references to the early history of Existentialism. This history, going on since the middle of the nineteenth century, has determined the fate of the twentieth century in all spheres of human existence. The immense tragedy of our political as well as the creative chaos of our spiritual situation is foreshadowed and deeply influenced by the Existentialist rebels of the nineteenth century. Moreover, the tradition out of which this book is written and out of which he to whom it is dedicated has worked, is rooted in the protest of the lonely prophets of the nineteenth century against the threatening destruction of humanity and personality by technical society. Finally, it is my conviction that the new beginning of which this volume is supposed to be a symbol should be and I hope will be a continuation of this tradition under new conditions and with new means. But the aim should be what it was in the preceding movements of protest: a fight for humanity, which includes both community and personality, against the dehumanizing power of modern society.||”|
|“||Someone once said that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism. We can now revise that and witness the attempt to imagine capitalism by way of imagining the end of the world.||”|
- The U.S. Behaves Nothing Like a Democracy, But You'll Never Hear About It in Our 'Free Press' Noam Chomsky
|“||In the United States, one of the main topics of academic political science is the study of attitudes and policy and their correlation. The study of attitudes is reasonably easy in the United States: heavily-polled society, pretty serious and accurate polls, and policy you can see, and you can compare them. And the results are interesting. In the work that's essentially the gold standard in the field, it's concluded that for roughly 70% of the population - the lower 70% on the wealth/income scale - they have no influence on policy whatsoever. They're effectively disenfranchised. As you move up the wealth/income ladder, you get a little bit more influence on policy. When you get to the top, which is maybe a tenth of one percent, people essentially get what they want, i.e. they determine the policy. So the proper term for that is not democracy; it's plutocracy.||”|
|“||The dwarf's basic problem is that "incentives" is merely a metaphor, and as a metaphor to describe human creative activity it's pretty crummy. I have said this before, but the better metaphor arose on the day Michael Faraday first noticed what happened when he wrapped a coil of wire around a magnet and spun the magnet. Current flows in such a wire, but we don't ask what the incentive is for the electrons to leave home. We say that the current results from an emergent property of the system, which we call induction. The question we ask is "what's the resistance of the wire?" So Moglen's Metaphorical Corollary to Faraday's Law says that if you wrap the Internet around every person on the planet and spin the planet, software flows in the network. It's an emergent property of connected human minds that they create things for one another's pleasure and to conquer their uneasy sense of being too alone. The only question to ask is, what's the resistance of the network? Moglen's Metaphorical Corollary to Ohm's Law states that the resistance of the network is directly proportional to the field strength of the "intellectual property" system. So the right answer to the econodwarf is, resist the resistance.
Of course, this is all very well in theory. "Resist the resistance" sounds good, but we'd have a serious problem, theory notwithstanding, if the dwarf were right and we found ourselves under-producing good software because we didn't let people own it. But dwarves and droids are formalists of different kinds, and the advantage of realism is that if you start from the facts the facts are always on your side. It turns out that treating software as property makes bad software.
|“||"The feeling was exhilarating and addictive." Stop the presses: Microsoft experimentally verifies Moglen's Metaphorical Corollary to Faraday's Law. Wrap the Internet around every brain on the planet and spin the planet. Software flows in the wires. It's an emergent property of human minds to create. "Due directly to the GPL," as Vallopillil rightly pointed out, free software made available to him an exhilarating increase in his own creativity, of a kind not achievable in his day job working for the Greatest Programming Company on Earth. If only he had e-mailed that first addictive fix, who knows where he'd be now?
So, in the end, my dwarvish friends, it's just a human thing. Rather like why Figaro sings, why Mozart wrote the music for him to sing to, and why we all make up new words: Because we can. Homo ludens, meet Homo faber. The social condition of global interconnection that we call the Internet makes it possible for all of us to be creative in new and previously undreamed-of ways. Unless we allow "ownership" to interfere. Repeat after me, ye dwarves and men: Resist the resistance!
|“||We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.||”|
|“||We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.
Earth, Our Home
Humanity is part of a vast evolving universe. Earth, our home, is alive with a unique community of life. The forces of nature make existence a demanding and uncertain adventure, but Earth has provided the conditions essential to life's evolution. The resilience of the community of life and the well-being of humanity depend upon preserving a healthy biosphere with all its ecological systems, a rich variety of plants and animals, fertile soils, pure waters, and clean air. The global environment with its finite resources is a common concern of all peoples. The protection of Earth's vitality, diversity, and beauty is a sacred trust.
|“||...in the 1850's, prior to refrigerated transport, New York City supplied all its food for a population of over a million from within 7 miles of the borders of the city. (It wasn't worth the cost of horse feed and time to go further than 7 miles to export food into the city). No one would discount a system of community food security for one million people as non-commercial.||”|
|“||The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: "A time comes when silence is betrayal." And that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.
The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.
And some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.
|“||It is with such activity that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin, we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see than an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.
A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.
|“||A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.
This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I’m not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another, for love is God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. . . . If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.” Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.
- A Call to End the Oppression of Women and to Advance the Black Liberation Movement: A Position Paper on the Million Man March Kalamu Ya Salaam, Keshia Brown, Kamaria Muntu, et alia
- Permaculture: A Quiet Revolution — An Interview with Bill Mollison Scott London interviewing Bill Mollison
|“||In the early 1970s, it dawned on me that no one had ever applied design to agriculture. When I realized it, the hairs went up on the back of my neck. It was so strange. We’d had agriculture for 7,000 years, and we’d been losing for 7,000 years — everything was turning into desert. So I wondered, can we build systems that obey ecological principles? We know what they are, we just never apply them. Ecologists never apply good ecology to their gardens. Architects never understand the transmission of heat in buildings. And physicists live in houses with demented energy systems. It’s curious that we never apply what we know to how we actually live.||”|
|“||The yield of a system is theoretically unlimited: The only limit on the number of uses of a resource possible is the limit of information and imagination of designer.||”|
- Light at the Edge of the World - The Science of the Mind Wade Davis and Andrew Gregg
- How the Weak Win Wars: A Theory of Asymmetric Conflict Ivan Arreguin-Toft
|“||Since Thucydies (sic), the root principle of international relations theory has been that power implies victory in war. Thus, in asymmetric conflicts the strong actor should almost always win. Indeed this expectation is on balance supported (see Figure 1). Yet if one divides the roughly 200-year period covered in the Correlates of War data set, two related puzzles emerge (see Figure 2). First, weak actors were victorious in nearly 30 percent of all asymmetric wars, which seems high given the ≥ 5:1 asymmetry represented here. Second, weak actors have won with increasing frequency over time. If relative power explains outcomes, and structure of the conflict is held constant as in Figure 2, conflict outcomes should not shift over time as they have. What explains both strong-actor defeat in asymmetric wars and the trend towards increasing weak-actor victories over time?||”|
- Государственность и анархия (Gosudarstvennost' i anarkhiia, or Statism and Anarchy) Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin
|“||We must convince them that an invincible force lives in the people, which nothing and no one can withstand, and that if it has not yet liberated the people it is because it is powerful only when it is concentrated and acts simultaneously, everywhere, jointly, in concert, and until now it has not done so. In order to concentrate that force, the villages, districts, and regions must be linked and organized according to a common plan and with the single objective of universal liberation of the people. To create in our people a feeling and consciousness of real unity, some sort of popular newspaper must be established - printed, lithographed, handwritten, or even oral - which would immediately spread information to every corner of Russia, to every region, district, and village, about any peasant or factory uprising that breaks out in one locality or another, and also about the significant revolutionary movements produced by the proletariat of Western Europe. Then our peasant and our factory worker will not feel isolated, but on the contrary will know that behind them, under the same yoke but with the same passion and will to liberate themselves, stands a vast, countless world of laborers preparing for a universal outburst.
That is the task and, we will say bluntly, the sole objective of revolutionary propaganda, It is inappropriate to specify in print how our young peole are to carry out this objective.
We will say only one thing: the Russian people will acknowledge our educated youth as their own only when they encounter them in their own lives, in their own misfortunes, in their own cause, in their own desperate rebellion. The youth must be present from now on not as witnesses but as active participants, in the forefront of all popular disturbances and uprisings, great and small, always and everywhere - participants who have doomed themselves to destruction. Acting in accordance with a rigorously conceived and fixed plan, and subjecting all their activity to the strictest discipline in order to create that unanimity without which there can be no victory, they must ready both themselves and the people not just for desperate resistance but also for a bold attack.
Let us add one more word in conclusion. The class which we call our intellectual proletariat, and which is already in a social-revolutionary situation ( meaning simply a desperate and impossible one), must be imbued with a conscious passion for the cause of social revolution if it does not want to perish shamefully and in vain. This class is now called upon to prepare, that is, to organize, a popular revolution. It has no other alternative. Thanks to the education it has received, it might, of course, seek to obtain some more ore less profitable position in the already overcrowded and very inhospitable ranks of the robbers, exploiters, and oppressors of the people. In the first place, however, there are fewer and fewer such positions, so that they are accessible only to a very small number of people. The majority will be left only with the shame of betrayal and will perish in poverty, insignificance, and baseness. But we are addressing ourselves only to those for whom betrayal is unthinkable and impossible.
Irrevocably cutting all their ties with the world of the exploiters, destroyers, and enemies of the Russian people, they should regard themselves as precious capital belonging exclusively to the cause of the people's liberation, capital that should be expended only on popular propaganda, on gradually arousing and organizing a universal popular uprising.
|“||We are on the brink of a synergistic catastrophe. Financial, ecological and ethical collapse loom on the horizon even as the rate of mental illness continues to climb. The world has literally gone mad.
But as more people trace their anxieties, mood disorders and depressions back to the toxins in our mental world, the first murmurs of insurrection can be faintly heard. From blackspotted billboards to breakaway attempts-at-downshifting, to revolutionary provocations in failing states, we are witnessing the birth pangs of the quintessential uprising of the 21st century. What will come is a rewilding of our souls, a riot against the production of fake corporate and commercial meaning. What begins here today will be known as the environmental movement of the mind.
- The Flame of Eternity: An Interpretation of Nietzsche's Thought Krzysztof Michalski
- Jonathan Rose The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes
- What Does That Server Really Serve? Richard Stallman
|“||Software as a Service (SaaS) means that someone sets up a network server that does certain computing tasks—running spreadsheets, word processing, translating text into another language, etc.—and then invites users to do their computing on that server. Users must send their data to the server, which returns the results.
These servers wrest control from the users even more inexorably than does proprietary software. With proprietary software, users typically get an executable file, but not the source code. That makes it hard for programmers to study the code that is running, so it’s hard to determine what the program really does, and hard to change it.
With SaaS, the users do not have even the executable file: it is on the server, where the users can’t see or touch it. Thus it is impossible for them to ascertain what it really does, and impossible to change it.
|“||First we must consider the language barrier; from the initial encounters between American Indians and Europeans a vocabulary developed that is specific to speaking about Indians, especially in the English language. That vocabulary has no correspondence to works or concepts in our languages and, more importantly, it has no base in our reality. It was developed through racism and pre-conceived notions. More, it is by now so thoroughly the cartography of our thought about Indians that it is almost impossible not to use it, or not to consider that those words are, even though English, “Indian” words. The words “chief,” “tribe,” and “band” had etymological histories within European contexts. There is nothing in our contexts that means anything vaguely similar. “President,” “General,” “nation,” “state,” and “province” work just as well but they are not used because the vocabulary was developed against us, to further the idea that we are primitive. You can think of the obviously racist words such as “squaw,” “brave,” “warrior,” “papoose,” and, I hope “medicine man,” but what about the absurd custom of translating our given names into (incorrect) English, such as “Crazy Horse,” and “Sitting Bull?” There is no movement or urge to translate German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Zulu, or Nigerian names into literal English equivalents.||”|
|“||Skinner's thesis is that external factors consisting of present stimulation and the history of reinforcement (in particular, the frequency, arrangement, and withholding of reinforcing stimuli) are of overwhelming importance, and that the general principles revealed in laboratory studies of these phenomena provide the basis for understanding the complexities of verbal behavior. He confidently and repeatedly voices his claim to have demonstrated that the contribution of the speaker is quite trivial and elementary, and that precise prediction of verbal behavior involves only specification of the few external factors that he has isolated experimentally with lower organisms.
Careful study of this book (and of the research on which it draws) reveals, however, that these astonishing claims are far from justified. It indicates, furthermore, that the insights that have been achieved in the laboratories of the reinforcement theorist, though quite genuine, can be applied to complex human behavior only in the most gross and superficial way, and that speculative attempts to discuss linguistic behavior in these terms alone omit from consideration factors of fundamental importance that are, no doubt, amenable to scientific study, although their specific character cannot at present be precisely formulated. Since Skinner's work is the most extensive attempt to accommodate human behavior involving higher mental faculties within a strict behaviorist schema of the type that has attracted many linguists and philosophers, as well as psychologists, a detailed documentation is of independent interest. The magnitude of the failure of this attempt to account for verbal behavior serves as a kind of measure of the importance of the factors omitted from consideration, and an indication of how little is really known about this remarkably complex phenomenon.
|“||The Eyes of the Future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. They are kneeling with hands clasped that we might act with restraint, that we might leave room for the life that is destined to come. To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. Perhaps the wildness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace. Wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.||”|
- Restoration Agriculture Mark Shepard
- The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy Murray Bookchin
|“||History, in fact, is as important as form or structure. To a large extent, the history of a phenomenon is the phenomenon itself. We are, in a real sense, everything that existed before us and, in turn, we can eventually become vastly more than we are.||”|
|“||Paul Radin, summing up decades of anthropological experience, research, and fieldwork, once observed:
These features can be summarized as: complete parity or equality between individuals, age-groups and sexes; usufruct and later reciprocity; the avoidance of coercion in dealing with internal affairs; and finally, what Radin calls the "irreducible minimum" -the "inalienable right" (in Radin's words) of every individual in the community "to food, shelter and clothing" irrespective of the amount of work contributed by the individual to the acquisition of the means of life. "To deny anyone this irreducible minimum was equivalent to saying that a man no longer existed, that he was dead"-in short, to cut across the grain of the world conceived as a universe of life.
|“||The social horizon presents the starkly conflicting prospects of a harmonized world with an ecological sensibility based on a rich commitment to community, mutual aid, and new technologies, on the one hand, and the terrifying prospect of some sort of thermonuclear disaster on the other. Our world, it would appear, will either undergo revolutionary changes, so far-reaching in character that humanity will totally transform its social relations and its very conception of life, or it will suffer an apocalypse that may well end humanity's tenure on the planet.
The tension between these two prospects has already subverted the morale of the traditional social order. We have entered an era that consists no longer of institutional stabilization but of institutional decay. A widespread alienation is developing toward the forms, the aspirations, the demands, and above all, the institutions of the established order. The most exuberant, theatrical evidence of this alienation occurred in the 1960s, when the "youth revolt" in the early half of the decade exploded inot what seemed to be a counterculture. Considerably more than protest and adolescent nihilism marked the period. Almost intuitively, new values of sensuousness, new forms of communal lifestyle, changes in dress, language, music, all borne on the wave of a deep sense of impending social change, infused a sizable section of an entire generation. We still do not know in what sense this wave began to ebb: whether as a historic retreat or as a transformation into a serious project for inner and social development. That the symbols of this movement eventually became the artifacts for a new culture industry does not alter its far-reaching effects. Western society will never be the same again—all the sneers of its academics and its critics of "narcissism" notwithstanding.
What makes this ceaseless movement of deinstitutionalization and delegitimation so significant is that it has found its bedrock in a vast stratum of western society. Alienation permeates not only the poor but also the relatively affluent, not only the young but also their elders, not only the visibly denied but also the seemingly privileged. The prevailing order is beginning to lose the loyalty of social strata that traditionally rallied to its support and in which its roots were firmly planted in past periods.
Crucial as this decay of institutions and values may be, it by no means exhausts the problems that confront the existing society. Interwtined with the social crisis is a crisis that has emerged directly from man's exploitation of the planet.* Established society is faced with breakdown not only of its values and institutions, but also of its natural environment. This problem is not unique to our times.
|“||Finally, I must emphasize that direct democracy is ultimately the most advanced form of direct action. There are doubtlessly many ways to express the claims of the individual and community to be autonomous, self-active, and self-managing—today as well as in a future ecological society. To exercise one's powers of sovereignty—by sit-ins, strikes, nuclear-plant occupations—is not merely a "tactic" in bypassing authoritarian institutions. It is a sensibility, a vision of citizenship and selfhood that assumes the free individual has the capacity to manage social affairs in a direct, ethical, and rational manner. This dimension of the self in self-management is a persistent call to personal sovereignty, to roundedness of ego and intellectual perception, which such cojoined terms like "management" and "activity" often overshadow. The continual exercise of this self-its very formation by one's direct intervention in social issues-in asserting its moral claim and right to empowerment stands on a higher level conceptually than Marx's image of self-identity through labor. For direct action is literally a form of ethical character building in the most important social role that the individual can undertake: active citizenship. To reduce it to a mere means, a "strategy" that can be used or discarded for strictly functional purposes, is instrumentalism in its most insidious, often most cynical form. Direct action is at once the reclamation of the public sphere by the ego, its development toward self-empowerment, and its culmination as an active participant in society.
But direct action can also be degraded, on its own terms, by seeming to honor some of its most dubious characteristics: aggressiveness, arrogance, and terrorism . Inevitably, these characteristics rebound against the individual, and often lead to what Fourier called a malignant "counterpassion" -a spoiled, disappointed adherence to authority, delegated powers, and personal passivity. We are very familiar with the fulminating "anarchist" terrorist who turns into the most reverential supporter of authority, as Paul Brousse's career revealed. Direct action finds its authentic expression in the painstaking work of citizenship such as the building of libertarian forms of organization today and their conscientious administration in routine work with lasting ardor. This unassuming work is all too readily overlooked for dramatic actions and colorful projects.
|“||For some two centuries, anarchism -- a very ecumenical body of anti-authoritarian ideas -- developed in the tension between two basically contradictory tendencies: a personalistic commitment to individual autonomy and a collectivist commitment to social freedom. These tendencies have by no means been reconciled in the history of libertarian thought. Indeed, for much of the last century, they simply coexisted within anarchism as a minimalist credo of opposition to the State rather than as a maximalist credo that articulated the kind of new society that had to be created in its place.||”|
|“||More than 130 million Americans, in fact, already belong to one or another form of cooperative—and especially the most widely known form: the credit union. Similarly, there are some 2,000 municipally owned utilities, a number of which are ecological leaders. (Twenty-five percent of American electricity is provided by co-ops and public utilities.) Upwards of 10 million Americans now also work at some 11,000 employee-owned firms (ESOP companies).
More than 200 communities also operate or are establishing community land trusts that take land and housing out of the market and preserve it for the community. And hundreds of “social enterprises” use profits for social or community serving goals. Beyond these efforts, roughly 4,500 Community Development Corporations and 1.5 million non-profit organizations currently operate in every state in the nation.
|“||The American citizen thus lives in a world where fantasy is more real than reality, where the image has more dignity than the original. We hardly dare face our bewilderment, because our ambiguous experience is so pleasantly iridescent, and the solace of belief in contrived reality is so thoroughly real. We have become eager accessories in the great hoaxes of the age. These are the hoaxes we play on ourselves.||”|
|“||As we are convinced that the real attainment of liberty, of justice, and of peace in the world will be impossible so long as the immense majority of the populations are dispossessed of property, deprived of education and condemned to political and social nonbeing and a de facto if not a de jure slavery, through their state of misery as well as their need to labor without rest or leisure, in producing all the wealth in which the world is glorying today, and receiving in return but a small portion hardly sufficient for their daily bread;
As we are convinced that for all these populations, hitherto so terribly maltreated through the centuries, the question of bread is the question of intellectual emancipation, of liberty, and of humanity;
As we are convinced that liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; and that socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality;
Now therefore, the League highly proclaims the need for a radical social and economic reform, whose aim shall be the deliverance of the people's labor from the yoke of capital and property, upon a foundation of the strictest justice – not juridical, not theological, not metaphysical, but simply human justice, of positive science and the most absolute liberty.
The League at the same time decides that its journal will freely open its columns to all serious discussions of economic and social questions, provided they are sincerely inspired by a desire for the greatest popular emancipation, both on the material and the political and intellectual levels.
|“||Monarchy itself is sometimes hinted at as a possible refuge from the power of the people.
In my present position I could scarcely be justified were I to omit raising a warning voice against this approach of returning despotism.
It is not needed nor fitting here that a general argument should be made in favor of popular institutions, but there is one point, with its connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief attention. It is the effort to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor in the structure of government. It is assumed that labor is available only in connection with capital; that nobody labors unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of it induces him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their own consent, or buy them and drive them to it without their consent. Having proceeded so far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers are either hired laborers or what we call slaves. And further, it is assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer is fixed in that condition for life.
Now there is no such relation between capital and labor as assumed, nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are groundless.
Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole labor of community exists within that relation. A few men own capital, and that few avoid labor themselves, and with their capital hire or buy another few to labor for them. A large majority belong to neither class--neither work for others nor have others working for them. In most of the Southern States a majority of the whole people of all colors are neither slaves nor masters, while in the Northern a large majority are neither hirers nor hired. Men, with their families--wives, sons, and daughters--work for themselves on their farms, in their houses, and in their shops, taking the whole product to themselves, and asking no favors of capital on the one hand nor of hired laborers or slaves on the other. It is not forgotten that a considerable number of persons mingle their own labor with capital; that is, they labor with their own hands and also buy or hire others to labor for them; but this is only a mixed and not a distinct class. No principle stated is disturbed by the existence of this mixed class.
Again, as has already been said, there is not of necessity any such thing as the free hired laborer being fixed to that condition for life. Many independent men everywhere in these States a few years back in their lives were hired laborers. The prudent, penniless beginner in the world labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land for himself, then labors on his own account another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him. This is the just and generous and prosperous system which opens the way to all, gives hope to all, and consequent energy and progress and improvement of condition to all. No men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from poverty; none less inclined to take or touch aught which they have not honestly earned. Let them beware of surrendering a political power which they already possess, and which if surrendered will surely be used to close the door of advancement against such as they and to fix new disabilities and burdens upon them till all of liberty shall be lost.
From the first taking of our national census to the last are seventy years, and we find our population at the end of the period eight times as great as it was at the beginning. The increase of those other things which men deem desirable has been even greater. We thus have at one view what the popular principle, applied to Government through the machinery, of the States and the Union, has produced in a given time, and also what if firmly maintained it promises for the future. There are already among us those who if the Union be preserved will live to see it contain 250,000,000. The struggle of to-day is not altogether for to-day; it is for a vast future also. With a reliance on Providence all the more firm and earnest, let us proceed in the great task which events have devolved upon us.
- Unconfirmed source. Possibly Bertolt Brecht
|“||The worst illiterate is the political illiterate. He hears nothing, sees nothing, takes no part in political life. He doesn't seem to know that the cost of living, the price of beans, of flour, of rent, of medicines, all depend on political decisions. He even prides himself on his political ignorance, sticks out his chest and says he hates politics. He doesn't know, the imbecile, that from his political nonparticipation comes the prostitute, the abandoned child, the robber and worst of all, corrupt officials, the lackeys of exploitative multinational corporations.||”|
- The State of the Ocean 2013: Perils, Prognoses and Proposals: Executive Summary International Programme on the State of the Ocean: Jelle Bijma Alfred-Wegener, Hans O. Pörtner Alfred-Wegener, Chris Yesson, Alex D. Rogers, et. al.
|“||We have been taking the ocean for granted. It has been shielding us from the worst effects of accelerating climate change by absorbing excess CO2 from the atmosphere, and this has created a "deadly trio" of impacts – acidification, warming and deoxygenation – which are combining to dramatic effect on the flora and fauna of the ocean, and exacerbating the effects of other factors, such as pollution, eutrophication and overfishing. According to a flood of recent literature, most, if not all, of the Earth's five past mass extinction events have involved at least one of these three symptoms of global carbon perturbations, all of which are present in the ocean today.
More worrying still, the scale and rate of the present day carbon perturbation, and resulting ocean acidification, is unprecedented in Earth's known history. Today's rate of carbon release, at approximately 30 Gt of CO2 per year, is at least 10 times faster than that which preceded the last major species extinction (the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum extinction, or PETM, ca. 55 million years ago), while geological records indicate that the current acidification is unparalleled in at least the last 300 million years. We are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change, and exposing organisms to intolerable evolutionary pressure. The next mass extinction event may have already begun.
Developed, industrialised human society is living above the carrying capacity of the Earth, and the implications for the ocean, and thus for all humans, are huge. It is now certain that the uptake of CO2 into the ocean is outstripping its capacity to obsorb it, resulting in a reduction in ocean pH (i.e. increase in acidity) coupled with a lowering of its CO2 buffering capacity. Acidification is causing substantial decline in caronate ion concentrations and resulting in 800km2 of the seafloor becoming exposed to waters that are compared to sub-tropical waters because of the effects of temperature on ocean chemistry. Biological impacts are already being observed as acidification is a direct threat to all marine organisms that build their skeletons out of calcium carbonate, including reef-forming corals, crustaceans, molluscs and other planktonic species that are at the lower level of pelagic food webs. If current levels of CO2 release continue we can expect extremely serious consequences for ocean life; at CO2 concentrations of 450-500 ppm (projected in 2030-2050) erosion will exceed calcification in the coral reef building process, resulting in the extinction of some species and decline in biodiversity overall.
The second prong in the "deadly trio" is ocean warming. The average temperature of the upper layers of the ocean has increased by 0.6°C over the last 100 yeras, with direct and well documented physical and biogeochemical consequences. The impacts which continued warming is projected to have in the decades to 2050 include: reduced seasonal icezones, including the disappearance of Arctic summer sea ice; increasing stratification of ocean layers, leading to oxygen depletion; increased venting of the GHG methane from the Arctic seabed; and increased incidence of anoxic and hypoxic (low oxygen) events.
To complete the triumvirate, there is deoxygenation, the accumulating evidence that the oxygen inventory of the ocean is progressively declining. Predictions for ocean oxygen content suggest a decline of between 1% and 7% by 2100. This occurring in two ways: the broad trend of decreasing oxygen levels in tropical oceans and the areas of the North Pacific over the last 50 years; and the dramatic increase in coastal hypoxia (low oxygen) associated with eutrophication. The former is caused by global warming, the second by increased nutrient runoff from agriculture and sewage...
Oxygen depleted, or hypoxic zones have spread since the introduction of industrial fertilizers in the 1940s, and since the 1960s the number of "dead zones" has doubled every ten yeras, concentrated in areas near human population centres and large water sheds. Inland seas and estuaries – including the Black Sea, the Kattegat, and Chesapeake Bay – are particularly badly affected, and number of hypoxic zones is thought to be underestimated as their occurrence is not reported in many geographic zones.
- How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean? Camilo Mora mail, Derek P. Tittensor, Sina Adl, Alastair G. B. Simpson, and Boris Worm
|“||...the taxonomic classification of species into higher taxonomic groups (from genera to phyla) follows a consistent pattern from which the total number of species in any taxonomic group can be predicted. Assessment of this pattern for all kingdoms of life on Earth predicts ~8.7 million (±1.3 million SE) species globally, of which ~2.2 million (±0.18 million SE) are marine. Our results suggest that some 86% of the species on Earth, and 91% in the ocean, still await description.||”|
- The Creation of Patriarchy Gerda Lerner
- Communiqué from an Absent Future ( mirror and further discourse) research & destroy
|“||WE LIVE AS A DEAD CIVILIZATION. We can no longer imagine the good life except as a series of spectacles preselected for our bemusement: a shimmering menu of illusions. Both the full-filled life and our own imaginations have been systematically replaced by a set of images more lavish and inhumane than anything we ourselves would conceive, and equally beyond reach. No one believes in such outcomes anymore.
The truth of life after the university is mean and petty competition for resources with our friends and strangers: the hustle for a lower-management position that will last (with luck) for a couple years rifted with anxiety, fear, and increasing exploitation—until the firm crumbles and we mutter about “plan B.” But this is an exact description of university life today; that mean and petty life has already arrived.
|“||We must live our own time, our own possibilities. These are the only true justifications for the university’s existence, though it has never fulfilled them. On its side: bureaucracy, inertia, incompetence. On our side: everything else.||”|
|“||LIKE THE SOCIETY TO WHICH IT HAS PLAYED THE FAITHFUL SERVANT, THE UNIVERSITY IS BANKRUPT. This bankruptcy is not only financial. It is the index of a more fundamental insolvency, one both political and economic, which has been a long time in the making. No one knows what the university is for anymore. We feel this intuitively. Gone is the old project of creating a cultured and educated citizenry; gone, too, the special advantage the degree-holder once held on the job market. These are now fantasies, spectral residues that cling to the poorly maintained halls."||”|
|“||If the university teaches us primarily how to be in debt, how to waste our labor power, how to fall prey to petty anxieties, it thereby teaches us how to be consumers. Education is a commodity like everything else that we want without caring for. It is a thing, and it makes its purchasers into things. One’s future position in the system, one’s relation to others, is purchased first with money and then with the demonstration of obedience. First we pay, then we “work hard.” And there is the split: one is both the commander and the commanded, consumer and consumed. It is the system itself which one obeys, the cold buildings that enforce subservience. Those who teach are treated with all the respect of an automated messaging system. Only the logic of customer satisfaction obtains here: was the course easy? Was the teacher hot? Could any stupid asshole get an A? What’s the point of acquiring knowledge when it can be called up with a few keystokes? Who needs memory when we have the internet? A training in thought? You can’t be serious. A moral preparation? There are anti-depressants for that.||”|
|“||THE UNIVERSITY HAS NO HISTORY OF ITS OWN; ITS HISTORY IS THE HISTORY OF CAPITAL. Its essential function is the reproduction of the relationship between capital and labor. Though not a proper corporation that can be bought and sold, that pays revenue to its investors, the public university nonetheless carries out this function as efficiently as possible by approximating ever more closely the corporate form of its bedfellows. What we are witnessing now is the endgame of this process, whereby the façade of the educational institution gives way altogether to corporate streamlining.||”|
|“||We seek to push the university struggle to its limits.
Though we denounce the privatization of the university and its authoritarian system of governance, we do not seek structural reforms. We demand not a free university but a free society. A free university in the midst of a capitalist society is like a reading room in a prison; it serves only as a distraction from the misery of daily life. Instead we seek to channel the anger of the dispossessed students and workers into a declaration of war.
|“||Occupation will be a critical tactic in our struggle, but we must resist the tendency to use it in a reformist way. The different strategic uses of occupation became clear this past January when students occupied a building at the New School in New York. A group of friends, mostly graduate students, decided to take over the Student Center and claim it as a liberated space for students and the public. Soon others joined in, but many of them preferred to use the action as leverage to win reforms, in particular to oust the school’s president. These differences came to a head as the occupation unfolded. While the student reformers were focused on leaving the building with a tangible concession from the administration, others shunned demands entirely. They saw the point of occupation as the creation of a momentary opening in capitalist time and space, a rearrangement that sketched the contours of a new society. We side with this anti-reformist position. While we know these free zones will be partial and transitory, the tensions they expose between the real and the possible can push the struggle in a more radical direction.
We intend to employ this tactic until it becomes generalized. In 2001 the first Argentine piqueteros suggested the form the people’s struggle there should take: road blockades which brought to a halt the circulation of goods from place to place. Within months this tactic spread across the country without any formal coordination between groups. In the same way repetition can establish occupation as an instinctive and immediate method of revolt taken up both inside and outside the university. We have seen a new wave of takeovers in the U.S. over the last year, both at universities and workplaces: New School and NYU, as well as the workers at Republic Windows kFactory in Chicago, who fought the closure of their factory by taking it over. Now it is our turn.
- Aesthetic Theory Theodor Adorno
- The Myth of Sisyphus Albert Camus
- La Transcendance de l'ego: Esquisse d'une description phénomenologique (The Transcendence of the Ego) Jean-Paul Sartre
- "That to Study Philosophy is to Learn to Die" Michel de Montaigne
- Negative Dialectics Theodor Adorno
|“||The power of the status quo has erected the walls against which consciousness bangs its head. It has no choice but smash through them. That alone would wrest away from ideology the notion of profundity. It is in resistance of this kind that the speculative moment survives; whatever refuses to let the given facts dictate the law transcends those facts from a position of intimacy with the world’s objects, and it does so by refusing transcendence in its sacrosanct versions. A thought is sometimes beyond the thing that it binds itself to in the course of resisting it, and that is its freedom. Freedom follows on from the subject’s need to express itself. The need to let suffering speak is a condition of all truth. For suffering is objectivity impinging upon the subject. What the subject experiences as its most subjective thing, its self-expression, is mediated by objects.||”|
- À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time) Marcel Proust
- Endgame Samuel Beckett
- Waiting for Godot Samuel Beckett
- Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854–2010 Richard Heede
|“||...a quantitative analysis of the historic fossil fuel and cement production records of the 50 leading investor-owned, 31 state-owned, and 9 nation-state producers of oil, natural gas, coal, and cement from as early as 1854 to 2010. This analysis traces emissions totaling 914 GtCO2e—63 % of cumulative worldwide emissions of industrial CO2 and methane between 1751 and 2010—to the 90 “carbon major” entities based on the carbon content of marketed hydrocarbon fuels (subtracting for non-energy uses), process CO2 from cement manufacture, CO2 from flaring, venting, and own fuel use, and fugitive or vented methane. Cumulatively, emissions of 315 GtCO2e have been traced to investor-owned entities, 288 GtCO2e to state-owned enterprises, and 312 GtCO2e to nation-states. Of these emissions, half has been emitted since 1986. The carbon major entities possess fossil fuel reserves that will, if produced and emitted, intensify anthropogenic climate change.||”|
- World Protests 2006-2013 Initiative for Policy Dialogue Friedrich Ebert Foundation Isabel Ortiz Sara Burke Mohamed Berrada Hernán Cortés
|“||Our analysis of 843 protest events reflects a steady increase in the overall number of protests every year, from 2006 (59 protests) to mid-2013 (112 protests events in only half a year). Following the onset of the global financial and economic crisis began to unfold, there is a major increase in protests beginning 2010 with the adoption of austerity measures in all world regions. Protests are more prevalent in higher income countries (304 protests), followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (141 protests), East Asia and the Pacific (83 protests) and Sub-Saharan Africa (78 protests). An analysis of the Middle East and North Africa region (77 protests) shows that protests were also prevalent prior to the Arab Spring. The majority of violent riots counted in the study occurred in low-income countries (48% of all riots), mostly caused by food-price and energy-price spikes in those countries. Interestingly, the period 2006-2013 reflects an increasing number of global protests (70 events), organized across regions.||”|
|“||New Agents for Change: A somewhat different picture emerges from many new social and political movements that have sprung up between 2006 and 2013, in which waves of middle-class people of all ages—people who do not consider themselves activists and yet have been brought newly into the streets by the Arab Spring, the Indignados movements of Europe and the Occupy movement in the US and countries around the world—protest because they are disillusioned with official political processes and the political parties and other usual political actors associated with them. Mass middle-class involvement in protest indicates a new dynamic: An existing solidarity of middle classes with elites has been replaced in countries around the world by a lack of trust and awareness that neither the prevailing economic system nor their own political systems are producing positive outcomes for them. Alongside activists from labor, immigration and anti-war protests, peole in these new movements have become key organizers and participants in many direct actions (eg. the occupation of public squares and streets, street "teach-ins", and the blockades of roads, bridges and train tracks). The fact that 26% of all the protests covered in the study include the demand for real democracy is due in no small measure to the growing ranks of the middle classes in protests.||”|
|“||Resistance isn't futile, it's the new mode of participation.||”|
|“||The best exponent of Anarchist philosophy in ancient Greece was Zeno (342-267 or 270 B.C.), from Crete, the founder of the Stoic philosophy, who distinctly opposed his conception of a free community without government to the state-Utopia of Plato. He repudiated the omnipotence of the state, its intervention and regimentation, and proclaimed the sovereignty of the moral law of the individual — -remarking already that, while the necessary instinct of self-preservation leads man to egotism, nature has supplied a corrective to it by providing man with another instinct — that of sociability. When men are reasonable enough to follow their natural instincts, they will unite across the frontiers and constitute the Cosmos. They will have no need of law-courts or police, will have no temples and no public worship, and use no money — free gifts taking the place of the exchanges. Unfortunately, the writings of Zeno have not reached us and are only known through fragmentary quotations. However, the fact that his very wording is similar to the wording now in use, shows how deeply is laid the tendency of human nature of which he was the mouth-piece.
In medieval times we find the same views on the state expressed by the illustrious bishop of Alba, Marco Girolamo Vida, in his first dialogue De dignitate reipublicae (Ferd. Cavalli, in Mem. dell' Istituto Veneto, xiii.; Dr E. Nys, Researches in the History of Economics). But it is especially in several early Christian movements, beginning with the 9th century in Armenia, and in the preachings of the early Hussites, particularly Chojecki, and the early Anabaptists, especially Hans Denk (cf. Keller, Ein Apostel der Wiedertaufer), that one finds the same ideas forcibly expressed — special stress being laid of course on their moral aspects.
- Spiritual Ecology: the Cry of the Earth Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee et. al.
- Feral: Searching for enchantment on the frontiers of rewilding George Monbiot
- Kingdom Come J. G. Ballard
|“||The suburbs dream of violence. Asleep in their drowsy villas sheltered by benevolent shopping malls, they wait patiently for the nightmares that will wake them into a more passionate world.||”|
- The End of Growth Jeff Runin
- The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality Richard Heinberg
- perfect storm: energy, finance and the end of growth Tim Morgan
|“||The economy as we know it is facing a lethal confluence of four critical factors – the fall-out from the biggest debt bubble in history; a disastrous experiment with globalisation; the massaging of data to the point where economic trends are obscured; and, most important of all, the approach of an energy-returns cliff-edge.||”|
|“||...there is no real evidence that the economy is recovering from what is already a more prolonged slump than the Great Depression of the 1930s. We are now more than four years on from the banking crisis and, under anything approaching normal conditions, there should have been a return to economic expansion by now. Governments have tried almost everything, from prolonged near-zero interest rates and stimulus expenditures to the creation of money on a gigantic scale. These tools have worked in the past, and the fact that, this time, they manifestly are not working should tell us that something profoundly different is going on.
The question of culpability has been the equivalent of Sherlock Holmes’ “dog that did not bark in the night”, in that very few individuals have been held to account for what is unarguably the worst economic disaster in at least eighty years. A small number of obviously-criminal miscreants have been prosecuted, but this is something that happens on a routine basis in normal times, so does not amount to an attribution of blame for the crisis. There has been widespread public vilification of bankers, the vast majority of whom were, in any case, only acting within the parameters of the ‘debt-fuelled, immediate gratification’ ethos established across Western societies as a whole.
|“||All the bacteria living inside you would fill a half-gallon jug; there are 10 times more bacterial cells in your body than human cells, according to Carolyn Bohach, a microbiologist at the University of Idaho (U.I.), along with other estimates from scientific studies. (Despite their vast numbers, bacteria don't take up that much space because bacteria are far smaller than human cells.) Although that sounds pretty gross, it's actually a very good thing.
The infestation begins at birth: Babies ingest mouthfuls of bacteria during birthing and pick up plenty more from their mother's skin and milk—during breast-feeding, the mammary glands become colonized with bacteria. "Our interaction with our mother is the biggest burst of microbes that we get," says Gary Huffnagle, a microbiologist and internist at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. And that's just for starters: Throughout our lives, we consume bacteria in our food and water "and who knows where else," Huffnagle says. Starting in the mouth, nose or other orifices, these microbes travel through the esophagus, stomach and / or intestines—locations where most of them set up camp. Although there are estimated to be more than 500 species living at any one time in an adult intestine, the majority belong to two phyla, the Firmicutes (which include Streptococcus, Clostridium and Staphylococcus), and the Bacteroidetes (which include Flavobacterium).
|“||Astronomers reported that there could be as many as 40 billion habitable Earth-size planets in the galaxy, based on a new analysis of data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft.
One out of every five sunlike stars in the galaxy has a planet the size of Earth circling it in the Goldilocks zone — not too hot, not too cold — where surface temperatures should be compatible with liquid water, according to a herculean three-year calculation based on data from the Kepler spacecraft by Erik Petigura, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley.
- In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations Jerry Mander
|“||In the later stages of an epic worldwide struggle, the forces of Western economic development are assaulting the remaining native peoples of the planet, whose presence obstructs their progress. In some places the assault is violent; elsewhere, as here in the United State, it is legalistic. Given the lack of public awareness and the misreporting by the media, a "final solution" for the native problem is deemed likely. Upon the ultimate outcome of this battle will depend whether a living alternative would view, rooted in an ancient connection with the Earth, can continue to express what is insane and suicidal about the Western Technological project.||”|
|“||Moral ecology describes the phenomenon whereby it takes a pluralism of behavioural strategies to promote high levels of cooperation within groups, and the complex dynamics of the interactions between these strategies over time.
It refers to the fact that each behavioural strategy – which is often manifest in the form of a moral norm – enjoys differential levels of success in terms of promoting cooperation depending on the environment in which it exists, i.e. the other strategies in play around it.
|“||I said earlier that the decadence of our language is probably curable. Those who deny this would argue, if they produced an argument at all, that language merely reflects existing social conditions, and that we cannot influence its development by any direct tinkering with words and constructions. So far as the general tone or spirit of a language goes, this may be true, but it is not true in detail. Silly words and expressions have often disappeared, not through any evolutionary process but owing to the conscious action of a minority. Two recent examples were explore every avenue and leave no stone unturned, which were killed by the jeers of a few journalists. There is a long list of flyblown metaphors which could similarly be got rid of if enough people would interest themselves in the job; and it should also be possible to laugh the not un- formation out of existence, to reduce the amount of Latin and Greek in the average sentence, to drive out foreign phrases and strayed scientific words, and, in general, to make pretentiousness unfashionable. But all these are minor points. The defence of the English language implies more than this, and perhaps it is best to start by saying what it does not imply.
To begin with it has nothing to do with archaism, with the salvaging of obsolete words and turns of speech, or with the setting up of a ‘standard English’ which must never be departed from. On the contrary, it is especially concerned with the scrapping of every word or idiom which has outworn its usefulness. It has nothing to do with correct grammar and syntax, which are of no importance so long as one makes one's meaning clear, or with the avoidance of Americanisms, or with having what is called a ‘good prose style’. On the other hand, it is not concerned with fake simplicity and the attempt to make written English colloquial. Nor does it even imply in every case preferring the Saxon word to the Latin one, though it does imply using the fewest and shortest words that will cover one's meaning. What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around. In prose, the worst thing one can do with words is surrender to them. When you think of a concrete object, you think wordlessly, and then, if you want to describe the thing you have been visualising you probably hunt about until you find the exact words that seem to fit it. When you think of something abstract you are more inclined to use words from the start, and unless you make a conscious effort to prevent it, the existing dialect will come rushing in and do the job for you, at the expense of blurring or even changing your meaning. Probably it is better to put off using words as long as possible and get one's meaning as clear as one can through pictures and sensations. Afterward one can choose — not simply accept — the phrases that will best cover the meaning, and then switch round and decide what impressions one's words are likely to make on another person. This last effort of the mind cuts out all stale or mixed images, all prefabricated phrases, needless repetitions, and humbug and vagueness generally. But one can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails. I think the following rules will cover most cases:
These rules sound elementary, and so they are, but they demand a deep change of attitude in anyone who has grown used to writing in the style now fashionable. One could keep all of them and still write bad English, but one could not write the kind of stuff that I quoted in those five specimens at the beginning of this article.
I have not here been considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought.
|“||Totalitarianism, however, does not so much promise an age of faith as an age of schizophrenia. A society becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial: that is, when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud. Such a society, no matter how long it persists, can never afford to become either tolerant or intellectually stable. It can never permit either the truthful recording of facts or the emotional sincerity that literary creation demands. But to be corrupted by totalitarianism one does not have to live in a totalitarian country. The mere prevalence of certain ideas can spread a kind of poison that makes one subject after another impossible for literary purposes. Wherever there is an enforced orthodoxy -- or even two orthodoxies, as often happens -- good writing stops. This was well illustrated by the Spanish civil war. To many English intellectuals the war was a deeply moving experience, but not an experience about which they could write sincerely. There were only two things that you were allowed to say, and both of them were palpable lies: as a result, the war produced acres of print but almost nothing worth reading.||”|
Slow Contraction or Fast Collapse
The fragility of the global economy has many unprecedented apsects that make some sort of rapid collapse of the global economy more likely. The capacity of central banks to repeat the massive stimulus mechanism in response to the 2008 global financial crisis, has been greatly reduced, while the faith that underpins the global financial system has weakened, to say the least. Systems thinkers such as David Korowics have argued that the inter-connected nature of the global economy, instantaneous communications and financial flows, "just in time" logistics, and extreme degrees of economic and technological specialisation, have increased the chances of a large scale systemic failure, at the same time that they have mitigated (or at least reduced) the impact of more limited localised crises.
Whether novel factors such as information technology, global peak oil and climate change have increased the likelihood of more extreme economic collapse, Foss and Keen have convinced me, that the most powerful and fast-acting factor that could radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions is the scale of financial debt and the long-sustained growth of bubble economics stretching back at least to the beginnings of the "Thatcherite/Reaganite revolution" in the early 1980s. From an energetics perspective the peak of US oil production in 1970, and the resulting global oil crisis of 73 and 79, laid the foundations for the gigantic growth in debt that super accelerated the level of consumption, and therefore GGE.
Whatever the causes, all economic bubbles follow a trajectory that includes a rapid contraction, as credit evaporates, followed by a long-sustained contraction, where asset values decline to lower levels than those at the beginning of the bubble. After almost 25 years of asset price deflation in Japan, a house and land parcel of 1.5ha in a not too isolated rural location can be bought for $25,000. A contraction in the systems that supply wants are likely to see simultaneous problems in the provision of basic needs. As Nicole Foss explains, in a deflationary contraction, prices of luxuries generally collapse but essentials of food and fuel do not fall much. Most importantly, essentials become unaffordable for many, once credit freezes and job security declines. It goes without saying that deflation rather inflation (sic) is the economic devil that governments and central banks most fear and are prepared to do almost anything to avoid.
Giving credence to the evidence for fast global economic collapse may suggest I am moving away from my belief in the more gradual Energy Decent future that I helped articulate. John Michael Greer has been very critical of apocalyptic views of the future in which a collapse sweeps away the current world leaving the chosen few who survive to build the new world. In large measure I agree with his critique but recognise that some might interpret my work as suggesting a permaculture paradise growing from the ashes of this civilisation. To some extent this is a reasonable interpretation, but I see that collapse, as a long drawn-out process rather than resulting from a single event.
I still believe that energy descent will go on for many decades or even centuries. In Future Scenarios I suggested energy descent driven by climate change and peak oil could occur through a series of crises separating relatively stable states that could persist for decades if not centuries. The collapse of the global financial system might simply be the first of those crises separating relatively stable states that could persist for decades if not centuries. The collapse of the global financial system might simply be the first of those crises that reorganise the world. The pathways that energy descent and collapse has become more nuanced, we start to see the distinction between financial, economic, social, and civilisational collapse as potential stages in an energy descent process where the first is fast changing and relatively superficial and the last is slow moving and more fundamental.
- Les Confessions d’un révolutionnaire: pour servir à l’histoire de la Révolution de Février (The Confessions of a Revolutionary) Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
|“||Le capital, dont l’analogue, dans l’ordre de la politique, est le Gouvernement, a pour synonyme, dans l’ordre de la religion, le Catholicisme. L’idée économique du capital, l’idée politique du gouvernement ou de l’autorité, l’idée théologique de l’Église, sont trois idées identiques et réciproquement convertibles : attaquer l’une c’est attaquer l’autre, ainsi que le savent parfaitement aujourd’hui tous les philosophes. Ce que le capital fait sur le travail, et l’État sur la liberté , l’Église l’opère à son tour sur l’intelligence. Cette trinité de l’absolutisme est fatale, dans la pratique comme dans la philosophie. Pour opprimer efficacement le peuple, il faut l’enchaîner à la fois dans son corps, dans sa volonté, dans sa raison.
Si donc le socialisme voulait se manifester d’une manière complète, positive, dégagée de tout mysticisme, il n’avait qu’une chose à faire, c’était de lancer dans la circulation intellectuelle l’idée de cette trilogie. L’occasion se présentait on ne peut plus favorable.
|“||LET US now imagine that one day something in our greengrocer snaps and he stops putting up the slogans merely to ingratiate himself. He stops voting in elections he knows are a farce. He begins to say what he really thinks at political meetings. And he even finds the strength in himself to express solidarity with those whom his conscience commands him to support. In this revolt the greengrocer steps out of living within the lie. He rejects the ritual and breaks the rules of the game. He discovers once more his suppressed identity and dignity. He gives his freedom a concrete significance. His revolt is an attempt to live within the truth.||”|
|“||INDIVIDUALS can be alienated from themselves only because there is something in them to alienate. The terrain of this violation is their authentic existence. Living the truth is thus woven directly into the texture of living a lie. It is the repressed alternative, the authentic aim to which living a lie is an inauthentic response. Only against this background does living a lie make any sense: it exists because of that background. In its excusatory, chimerical rootedness in the human order, it is a response to nothing other than the human predisposition to truth. Under the orderly surface of the life of lies, therefore, there slumbers the hidden sphere of life in its real aims, of its hidden openness to truth.
The singular, explosive, incalculable political power of living within the truth resides in the fact that living openly within the truth has an ally, invisible to be sure, but omnipresent: this hidden sphere. It is from this sphere that life lived openly in the truth grows; it is to this sphere that it speaks, and in it that it finds understanding. This is where the potential for communication exists. But this place is hidden and therefore, from the perspective of power, very dangerous. The complex ferment that takes place within it goes on in semidarkness, and by the time it finally surfaces into the light of day as an assortment of shocking surprises to the system, it is usually too late to cover them up in the usual fashion. Thus they create a situation in which the regime is confounded, invariably causing panic and driving it to react in inappropriate ways.
It seems that the primary breeding ground for what might, in the widest possible sense of the word, be understood as an opposition in the post-totalitarian system is living within the truth.
|“||THE PROFOUND crisis of human identity brought on by living within a lie, a crisis which in turn makes such a life possible, certainly possesses a moral dimension as well; it appears, among other things, as a deep moral crisis in society. A person who has been seduced by the consumer value system, whose identity is dissolved in an amalgam of the accouterments of mass civilization, and who has no roots in the order of being, no sense of responsibility for anything higher than his own personal survival, is a demoralized person. The system depends on this demoralization, deepens it, is in fact a projection of it into society.
Living within the truth, as humanity's revolt against an enforced position, is, on the contrary, an attempt to regain control over one's own sense of responsibility. In other words, it is clearly a moral act, not only because one must pay so dearly for it, but principally because it is not self-serving: the risk may bring rewards in the form of a general amelioration in the situation, or it may not. In this regard, as I stated previously, it is an all-or-nothing gamble, and it is difficult to imagine a reasonable person embarking on such a course merely because he reckons that sacrifice today will bring rewards tomorrow, be it only in the form of general gratitude. (By the way, the representatives of power invariably come to terms with those who live within the truth by persistently ascribing utilitarian motivations to them-a lust for power or fame or wealth-and thus they try, at least, to implicate them in their own world, the world of general demoralization.)
If living within the truth in the post-totalitarian system becomes the chief breeding ground for independent, alternative political ideas, then all considerations about the nature and future prospects of these ideas must necessarily reflect this moral dimension as a political phenomenon. (And if the revolutionary Marxist belief about morality as a product of the "superstructure" inhibits any of our friends from realizing the full significance of this dimension and, in one way or another, from including it in their view of the world, it is to their own detriment: an anxious fidelity to the postulates of that world view prevents them from properly understanding the mechanisms of their own political influence, thus paradoxically making them precisely what they, as Marxists, so often suspect others of being—victims of "false consciousness.") The very special political significance of morality in the post-totalitarian system is a phenomenon that is at the very least unusual in modern political history, a phenomenon that might well have-as I shall soon attempt to show—far-reaching consequences.
|“||In this long battle, a battle by no means finished, the unforeseeable effects of which will be felt by many future generations, the white man's motive was the protection of his identity; the black man was motivated by the need to establish an identity. And despite the terrorization which the Negro in America endured and endures sporadically until today, despite the cruel and totally inescapable ambivalence of his status in his country, the battle for his identity has long ago been won. He is not a visitor to the West, but a citizen there, an American; as American as the Americans who despise him, the Americans who fear him, the Americans who love him-the Americans who became less than themselves, or rose to be greater than themselves by virtue of the fact that the challenge he represented was inescapable. He is perhaps the only black man in the world whose relationship to white men is more terrible, more subtle, and more meaningful than the relationship of bitter possessed to uncertain possessors. His survival depended, and his development depends, on his ability to turn his peculiar status in the Western world to his own advantage and, it may be, to the very great advantage of that world. It remains for him to fashion out of his experience that which will give him sustenance, and a voice. The cathedral at Chartres, I have said, says something to the people of this village which it cannot say to me; but it is important to understand that, this cathedral says something to me which it cannot say to them. Perhaps they are struck by the power of the spires, the glory of the windows; but they have known God, after all, longer than I have known him, and in a different way, and I am terrified by the slippery bottomless well to be found in the crypt, down which heretics were hurled to death, and by the obscene, inescapable gargoyles jutting out of the stone and seeming to say that God and the devil can never be divorced. I doubt that the villagers think of the devil when they face a cathedral because they have never been identified with the devil. But I must accept the status which myth, if nothing else, gives me in the West before I can hope to change the myth.
Yet, if the American Negro has arrived at his identity by virtue of the absoluteness of his estrangement from his past, American white men still nourish the illusion that there is some means of recovering the European innocence, of returning to a state in which black men do not exist. This is one of the greatest errors Americans can make. The identity they fought so hard to protect has, by virtue of that battle, undergone a change: Americans are as unlike any other white people in the world as it is possible to be. I do not think, for example, that it is too much to suggest that the American vision of the world-which allows so little reality, generally speaking, for any of the darker forces in human life, which tends until today to paint moral issues in glaring black and white-owes a great deal to the battle waged by Americans to maintain between themselves and black men a human separation which could not be bridged. It is only now beginning to be borne in on us-very faintly, it must be admitted, very slowly, and very much against our will--that this vision of the world is dangerously inaccurate, and perfectly useless. For it protects our moral high-mindedness at the terrible expense of weakening our grasp of reality. People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.
The time has come to realize that the interracial drama acted out on the American continent has not only created a new black man, it has created a new white man, too. No road whatever will lead Americans back to the simplicity of this European village where white men still have the luxury of looking on me as a stranger. I am not, really, a stranger any longer for any American alive. One of the things that distinguishes Americans from other people is that no other people has ever been so deeply involved in the lives of black men, and vice versa. This fact faced, with all its implications, it can be seen that the history of the American Negro problem is not merely shameful, it is also something of an achievement. For even when the worst has been said, it must also be added that the perpetual challenge posed by this problem was always, somehow, perpetually met. It is precisely this black-white experience which may prove of indispensable value to us in the world we face today. This world is white no longer, and it will never be white again.
|“||I was very much impressed by Eldridge, too—it's impossible not to be impressed by him—but I felt a certain constraint between us. I felt that he didn't like me—or not exactly that: that he considered me a rather doubtful quantity. I'm used to this, though I can't claim to like it. I knew he'd written about me in Soul On Ice, but I hadn't yet read it. Naturally, when I did read it, I didn't like what he had to say about me at all. But, eventually—especially as I admired the book, and felt him to be valuable and rare—I thought I could see why he felt impelled to issue what was, in fact, a warning: he was being a zealous watchman on the city wall, and I do not say that with a sneer. He seemed to feel that I was a dangerously odd, badly twisted, and fragile reed, of too much use to the Establishment to be trusted by blacks. I felt that he used my public reputation against me both naïvely and unjustly, and I also felt that I was confused in his mind with the unutterable debasement of the male—with all those faggots, punks, and sissies, the sight and sound of whom, in prison, must have made him vomit more than once. Well, I certainly hope I know more about myself, and the intention of my work than that, but I am an odd quantity. So is Eldridge; so are we all. It is a pity that we won't, probably, ever have the time to attempt to define once more the relationship of the odd and disreputable artist to the odd and disreputable revolutionary; for the revolutionary, however odd, is rarely disreputable in the same way that an artist can be. These two seem doomed to stand forever at an odd and rather uncomfortable angle to each other, and they both stand at a sharp and not always comfortable angle to the people they both, in their different fashions, hope to serve. But I think that it is just as well to remember that the people are one mystery and that the person is another. Though I know what a very bitter and delicate and dangerous conundrum this is, it yet seems to me that a failure to respect the person so dangerously limits one's perception of the people that one risks betraying them and oneself, either by sinking to the apathy of cynical disappointment, or rising to the rage of knowing, better than the people do, what the people want. Ultimately, the artist and the revolutionary function as they function, and pay whatever dues they must pay behind it because they are both possessed by a vision, and they do not so much follow this vision as find themselves driven by it. Otherwise, they could never endure, much less embrace, the lives they are compelled to lead. And I think we need each other, and have much to learn from each other, and, more than ever, now.||”|
|“||The immense task to which the International Workingmen’s Association has dedicated itself is not only economic or purely material. It has, at the same time and in the highest degree, a social, philosophic, and moral objective... Far from dissolving, the central sections must pursue this objective and continue to spread the new social philosophy, theoretically inspired by real science – experimental and rational – based on humanistic principles in harmony with the eternal instincts of equality, liberty, and social solidarity.
Social science as a moral doctrine is the development and the formulation of these instincts. Between these instincts and this science there is a gap which must be bridged. For if instinct alone had been sufficient for the liberation of peoples, they would have long since freed themselves. These instincts did not prevent the masses from accepting, in the melancholy and tragic course of their history, all the religious, political, economic, and social absurdities of which they have been the eternal victims. The masses are a force, or at least the essential elements of a force. What do they lack? They lack two things which up till now constituted the power of all government: organization and knowledge.
The organization of the International, having for its objective not the creation of new despotisms but the uprooting of all domination, will take on an essentially different character from the organization of the State. just as the State is authoritarian, artificial, violent, foreign, and hostile to the natural development of the popular instincts, so must the organization of the International conform in all respects to these instincts and these interests. But what is the organization of the masses? It is an organization based on the various functions of daily life and of the different kinds of labor. It is the organization by professions and trades. Once all the different industries are represented in the International, including the cultivation of the land, its organization, the organization of the mass of the people, will have been achieved.
The organization of the trade sections and their representation in the Chambers of Labor creates a great academy in which all the workers can and must study economic science; these sections also bear in themselves the living seeds of the new society which is to replace the old world. They are creating not only the ideas, but also the facts of the future itself.
- Growing Up Absurd Paul Goodman
- Drawing the Line Once Again: Paul Goodman's Anarchist Writings Paul Goodman
|“||A free society cannot be the substitution of a "new order" for the old order; it is the extension of spheres of free action until they make up most of the social life. (That such liberation is step by step does not mean that is can occur without revolutionary disruption, for in many spheres—e.g., war, economics, sexual education—any genuine liberation whatsoever involves a total change.)
In any present society, though much and even an increasing amount is coercive, nevertheless much is also free. If it were not so, it would be impossible for a conscientious libertarian to co-operate or live there at all; but in fact we are constantly drawing the line beyond which we refuse to co-operate. In creative work, in passion and sentiment, in spontaneous recreation, there are healthy spheres of nature and freedom: it is the spirit of these that we most often extrapolate to all acts of utopian free society, to making a living, to civil life and law. But indeed, even the most corrupt and coercive functions of the present society draw on good natural power—the pity of it—otherwise the society could not survive for one moment; for free natural power is the only source of existence. Thus, people are fed, though the means, the cost, and the productive relations are coercive; and the total war would be the end of us all were it not for the bravery and endurance of mankind.
Free action is to live in present society as though it were a natural society. This maxim has three consequences, three moments:
|“||How shall Integrity face Oppression? What shall Honesty do in the face of Deception, Decency in the face of Insult, Self-Defense before Blows? How shall Desert and Accomplishment meet Despising, Detraction, and Lies? What shall Virtue do to meet Brute Force? There are so many answers and so contradictory; and such differences for those on the one hand who meet questions similar to this once a year or once a decade, and those who face them hourly and daily.||”|
|“||The purpose of this paper is to help anarchist / anti-authoritarian movements active today to reconceptualize the history and theory of first-wave anarchism on the global level, and to reconsider its relevance to the continuing anarchist project. In order to truly understand the full complexity and interconnectedness of anarchism as a worldwide movement however, a specific focus on the uniqueness and agency of movements amongst the “people without history” is a deeply needed change. This is because the historiography of anarchism has focused almost entirely on these movements as they have pertained to the peoples of the West and the North, while movements amongst the peoples of the East and the South have been widely neglected. As a result, the appearance has been that anarchist movements have arisen primarily within the context of the more privileged countries. Ironically, the truth is that anarchism has primarily been a movement of the most exploited regions and peoples of the world. That most available anarchist literature does not tell this history speaks not to a necessarily malicious disregard of non-Western anarchist movements but rather to the fact that even in the context of radical publishing, centuries of engrained eurocentrism has not really been overcome. This has been changing to an extent however, as there here have been several attempts in just the past decade to re-examine this history in detail in specific non-Western countries and regions, with works such as Arif Dirlik’s Anarchism in the Chinese Revolution, Sam Mbah’s African Anarchism and Frank Fernandez’ Cuban Anarchism. It is within the footsteps of this recent tradition that this paper treads further into the relatively new ground of systematically assessing, comparing and synthesizing the findings of all of these studies combined with original investigation in order to develop a more wholly global understanding of anarchism and its history.||”|
|“||Large predatory fishes have long played an important role in marine ecosystems and fisheries. Overexploitation, however, is gradually diminishing this role. Recent estimates indicate that exploitation has depleted large predatory fish communities worldwide by at least 90% over the past 50–100 years. We demonstrate that these declines are general, independent of methodology, and even higher for sensitive species such as sharks. We also attempt to predict the future prospects of large predatory fishes. (i) An analysis of maximum reproductive rates predicts the collapse and extinction of sensitive species under current levels of fishing mortality. Sensitive species occur in marine habitats worldwide and have to be considered in most management situations. (ii) We show that to ensure the survival of sensitive species in the northwest Atlantic fishing mortality has to be reduced by 40–80%. (iii) We show that rapid recovery of community biomass and diversity usually occurs when fishing mortality is reduced. However, recovery is more variable for single species, often because of the influence of species interactions. We conclude that management of multi-species fisheries needs to be tailored to the most sensitive, rather than the more robust species. This requires reductions in fishing effort, reduction in bycatch mortality and protection of key areas to initiate recovery of severely depleted communities.||”|
|“||Why are we anarchists?
Apart from our ideas about the political State and government, that is on the coercive organisation of society, which are our specific characteristic, and those on the best way to ensure for everybody free access to the means of production and enjoyment of the good things of life, we are anarchists because of a feeling which is the driving force for all sincere social reformers, and without which our anarchism would be either a lie or just nonsense.
This feeling is the love of mankind, and the fact of sharing the sufferings of others. If I ... eat I cannot enjoy what I am eating if I think that there are people dying of hunger; if I buy a toy for my child and am made happy by her pleasure, my happiness is soon embittered at seeing wide-eyed children standing by the shop window who could be made happy with a cheap toy but who cannot have it; if I am enjoying myself, my spirit is saddened as soon as I recall that there are unfortunate fellow beings languishing in jail; if I study, or do a job I enjoy doing, I feel remorse at the thought that there are so many brighter than I who are obliged to waste their lives on exhausting, often useless, or harmful tasks.
Clearly, pure egoism; others call it altruism, call it what you like; but without it, it is not possible to be real anarchists Intolerance of oppression, the desire to be free and develop one personality to its full limits, is not enough to make one an anarchist. That aspiration towards unlimited freedom, if not tempered by a love for mankind and by the desire that all should enjoy equal freedom, may well create rebels who soon become exploiters and tyrants."
|“||Given the fundamental principle of anarchism—namely, that no-one should have the desire or the means to oppress others and force others to work for them — it is clear that Anarchism involves all and only those forms of life that respect liberty and recognise that every person has an equal right to enjoy the good things of nature and the products of their own activity.
It is uncontested by anarchists that the real, concrete being, the being who has consciousness and feels, enjoys and suffers, is the individual and that Society, far from being superior to the individual, is that individual's instrument and slave; must be no more than the union of associated men and women for the greater good fo all. And from this point of view it could be said that we are all individualists.
But to be anarchists it is not enough to want the emancipation of the individual alone. We must also want the emanciaption of all. It is not enough to rebel against oppression. We must refuse to be oppressors. We need to understand the bonds of solidarity, natural or desired which link humanity, to love our fellow beings, suffer from others' misfortune, not feel happy if one is awasre (sic) of the unhappiness of others. And this is not a question of economic assets, but of feelings or, as it is theoretically called, a question of ethics.
Given such principles and such feelings which, despite differences of language, are common to all anarchists, it is a questions (sic) of finding those solutions to the practical problems of life that most respect liberty and best satisfy our feelings of love and solidarity.
Those anarchists who call themselves communists (and I am among them) are communist not because they want to impose their specific way of seeing or believe that it is the only means of salvation, but because they are convinced, and will remain so unless there is evidence to the contrary, that the more men and women, united in comradeship, and the closer their cooperation on behalf of all, the greater will be the well-being and the freedom that everybody will enjoy. They believe that even where people are freed from human oppression they remain exposed to the hostile forces of nature, which they cannot overcome on their own, but that with the cooperation of others, they can control and transform into the means of their well-being. The individual who wishes to supply his own material needs by working alone would be the slave of his labours. A peasant, for instance, who wanted to cultivate a piece of ground all alone, whould be renouncing all the advantages of cooperation and condemning himself to a wretched life: no rest, no travel, no study, no contacts with the outside world ... and he would not always be able to appease his hunger.
- Is Earth F**ked? Dynamical Futility of Global Environmental Management and Possibilities for Sustainability via Direct Action Activism brAd wErnEr
|“||Environmental challenges are dynamically generated within the dominant global culture principally by the mismatch between short-time-scale market and political forces driving resource extraction/use and longer-time-scale accommodations of the Earth system to these changes. Increasing resource demand is leading to the development of two-way, nonlinear interactions between human societies and environmental systems that are becoming global in extent, either through globalized markets and other institutions or through coupling to global environmental systems such as climate. These trends are further intensified by dissipation-reducing technological advances in transactions, communication and transport, which suppress emergence of longer-time-scale economic and political levels of description and facilitate long-distance connections, and by predictive environmental modeling, which strengthens human connections to a short-time-scale virtual Earth, and weakens connections to the longer time scales of the actual Earth.
Environmental management seeks to steer fast scale economic and political interests of a coupled human-environmental system towards longer-time-scale consideration of benefits and costs by operating within the confines of the dominant culture using a linear, engineering-type connection to the system. Perhaps as evidenced by widespread inability to meaningfully address such global environmental challenges as climate change and soil degradation, nonlinear connections reduce the ability of managers to operate outside coupled human-environmental systems, decreasing their effectiveness in steering towards sustainable interactions and resulting in managers slaved to short-to-intermediate-term interests. In sum, the dynamics of the global coupled human-environmental system within the dominant culture precludes management for stable, sustainable pathways and promotes instability.
Environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades and sabotage by indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups, increases dissipation within the coupled system over fast to intermediate scales and pushes for changes in the dominant culture that favor transition to a stable, sustainable attractor.
These dynamical relationships are illustrated and explored using a numerical model that simulates the short-, intermediate- and long-time-scale dynamics of the coupled human-environmental system. At fast scales, economic and political interests exploit environmental resources through a maze of environmental management and resistance, guided by virtual Earth predictions. At intermediate scales, managers become slaved to economic and political interests, which adapt to and repress resistance, and resistance is guided by patterns of environmental destruction. At slow scales, resistance interacts with the cultural context, which co-evolves with the environment. The transition from unstable dynamics to sustainability is sensitively dependent on the level of participation in and repression of resistance. Because of their differing impact inside and outside the dominant culture, virtual Earth predictions can either promote or oppose sustainability.
|“||Proudhon boiled the whole of anarchism’s “social system” down to equality, collective power, and the principle of justice. On one level, then, under anarchism we simply see a particular sort of encounter acted out, over and over again: equal individuals meet, find the means to balance their individual interests, and from their association arises something else—a collective something with the potential to emerge as another individual, with interests of its own, which must then figure in the balancing of interests that is justice. In that “system,” justice between equals is the ethical principle, the design principle for norms and institutions, and the criterion of judgment. Any number of encounters may take place, involving any number of individuals, on any number of scales and creating any number of associations, but the basic elements remain the same. The social field of play remains level, the status of the individuals—whether self-conscious free absolutes or various sorts of collectivities—remains equal before whatever norms and conventions we adopt, and those norms and conventions always remain subject to critique on the basis of their relationship to the most general, practical sort of equality and justice-balance.||”|
- Reform the International Financial System
|“||President Richard Nixon's decision to end the Bretton Woods agreement in 1971 was a milestone in the erosion of the Western social contract. This decision ushered in a new international monetary system--one in which international payments in dollars would be made by private banks rather than exchanges of gold between the Federal Reserve and other central banks, and the value of the dollar would be determined by supply and demand.
This new dollar-centric international monetary system has been a powerful force in shaping the global economy and is, to a great extent, responsible for the current pattern of globalization. For the United States, it has meant that US policy-makers have had to hold real US interest rates higher than those of other strong currencies and have had to accept a higher value of the dollar relative to other major currencies. This has not only led to slower US economic growth but has made US goods less competitive vis-a-vis those of other economies. Thus the cost of American dollar hegemony has been the loss of export markets and, along with it, the loss of relatively good jobs in the tradable-goods sector of the economy.
For developing countries, the consequences have been no less serious. The post-Bretton Woods system has pushed more and more economies toward export-led growth, which tends to suppress domestic wages and regulatory standards. Countries that cannot pay for imports and attract foreign investment in their own currencies must "earn" these external currencies, mainly dollars, by exporting more than they import to one or a few countries that issue the global means of payment. To remain competitive with other nations and insure continued access to these markets, they have adopted policies that maintain downward pressure on wages and exchange rates and have shunned those that stimulate the demand necessary for sustained development.
This export-led growth paradigm created by the current international monetary system appears to have benefited the United States, the key currency country, especially in recent years, enabling us to consume more than we produce. A large share of the dollars that flow out of the United States to pay for imports flows back as investments in US financial assets. This foreign investment expands credit and allows Americans to spend more and save less. It also makes many Americans feel wealthier than they actually are by fueling inflated real estate and equity prices. But the cost of this pattern of growth has been the rapid buildup of both domestic and external debt.
- Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft (Elements and origins of totalitarian rule) (published in English as The Origins of Totalitarianism) Hannah Arendt
|“||Over a century ago, Darwin and others provided the broad outline of an answer to the question of how life has evolved on Earth and how species orginate. The next question would seem to be how we use this basic understanding to estimate—from first principles—how many species are likely to be found in a given region or, indeed, on Earth as a whole.
Surprisingly, this question of "how many species?" has received relatively little systematic attention, from Darwin's time to our own. At the purely factual level, we do not know to within an order of magnitude how many species of plants and animals we share the globe with: fewer than 2 million are currently classified, and estimates of the total number range from under 5 million to more than 50 million. At the theoretical level, things are even worse: we cannot explain from the first principles why the global total is of the general order of 107 rather than 104 or 1010.
|“||I have conservatively estimated that on a worldwide basis the ultimate loss attributable to rain-forest clearing alone (at the present 1 percent rate) is from .2 to .3 percent of all species in the forests per year. Taking a very conservative figure of two million species confined to the forests, the global loss that results from deforestation could be as much as from 4,000 to 6,000 species a year. That in turn is on the order of 10,000 times greater than the naturally occurring background extinction rate that existed prior to the appearance of human beings.||”|
|“||Right now we are deciding, without quite meaning to, which evolutionary pathways will remain open and which will forever be closed. No other creature has ever managed this, and it will, unfortunately, be our most enduring legacy.||”|
|“||Dominated by the world’s largest banks, the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market has been expanding since the break-down of the Bretton Woods Agreement in the early 1970s privatized the international monetary system by shifting the payments process from central banks to commercial banks. The proliferation of foreign exchange forwards and swaps that followed set in motion an ever-expanding menu of exotic instruments that reached a nominal value of over $600 trillion by the middle of the current decade. Central banks and financial regulators ignored the implications of the growth of this market and ignored warnings from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2002 forward that OTC derivatives were at the center of what had become a global casino in which the largest international institutions were the biggest speculators.||”|
- Sexta Declaración de la Selva Lacandona (Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle) Comité Clandestino Revolucionario Indígena Comandancia General del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee – General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation)
|“||Ésta es nuestra palabra sencilla que busca tocar el corazón de la gente humilde y simple como nosotros, pero, también como nosotros, digna y rebelión. Ésta es nuestra palabra sencilla para contar de lo que ha sido nuestro paso y en donde estamos ahora, para explicar cómo vemos el mundo y nuestro país, para decir lo que pensamos hacer y cómo pensamos hacerlo, y para invitar a otras personas a que se caminan con nosotros en algo muy grande que se llama México y algo más grande que se llama mundo. Esta es nuestra palabra sencilla para dar cuenta a todos los corazones que son honestos y nobles, de lo que queremos en México y el mundo. Ésta es nuestra palabra sencilla, porque es nuestra idea el llamar a quienes son como nosotros y unirnos a ellos, en todas partes donde viven y luchan.
|“||Negating one of the terms of the opposition on which he lives amounts to escaping it. To abolish conscious revolt is to elude the problem. The theme of permanent revolution is thus carried into individual experience. Living is keeping the absurd alive. Keeping it alive is, above all, contemplating it. Unlike Eurydice, the absurd dies only when we turn away from it. One of the only coherent philosophical positions is thus revolt. It is a constant confrontation between man and his own obscurity. It is an insistence upon an impossible transparency. It challenges the world anew every second. Just as danger provided man the unique opportunity of seizing awareness, so metaphysical revolt extends awareness to the whole of experience. It is that constant presence of man in his own eyes. It is not aspiration, for it is devoid of hope. That revolt is the certainty of a crushing fate, without the resignation that ought to accompany it.||”|
|“||That revolt gives life its value. Spread out over the whole length of a life, it restores its majesty to that life. To a man devoid of blinders, there is no finer sight than that of the intelligence at grips with a reality that transcends it. The sight of human pride is unequaled. No disparagement is of any use. That discipline that the mind imposes on itself, that will conjurred up out of nothing, that face-to-face struggle have something exceptional about them. To impoverish that reality whose inhumanity constitutes man's majesty is tantamount to impoverishing him himself. I understand then why the doctrines that explain everything to me also debilitate me at the same time. They relieve me of the weight of my own life, and yet I must carry it alone. At this juncture, I cannot conceive that a skeptical metaphysics can be joined to an ethics of renunciation.
Consciousness and revolt, these rejections are the contrary of renunciation. Everything that is indomitable and passionate in a human heart quickens them, on the contrary, with its own life. It is essential to die unreconciled and not of one's own free will. Suicide is a repudiation. The absurd man can only drain everything to the bitter end, and deplete himself. The absurd is his extreme tension, which he maintains constantly by solitary effort, for he knows that in that consciousness and in that day-to-day revolt he gives proof of his only truth, which is defiance. This is a first consequence.
- For All The People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements & Communalism in America John Curl
|“||Contrary to all the enquiries and predictions about my impending emigration, that was the well I dipped into. That was my sustenance. My strength. I told my friend there was no such thing as a perfect story. I said that in any case hers was an external view of things, this assumption that the trajectory of a person's happiness, or let's say fulfilment, had peaked (and now must trough) because she had accidentally stumbled upon "success". It was premised on the unimaginative belief that wealth and fame were the mandatory stuff of everybody's dreams.
You've lived too long in New York, I told her. There are other worlds. Other kinds of dreams. Dreams in which failure is feasible, honourable, sometimes even worth striving for. Worlds in which recognition is not the only barometer of brilliance or human worth. There are plenty of warriors I know and love, people far more valuable than myself, who go to war each day, knowing in advance that they will fail. True, they are less "successful" in the most vulgar sense of the word, but by no means less fulfilled.
The only dream worth having, I told her, is to dream that you will live while you're alive and die only when you're dead. (Prescience? Perhaps.)
"Which means exactly what?" (Arched eyebrows, a little annoyed.)
I tried to explain, but didn't do a very good job of it. Sometimes I need to write to think. So I wrote it down for her on a paper napkin. This is what I wrote:
To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.
- "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception," from Dialectic of Enlightenment Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno
|“||True to its principles, the International Workingmen's Association will never endorse or support any political agitation which does not aim at the immediate, direct, and complete economic emancipation of the workers, the abolition of the bourgeoisie as a class economically separate from the great mass of the people. The International will not support any revolution which from the very first day does not inscribe upon its banner ... social liquidation.
But revolutions are not improvised or made arbitrarily, neither by individuals nor by the most powerful associations. Independent of all will and of all conspiracies, they are always brought about by the natural force of events. They can be foreseen, their imminence can sometimes be sensed, but their explosion can never be artificially accelerated. Convinced of this truth, we ask, “What policy should the International pursue during this more or less extended interval separating us from the overwhelming Social Revolution which everyone awaits?”
Ignoring all local and national politics, the International endeavors to imbue the labor agitation of all lands with an exclusively economic character. To achieve its immediate aim – reduction of working hours and higher wages – it prepares for strikes, sets up strike funds, and tries to unite the workers into one organization.
[Let us enlarge our association. But at the same time, let us not forget to consolidate and reinforce it so that our solidarity, which is our whole power, grows stronger from day to day. Let us have more of this solidarity in study, in our work, in civic action, in life itself. Let us cooperate in our common enterprise to make our lives a little more supportable and less difficult. Let us, whenever possible, establish producer-consumer cooperatives and mutual credit societies which, though under the present economic conditions they cannot in any real or adequate way free us, are nevertheless important inasmuch as they train the workers in the practice of managing the economy and plant the precious seeds for the organization of the future.]
- Ecological Farming: A Conversation With Fukuoka, Jackson and Mollison Mother Earth News editors in conversation with Masanobu Fukuoka, Wes Jackson, and Bill Mollison
|“||Maybe the best way to start is to simply ask each of you about the purpose of your life's work.
MOLLISON: I'm a very simple person. All I want to do is regreen the earth. That's what I work on all the time.
JACKSON: For me, the purpose is to save soils, to get off the fossil fuel nipple, to quit introducing those chemicals into the environment that our tissues have not evolved within effect, to run agriculture on sunlight.
FUKUOKA: Part of my purpose is to create a society where no one has to do anything.
I beg your pardon?
FUKUOKA: [Draws a picture of a man sleeping under a tree]: This is a natural farmer, sleeping in the sunshine. He does no fertilizing, no plowing, no weeding—almost no work. You could say I have been sleeping for 40 years, yet my yields are as high as those of the farmer who works all the time.
|“||What disturbs the regular method of Heaven, comes into collision with the nature of things, prevents the accomplishment of the mysterious (operation of) Heaven, scatters the herds of animals, makes the birds all sing at night, is calamitous to vegetation, and disastrous to all insects - all this is owing, I conceive, to the error of governing men.||”|
|“||Ah! your mind (needs to be) nourished. Do you only take the position of doing nothing, and things will of themselves become transformed. Neglect your body; cast out from you your power of hearing and sight; forget what you have in common with things; cultivate a grand similarity with the chaos of the plastic ether; unloose your mind; set your spirit free; be still as if you had no soul. Of all the multitude of things every one returns to its root. Every one returns to its root, and does not know (that it is doing so). They all are as in the state of chaos, and during all their existence they do not leave it. If they knew (that they were returning to their root), they would be (consciously) leaving it. They do not ask its name; they do not seek to spy out their nature; and thus it is that things come to life of themselves.||”|
|“||Midwest Prairies and Tropical Savannas
Sauer (1950, 1958, 1975) argued early and often that the great grasslands and savannas of the New World were of anthropogenic rather than climatic origin, that rainfall was generally sufficient to support trees. Even nonagricultural Indians expanded what may have been pockets of natural, edaphic grasslands at the expense of forest. A fire burning to the edge of a grass/forest boundary will penetrate the drier forest, margin and push back the edge, even if the forest itself is not consumed (MuellerDombois 1981, 164). Grassland can therefore advance significantly in the wake of hundreds of years of annual fires. Lightning-set fires can have a similar impact, but more slowly if less frequent than human fires, as in the wet tropics.
The thesis of prairies as fire induced, primarily by Indians, has its critics (Borchert 1950; Wedel 1957), but the recent review of the topic by Anderson (1990, 14), a biologist, concludes that most ecologists now believe that the eastern prairies "would have mostly disappeared if it had not been for the nearly annual burning of these grasslands by the North American Indians," during the last 5,000 years. A case in point is the nineteenth-century invasion of many grasslands by forests after fire had been suppressed in Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, and elsewhere (M. Williams 1989,46).
- “The Construction of Masculinity and the Triad of Men’s Violence” Michael Kaufman
|“||Guilt is a profoundly conservative emotion and as such is not particularly useful for bringing about change. From a position of insecurity and guilt, people do not change or inspire others to change.||”|
- Letter to Henry Dearborn - August 28, 1807 Letter to Henry Dearborn - August 28, 1807 Thomas Jefferson
|“||TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, (HENRY DEARBORN.)
MONTICELLO, August 28, 1807.
DEAR SIR,- I had had the letter of Mr. Jouett of July 6th from Chicago, and that from Governor Hull, of July 14th, from Detroit, under consideration some days, when the day before yesterday I received that of the Governor of July 25th. While it appeared that the workings among the Indians of that neighborhood proceeded from their prophet chiefly, and that his endeavors were directed to the restoring them to their ancient mode of life,.. to the feeding and clothing themselves with the produce of the chase, and refusing all those articles of meat, drink, and clothing, which they can only obtain from the whites, and are now rendered necessary by habit, I thought it a transient enthusiasm, which, if let alone, would evaporate innocently of.. itself; although visibly tinctured with a partiality against the United States. But the letters and documents now enclosed give to the state of things there a more serious aspect; and the visit of the Governor of Upper Canada, and assembling of the Indians by him, indicate the object to which these movements are to point. I think, therefore, we can no longer leave them to their own course, but that we should immediately prepare for war in that quarter, and at the same time redouble our efforts for peace.
I propose, therefore, that the Governors of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, be instructed immediately to have designated, according to law, such proportions of their militia as you shall think advisable, and to be ready for service at a moment's warning, recommending to them to prefer volunteers as far as they can be obtained, and of that description for Indian service. That sufficient stores of arms, ammunition and provision, be deposited in convenient places for any expedition which it may be necessary to undertake in that quarter, and for the defence of the posts and settlements there; and that the object of these preparations be openly declared, as well to let the Indians understand the danger they are bringing on themselves, as to lull the suspicion of any other object. That at the same time, and while these preparations for war are openly going on, Governors Hull and Harrison be instructed to have interviews by themselves or well chosen agents, with the chiefs of the several tribes in that quarter, to recall to their minds the paternal policy pursued towards them by the United States, and still meant to be pursued. That we never wished to do them an injury, but on the contrary, to give them all the assistance in our power towards improving their condition, and enabling them to support themselves and their families; that a misunderstanding having arisen between the United States and the English, war may possibly ensue. That in this war it is our wish the Indians should be quiet spectators, not wasting their blood in quarrels which do not concern them; that we are strong enough to fight our own battles, and therefore ask no help; and if the English should ask theirs, it should convince them that it proceeds from a sense of their own weakness which would not augur success in the end; that at the same time, as we have learnt that some tribes are already experiencing intentions hostile to the United States, we think it proper to apprise them of the ground on which they now stand; for which purpose we make to them this solemn declaration of our unalterable determination, that we wish them to live in peace with all nations as well as with us, and we have no intention ever to strike them or to do them an injury of any sort, unless first attacked or threatened; but that learning that some of them meditate war on us, we too are preparing for war against those, and those only who shall seek it; and that if ever we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe we will never lay it down till that tribe is exterminated, or driven beyond the Mississippi.
Adjuring them, therefore, if they wish to remain on the land which covers the bones of their fathers, to keep the peace with a people who ask their friendship without needing it, who wish to avoid war without fearing it. In war, they will kill some of us; we shall destroy all of them. Let them then continue quiet at home, take care of their women and children, and remove from among them the agents of any nation persuading them to war, and let them declare to us explicitly and categorically that they will do this: in which case, they will have nothing to fear from the preparations we are now unwillingly making to secure our own safety?
|“||You know, my friend, the benevolent plan we were pursuing here for the happiness of the aboriginal inhabitants in our vicinities. We spared nothing to keep them at peace with one another. To teach them agriculture and the rudiments of the most necessary arts, and to encourage industry by establishing among them separate property. In this way they would have been enabled to subsist and multiply on a moderate scale of landed possession. They would have mixed their blood with ours, and been amalgamated and identified with us within no distant period of time. On the commencement of our present war, we pressed on them the observance of peace and neutrality, but the interested and unprincipled policy of England has defeated all our labors for the salvation of these unfortunate people. They have seduced the greater part of the tribes within our neighborhood, to take up the hatchet against us, and the cruel massacres they have committed on the women and children of our frontiers taken by surprise, will oblige us now to pursue them to extermination, or drive them to new seats beyond our reach. Already we have driven their patrons and seducers into Montreal, and the opening season will force them to their last refuge, the walls of Quebec. We have cut off all possibility of intercourse and of mutual aid, and may pursue at our leisure whatever plan we find necessary to secure ourselves against the future effects of their savage and ruthless warfare. The confirmed brutalization, if not the extermination of this race in our America, is therefore to form an additional chapter in the English history of the same colored man in Asia, and of the brethren of their own color in Ireland, and wherever else Anglo-mercantile cupidity can find a two-penny interest in deluging the earth with human blood. But let us turn from the loathsome contemplation of the degrading effects of commercial avarice.||”|
- Integral revolution: an interview to Enric Duran about CIC Michel Bauwens, Neal Gorenflo, and John Restakis interview Catalan Integral Cooperative’s Enric Duran
|“||MB: Where will we be in, say, 20 years ?
I don’t know where we’ll be, but I trust that we’ll be freer and more diverse, and able to choose from a great selection of life choices.
I’m convinced that we will live through a transformation of the state and capitalism as we know it today, consolidating other ways of being in society and establishing more supportive and cooperative economic relationships.
I think we’re going to live through the loss of exclusivity in governance currently held by the state, and the disassociation of the concept of state as the exclusive managers of the territory. Individual sovereignty will reclaim its real meaning of complete positive freedom, which will lead to the summation of multiple sovereignties in great autonomous, thoroughly legitimate collective processes.
That very significant phrase from the Zapatistas, “for a world in which many worlds fit” will begin to materialize in the coming decades.
|“||Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that he make every word tell.||”|
- Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la Prison (Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison) Michel Foucault
|“||Generally speaking, all the authorities exercising individual control function according to a double mode; that of binary division and branding (mad/sane; dangerous/harmless; normal/abnormal); and that of coercive assignment of differential distribution (who he is; where he must be; how he is to be characterized; how he is to be recognized; how a constant surveillance is to be exercised over him in an individual way, etc.). On the one hand, the lepers are treated as plague victims; the tactics of individualizing disciplines are imposed on the excluded; and, on the other hand, the universality of disciplinary controls makes it possible to brand the 'leper' and to bring into play against him the dualistic mechanisms of exclusion. The constant division between the normal and the abnormal, to which every individual is subjected, brings us back to our own time, by applying the binary branding and exile of the leper to quite different objects; the existence of a whole set of techniques and institutions for measuring, supervising and correcting the abnormal brings into play the disciplinary mechanisms to which the fear of the plague gave rise. All the mechanisms of power which, even today, are disposed around the abnormal individual, to brand him and to alter him, are composed of those two forms from which they distantly derive.
Bentham's Panopticon is the architectural figure of this composition. We know the principle on which it was based: at the periphery, an annular building; at the centre, a tower; this tower is pierced with wide windows that open onto the inner side of the ring; the peripheric building is divided into cells, each of which extends the whole width of the building; they have two windows, one on the inside, corresponding to the windows of the tower; the other, on the outside, allows the light to cross the cell from one end to the other. All that is needed, then, is to place a supervisor in a central tower and to shut up in each cell a madman, a patient, a condemned man, a worker or a schoolboy. By the effect of backlighting, one can observe from the tower, standing out precisely against the light, the small captive shadows in the cells of the periphery. They are like so many cages, so many small theatres, in which each actor is alone, perfectly individualized and constantly visible. The panoptic mechanism arranges spatial unities that make it possible to see constantly and to recognize immediately. In short, it reverses the principle of the dungeon; or rather of its three functions - to enclose, to deprive of light and to hide - it preserves only the first and eliminates the other two. Full lighting and the eye of a supervisor capture better than darkness, which ultimately protected. Visibility is a trap.
|“||(interviewer) Dr. Angelou, you worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. What was Dr. King really like, personally?
Maya Angelou: Dr. King was a human being. He had a sense of humor which was wonderful. It is very dangerous to make a person larger than life because, then, young men and women are tempted to believe, well, if he was that great, he's inaccessible, and I can never try to be that or emulate that or achieve that. The truth is, Martin Luther King was a human being with a brilliant mind, a powerful heart, and insight, and courage and also with a sense of humor. So he was accessible. I mentioned courage, and I would like to say something else about that, finding courage in the leaders and in you who will become leaders. Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtues consistently. You see? You can't be consistently kind or fair or humane or generous, not without courage, because if you don't have it, sooner or later you will stop and say, "Eh, the threat is too much. The difficulty is too high. The challenge is too great." So I would like to say that Dr. King, while we know from all the publicity that he was brilliant, and he was powerful, and he was passionate and right, he was also a funny man, and that's nice to know.
|“||(interviewer) He was also very young at that time. He was only 34 at the time he gave the "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963, and he was already well into the movement.
Maya Angelou: Oh, yes. He was very young and very personable, so that he was really humble.
I don't think modesty is a very good virtue, if it is a virtue at all. A modest person will drop the modesty in a minute. You see, it's a learned affectation. But humility comes from inside out. Humility says there was someone before me, someone found the path, someone made the road before me, and I have the responsibility of making the road for someone who is yet to come. Dr. King was really humble so that he was accessible to everybody. The smallest child could come up to him, the most powerful person could come up to him, he never changed. If somebody very rich and very powerful said, "Dr. King, I want to speak to you," he was the same person to that person as he would be to one of you who is 16, 17, if you would say, "Dr. King..." He was still accessible, gentle, powerful, humble.
(interviewer) Which of these qualities do you think made him the leader he was?
Maya Angelou: Courage would be the first of his many wondrous and wonderful qualities that I would list.
I am convinced that courage is the most important of all the virtues. Because without courage, you cannot practice any other virtue consistently. You can be kind for a while; you can be generous for a while; you can be just for a while, or merciful for a while, even loving for a while. But it is only with courage that you can be persistently and insistently kind and generous and fair.
(interviewer) Courage is often lonely. Do you sense that he knew how alone he was when the struggle was starting?
Maya Angelou: It's always lonely, I think. Those who have something to say accept the fact that that's lonely. One already knows that there will be adversaries. And according to what is at stake, the adversaries will be more violent or less violent. One is sustained though, in the belief that what one has to say is right, and right for the most people. And then, one is sustained by one's loved ones. Dr. King had, first, his wife and family, and then, the people who loved him, really, really loved him. I think that they and their undying, unswerving love sustained him, even in the loneliest of moments.
|“||While some have questioned whether social ecology has dealt adequately with issues of spirituality, it was, in fact, among the earliest of contemporary ecologies to call for a sweeping change in existing spiritual values. Such a change would mean a far-reaching transformation of our prevailing mentality of domination into one of complementarity, in which we would see our role in the natural world as creative, supportive, and deeply appreciative of the needs of nonhuman life. In social ecology, a truly natural spirituality centers on the ability of an awakened humanity to function as moral agents in diminishing needless suffering, engaging in ecological restoration, and fostering an aesthetic appreciation of natural evolution in all its fecundity and diversity.
Thus social ecology has never eschewed the need for a radically new spirituality or mentality in its call for a collective effort to change society. Indeed, as early as 1965, the first public statement to advance the ideas of social ecology concluded with the injunction: "The cast of mind that today organizes differences among human and other life-forms along hierarchical lines of 'supremacy' or 'inferiority' will give way to an outlook that deals with diversity in an ecological manner--that is, according to an ethics of complementarity." In such an ethics, human beings would complement nonhuman beings with their own capacities to produce a richer, creative, and developmental whole-not as a "dominant" species but as a supportive one. Although this idea, expressed at times as an appeal for the "respiritization of the natural world," recurs throughout the literature of social ecology, it should not be mistaken for a theology that raises a deity above the natural world or that seeks to discover one within it. The spirituality advanced by social ecology is definitively naturalistic (as one would expect, given its relation to ecology itself, which stems from the biological sciences), rather than supernaturalistic or pantheistic.
|“||Hence human beings, emerging from an organic evolutionary process, initiate, by the sheer force of their blology and survival needs, a social evolutionary development that profoundly involves their organic evolutionary process. Owing to their naturally endowed intelligence, powers of communication, capacity for institutional organization, and relative freedom from instinctive behavior, they refashion their environment-as do nonhuman beings-to the full extent of their biological equipment. This equipment now makes it possible for them to engage in social development. It is not so much that human beings, in principle, behave differently from animals or are inherently more problematical in a strictly ecological sense, but that the social development by which they grade out of their biological development often becomes more problematical for themselves and non human life. How these problems emerge, the ideologies they produce, the extent to which they contribute to biotic evolution or abort it, and the damage they inflict on the planet as a whole lie at the very heart of the modern ecological crisis. Second nature, far from marking the fulfillment of human potentialities, is riddled by contradictions, antagonisms, and conflicting interests that have distorted humanity's unique capacities for development. It contains both the danger of tearing down the biosphere and, given a further development of humanity toward an ecological society, the capacity to provide an entirely new ecological dispensation.||”|
|“||In almost every period since the Renaissance, the development of revolutionary thought has been heavily influenced by a branch of science, often in conjunction with a school of philosophy.
Astronomy in the time of Copernicus and Galileo helped to guide a sweeping movement of ideas from the medieval world, riddled by superstition, into one pervaded by a critical rationalism, openly naturalistic and humanistic in outlook. During the Enlightenment—the era that culminated in the Great French Revolution—this liberatory movement of ideas was reinforced by advances in mechanics and mathematics. The Victorian Era was shaken to its very foundations by evolutionary theories in biology and anthropology, by Marx’s reworking of Ricardian economics, and toward its end, by Freudian psychology.
In our own time we have seen the assimilation of these once liberatory sciences by the established social order. Indeed, we have begun to regard science itself as an instrument of control over the thought processes and physical being of man. This distrust of science and of the scientific method is not without justification. “Many sensitive people, especially artists,” observes Abraham Maslow, “are afraid that science besmirches and depresses, that it tears thing apart rather than integrating them, thereby killing rather than creating.” What is perhaps equally important, modern science has lost its critical edge. Largely functional or instrumental in intent, the branches of science that once tore at the chains of man are now used to perpetuate and gild them. Even philosophy has yielded to instrumentalism and tends to be little more than a body of logical contrivances, the handmaiden of the computer rather than the revolutionary.
There is one science, however, that may yet restore and even transcend the liberatory estate of the traditional sciences and philosophies. It passes rather loosely under the name of “ecology”—a term coined by Haeckel a century ago to denote “the investigation of the total relations of the animal both to its inorganic and to its organic environment.” At first glance Haeckel’s definition sounds innocuous enough; and ecology, narrowly conceived as one of the biological sciences, is often reduced to a variety of biometrics in which field workers focus on food chains and statistical studies of animal populations. There is an ecology of health that would hardly offend the sensibilities of the American Medical Association and a concept of social ecology that would conform to the most well-engineered notions of the New York City Planning Commission.
Broadly conceived, however, ecology deals with the balance of nature. Inasmuch as nature includes man, the science basically deals with the harmonization of nature and man. This focus has explosive implications. The explosive implications of an ecological approach arise not only from the fact that ecology is intrinsically a critical science—in fact, critical on a scale that the most radical systems of political economy failed to attain—but it is also an integrative and reconstructive science. This integrative, reconstructive aspect of ecology, carried through to all its implications, leads directly into anarchic areas of social thought. For in the final analysis, it is impossible to achieve a harmonization of man and nature without creating a human community that lives in a lasting balance with its natural environment.
|“||While the popular understanding of anarchism is of a violent, anti-State movement, anarchism is a much more subtle and nuanced tradition then a simple opposition to government power. Anarchists oppose the idea that power and domination are necessary for society, and instead advocate more co-operative, anti-hierarchical forms of social, political and economic organisation.||”|
- David Hume A Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects
|“||The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives. It is within this light that we form those ideas by which we pursue our magic and make it realized. This is poetry as illumination, for it is through poetry that we give name to those ideas which are, until the poem, nameless and formless-about to be birthed, but already felt. That distillation of experience from which true poetry springs births thought as dream births concept, as feeling births idea, as knowledge births (precedes) understanding.
As we learn to bear the intimacy of scrutiny, and to flourish within it, as we learn to use the products of that scrutiny for power within our living, those fears which rule our lives and form our silences begin to lose their control over us.
For each of us as women, there is a dark place within where hidden and growing our true spirit rises, "Beautiful and tough as chestnut/stanchions against our nightmare of weakness" and of impotence.
These places of possibility within ourselves are dark because they are ancient and hidden; they have survived and grown strong through darkness. Within these deep places, each one of us holds an incredible reserve of creativity and power, of unexamined and unrecorded emotion and feeling. The woman's place of power within each of us is neither white nor surface; it is dark, it is ancient, and it is deep.
When we view living, in the european mode, only as a problem to be solved, we then rely solely upon our ideas to make us free, for these were what the white fathers told us were precious.
But as we become more in touch with our own ancient, black, non-european view of living as a situation to be experienced and interacted with, we learn more and more to cherish our feelings, and to respect those hidden sources of our power from where true knowledge and therefore lasting action comes.
At this point in time, I believe that women carry within ourselves the possibility for fusion of these two approaches as keystone for survival, and we come closest to this combination in our poetry. I speak here of poetry as the revelation or distillation of experience, not the sterile word play that, too often, the white fathers distorted the word poetry to mean — in order to cover their desperate wish for imagination without insight.
For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.
Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest external horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.
As they become known and accepted to ourselves, our feelings, and the honest exploration of them, become sanctuaries and fortresses and spawning grounds for the most radical and daring of ideas, the house of difference so necessary to change and the conceptualization of any meaningful action. Right now, I could name at least ten ideas I would have once found intolerable or incomprehensible and frightening, except as they came after dreams and poems. This is not idle fantasy, but the true meaning of "it feels right to me." We can train ourselves to respect our feelings, and to discipline (transpose) them into a language that matches those feelings so they can be shared. And where that language does not yet exist, it is our poetry which helps to fashion it. Poetry is not only dream or vision, it is the skeleton architecture of our lives.
|“||I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. That the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect.||”|
|“||For to survive in the mouth of this dragon we call america, we have had to learn this first and most vital lesson — that we were never meant to survive. Not as human beings. And neither were most of you here today, Black or not. And that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength. Because the machine will try to grind you into dust anyway, whether or not we speak. We can sit in our corners mute forever while our sisters and our selves are wasted, while our children are distorted and destroyed, while our earth is poisoned; we can sit in our safe corners mute as bottles, and we will still be no less afraid.||”|
|“||The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silence to be broken.||”|
|“||Like yesterday, we cover our faces in order to show the world the true face of the Mexico of the basement and after washing with our blood the mirror in which Mexicans can see their own dignity. Now we hide our face in order to escape the treachery and death which walks in the steps of those who say they govern the country. We are not fighting with our weapons. Our example and our dignity now fight for us.
In the peace talks the government delegates have confessed that they have studied in order to learn about dignity and that they have been unable to understand it. They ask the Zapatista delegates to explain what is dignity. The Zapatistas laugh, after months of pain they laugh. Their laughter echoes and escapes unto the high wall behind which arrogance hides its fear. The Zapatista delegates laugh even when the dialogue ends, and they are giving their report. Everyone who hears them laughs, and the laughter re-arranges faces which have been hardened by hunger and betrayal. The Zapatistas laugh in the mountains of the Mexican southeast and the sky cannot avoid infection by that laughter and the peals of laughter emerge. The laughter is so great that tears arise and it begins to rain as though the laughter were a gift for the dry land...
With so much laughter raining, who can lose? Who deserves to lose?
Quosdam praecipitat subiecta potentia magnae inuidiae, mergit longa atque insignis honorum pagina. descendunt statuae restemque sequuntur, ipsas deinde rotas bigarum impacta securis caedit et inmeritis franguntur crura caballis. iam strident ignes, iam follibus atque caminis ardet adoratum populo caput et crepat ingens Seianus, deinde ex facie toto orbe secunda fiunt urceoli, pelues, sartago, matellae.
...sed quo cecidit sub crimine? quisnam delator? quibus indicibus, quo teste probauit?’ ‘nil horum; uerbosa et grandis epistula uenit a Capreis.’ ‘bene habet, nil plus interrogo.’ sed quid turba Remi? sequitur fortunam, ut semper, et odit damnatos. idem populus, si Nortia Tusco fauisset, si oppressa foret secura senectus principis, hac ipsa Seianum diceret hora Augustum. iam pridem, ex quo suffragia nulli uendimus, effudit curas; nam qui dabat olim imperium, fasces, legiones, omnia, nunc se continet atque duas tantum res anxius optat, panem et circenses. ‘perituros audio multos.’ ‘nil dubium, magna est fornacula.’...
- TURTLE ISLAND, THE AFRICAN AND THE U.S. OF AMNESIA: RECOVERING SELF-DETERMINATION THROUGH PENILE & PENAL ABOLITION* Ashanti Alston Omowali
|“||And every year, the world heals a little more from the ravages of industrial capitalism. The amount of real forest and wetlands have increased as some areas rewild, while heavily inhabited areas become healthy ecosystems thanks to gardening, permaculture, and the elimination of cars. Greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere are actually declining, albeit slowly, for the first time in ages, as carbon is returned to the soil, to forests and wetlands, to the newly green urban areas, and the burning of fossil fuels has stopped. Over a third of the species on the planet went extinct before people finally changed their ways, but now that habitat loss is being reversed, many species are coming back from the brink. As long as humanity doesn’t forget the hardest lesson it ever learned, in a few million years the biodiversity of planet earth will be as great as ever.||”|
- REPORT: Operation Ghetto Storm 2012 Annual Report: Extrajudicial Killings of 313 Black People by Police, Security Guards, and Vigilantes Malcolmn X Grassroots Movement
|“||Does a Black person really get killed by police, security guard or vigilante every 28 hours?
- Living Planet Report 2014 World Wildlife Fund FULL REPORT: WWF Living Planet Report 2014: Species and spaces, people and places
|“||The state of the world’s biodiversity appears worse than ever. Population sizes of vertebrate species measured by the LPI have halved over the last 40 years.
The Living Planet Index (LPI), which measures trends in thousands of vertebrate species populations, shows a decline of 52 per cent between 1970 and 2010. In other words, the number of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish across the globe is, on average, about half the size it was 40 years ago. This is a much bigger decrease than has been reported previously, as a result of a new methodology which aims to be more representative of global biodiversity.
Biodiversity is declining in both temperate and tropical regions, but the decline is greater in the tropics. The tropical LPI shows a 56 per cent reduction in 3,811 populations of 1,638 species from 1970 to 2010. The 6,569 populations of 1,606 species in the temperate LPI declined by 36 per cent over the same period. Latin America shows the most dramatic decline – a fall of 83 per cent.
Habitat loss and degradation, and exploitation through hunting and fishing, are the primary causes of decline. Climate change is the next most common primary threat, and is likely to put more pressure on populations in the future.
Terrestrial species declined by 39 per cent between 1970 and 2010, a trend that shows no sign of slowing down. The loss of habitat to make way for human land use – particularly for agriculture, urb