Showing posts sorted by relevance for query anarchism. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query anarchism. Sort by date Show all posts

March 8, 2011

Anarchism: What It Really Stands For

Emma Goldman, 1910:

... 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.

Property, the dominion of man's needs, the denial of the right to satisfy his needs. Time was when property claimed a divine right, when it came to man with the same refrain, even as religion, "Sacrifice! Abnegate! Submit!" The spirit of Anarchism has lifted man from his prostrate position. He now stands erect, with his face toward the light. He has learned to see the insatiable, devouring, devastating nature of property, and he is preparing to strike the monster dead.

"Property is robbery," said the great French Anarchist Proudhon. Yes, but without risk and danger to the robber. Monopolizing the accumulated efforts of man, property has robbed him of his birthright, and has turned him loose a pauper and an outcast. Property has not even the time-worn excuse that man does not create enough to satisfy all needs. The A B C student of economics knows that the productivity of labor within the last few decades far exceeds normal demand. But what are normal demands to an abnormal institution? The only demand that property recognizes is its own gluttonous appetite for greater wealth, because wealth means power; the power to subdue, to crush, to exploit, the power to enslave, to outrage, to degrade. America is particularly boastful of her great power, her enormous national wealth. Poor America, of what avail is all her wealth, if the individuals comprising the nation are wretchedly poor? If they live in squalor, in filth, in crime, with hope and joy gone, a homeless, soulless army of human prey. ...

Such free display of human energy being possible only under complete individual and social freedom, Anarchism directs its forces against the third and greatest foe of all social equality; namely, the State, organized authority, or statutory law,–the dominion of human conduct.

Just as religion has fettered the human mind, and as property, or the monopoly of things, has subdued and stifled man's needs, so has the State enslaved his spirit, dictating every phase of conduct. "All government in essence," says Emerson, "is tyranny." It matters not whether it is government by divine right or majority rule. In every instance its aim is the absolute subordination of the individual.

Referring to the American government, the greatest American Anarchist, David Thoreau, said: "Government, what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instance losing its integrity; it has not the vitality and force of a single living man. Law never made man a whit more just; and by means of their respect for it, even the well disposed are daily made agents of injustice."

Indeed, the keynote of government is injustice. With the arrogance and self-sufficiency of the King who could do no wrong, governments ordain, judge, condemn, and punish the most insignificant offenses, while maintaining themselves by the greatest of all offenses, the annihilation of individual liberty. Thus Ouida is right when she maintains that "the State only aims at instilling those qualities in its public by which its demands are obeyed, and its exchequer is filled. Its highest attainment is the reduction of mankind to clockwork. In its atmosphere all those finer and more delicate liberties, which require treatment and spacious expansion, inevitably dry up and perish. The State requires a taxpaying machine in which there is no hitch, an exchequer in which there is never a deficit, and a public, monotonous, obedient, colorless, spiritless, moving humbly like a flock of sheep along a straight high road between two walls."

Yet even a flock of sheep would resist the chicanery of the State, if it were not for the corruptive, tyrannical, and oppressive methods it employs to serve its purposes. Therefore Bakunin repudiates the State as synonymous with the surrender of the liberty of the individual or small minorities,–the destruction of social relationship, the curtailment, or complete denial even, of life itself, for its own aggrandizement. The State is the altar of political freedom and, like the religious altar, it is maintained for the purpose of human sacrifice.

In fact, there is hardly a modern thinker who does not agree that government, organized authority, or the State, is necessary only to maintain or protect property and monopoly. It has proven efficient in that function only. ...

The most absurd apology for authority and law is that they serve to diminish crime. Aside from the fact that the State is itself the greatest criminal, breaking every written and natural law, stealing in the form of taxes, killing in the form of war and capital punishment, it has come to an absolute standstill in coping with crime. It has failed utterly to destroy or even minimize the horrible scourge of its own creation.

Crime is naught but misdirected energy. So long as every institution of today, economic, political, social, and moral, conspires to misdirect human energy into wrong channels; so long as most people are out of place doing the things they hate to do, living a life they loathe to live, crime will be inevitable, and all the laws on the statutes can only increase, but never do away with, crime. What does society, as it exists today, know of the process of despair, the poverty, the horrors, the fearful struggle the human soul must pass on its way to crime and degradation. ...

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. ...

[click here for complete essay]

human rights, anarchism, anarchosyndicalism

August 28, 2004

Anarchism and Violence

"The Jurassic, the Spanish, and the Italian federation and sections of the International Working Men's association, as also the French, the German and the American Anarchist groups, were for the next years the chief centres of Anarchist thought and propaganda. They refrained from any participation in parliamentary politics and always kept in close contact with the labour organizations. However, in the second half of the 1880s and the early 1890s, when the influence of the Anarchists began to be felt in strikes, in May-day demonstrations, where they promoted the idea of a general strike for an eight-hour day, and in the antimilitarist propaganda in the army, violent prosecutions were directed against them, especially in the Latin countries (including physical torture in the Barcelona castle and the United States (the execution of four Chicago Anarchists in 1887 [for being part of a protest meeting on May 4, 1886, in Haymarket Square against the murder of several workers, and wounding of many more, by police responding to a strike at the McCormick Harvester factory -- the meeting (already seen to be peaceful by the mayor) was ordered dispersed by the police chief and 180 of his armed officers, when a bomb was thrown, killing 6 policemen and wounding others]). Against these prosecutions the Anarchists retaliated by acts of violence which in their turn were followed by more executions from above and new acts of revenge from below. This created in the general public the impression that violence is the substance of Anarchism, a view repudiated by its supporters, who hold that in reality violence is resorted to by all parties in proportion as their open action is obstructed by repression, and exceptional laws render them outlaws."

-- Peter Kropotkin, from "Anarchism," Encyclopedia Britannica

This ought to be considered by the authorities in New York this week as they do all they can to intimidate and prevent lawful protest during the Republican Party convention.

September 21, 2011

Thought for the day: left vs. right

"Industrial wind [for example] is not a partisan issue. It is big energy–funded power politics against the people. Both right and left support wind. And both right and left are against it."

Left/right divisions as played out in the U.S. are a charade allowing the real struggle to wither and die.

The true "right" of institutional control and exploitation is allowed to continue, because its victims — for whom the true "left" fights — have been empowered to choose sides in a cartoon version of their struggle. Thus the victims of the true right fight amongst themselves: one group of victims, calling themselves the left or liberal, fighting the other group of victims as their oppressors, and the other group of victims, calling themselves the right or conservative, fighting the first group as threatening the small advantage granted them by the true power.

We are fighting over crumbs and the occasional sop.

The robber barons only laugh, when they should be cowering in shame and fear.


anarchism, ecoanarchism, anarchosyndicalism

(Thanks to windturbinesyndrome.com and commenter Pam Supign for stimulating these thoughts on the anachronism of a green fist wielding an industrial wind turbine)

Update:  Pam Supign has written to me that the editor of windturbinesyndrome.com has removed her last comment responding to the editor's reply to her first comments (and they're on the same side!, illustrating the point of the present post). Apparently experienced with the "Big Brother" censorship of comment forums, she had saved what she wrote, which she shares with us here:
The clenched fist originally and primarily and still represents solidarity of the people against oppressing power. It began with trade unionism. Communism ideally is also about uniting labor against its exploiters. It is about standing strong against violence, not wreaking it. Your equation of communism and anarchism with violence is no more valid than damning the Protestant Reformation or any fight for greater freedom because it sometimes forced people to fight back against those whose control was threatened.

The clenched fist is an apt symbol for the fight against big wind. It no more implies violence than saying "United we stand."

That's why the outrage of that conference is the misuse of the fist image in the name of industrial development, not the evidence of a connection with a pop T-shirt version of the Comintern.
Update 2:  Now the editor of windturbinesyndrome.com has removed Pam's first comments as well and added an apologia to his post to explain his fear of leftist solidarity. He has also edited, so that its pop origin isn't as obvious, the T-shirt graphic with which he raised the specter of Stalinist greens. The post remains ridiculous. And the one comment remaining to elaborate the green/nazi/commie plot makes it even more so.

Unfortunately, we don't have the editor's reply to it, but Pam has provide us with her original comment:
First, so-called “deep greens”, such as members of Earth First, are against industrial wind. The symbolism highlighted here is more incoherent than revealing. Foster’s own bio notes that “we have reached a turning point in human relations with the earth, and that any attempt to solve our problems merely by technological, industrial or free market means, divorced from fundamental social relations, cannot succeed”. Industrial wind epitomizes the dream of technological/industrial “alternatives” saving those doomed relations.

Rather than raise the flag of demonization and fear, it should be clear that greens such as these are the “useful idiots” of predatory capitalism when it comes to climate change — again, for believing, against their own philosophies, that big new technology will be fundamentally different from big old technology just because its marketers sell it as green. Many greens are not so taken by the centralized energy “solutions” perpetuated by big wind and are appalled by the license it enjoys to invade otherwise protected land [and flout existing environmental laws].

Finally, the raised fist image was an early symbol of labor solidarity, particularly used by the IWW union (the Wobblies). It was used by the German Communist Party, which was brutally suppressed by the Nazis. During the Spanish Civil War, it was known as the anti-fascist salute. It has also stood for black power in the struggle for civil rights and for rights of workers, native Americans, and women, among others. Interestingly (I’m getting all this from Wikipedia), the fist here is the left hand, which began use in opposition to Stalinism (the Big Brother specter evoked in this post).

A green raised left fist is the symbol of Earth First, who oppose industrial wind, so the outrage should be for this conference’s offensive appropriation of a venerable symbol to imply support of such non-green non-progressive energy development.

Plus, as far as I can determine, the symbol of the Soviet Red Army was a red star, never a fist. The image used here — with its silly use of the Cyrillic letter "ya" for an "R" — is completely modern and meaningless. It's a T-shirt design.
Update 3:  Now Pam tells me that our friend the editor of windturbinesyndrome.com (which work I otherwise completely support, by the way, which is why I read the "Big Brother" post there — and Pam Supign's comments — in the first place) has added a picture of a dragon eating its own tail as representing violence. Well, Pam had to comment, and again is forced to offer her words here, because now she is apparently completely banned from windturbinesyndrome.com:
More abuse of symbols! The ouroboros is a symbol of eternal recreation, not violence!
Update 4:  In an earlier post, our windturbinesyndrome.com editor (Calvin Luther Martin, PhD) calls for ruckus-raising tent cities to publicize the harm done by industrial wind turbines, and suggests referring to municipal bureaucrats who facilitate and ignore that harm as "criminals — committing torture against their neighbors". And here's the clip art he uses to illustrate the idea of protest:

Clenched fists! People power!

And, looking at just the first page of indexed posts, there's this, used as the thumbnail of at least three posts at windturbinesyndrome.com, Québecois are angry!, Australians are angry!, and Ontarians are angry!:

And this:


Are you scared yet?

December 5, 2010

The conspiracy against us

Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul this unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of statesmanship.
— U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt

[as quoted in an earlier draft ("State and Terrorist Conspiracies") of the essay "Conspiracy as Governance" (click here)]

Also see: "Wikileaks, Julian Assange & Modern Anarchist Praxis":

Most people could probably not name very many anarchists -- historical, contemporary, or even fictional. A few might cite artists like George Orwell or Leo Tolstoy, and fewer still will be aware of prominent historical anarchists like Emma Goldman or Peter Kropotkin. The historical impact of anarchist practice has largely been glossed over in the curriculum of government run, and compulsory, public schools. People generally aren't aware of anarchists fighting for the first labor rights in America or giving the first public talks on birth control. People are unaware that it was the anarchists who brought about the Russian revolution which was subsequently derailed by the Bolsheviks. People are largely unaware of historical anarchist movements in Spain, the Ukraine, and elsewhere. As for contemporaries, most people might only be able to name Noam Chomsky as an anarchist (and that is probably something of a misnomer).

But now, in the headlines of all the world's newspapers, on the lips of all the television pundits, all over the internet, and in the running for Time magazine's "Person of the Year," we have Julian Assange. One may argue about whether or not he precisely fits into the definition of what an anarchist is, and some dyed-in-the-wool anarchists will perhaps turn up their noses at the suggestion, but Julian Assange is engaged in anarchist acts and has presented governments around the world with damning attacks against their credibility and legitimacy.

He is one of the founders, and the public face, of Wikileaks (which publicly leaks damning internal documents from governments and corporations from around the world). With that tool he has thereby presented one of the biggest contemporary challenges to the continuation of state power. In theory, by the nature and design of the Wikileaks project, no national authorities with any degree of power are safe from exposure and subsequent public scrutiny. If that isn't a threat to corporatism and centralized governing power, nothing is. And while that alone isn't enough to make Assange an anarchist, the Wikileaks organization is intentionally designed to exist outside, and in spite of, the control of all nation states. Furthermore, in his own words, "leaking is basically an anarchist act." His organization, and his personal actions, are overtly in support of anarchist acts! At the very least, his tireless devotion to freedom of speech, and his intense scrutiny of governing bodies, is anarchistic at its core -- because most modern governments and major corporations could arguably not exist if people were fully aware of what the leaders of those institutions were actually doing. ...

Earlier in this essay was mentioned the historical impact of anarchist ideals and practice. That praxis cuts across many of the differences that modern states and figures of authority have used to divide the masses. This is because the common person (regardless of race, religion, or creed) does not wish for wars, or prisons, or opulence in the face of poverty. But those in power require these elements to be in place so that they can maintain their control over the various populations.

Consequently, false ideas of racial, religious, and national inequality are instilled and maintained by the governing institutions. At their core, however, most people around the world value anarchistic ideals. Even the masses of religiously-minded people are not usually at odds with the principles of anarchism. The Mahatma Gandhi was a Hindu who identified himself as an anarchist. The Christian ideal of Jesus Christ is fundamentally anarchist in his earthly habits. Lao Tzu (author of the Tao Te Ching and originator of Taoism), practically made a religion of anarchism. And the list of anarchistic saints could surely go on across many other cultures and religions.

One needn't totally agree with the pacifism of those spiritual anarchists to recognize that their anarchistic ideals resonate with many people across most cultures of the world. The point is... many people already value anarchistic ideals but are nevertheless controlled and manipulated by people who have polar opposite values. And it may not be the pacifism of the aforementioned religious figures that enthralls people but, rather, their sense of basic justice. That's why archetypes like Robin Hood, for example, are also held in high regard. And, when it comes down to it, all of humanity descended from, in the not-so-distant past, relatively egalitarian and peaceful primitive tribes. The majority of humanity has the same underlying values, buried in the very needs of our existence, but we have been manipulated, domesticated, and made subservient to those who do not have our best interests at heart. ...

September 20, 2014

A 'crisis of bigness'

from “This economic collapse is a 'crisis of bigness'” by Paul Kingsnorth, The Guardian, 25 September 2011:

To listen to a political leader at this moment in history is like sitting through a sermon by a priest who has lost his faith but is desperately trying not to admit it, even to himself. Watch Nick Clegg, David Cameron or Ed Miliband mouthing tough-guy platitudes to the party faithful. Listen to Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy or George Papandreou pretending that all will be well in the eurozone. Study the expressions on the faces of Barack Obama or Ben Bernanke talking about "growth" as if it were a heathen god to be appeased by tipping another cauldron's worth of fictional money into the mouth of a volcano.

In times like these, people look elsewhere for answers. A time of crisis is also a time of opening-up, when thinking that was consigned to the fringes moves to centre stage. When things fall apart, the appetite for new ways of seeing is palpable, and there are always plenty of people willing to feed it by coming forward with their pet big ideas.

But here's a thought: what if big ideas are part of the problem? What if, in fact, the problem is bigness itself?

The crisis currently playing out on the world stage is a crisis of growth.



Published in 1957, The Breakdown of Nations [by Leopold Kohr] laid out what at the time was a radical case: that small states, small nations and small economies are more peaceful, more prosperous and more creative than great powers or superstates. ... Kohr's claim was that society's problems were not caused by particular forms of social or economic organisation, but by their size. ... [O]nce scaled up to the level of modern states, all systems became oppressors. Changing the system, or the ideology that it claimed inspiration from, would not prevent that oppression – as any number of revolutions have shown – because "the problem is not the thing that is big, but bigness itself".

Drawing from history, Kohr demonstrated that when people have too much power, under any system or none, they abuse it. The task, therefore, was to limit the amount of power that any individual, organisation or government could get its hands on. The solution to the world's problems was not more unity but more division. ... Small states and small economies were more flexible, more able to weather economic storms, less capable of waging serious wars, and more accountable to their people. Not only that, but they were more creative. ...

Bigness, predicted Kohr, could only lead to more bigness, for "whatever outgrows certain limits begins to suffer from the irrepressible problem of unmanageable proportions". Beyond those limits it was forced to accumulate more power in order to manage the power it already had. Growth would become cancerous and unstoppable, until there was only one possible endpoint: collapse.

human rights, anarchism, ecoanarchism, anarchosyndicalism

Green Capitalism: The God That Failed

By Richard Smith, Jan. 9, 2014

[excerpts]

The project of sustainable capitalism based on carbon taxes, green marketing, "dematerialization" and so forth was misconceived and doomed from the start because maximizing profit and saving the planet are inherently in conflict and cannot be systematically aligned even if, here and there, they might coincide for a moment.

‘Despite all this good work, we still must face a sobering fact. If every company on the planet were to adopt the best environmental practices of the "leading" companies - say, the Body Shop, Patagonia or 3M - the world would still be moving toward sure degradation and collapse. ... Quite simply, our business practices are destroying life on earth. Given current corporate practices, not one wildlife preserve, wilderness or indigenous culture will survive the global market economy. We know that every natural system on the planet is disintegrating. The land, water, air and sea have been functionally transformed from life-supporting systems into repositories for waste. There is no polite way to say that business is destroying the world.’ (Paul Hawken, The Ecology of Commerce)

But two decades on, for all the organic groceries, the energy-efficient lightbulbs, appliances and buildings, the carbon trading and carbon taxes, the global ecology is collapsing faster than ever.

[T]he capitalist market system is inherently eco-suicidal. Endless growth can end only in catastrophic eco-collapse. No amount of tinkering can alter the market system's suicidal trajectory. Therefore, like it or not, humanity has no choice but to try to find a way to replace capitalism with some kind of post-capitalist ecologically sustainable economy.

[C]onsumerism and overconsumption are not "dispensable" and cannot be exorcised because they're not just "cultural" or "habitual." They are built into capitalism and indispensable for the day-to-day reproduction of corporate producers in a competitive market system in which capitalists, workers, consumers and governments alike are dependent upon an endless cycle of perpetually increasing consumption to maintain profits, jobs and tax revenues.

Paul Hawken and Al Gore call for "offsetting" carbon taxes by reducing income taxes. Hansen's "tax and dividend" plan proposes "returning 100 percent of the collected tax back to the public in the form of a dividend." Yet, as ecological economist William E. Rees, co-founder of the science of ecological footprint analysis, points out, if carbon-tax offsets are revenue-neutral, they are also "impact neutral." Money returned to consumers likely will just be spent on something else that consumes or trashes the planet.

If we're talking about 90 percent cuts in CO₂ and other greenhouse emissions, then we're talking about the need to impose huge cuts in everything from farming to fashion.

Either we radically transform our economic system or we face the collapse of civilization.

Even when it's theoretically possible to shift to greener production, given capitalism, as often as not, "green" industries just replace old problems with new problems: So burning down tracts of the Amazon rain forest to plant sugar cane to produce organic sugar for Whole Foods or ethanol to feed cars instead of people is not so green after all. Neither is burning down Indonesian and Malaysian rain forests to plant palm-oil plantations so Britons can tool around London in their obese Land Rovers. ... Aquaculture was supposed to save wild fish. But this turns out to be just another case of "green gone wrong," because, aside from contaminating farmed fish (and fish eaters) with antibiotics to suppress disease in fish pens, farm-raised fish are carnivores. They don't eat corn. Feeding ever-more farmed fish requires capturing ever-more wild forage fish to grind up for fishmeal for the farm-raised fish, which leaves ever-fewer fish in the ocean, starving those up the food chain like sharks, seals, dolphins and whales. So instead of saving wild fish, fish farming has actually accelerated the plunder of the last remaining stocks of wild fish in the oceans. "Green certification" schemes were supposed to reduce tropical deforestation by shaming Home Depot and similar big vendors into sourcing their wood and pulp from "certified" "sustainable" forests - the "sustainable" part is that these "forests" get replanted. But such wood "plantations" are never planted on land that was previously unforested. Instead, they just replace natural forest. There's nothing sustainable about burning down huge tracts of native Indonesian or Amazonian tropical forests and killing off or running off all the wild animals and indigenous people that lived there to plant sterile eucalyptus plantations to harvest pulp for paper. To make matters worse, market demand from overconsuming but guilt-ridden Americans and Europeans has forced green certifiers to lower their standards so much to keep up with demand that today, in most cases, ecological "certification" is virtually meaningless. For example, the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), the largest such organization, has come under fire for allowing its tree-with-checkmark logo to be used by rainforest-raping lumber and paper companies, for taking the word of auditors paid by the companies, for loosening its standards to allow just 50 percent certified pulp to go into paper making, and other problems. The problem is that the FSC is not an international government body with a universal mandate and authority to certify the world's lumber. It's just a self-funding NGO environmental organization like the NRDC or the WWF or Greenpeace. Such organizations live on voluntary contributions from supporters, on contributions from corporate funders or on payment for services. As these organizations grew in size and ambition, they sought bigger budgets to better fulfill their "missions" - more than they could solicit from individual contributors. With few exceptions, nearly all these organizations eventually adopted "business" models that drove them into the arms of corporate contributors, in this case, typically lumber companies. When the FSC was founded in 1993, it certified just three producers whose lumber was 100 percent sustainable and not many more in the following years. But by 1997, as the organization faced competition from new "entrants" into the green product-labeling "field" (to use capitalist lingo), the FSC faced the problem, as the Wall Street Journal reported, of "how to maintain high standards while promoting their logos and increasing the supply of approved products to meet demand from consumers and big retailers." This is ever the contradiction in our capitalist world. They started off seeking to protect the forest from rapacious consumers. But demand by luxury consumers in the North is insatiable. To make matters worse, because no one certifier has a monopoly, new certifiers could come into the market. And if they were not so fussy about their criteria for "green certification," they might be more attractive to big retailers hungry for "product." So competition ensued, and, in the end, the FSC could hold onto its dominant position, aka "share of the market," only by caving in - introducing more-relaxed labeling standards, letting producers use just 50 percent sustainable pulp in paper manufacture, letting industry pay for "independent" FSC auditors and so on. In the end, "green" lumber certification has steadily drifted away from its mission and become more and more a part of the corporate plunder of world's remaining forests.

[E]ven if a shift to renewables could provide us with relatively unlimited supplies of clean electricity, we can't assume that this necessarily would lead to massive permanent reductions in pollution. That's because, on the Jevons principle I discussed elsewhere, if there are no non-market constraints on production then the advent of cheap, clean energy production could just give a huge solar-powered green light to the manufacturers of endless electric vehicles, appliances, lighting, laptops, phones, iPads and new toys we can't even imagine yet. But the expanded production of all this stuff, on a global scale, would just consume more raw materials, more metals, plastics, rare earths, etc. It would produce more and more pollution and destroy more and more of the environment. And the products ultimately would end up in some landfill somewhere.

[C]oal is not only burned to generate electricity, coal is critical for making steel. And coal provides carbon for aluminum smelting. And coal and coal byproducts are critical for paper making and many other products, from rayon and nylon to specialist products like carbon fiber, carbon filters, etc. So no coal, no steel or aluminum. No steel and aluminum, no windmills or solar panels or high-speed trains ("goods"). No coal, no carbon fiber, no superlight "hyper cars." So "taxing coal out of business" would undermine some of Hawken's other environmental goals. Same with oil. Oil and oil byproducts are indispensable for petrochemicals, plastics, plastic film for solar panels, plastic insulation for electric wires and countless thousands of other products. Oil is so critical for so many industrial products and processes that it is just inconceivable to imagine a modern industrial civilization without oil. Rare earths mining is a no less dirty process. But no rare earths, no windmill generators, no electric cars, no cellular phones or iPads. And the search for lithium to make the batteries for all those future electric cars threatens fragile ecologies from Bolivia to Finland, Mexico to Canada. Metals smelting is, likewise, an extremely polluting process with little real potential for greening, which is why producers try when possible to do this out of reach of US and European environmental laws. But no copper, no electric lines from those solar panels and no electric motors for those windmills and electric cars. No aluminum, no windmill generators or light vehicles. ... Many metals are recyclable, but world demand for aluminum, copper, steel, nickel and other metals, not to mention "rare earths," is soaring as more and more of the world modernizes and industrializes.

The problem for eco-futurist inventors such as Lovins is that they understand technology but they don't understand capitalist economics.

So if the reality is that, when all is said and done, there is only so much you can do in most industries, the only way to bend the economy in an ecological direction is to sharply limit production, especially of toxic products, which means completely redesigning production and consumption - all of which is impossible under capitalism.

[E]ven in Hawken's "restorative economy," toxic polluters would still be free to spread their carcinogens everywhere - if they just pay to pollute. It is hard to imagine a more bankrupt strategy, guaranteed to fail, nor for that matter, a more hypocritical and immoral strategy.

[H]ow can we "reject consumerism" when we live in a capitalist economy where, in the case of the United States, more than two-thirds of market sales, and therefore most jobs, depend on direct sales to consumers while most of the rest of the economy, including the infrastructure and military, is dedicated to propping up this consumerist "American way of life?" Indeed, most jobs in industrialized countries critically depend not just on consumerism but on ever-increasing overconsumption. We "need" this ever-increasing consumption and waste production because, without growth, capitalist economies collapse and unemployment soars, as we've seen. The problem with the Worldwatch Institute is that, on this issue, they're looking at the world upside down. They think it's consumerist culture that drives corporations to overproduce. So their solution is to transform the culture, get people to read their Worldwatch reports and re-educate themselves so they understand the folly of consumerism and resolve to forego unnecessary consumption - without transforming the economy itself. But it's not the culture that drives the economy so much as, overwhelmingly, the economy that drives the culture: It's the insatiable demands of shareholders that drive corporate producers to maximize sales, therefore to constantly seek out new sales and sources in every corner of the planet, to endlessly invent, as the Lorax had it, new "thneeds" no one really needs, to obsoletize those thneeds just as soon as they've been sold, so the cycle can begin all over again. This is the driving engine of consumerism. Frank Lloyd Wright's apprentice Victor J. Papenek had it right: "Most things are not designed for the needs of people, but for the needs of manufacturers to sell to people." This means that "consumerism" is not just a "cultural pattern." It's not just "commercial brainwashing" or an "infantile regression," as Benjamin Barber has it. Insatiable consumerism is an everyday requirement of capitalist reproduction, and this drives capitalist invention and imperial expansion. No overconsumption, no growth, no jobs. And no "cultural transformation" is going to overcome this fundamental imperative so long as the economic system depends on overconsumption for its day-to-day survival.

environment, environmentalism, human rights, anarchism, ecoanarchism, anarchosyndicalism

August 13, 2014

One people …

A sign has been often seen at recent rallies in defense of Israel’s attacks on non-Jewish Palestinians, as seen in this example from a counter-demonstration to a protest in Tel Aviv, August 9, 2014, photographed by Oren Ziv and posted at activestills.org:


The Hebrew is: OM AChD - MDYNH AChTh - MNHYG AChd

In English: One people. One state. One leader.

Which might sound familiar as one of Nazi Germany’s rallying cries: Ein Volk. Ein Reich. Ein Führer.


This is kinda scary.

Update: Ultra-Zionists protest Muslim-Jewish wedding saying miscegenation is ‘gravest threat to the Jewish people’

human rights, anarchism, anarchosyndicalism

June 24, 2014

Ozymandias, the Wind Power King

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “A vast and headless trunk of steel
Stands in the desert. Near it on the sands,
Half sunk, the shattered arms doth lie and peel
A twisted skin from antinatural bands
That tell its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped in this lifeless thing—
The hands that fed it and the hearts that bled.
And on the pedestal in letters spare:
‘My name is Ozymandias, wind power king:
Look on my work, ye mighty . . . and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

(with profuse apologies to Percy Bysshe Shelley)

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, anarchism, ecoanarchism

June 17, 2014

Why Not Wind: an open letter

To whom it may concern:

This is a brief representation of the reasons industrial-scale wind is a destructive boondoggle that only fools – or worse – would approve.

Unlike “conventional” power sources, wind does not follow demand. As the Bonneville Power Authority in the Pacific Northwest of the USA has shown (www.wind-watch.org/pix/493), the relationship between load and wind generation is essentially random. That means that wind can never replace dispatchable sources that are needed to meet actual demand.

The contribution of wind generation is therefore an illusion, because the grid has to supply steady power in response to demand, and as the wind rises and falls, the grid maintains supply by relying on its already built-in excess capacity.

That is also why meaningful reductions in carbon emissions are not seen: because fuel continues to be burned in “spinning reserve” plants which are kept active to kick into electricity production when needed for meeting surges in demand or, now, drops in the wind. Denmark’s famously high wind penetration is possible only because it is connected to the large Nordic and German grids – so that Denmark’s wind power actually constitutes a very small fraction of that total system capacity. To make further wind capacity possible (despite a public backlash that has essentially stopped onshore wind development since 2003), Denmark is now building a connection to the Dutch grid.

Another reason that meaningful reductions in carbon emissions are not seen is that the first source to be modulated to balance wind is usually hydro. This is seen quite clearly in Spain, another country with high wind penetration: The changes in electricity from hydro are an almost exact inverse of those from wind (https://demanda.ree.es/generacion_acumulada.html). This is also seen in the USA’s Pacific Northwest (http://transmission.bpa.gov/business/operations/Wind/baltwg.aspx).

Finally, on systems with sufficient natural gas–powered generators, which can ramp on and off quickly enough to balance wind’s highly variable infeed, wind forces those generators to operate far less efficiently than they would otherwise. It is like stop-and-go city versus steady highway driving. According to several analyses (e.g., www.wind-watch.org/doc/?p=1568), the carbon emissions from gas + wind are not significantly different from gas alone and in some cases may be more.

And again, whatever the effect, wind is always an add-on. The grid must be able to operate reliably without it, because very often, and often for very long stretches of time, wind is indeed in the doldrums: It is not there.

And beware the illusion of “average” output. The fact is that any wind turbine or group of turbines generates at or above its average rate (which is typically 20%–30% of the nameplate capacity, depending on the site) only about 40% of the time. Because of the physics of extracting energy from wind, the rest of the time production approaches zero.

As an add-on, therefore, its costs are completely unnecessary and wasteful. And even if, by some miracle, it were a reliable, dispatchable, reasonably continuous source, its costs would still be enormous – not only economically, but also environmentally. Wind is a very diffuse resource and therefore requires a massive mechanical system to catch any useful amount. That means ever larger blades on ever taller towers in ever larger groupings. And the only places where that is feasible are the very places we need to preserve as useful agricultural land, scenic landscapes that are so important to our souls (and to tourism), and wild land where the natural world can thrive.

Besides the obvious damage to the land of heavy-duty roads for construction and continued maintenance, huge concrete platforms, new powerlines, and substations (while making no meaningful contribution to the actual operation of the grid) and the visual intrusion of 150-metre (500-ft) structures with strobe lights and rotating blades, there are serious adverse impacts from the giant airplane-like blades cutting through 6,000–8,000 square metres (1.5–2 acres) of vertical airspace both day and night: pulsating noise (including infrasound which is felt more than heard) that carries great distances and disturbs nearby residents (especially at night, when there is a greater expectation of – and need for – quiet and atmospheric conditions often augment the noise), even threatening their physical health, pressure vortices that kill bats by destroying their lungs, blade tip speeds of 300 km/h that also kill bats as well as birds, particularly raptors, many of which are already endangered, and vibration that carries through the tower into the ground with effects on soil integrity and flora and fauna that have yet to be studied.

In short, the benefits of industrial-scale wind are minuscule (if that), while its adverse impacts and costs are great. Its only effect is to provide greenwashing (and tax avoidance) for business-as-usual energy producers and lip-service politicians, while opening up to vast industrial development land that has been otherwise fiercely protected – most disturbingly by many of the same groups now clamoring for wind.

Industrial-scale wind is all the more outrageous for the massive flow of public money into the private bank accounts of developers. It is not surprising to learn that Enron established the package of subsidies and regulatory “innovations” that made the modern wind industry possible. Or that in Italy, the Mafia was an early backer of developers. It is indeed a criminal enterprise: crony capitalism, anti-environment rapaciousness, and hucksterism at its most duplicitous.

After decades of recorded experience, there is no longer any excuse to fall for it.

 ~~
Eric Rosenbloom
President, National Wind Watch, Inc. (www.wind-watch.org)

Mr Rosenbloom lives in Vermont, USA, where he works as a science editor, writer, and typographer. He has studied and written about wind energy since 2003. He was invited to join the board, and then elected President (a wholly volunteer position), of National Wind Watch in 2006, a year after it was founded by citizens from 10 states who met to share their concerns about the risks and impacts of wind energy development. National Wind Watch is a 501(c)(3) educational charity registered in Massachusetts.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, Vermont, anarchism, ecoanarchism, anarchosyndicalism

May 18, 2014

Betraying the Environment

Suzanna Jones writes at Vt. Digger:

There is a painful rift among self-described environmentalists in Vermont, a divide that is particularly evident in the debate on industrial wind. In the past, battle lines were usually drawn between business interests wanting to “develop” the land, and environmentalists seeking to protect it. Today, however, the most ardent advocates of industrial buildout in Vermont’s most fragile ecosystems are environmental organizations. So what is happening?

According to former New York Times foreign correspondent Chris Hedges, this change is symptomatic of a broader shift that has taken shape over many years. In his book “Death of the Liberal Class,” Hedges looks at the failure of the Left to defend the values it espouses – a fundamental disconnect between belief and action that has been corrupting to the Left and disastrous for society as a whole. Among other things, he argues, it has turned liberal establishments into mouthpieces for the power elite.

Historically, the liberal class acted as watchdog against the abuses of capitalism and its elites. But over the last century, Hedges claims, it has traded that role for a comfortable “seat at the table” and inclusion in “the club.” This Faustian bargain has created a power vacuum – one that has often been filled by right-wing totalitarian elements (think Nazi Germany and fascist Italy) that rise to prominence by ridiculing and betraying the values that liberals claim to champion.

Caving in to the seduction of careerism, prestige and comforts, the liberal class curtailed its critique of unfettered capitalism, globalization and educational institutions, and silenced the radicals and iconoclasts that gave it moral guidance – “the roots of creative and bold thought that would keep it from being subsumed completely by the power elite.” In other words, “the liberal class sold its soul.”

From education to labor to agriculture and environmentalism, this moral vacuum continues to grow because the public sphere has been abandoned by those who fear being labeled pariahs. Among the consequences, Hedges says, is an inability to take effective action on climate change. This is because few environmentalists are willing to step out of the mainstream to challenge its root causes – economic growth, the profit system, and the market-driven treadmill of consumption.

Hedges’ perspective clarifies a lot. It explains why so many environmental organizations push for “renewable” additions to the nation’s energy supply, rather than a reduction of energy use. It explains why they rant and rail against fossil fuel companies, while studiously averting their eyes from the corporate growth machine as a whole. In their thrall to wealthy donors and “green” developers (some of whom sit on their boards), they’ve traded their concern about the natural world for something called “sustainability” – which means keeping the current exploitive system going.

It also makes clear why Vermont environmental organizations like the Vermont Public Interest Research Group and the Vermont Natural Resources Council – as well as the state’s political leadership – have lobbied so aggressively to prevent residents from having a say regarding energy development in their towns. By denying citizens the ability to defend the ecosystems in which they live, these groups are betraying not only the public, but the natural world they claim to represent. Meanwhile, these purported champions of social justice turn their backs as corporations like Green Mountain Power make Vermonters’ homes unlivable for the sake of “green” energy.

Hedges’ perspective also explains why environmental celebrity Bill McKibben advocates the buildout of industrial wind in our last natural spaces – energy development that would feed the very economy he once exposed as the source of our environmental problems. Behind the green curtain are what McKibben calls his “friends on Wall Street,” whom he consults for advice on largely empty PR stunts designed to convince the public that something is being accomplished, while leaving the engines of economic “progress” intact. Lauded as the world’s “Most Important Environmental Writer” by Time magazine, McKibben’s seat at the table of the elites is secured.

In this way the “watchdogs” have been effectively muzzled: now they actually help the powerful maintain control, by blocking the possibility for systemic solutions to emerge.

Environmentalism has suffered dearly at the hand of this disabled Left. It is no longer about the protection of our wild places from the voracious appetite of industrial capitalism: it is instead about maintaining the comfort levels that Americans feel entitled to without completely devouring the resources needed (at least for now). Based on image, fakery and betrayal, it supports the profit system while allowing those in power to appear “green.” This myopic, empty endeavor may be profitable for a few, but its consequences for the planet as a whole are fatal.

Despite the platitudes of its corporate and government backers, industrial wind has not reduced Vermont’s carbon emissions. Its intermittent nature makes it dependent on gas-fired power plants that inefficiently ramp up and down with the vicissitudes of the wind. Worse, it has been exposed as a Renewable Energy Credit shell game that disguises and enables the burning of fossil fuels elsewhere. It also destroys the healthy natural places we need as carbon “sinks,” degrades wildlife habitat, kills bats and eagles, pollutes headwaters, fills valuable wetlands, polarizes communities, and makes people sick­ – all so we can continue the meaningless acts of consumption that feed our economic system.

Advocates for industrial wind say we need to make sacrifices. True enough. But where those sacrifices come from is at the heart of our dilemma. The sacrifices need to come from the bloated human economy and those that profit from it, not from the land base.

We are often told that we must be “realistic.” In other words, we should accept that the artificial construct of industrial capitalism – with its cars, gadgets, mobility and financial imperatives – is reality. But this, too, is a Faustian bargain: in exchange we lose our ability to experience the sacred in the natural world, and put ourselves on the path to extinction.

[See also: 
Exploitation and destruction: some things to know about industrial wind power” (2006)
Thought for the day: left vs. right

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, Vermont, anarchism, ecoanarchism

February 20, 2014

Three-dimensional chess

While U.S. President Obama denies involvement in Ukraine yet decries the remarkably restrained government response to violent protesters as repressive and antidemocratic, even as his Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs is recorded going over her plans for regime change, and nonsensically insists that (democratically elected) Ukraine President Yanukovich has refused to negotiate with protesters when it is clearly the other way around, here are a few pieces from Counterpunch about this week's state of the great game (of hypocrisy).

Masking Tragedy in Ukraine, by Chris Floyd

Obama Pushes for Regime Change in Venezuela, by Mark Weisbrot

Do We Care About People If They Live in Bahrain? by David Swanson

human rights, anarchism, anarchosyndicalism

February 11, 2014

More on science fetishization

The corporate bullies of GMOs, wind power, “smart” meters, etc. invariably appeal to “science” to dismiss concerns of harm and tout the claims of good. But the actual good is invariably the benefit to their companies’ or research teams’ viability and profits. There is no questioning of their necessity or consideration of what is to be lost or taken away (e.g., farming freedom, open and wild spaces, privacy, etc.).

Their appeal to science is amoral. Their defenders apparently believe that a conclusion is “good” simply for being reached logically. And that criticism of science, however logical, can not in fact be so, because logic has already determined that it is good.

The problem, of course, is an infantile division of human thought between “rational” and “emotional”. Both religion and science operate with both, but the latter claims the exclusive mantle of “reason” and then self-servingly stops there. Any questioning of what science does in the name of reason, or what companies do under the name of science, is called an attack on reason itself, even when it is itself quite reasonable.

The business of science, as its own gatekeeper, is often deaf to reason outside its own self-serving logic. A prime example is the swallowing by GMO supporters of the claim that Roundup-Ready crops would reduce pesticide use, when they are expressly designed to tolerate the company’s own pesticide, thus removing an important check on that pesticide’s use. The result has indeed been an increase in pesticide use, and the “anti-science fear-mongers” who warned of super-weeds and the threat to monarch butterflies have been proved correct. While “golden rice” has been talked about for many years without any practical results, the actual results of GMO “research” have been “terminator” genes to prevent seed saving and plants that produce their own pesticides, as well as pesticide-tolerant crops. Even if golden rice were a beneficial reality, it has nothing to do with all that is wrong with the GMO business.

The assertion that humans have always manipulated the genes of plants and animals illustrates the amoral logic that actually, in the service of corporate science, avoids thought. There is a big difference between selecting the results of a plant or animal’s own natural processes and splicing genes between species and even kingdoms. The latter represents a violation of the natural order that science purports to study.

Reason without consideration of ethics or morals, or simply without considering potential harms or seriously assessing actual benefits, is a mark of a sociopath. Human reason is not a good in itself. It is ultimately self-serving: hence the term “rationalization”. And rationalization of corporate depredation and profit — along with demonization of those who question it — is not science.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, anarchism, ecoanarchism, anarchosyndicalism

January 30, 2014

Social aspects of wind energy development

“When people are talking about changing the way we harness and use energy, industrial wind instead entrenches a centralized and inefficient system. When people are talking about reducing the burning of fossil fuels, industrial wind entrenches the grid’s dependence on them. When people are talking about moderating the corporate control of society, industrial wind entrenches the worst of predatory and crony capitalism that works to move more public money into private hands, transfering the common wealth of the many into the pockets of a few without regard for human, societal, or environmental cost. Big wind operates much like — and is often firmly embedded in — the military-industrial-banking complex subverting democracy and fairness by making politics a stepping stone to private riches, with the frisson of riding a wave of green-technology utopianism. Only those who have sworn allegiance to their program are citizens of their country. The rest of us are only resources to exploit and barriers to overcome.”


wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, , anarchism, ecoanarchism, anarchosyndicalism

January 29, 2014

And down with all kings but King Ludd!

He may censure great Ludd’s disrespect for the Laws
Who ne’er for a moment reflects
That foul Imposition alone was the cause
Which produced these unhappy effects
Let the haughty no longer the humble oppress
Then shall Ludd sheath his conquering Sword
His grievances instantly meet with redress
Then peace will be quickly restored

“The concerns and causes and methods vary, but there is to it all, at bottom, the message that is unmistakable Luddistic:  Beware the technological juggernaut, reckon the terrible costs, understand the worlds being lost in the world being gained, reflect on the price of the machine and its systems on your life, pay attention to the natural world and its increasing destruction, resist the sedutive catastrophe of industrialism.”
—Kirkpatrick Sale, Rebels Against the Future (1995)

environment, environmentalism, human rights, anarchism, ecoanarchism, anarchosyndicalism

January 1, 2014

Have a fascist new year.

In a year-end wrap-up of U.S. politics last week, which I caught on NPR by chance, the guest noted how both Democrats and Republicans have lost favor. The host, oblivious to reality, or perhaps determinedly fending it off, asked if this provided an opportunity for a third party, "something more centrist".

In that question, he persisted in the story line that the Democrats are the party of the left and the Republicans the party of the right, which has in fact never been true. The Democrats and Republicans as a whole have always marched hand in hand as two faces of one imperial capitalist party, sometimes playing the game as understood by the NPR host to keep their control. Thus, for example, during campaigns, if not while governing, Democrats once reached out to unions, Republicans to the upwardly mobile. It shifts with time and demographics, but the parties deftly divide the market between them.

There is no "center" between them. They represent two styles of imperial capitalism. Occasional individuals may break ranks on single issues, but they dare not truly break away and challenge the narrow range of action allowed by this system, let alone the assumptions of hegemonic exploitation as necessary to their comfort.

What the NPR host lacked is perspective, perhaps honesty. The center is not between the two imperial capitalist parties, but between the people and that government. The center is not some magic place of smorgasbord compromise, but a place of mediation. It is real government in communication with the people, not as targets of marketing to keep them buying a bill of goods, but as citizens.

It is the difference between democracy and fascism.

human rights, animal rights, anarchism, anarchosyndicalism

September 24, 2013

350.org: Just Another Wall St Greenwash Department

Cory Morningstar writes at Counterpunch:

Anne Petermann writes: ... “if you focus solely on eliminating fossil fuels without changing the underlying system, then very bad things will take their place because it is the system itself that is unsustainable. It is a system designed to transform ‘natural capital’ and human labor into gargantuan profits for an elite few: the so-called ‘1%.’ Whether it’s driven by fossil fuels or biofuels or even massive solar and wind installations, the system will continue to devour ecosystems, displace forest-based communities, Indigenous Peoples and subsistence farmers from their lands, crush labor unions and generally make life hell for the vast majority of the world’s peoples. That is what it does.”

... the so-called climate movement has sabotaged any chance of mitigating a full scale global ecological collapse, having instead cleared the way for corporate profiteering, deforestation, fund-raising and full-out omnicide. ...

A key design element within the non-profit industrial complex is that “movements” are created top down. In the case of Rockefeller’s 350.org/1Sky, the game is simply this: 350.org locals take their marching orders straight from the top (350.org International) while “the top” (McKibben et al) take their marching orders directly from their funders – and in the case of 350.org’s Do the Math Tour, those funders are Wall Street investors.

McKibben, along with key 350.org staff, developed the divestment campaign in consultation with Ceres Investors – referred to fondly as their “Wall Street friends.”

Such loyalties are par for the course in the corporate enviro world where Wall Street execs can be referred to as “our Wall Street friends.” Never mind that Wall Street is the very root cause of our multiple and ever accelerating ecological and economic crises, not to mention the global food crisis. These crises are not truly “crisis” in a spontaneous sense, rather they are strategic by design with the aim of furthering corporate profit, which is simply insatiable. ...

One must take note of 350.org’s obsession with fossil fuels exclusively. With certainty, 350.org, in tandem with the non-profit industrial complex, is strategically preparing the populace to accept what Guy McPherson calls the “third industrial revolution.” This “climate wealth” agenda will include false solutions such as biomass, unbridled “green” consumerism, carbon market mechanisms such as REDD, etc. What it will not include is: the urgent necessity to destroy the expanding military empire, to transition from/dismantle our current economic system, to address the industrialized livestock industry, to massively scale back and conserve, to employ tactics of self-defense by any means necessary, nor anything else that is imperative to address if we are to mitigate full-out omnicide. [See also: : “White House misinformation and inaction regarding greenhouse gases”.] In a nutshell, the agenda will not include anything that would actually pose any meaningful threat to the system. It’s always divide and conquer with the corporate/elite-funded NGOs. The point is to ensure the masses fight meaningless battles and never “connect the dots,” to use 350.org’s phrase. Just like the Avaaz founder MoveOn.org, 350.org successfully induces consent. ...

We are about to witness the global transition to profitable false solutions under the guise of “green economy” coupled with the complete commodification/privatization of the shared commons by the world’s most powerful corporations. All while they simultaneously greenwash themselves as noble stewards of the Earth.

[Also see: Activist Malpractice” by Michael Donnelly]

environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism, Vermont, anarchism, ecoanarchism

September 7, 2013

Democracy according to the CEO of the free world

The people don't support this action, so the congress should vote their conscience, that is, support this action against the will of the people, because if they don't I'll do it anyway.

You see? Conscience is the prerogative of the leader. The people don't have it. Their disagreement with this action is a failure of marketing. Their disagreement is thus testimony to the righteousness of this action, because it is so important that we couldn't be bothered with trying to make a credible case for it. Consequently, until the people demonstrate the full benefit of our sales pitch, that is by supporting this action, there is no reason to consider their views.

[http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/running-transcript-president-obamas-press-conference-in-russia/2013/09/06/7d1a39e0-16fd-11e3-804b-d3a1a3a18f2c_story_4.html]

Also:  Such a blatant violation of international law must be punished to discourage others, even if we have to violate international law to do so. And it would compromise the power of international law if we had to show irrefutable evidence to justify this action, because nobody else cares about international law as much as we do.

More:  11 years ago today: "From a marketing point of view," said Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff who is coordinating the effort to persuade the public, the Congress and the allies of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein, "you don't introduce new products in August."

And:  “Right makes Might makes Right.” (circular logic of imperial prerogative)

tags:  , ,

August 17, 2013

A circle closes

Deutsches Bundesarchiv: Presidential elections, Nazi public address van at Berlin-Pankow, 10 April 1932

Ground was broken [Tuesday, Aug. 13] for a wind farm that will have five turbines located on 1,500 acres east of the Pantex [nuclear fuel fabrication] Plant, about 18 miles northeast of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle. The project is expected to be completed by July 2014.”

The 11.5-MW facility of five 2.3-MW turbines is being built by Siemens Government Technologies. It will be paid for by energy savings guaranteed by Siemens, that is to say, by the generous tax breaks paid for by you and me.

But the actual facility being built is far less than the one originally planned.

In fiscal year 2010, the plant spent $2.7 million on electricity usage from Xcel Energy and uses about 7 megawatts of energy daily, according to federal data. Bidders must commit to producing at least 10 megawatts a day, a federal proposal said.”

The facility “will generate approximately 47 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, which is more than 60 percent of the annual electricity need for Pantex, or enough electricity to power nearly 3,500 homes.”

Note how misleading it is to characterize the generation in terms of "homes", when these five giant wind turbines are intended to provide only three-fifths of a single factory's needs.

Also note that the hoped-for 47 million kWh represents an average production rate of 5.37 MW* (which is 77%, not 60%, of the plants apparent load of 7 MW), quite a bit less than the initially sought guarantee of 10 MW. That 47 million kWh represents a capacity factor of 47%. In both 2011 and 2012, however, the average capacity factors for wind turbines were 34% in Texas and 41% in Oklahoma.

The federal government expects the wind facility to "save" $2.8 million annually, that is, to pay for itself. At a 40% capacity factor (i.e., 40.3 million kWh annually), that would require a cost difference of 14.4 cents per kWh from what they are now paying.

Presumably, this crucial plant is not actually going to rely on the intermittent and highly variable power from the wind turbines and instead it will be sold to the grid from which the plant will buy its more reliable electricity just as before. So add the generosity of ratepayers to meet the inflated price the grid is expected to pay for this merely symbolic boondoggle.

[Siemens' use of slave labor from, even in, work/death camps during World War II was publicized in 2002 when its Bosch division sought to register the trademark "Zyklon" for a range of home appliances, including gas ovens. Siemens already marketed a "Zyklon" vacuum cleaner. The insecticide Zyklon B, of course, was used to kill large numbers of the Nazis' prisoners in camp showers, after which their bodies were burned in ovens. Siemens helped to build V2 rockets (again, with SS-provided slave labor). And here they are still, now generating income from a nuclear weapons plant.]

*47 million kWh = 47,000 MWh; ÷ 8,760 hours in a year = 5.365 MW

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, human rights, anarchism, anarchosyndicalism

July 27, 2013

Bipartisan war on civil liberties

Glenn Greenwald writes on the congressional failure to rein in NSA spying:

... But perhaps the most significant and enduring change will be the erosion of the trite, tired prism of partisan simplicity through which American politics has been understood over the last decade. What one sees in this debate is not Democrat v. Republican or left v. right. One sees authoritarianism v. individualism, fealty to The National Security State v. a belief in the need to constrain and check it, insider Washington loyalty v. outsider independence.

That's why the only defenders of the NSA at this point are the decaying establishment leadership of both political parties whose allegiance is to the sprawling permanent power faction in Washington and the private industry that owns and controls it. They're aligned against long-time liberals, the new breed of small government conservatives, the ACLU and other civil liberties groups, many of their own members, and increasingly the American people, who have grown tired of, and immune to, the relentless fear-mongering.

The sooner the myth of "intractable partisan warfare" is dispelled, the better. The establishment leadership of the two parties collaborate on far more than they fight. That is a basic truth that needs to be understood. As John Boehner joined with Nancy Peolsi, as Eric Cantor whipped support for the Obama White House, as Michele Bachmann and Peter King stood with Steny Hoyer to attack NSA critics as Terrorist-Lovers, yesterday was a significant step toward accomplishing that.

human rights, anarchism

June 10, 2013

Thoughts on the Tyranny of Consensus

Any community that has entered into a “consultation” process with a developer knows that the deck is stacked against them. The outcome is already assumed, and the process is at best one to determine the cost of buying off the community but at base is an effort to sidetrack and contain their concerns. That is the nature of this perversion of consensus: It is called “win-win” but one side gains a desired resource that they would have taken anyway and the other gives it up for ... what?

Such consultation is thus all too often engaged in to enforce a validation of the foregone outcome sought by the more powerful party. The choices for the less powerful party are to come to terms or not. The outcome is already determined. These consultations are thereby an utter sham. One side has no power whatsoever except in how it agrees to the terms of its capitulation.

In recent weeks, I have noticed that several prolific advocates of industrial wind power are also bullies about vaccination, water fluoridation, genetically modified plants, “smart” meters, among a package of knee-jerk “pro-science” positions. They mock and disparage all who have concerns about any vaccination or fluoride delivery regimen, or who ask exactly who benefits from, and who is harmed by, certain technological innovations, just as they mock all those who testify of, and all those who acknowledge those, noise and health impacts from industrial wind turbines too close to homes. Like other bullies with religion, they are hiding behind “science” to force their own self-aggrandizing worldview, their fetishization of technotopia, on others, particularly those who are able to think more broadly and subtly than they.

Most crucially, the targets of their mockery are not beholden to industries to which they themselves have pledged their troth. It is they, the “company men”, the “good soldiers”, that deserve, if not mockery, or contempt, than perhaps our pity.

Science is a process, not a “truth”. Above all, it is a process of questioning, of testing. Again like religion, when it is in the service of the state’s or capital’s power of coercion, it is more often abused and perverted than a beacon of good. When it is “settled”, it is no longer science, but dogma. The heros of science generally broke ranks from the consensus of their peers. Many were vilified for it. Ignaz Semmelweis, for example, ended his life being beaten in an asylum for his unacceptable hypothesis that physicians themselves were responsible for the high rates of maternal deaths in obstetrical clinics, which could be avoided if they washed their hands. He sought the truth, not consensus; in fact, the consensus was against him. There was no compromise acceptable — from either side. The medical industry recoiled from his findings and asserted its power against him. And in time, they had to admit he was right.

By discussing the word consensus, I do not mean to question that field in which it is most often invoked in the popular press: the “consensus view” of anthropogenic climate change. But I do question that invocation. Another term for “consensus view” is “mob rule”, or the tyranny of the majority. Sometimes the majority is right, quite often it is not. That is a feature of scientific research and literature as much as any other human endeavor. In science, too, is seen the “echo chamber” of internet and other self-selecting communities: Gatekeeping against “pseudoscience” and “quackery” becomes an excuse to shut out any findings that differ from one’s own desired outcomes. Institutional efforts inevitably tend towards reinforcing rather than testing consensus, towards defining rules of inclusion in and exclusion from the community, towards propping up its own members and denigrating those outside. Science — the pursuit of truth — comes to seem less important than scoring points against the perceived opposition. Or securing and defending contracts in various industries’ pursuit of profit and power.

[See also:  Coercive Harmony]

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, human rights, anarchism