Wednesday, September 08, 2021

THE FAIRY CREEK HOSTILES - PART ONE
Most of these quotes were taken from the Fairy Creek Flying Squad FB page and CHEK News comments section. I am collecting these quotes for anyone in the future who wants to write a book or article about the struggle. In time, such struggles become legendary and the true conditions that the struggle took place in become forgotten. Today everyone but out and out neo-Nazis loves Martin Luther King. But back in the day, most white Americans thought he was a trouble maker or some kind of Communist. I don't want the hostility to be forgotten. To do so is to have a false impression of the history of progressive movements and what a hard slog it can be to make positive change within society.
It is hard to say which is more prevalent – the visceral level of hatred expressed here or the deliberate ignorance. I will follow at a later date with a social psychological analysis of the quotes.
 
The Quotes
 
“Bunch of loosers. the bunch of u. under educated granola eating arm chair quarterbacks. beat it ...go fuck yourself we grow trees as a profession and you fucktards just cock off about bullshit and take your welfare and stuff it up your smelly ass real people work. I've never taken a payment from any government payday fucktard...as I said go fuck your hat hope to see u one day
 
Ya u scum bag mud licker disgusting excuses of worthless shit are the real criminals get a fucking job and for that matter a life.un informed hippie pieces of garbage leaving shit pigs
 
The eco-terrorist blockades at Fairy Creek will continue for a very simple reason. The coffers of the terrorists, the Wilderness committee and the Green Party would suffer a major decrease if they don’t have this conflict! It’s all about the $. (From a personal FB page)
 
well I'm glad you woke up in you modern heated house to hop on you computer or cellphone all of with has a mass of carbon footprint to show your a strong land Defender contributor my advice to you if fuck off as hard as you can pal these guys can protest all they want but get the fuck off the road
 
Maybe if Cerb ends one day, these lovely folk would consider getting a job.
 
Do you not live in wood structures do you wipe your ass with toilet paper do you not sit on furniture the list is endless get real you tree huggers
 
Referring to man on tripod - “Just light the fire “
 
People that dont work and dont contribute to society, people who leech off other people, and people that have nothing to offer and dont care
 
Video of a toy bulldozer running over a doll - “Give those turds what they deserve”
 
Take away their food stamps
 
They get paid to cause a confrontation, They are paid shit disturbers and they are there to trigger everyone they can. Fairy Creek is not the first time paid protesters try to instigate forestry workers then try to play the victim.
 
do you live in a house made from trees ?
 
These people are so ignorant they're the reason why California is burning to the ground people like them has nothing to do with global warming has everything to do with not harvesting and not having controlled Burns because the groups like this
 
Must be nice not to have to work
 
About Indigenous support - “I would like to see the government break away from giving giving & more giving... We pay to every village in Canada, millions of dollars, who pays us white people millions, nobody. What was done way back when is over, let it go, not my fault or yours, has to be put to rest I had to pay for my land, they don’t, so who’s land is it? So tiring to see on media, they want more & more.”
 
In reference to Indigenous dancers - “Thats nice, the blockaders are providing entertainment for security. Maybe get a beer truck out there and make a party of it.”
nice to see welfare dollars at work
 
Let's protest about the forest. Yet they are burning wood sitting on wood
So protestors go home. We are tired of your stupidity. Cut down the trees and replant and in 60 years we can cut them down again. Its one of the few sustainable resources . By the way where did you get the nice chunks of firewood??You cut down a tree. Total hypocrisy.
 
Must be nice to protest and not work. I guess when the welfare runs out they will go home.
I was told most of them don’t live in BC
 
Lmao! SAVE THE FOREST…theirs a lot going on in this picture that wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t for logging…for example, that nice folding WOODEN stool/table, that lovely processed lumber they are using as a bench
 
Imagine if all these people just got jobs and put money back into the economy
I feel so badly for the RCMP having to deal with these dead beats who don’t go to work and the poor loggers trying to do their jobs. I hope we have a cold snowy winter maybe that will get these law breakers to go home
 
Don’t call them old growth defenders like their uneducated and short sighted stance has some sort of nobility
 
here's a fair question to ask....how many of these " loose nuts" have furniture in there house's ...and for a better question....what's the furniture made of....?
 
Where do the protestors receive their money ? No one seems to want to mention that do they ?
 
Somebody is paying these folks don’t kid yourself!!
 
Lock these parasites up till winter hits.
 
Our welfare system at work.
 
Throw the book at those hypocrites maybe they’ll go out and get real jobs to find a use for their spare time instead of whining about the environment they know nothing about and committing eco terrorism
 
So now they are acting like spoiled children throwing a temper tantrum.
 
collection of losers and culls who won't work but mooch taxpayer money
 
shouldn't these young people be working,oh ya they're parasites that live off other peoples hard earned pay.throw the book at em and make an example of disobeying the rule of law.
something many protesters need - a good slap in the head Most don't even Know what old growth is. The places I logged back in the 60's - 70's - 80's that were replanted - most PROtesters - if any - would be able to tell they were even logged
 
they are criminals and wont follow any court order
 
It is a disgusting display of self righteous spoiled brats. All a bunch of zombies following a group begging for money...Someone is getting rich.
 

hope the rcmp leave us alone pretty sure we can deal with these terrorists they better hope they lose in court


Said by a white guy – of course "Gosh what attention seeking posers these middle class white brats are."


Parasites burning old growth trees.


Hopefully the injunction gets extended and they can do more to stop these career protestors and anarchists.


Protesters on wefare Get a job!!!!"


 

 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

 

STRUCTURE VS. MORALISM

In North America and much of the Anglosphere, when the left does not live up to its desires there is a great deal of hand wringing and mea culpas. “Why can't we convert the NDP (Canadian social democrats) to socialism? Why are some workers voting for Trump? Why is the labor movement so weak? It must be our fault and what did we do wrong? It must be the result of “identity politics”. ”

To an extent, such questions ARE necessary, but their over-emphasis and the total ignorance of an 800 pound gorilla in the room, shows an underlying and unacknowledged world view which is causing a distortion of reality. The emphasis on moralism and ideas comes straight from liberalism. A socialist and anarchist analysis emphasizes the STRUCTURAL aspects of the system, without ignoring ideas, but relegating them to a secondary level.

Liberalism in various forms is hegemonic in North American society. The “official” left, right and center are all variations of liberalism, no matter the labels they might give themselves. Whether self-styled social democrats or conservatives they are united by their neoliberalism. We should not be surprised then, that the “far left” is influenced by liberalism.

Now about the 800 pound gorilla that is being ignored. It is composed of the political-legal structure and trade union legislation.

Political structure – Both the First-Past-The-Post electoral system and the US Congressional system severely limit democratic input. The first puts enormous hurdles in the way of dissident parties such as socialists and Greens gaining seats in parliament and keeps them almost permanently reduced to a tiny minority if they should get in. The US political system with its duopoly is deliberately designed to exclude radical parties. (It is the only alleged democracy in which “third party” is a term of contempt and in which no Green or social democratic party has a seat at the national level.) Parties become “catch all” centrists and the radicals within them are marginalized.

Trade Union legislation. Given the weakness of the left, it is no wonder that a a host of unnatural hurdles are put in the way of organizing a union shop. Be that as it may, the existing system is “winner take all”, if after a union runs the obstacle course and wins a certification. The minority who do not want the union become members anyway. The only way you can change the union is during a legal “raiding period” . There is a dues check-off, which means the company automatically deducts the fees for the union. At first sight, this seems like a good system, but it has some deep flaws which serve to undermine trade union and general working class militance.

Due check off means that a union can become wealthy relative to unions which did not possess this privilege. Wealth means a highly paid, and increasingly professional (and self-serving) leadership. Having a large minority of members who are wishy-washy or even hostile to the union is a dead weight and a permanent orientation away from militance. Like political parties under FPTP, such unions are “catch-all” organizations and the permanent tendency is toward moderation. The union bureaucracy takes a dim view of radicals and does everything to isolate them and minimize their influence.

Now let's contrast the North American political and trade union system with a structure found elsewhere.

In most of continental Europe you have a parliamentary system combined with a proportional ballot. This means that any group getting more that four or five percent of the vote gets a seat. Thus it is relatively easy for new parties to get established, and hence socialist and Green parties in most European parliaments. Since the issues these parties raise are real issues, they soon grow in influence. They can then become part of a coalition government and the price for doing so, will be the enacting of certain of their positions. Thus parties to the left of the social democratic center can have an influence that they do not have in less democratic political systems.

The existence of functioning and influential radical parties, also means there will be media promoting these ideas, if not party journals and web sites, a milieu that is sympathetic to them and promotes many of their concepts. Thus, radicalism is kept alive among the population and is not completely smothered by corporate media.

In most of Europe, the trade union system is more democratic than in North America. Each workplace over a certain size is entitled to form a “works council.” In order to be represented they do not have to jump through a lot of hoops, to have a council is their right. The workers vote on who represents them on the council, and it can be from any trade union central that has members in the shop. Hence one tendency does not take over the membership and the various socialist, communist and syndicalist union representatives have to work together in some manner, without losing their independence. Class struggle and syndicalist unions thus have a chance at gaining influence. As such, in France we have the Solidarity unions, (the fourth largest union center), in Spain, the syndicalist CGT, (third largest union) the CNT and the base unions and in Italy the COBAs. (base unions). In the North American context these unions would be tiny and ineffective, whereas they have hundreds of thousands of members.

Note that “base unions” refers to the highly democratic, class struggle unions which developed in the 1980s in opposition to the more conservative bureaucratic unions. It also should be noted that in France, Italy and Spain, the “social union” tends to predominate rather than the US-style business union or right-wing social democratic unions. Social unions seek more than just the protection of their membership, but seek a “democratic socialist” reform of capitalism. One example of a social union is the French CGT, the largest of the union federations in that country.

What the labour structure means in practice is that unions are “poor” and the people in leadership positions are more likely to be there because they believe in trade unions than for a high paid position and cocktails with the bosses. Since there is no dues check-off, the shop stewards have to collect the dues, which means the rank and file have the leaders on a short leash compared to the American situation. There is no dead wood membership and those who belong to the union tend to be militants, this is further pressure to keep the union honest.

The existence of social, class struggle and syndicalist unions along with viable socialist parties, though a minority movement with the exception of the social unions, means that class consciousness is kept alive. These groups are the “keepers of the flame” for class consciousness is based upon memory, of keeping alive the traditions of struggle. If this knowledge and practice is suppressed and forgotten, workers who are better paid merge into a fake middle class, or if they are marginal workers, become lumpenized. The existence of viable Green Parties (and even better, Red-Green Parties) means that eco-awareness and the possibility of reform is much greater than where such parties are minuscule. Class consciousness helps explain the “French paradox” - France has a small union membership (about 10% of the workforce) but when strikes are called millions come out and the country is shut down. Class consciousness is much more developed here and the political and labour structures play a highly significant role in its maintenance.

This does not mean the unions, socialist and Green parties are above criticism. Just check the revolutionary media in those countries! Where these organizations are of some impact, there are also groups to the left of them. The social unions have revolutionary syndicalists nipping at their heels. The socialist parties are faced with strong anarchist and horizontalist movements. The Greens are faced with eco-anarchism and de-growth militants. It would be very unlikely that these revolutionary movements would have a fraction of the support they do without the prior existence of the more moderate groups, keeping alive some of the basic class and ecological concepts. Nothing exists in isolation.

Where does that leave North American syndicalists, anarchists and socialists? I don't think we have enough time to go through the laborious process of democratizing our politics and labour relations. I would certainly welcome any changes for the better, but the problems facing us are so extreme and so pressing that they do not allow us this luxury. It would be better to stop the blaming and hand-wringing and to face reality – the cards are well and truly stacked against us. With that realization, we can attempt to find new methods that suit the adverse conditions we face.

 

STRUCTURE VS MORALISM – THE EXAMPLE OF “THIRD WORLD REVOLUTIONARIES”

We cannot say this enough – when examining a phenomenon you must look at the material conditions which underlie it and not simply reduce this to ideas and moralism. This is especially true when assessing the role of revolutionaries in the colonized and imperialized world in the post-War period.

In countries that were nominally independent – such as those of Latin America – it was soon evident that “regular” capitalism would not allow for development, or at best a distorted development in the interests of imperial capital. It was also evident that those countries that had developed, did so by ignoring the pleas of the political economists for laissez faire and minimum governmental action. The model that evolved, largely based upon the Mexican experience, could be called the nationalist, populist or social democratic model. The essential aspects of this model were infrastructural spending by government, national ownership of resources, land reform, tariffs to protect budding industry, import substitution, education and social reform.

Such policies were adopted in Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica and Mexico at various times from the late-1930s until the 1960s. The result was a great improvement in the living standards of the population. With decolonization, attempts were made to introduce similar policies into Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The nationalist model of development had a vicious adversary in imperial capital, chiefly US imperialism and its junior partners, the UK, Canada and France. Not only was there constant pressure to abandon the model and open one's country to imperial capital, but violence was commonly used to crush governments that seemed too independent. Thus the social democratic Arbenz government was overthrown as was the nationalist Mossedegh in Iran, Peron in Argentina, the populists in Bolivia, etc.

There was however, one country that had succeeded in the national form of development and had been successful in opposing the attacks by US imperialism . This was the USSR. You can understand why revolutionaries in the imperialized world, after seeking the brutal overthrow of social democratic or liberal governments by the US, might start to look closely at that model for national development.

Imperialism was able to take advantage of the looseness and complexity of a democratic system, by funding subversion and creating division within the state, leading to right-wing coups d'etats. The answer seemed to be to create an enforced unity through a one-party state, which would then organize the country to accomplish the necessary tasks of economic and social development. In the enthusiasm of the moment, the now-obvious drawbacks to such a model – corruption, sclerosis, paranoia and a population still powerless and therefore cynical, were not evident.

Thus, by the 1960s the Marxist Leninist model had become THE model of development. It had initially been a response to imperialism, but now this set of ideas had become a material force in its own right.

We now must examine the history of ideology in the imperialized countries, most especially – since they formed the vanguard – those of Latin America.

For the first 30 plus years of the 20th Century the revolutionary movement in Latin America was anarcho-syndicalism. The movement remained strong in Bolivia until the 1940s, Cuba and Uruguay well into the 1950s, but in most countries it was a spent force by the 1930s, crushed out of existence by state violence. Had Che and Fidel been born 25 years earlier they would have been anarchists, since this ideology had hegemony at that time.

In the 1930s a new revolutionary force emerged and replaced syndicalism - populism. The model for the populists was the Mexican revolutionary process at its most radical. This was a form of national development with the nationalization of resources, state created infrastructure, land and social reform. All within a state which was at least nominally democratic.

The populist model had some successes, Venezuela, Costa Rica, for a brief period in Brazil under Vargas, Peron's Argentina, and Paz Essensaro's Bolivia. But the movement was defeated in Guatemala and Cuba. Fidel and Che, up till then had been populists. The former as a member of the Orthodoxo Party, the latter as a left-Peronist. With the crushing of populism, like the crushing of nationalism elsewhere in the 1950s, the way was cleared for the ascent of Marxist Leninist ideas.

Thus not a situation of “bad people” with “bad ideas” but one of a situation posed and limited by material conditions.

But the dialectic did not stop with the ML model. As before mentioned, the failings of that system also became evident. (And I suspect no one was more aware of that than Fidel Castro) From the 1970s-on there was a continual attempt to combine anti-imperialism and development with a pluralist state. The top-down, one party state model was abandoned. Successes were few at first. Unidad Popular was brutally crushed in Chile, The Sandinistas held out for a decade, but were voted out of power. Cuba chose mass involvement combined with an ever-increasing openness of discussion and I suspectthat this is one reason for the strength of that government. The 21st century saw the “pink wave”. In spite of imperialism's successes in eliminating relatively progressive governments in Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador, the recent (and overturned) coup in Bolivia, and the on-going attack on Venezuela, this movement is far from being defeated.

Other revolutionary, anti-imperialist, but pluralist systems can be found with the Zapatistas and the Rojava Confederalists.

I think they key is mass involvement in autonomous organizations. This allows both pluralism and is a strong force against subversion.


 

WHAT IS EXTREMISM?

Just because you have some ideal or goal which is – or seems - completely at odds with the world as it is, does not mean you are an extremist. Extremism is an attitude, not just a set of ideas or concepts. You can thus take any desire and tackle it in an extremist fashion or in a non-extreme way. Being, say an anarchist or a socialist, an atheist or a Christian does not make one an extremist, but there are plainly extremist versions of these world-views. So what is the extremist attitude?

The extremist is, first and foremost, a bully and an authoritarian. It is always “my way or the highway.” There is no respect for any slight deviation from what the extremist thinks – agreeing with half of what that person thinks is seen as wrong as complete disagreement. There is no respect for other views and no attempt to find a common ground. Tolerance and nuance are seen as weakness and decadence. People who hold somewhat different views are abused, called “sell-outs”, “revisionists”, “renegades” , “liberals”, “turn-coats” “wishy-washy” etc. When extremists hold state power, they will use that power to persecute, criminalize and punish those with different viewpoints. Extremists at the head of movements without state power will call upon their members to attack and even kill people whose viewpoints offend them.

Extremism is, of course, more than just an attitude. There are extreme doctrines. These doctrines are completely at odds with several hundred years of social progress and they are based not upon empirically varifiable data but conspiracy theories, “revealed.” religion and pseudo-science. Furthermore, the forseeable implementation of these docrines is part and parcel of those doctrines. Examples include religious extremists that are homophobes and misogyists, political economists who seek to abolish a century of social reform and go back to a Dickensian capitalism, neoStalinists who would round up and shoot anarchists and socialists, and fascists, Nazis, “alt-rightists”, and white supremists of every possible description.

Extreme doctrines are a magnet for extremist personalities, and of course, such doctrines have been constructed by such personalities to begin with. But this leads us to ask “where does the extremist personality come from?” The same place all bullies come from – emotional trauma. Is it any wonder then that extremism tends to develop in societies with a great deal of violence, or among groups that have been brutally oppressed within a violent society? There are, of course, relatively priviledged groups, who see the coming of equality as a threat. Much of white racism is rooted here.

Finally, it needs pointing out that imperialism has aided and abetted extremism in its war against national liberation movements and general social progress. Beginning in the 1930s the American Manufacturers Assn. bankrolled, “Christian fundamentalist” groups as a way of combatting the “social gospel” of mainstream Protestants. Fundamentalism has been promoted in Latin America to offset Catholic social teaching and especialy Liberation Theology. At home fascists are given kid gloves treatment – if the left was anywhere near as violent as these groups they would be swiftly suppressed. The fascists are capitalism's “useful idiots.”

In the Middle East no effort was spared by imperialism to destroy the secular nationalist modernizer regimes. It seems to have been forgotten that back in the 1950s and 60s there was a strong modernizing, secularist movement in the Middle East which included Communist and Socialist Parties. Islamic extremism has two roots, one is the destruction of the secular nationalist Mossedegh government in Iran and its replacement by the brutal Shah, the other is the US-engendered defeat of the leftist Afghan government. Britain encouraged the Muslim Brotherhood in opposition to the secular Nassar government and both the USA and the UK backed the reactionary Saudis with their Wahhabi extremist version of Islam which they have exported throughout the Muslim world. The US has added more fuel to the fire by giving Israel a complete carte blanche to do anything they want against the Palestinians.

And people wonder why there are extremist groups?

Friday, July 16, 2021

UNDERSTANDING THE HOSTILES – the minority opposed to the Fairy Creek Action

 The small demonstrations against protecting the old growth forests were marked by placards proclaiming the supposed need to “Defend Logging”. Not one of those involved would have taken a few minutes to go on line and find out exactly what the environmental movement's plans are for the forest industry. I have, and within five munites found the programs of all the major organizations as well as the BC Green Party. Not one of these groups opposed logging, only cutting old growth, and promoted sustainable practices which would create permanent jobs in forestry.

That the hostiles never bothered to find this easily available information, indicates their minds were made up before hand. Misinformation from right-wing anti-environmental sources played a factor, but I think the problem lies deeper than that. Like all reactionary sentiments, its roots are an underlying prejudice, which in turn grows out of fear. If you are prejudiced against some group, your hostility will be projected out in the form of thinking the very worst about them. The “eco-warrior” is a stock hate figure on the right along with the “feminist” and BLM activist.

There is a division within the working population between the older and declining industrial work force and the new working class of educated white collar workers. This creates a cultural/political divide. The land protectors are well educated, well read and culturally sophisticated. The hostiles no doubt feel inferior and this inferiority is hidden behind a mask of inverse snobbery. “Buncha hippies on welfare. What do they know, they don't work in the woods” sort of sentiments. (Of course it is more complex than that – there are industrial workers who are eco-activists and white collars who are hostiles.)

All environmentalists are critical of rampant consumerism and boldly proclaim the need for a simpler life without giant pick -up trucks and suburban McMansions. When status-linked consumer goods are one of the few ways you can proclaim your self-worth, a group which threatens this possibility is something to fear.

Any familiarity with the land protectors will show the prominent role played by Indigenous people and women. Resentment against Indigenous people runs high among certain sectors of the Euro-Canadian population. Of course, every bigot has “his “Indian”' to back them up in any conflict with the “militants” and enviromentalists, and this card is played to the max. Given the racial slurs directed at Indigenous land protectors and the underlying sub-stratum of prejudice present in the populace, racism must be considered as a factor in understanding the hostiles.

Other than sexist language directed at some of the women leaders, misogyny seems more undercover than overt. Given the level of toxic masculinity that exists in a significant number of males, it must be very disturbing to see all those women in leadership roles. Strong women frighten men who are still mired in traditional concepts of what it means to be male. Indeed, the very idea of saving the trees may come off as somehow “unmanly.” Among those suffering from toxic masculinity, empathy is considered “feminine” and therefore weak. Concern for the trees is empathy extended to all living things. Thus the male land protectors also become a source of anxiety. After all they are “letting” the women lead, and are full of empathy for the forests., something no “real man” would do. These are the “sensitive men” they loath/fear, whose very existence is a threat to the character armour they have spent decades constructing.

That said, I do not blame the hostiles. They are victims along with the trees. The Plunderbund and the governments that front for it, has and will sacrifice them at a moment's notice. They will sacrifice these people, until like on Easter Island, the last tree has been hacked down. Nor do I blame the Plunderbund, for like the wolf killing the lamb they are acting out their essential nature. In this case the pillage of humanity and nature for an ever-expanding pile of capital. Crime is their very essence.

You could point a finger at right-wing social democracy and resource-based business unionism. The old autodidact socialists would not let workers wallow in ignorance and prejudice. Their newspapers and educationals constantly tried to lift workers up and to expand their horizons. When right-wing social democracy took over they eliminated both the newspapers and the education, leaving workers even more vulnerable to corporate propaganda. The Communist and socialist-led IWA promoted sustainable logging way back in 1940. The right-wing purged the left in the IWA and these concerns flew out the door.

But go easy on the finger pointing. They are acting according to their nature too. Business unionism and right-social democracy are predicated on the continued existence of the corporate capitalist system. Their role is to mediate between the populace and the corporate elite. They are also dependent on a strong corporate economy. Take away that system and they are without a role. Hence these forces are deeply hostile to any group that is radical or in any way challenges the economic and political power structure. Radicals have to be either tamed or destroyed. In the past, the radical threat included the Wobblies, the Communists, the old time Socialists and later the New Left. Today the threat is the environmental movement, and most especially its direct action wing.

The problem for the corporate system is that even a moderate environmental approach means the gradual termination of the plundering, growth forever model. If corporate capitalism cannot grow, which means continued destruction of the natural world, it goes into crisis. Whether enviros know it or not, they are a dagger at the throat of the system. This explains the deep hostility of much of the corporate world and the hostile attitudes of both the business unions and the right-social democrats. Of course, other than the hard right climate crisis deniers, they cannot come out with a full bore attack on the environmental movement. Instead they offer tepid half measures and green-wash. What you can nail them for is their hypocrisy.

Here in BC the right-wing social democrat dominated NDP is split on the issue of Fairy Creek. Many members ignore the party on this issue and are in support. At the same time, there is a minority of members/supporters who are among the bitterest hostiles.They reiterate the right-wing anti-activist bigotry, but without the racism and misogyny. Some of their accusations are pure Trumpite lunacy. - that the action is due to “rich” environmental NGOs trying to raise money, or that the non-violent activists are eco-terrorists. Where does this craziness come from, other than fear? What is the fear that drives them to such hatred? I suspect they believe in “My party right or wrong” and that any opposition to the NDP – even coming from the left, is the enemy. Such True Believerism will not help the NDP and the party leaders would be wise to put a lid on it. What ever the NDP brass do, right-wing social democracy is a major obstacle in saving the old growth forests, let alone developing a green economy. Our only hope is ever greater non-violent resistance pushing change from below.

On The Cusp of Change – Or Disaster?

 “Will we make it?” - the question arises in this unprecedented 40 degree heat. Sad that the question has arisen, for never in human history have we gotten so close to creating the situation that would overcome our many problems. There were very good reasons why these were not resolved a hundred years ago. One major reason being the fact we were still beset with the overwhelming legacy of a brutal and oppressive system of domination. This legacy kept people from working together to make change, and made many question the need for change in the first place.

We know what those divisive legacies were. In the 1950s most people were racist – in the full sense of the term. Misogyny and homophobia were universal. Only an enlightened minority did not beat or terrorize their children. Authoritarian, repressive religions held sway. The vast majority believed what ever the government, media or other authorities said. As for ecology - “What's that?”

There was the left of course, and it was more advanced than most on these issues. But the left's emphasis was on the economy, which essentially meant the “White” male worker. Thus, the Old Left was an inch deep and a mile wide. It had a lot of support in the working class, but its challenge to the domination system did not go to any great depth. (Women were ideally to be housewives, homosexuality was taboo and the whole mega-project, eternal growth paradigm went unchallenged.)

The New Left arose in large measure as a response to these and other failures of the Old Left. We tackled that list with gusto – taking racism, misogyny, homophobia and environmental destruction head on. Initially, 90% of the population hated us for all of this, so you might say we were a mile deep and an inch wide.

Fast forward forty to fifty years and what you find is that most people, at least intellectually, are in favor of overcoming the issues the New Left raised. You might well say that the average person today has much of the consciousness of a 1960s New Leftist. People have also become more tolerant, caring and aware of issues than ever before. This is in spite of concerted and well-funded efforts to turn the clock back to the 1950s.


While consciousness has changed, it has yet to give rise to the economic and ecological changes that this consciousness implies. We still have the same old top-down highly undemocratic political and economic systems and the economy is still based upon plundering the natural environment. However, it is only a matter of time when, like water droplets wearing away a stone, this consciousness would force those changes upon the system. (No, I am not saying consciousness determines existence – the relationship is dialectical – the real existing world gives rise to consciousness, which in turn reacts upon that world.)

There is now a race between the impending climate disaster and the ability of that advanced consciousness to change the system to one that is sustainable. The one force that truly encapsulates that consciousness and unifies humanity in a most basic way (for our survival) is the global eco-movement. This is not small potatoes – combine the eco-movement with its natural allies and you have the greatest mass movement in history.

Just to begin with, the world's Green Parties and the new leftist parties which reject the neoliberal model have some twenty million supporters. There are the NGOs – the biggest of which is Green Peace with branches in 50 countries. But the movement – and this is a very important point – cannot be reduced to either parties or NGOs.These two groups are only the tip of the eco-ice berg (now melting) There are tens of thousands of small local or regional, grass roots groups. Combine the support for all these groups, and I think they outnumber parties or NGOs.

To this list you must add those groups which the eco-movement is friendly with – such as the world-wide Indigenous movement. There are millions of Indigenous people, Maori, Australian Aboriginals, Polynesians, Sami, as well as the Indigenous of the Americas. Then there are the groups who naturally gravitate toward an ecological consciousness. There are the radical and syndicalist unions which embrace the ecological approach. There is Via Campesina, the peasant movement with one hundred million members. You have spiritual communities like Buddhists, Catholic Workers, Quakers and others. Where else could you place organic gardeners, fair-trade advocates, animal rights people, and those who favour “simple living.” ? Certainly not with the plunderers. We have the “Greta Generation” - people not yet adults who know they will be the ones to suffer from run-away climate change. These youth are aware, like none other in history.

We are now both a mile deep and a mile wide. Will we have enough time to avert disaster? The time for change is NOW. If you refuse to change, at least get the hell out of our way!

On Thought-less-ness and Hate

 The population can be divided between those people who think and those who do not. (*) The thought-less should not be blamed, for our education system and mass media do not teach people how to think. At its most basic, thinking consists of logical argument and empirical evidence. Logical thought kicks in about age 7 to 9, yet we do not teach basic principles of logic to children.

The thought-less person simply EMOTES. Now there is nothing wrong with emotion, in many senses it is our driving force, but the problem comes when emotion is ALL you have, logic and evidence be damned. In the case of the harsh disagreements in the social, economic and political realms, that emotion is usually hatred. This hate is based upon fear. Hatred leads to a situation of non-thought – the hater spews invective, grasps at any straw to denigrate the supposed opponant. A vicious circle of non-thought ensues, hatred leading to ever greater irrationalism. The more irrational, the greater the fear and the greater the hate. The non-thinker uses a broad range of logical fallacies to “defeat” the person or group they hate. These include the straw man, the red herring, the false syllogism, out and out denial, as well as innuendo taken as fact.

Hate closes all doors. It is an all-consuming fire. The person hated is written off, no dialogue is possible. The hater will never take the olive branch offered. The opponant is a threat that must be destroyed. But we must not confuse hate with anger. We have all been angry with someone we love, but we get over it. We can be angry with politicians and corporation bosses, but we know they are merely parts of a system. Hate is something else. It precludes forgiveness and understanding.

Hatreds, and the fears that underly them, are often handed down through families and friends, while others are the products of mass media propaganda. Not being able to think, the person swallows these stories whole. But hate gives meaning to an otherwise purposeless existence. “Them (fill in the blank) are the cause of my unhappiness.” You become trapped in a circle of mutual reaffirmation, if one is in a group which shares common hatreds. Hatred of certain groups gives meaning and interconnection with other people of similar mind. There is a feeling of great superiority over the target group, and so the ego comes into the mix. The insecure individual gets an ego boost from the collective hatred of a group which is usually superior to them in education, culture and ability. There is truly a power in inverse snobbery.

These social aspects of non-thought also make it extremely difficult to grow emotionally and intellectually. If you were to start thinking and reject those hatreds and fears, you would lose the emotional support of your familiy and friends whose views you so fervently shared.

Dialogue with a thought-less person becomes impossible in these circumstances. You must try to reach them, but if rebuffed too often, it is better to draw back. Some day thay might break out of their irrational prison, but for now, all your logic, evidence and patience account for nothing. There are some people you can never reach, and you have to accept that fact. Your only hope is that you have planted some seeds of awareness that may sprout later on.


(*) Of course it is more complex than this. I have created a dichotomy to clarify a point. Scratch many a well read, logical, person in the right place and out pops a demon. Indeed, I would say we all have our shadow, our hidden irrationalites we protect with unreason and project upon others.





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