We had not yet destabilised the climate and trounced other planetary ecological boundaries back in 1876 when Engels wrote these passages in his unfinished 'The part played by labour in the transition from ape to man'. But it is clear that back then Engels had established a biophilous ethic, or in his words:
" the senseless and unnatural idea of a contrast between mind and matter, man and nature, soul and body" and "but that we, with flesh, blood and brain, belong to nature" and " the more will men not only feel but also know their oneness with nature"
Engels expressed an understanding and a prelude of ongoing realizations of the deleterious effects of anthropogenic influence ( as is topical with the IPPC's recent report that increases the certainty of climate change being man-made from 66% in 2001 to 90% in 2007 and now 95%)
"with every day that passes we are acquiring a better understanding of these laws and getting to perceive both the more immediate and the more remote consequences of our interference with the traditional course of nature" and "The people who, in Mesopotamia, Greece, Asia Minor and elsewhere, destroyed the forests to obtain cultivable land, never dreamed that by removing along with the forests the collecting centres and reservoirs of moisture they were laying the basis for the present forlorn state of those countries.
A quote from the new IPCC report which brings Engels' observation to the present day:
"Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes. …
In response to the new report the media seem oddly focused on whether or not , or to what extent humans are to blame. Which is a side step away from reporting how destructive scientsists say climate change is and a side step away from taking responsibility and acknowledging that we can actually do something about it. In 1876 Engels was proactive and aware that we could take steps to reverse or mitigate the consequences of our interference with ecosystems.
In particular, after the mighty advances made by the natural sciences in the present century, we are more than ever in a position to realise, and hence to control, also the more remote natural consequences of at least our day-to-day production activities.
Engels links the destabilization of ecosystems with the capitalist moda operandi in its shortsighted drive for immediate profit and accumulation.
"As individual capitalists are engaged in production and exchange for the sake of the immediate profit, only the nearest, most immediate results must first be taken into account" and "In relation to nature, as to society, the present mode of production is predominantly concerned only about the immediate most tangeble result" and gives an example " What cared the Spanish planters in Cuba, who burned down forests on the slopes of the mountains and obtained from the ashes sufficient fertiliser for one generation of very highly profitable coffee trees"
If the in-built 'grow or die' imperative of capitalism destabilizes ecosystems/the life support system of human and non-human species; Where does Engels propose we begin to make change?. Loosely he trusted in the ability of 'the people' more than in the ability of just a few elite people, to make things better for the greater good. He felt their influence needed to be extended at work and in society at large. We have to consider what an altered, up-to-date Engels with awareness of the urgency and depth of planetary ecological damage is. It is a large topic so: Late Capitalism: What would Engels say? will be a future article, so for now lets be brief:
Brilliant Engels was generally considered to be more practical and less muddle-headed than his outrageously intelligent colleague Marx; He would probably advise that you not get too bogged down with reading all this jibberjabber and loosely be guided by a commitment to anti-capitalism & ecology;
He has oft been quoted as saying (although a citation has never been found )
An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory!
So go on a march somewhere, join an organisation, raise awareness/teach, or indulge in some civic organising or civil disobedience (and he may even suggest that you sign the petition for a million climate jobs
We are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing outside nature – but that we, with flesh, blood and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage over all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly.
The people who, in Mesopotamia, Greece, Asia Minor and elsewhere, destroyed the forests to obtain cultivable land, never dreamed that by removing along with the forests the collecting centres and reservoirs of moisture they were laying the basis for the present forlorn state of those countries. When the Italians of the Alps used up the pine forests on the southern slopes, so carefully cherished on the northern slopes, they had no inkling that by doing so they were cutting at the roots of the dairy industry in their region; they had still less inkling that they were thereby depriving their mountain springs of water for the greater part of the year, and making it possible for them to pour still more furious torrents on the plains during the rainy seasons. Those who spread the potato in Europe were not aware that with these farinaceous tubers they were at the same time spreading scrofula.
And, in fact, with every day that passes we are acquiring a better understanding of these laws and getting to perceive both the more immediate and the more remote consequences of our interference with the traditional course of nature. In particular, after the mighty advances made by the natural sciences in the present century, we are more than ever in a position to realise, and hence to control, also the more remote natural consequences of at least our day-to-day production activities. But the more this progresses the more will men not only feel but also know their oneness with nature, and the more impossible will become the senseless and unnatural idea of a contrast between mind and matter, man and nature, soul and body
As individual capitalists are engaged in production and exchange for the sake of the immediate profit, only the nearest, most immediate results must first be taken into account. As long as the individual manufacturer or merchant sells a manufactured or purchased commodity with the usual coveted profit, he is satisfied and does not concern himself with what afterwards becomes of the commodity and its purchasers. The same thing applies to the natural effects of the same actions. What cared the Spanish planters in Cuba, who burned down forests on the slopes of the mountains and obtained from the ashes sufficient fertiliser for one generation of very highly profitable coffee trees – what cared they that the heavy tropical rainfall afterwards washed away the unprotected upper stratum of the soil, leaving behind only bare rock! In relation to nature, as to society, the present mode of production is predominantly concerned only about the immediate most tangeble result.
Evo Morales has been outraged by the U.S for blocking the Venezuelan presidential jet from entering its airspace. At a press conference in Santa Cruz he branded the US president as a “criminal” who violates international law. He has called an emergency meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to discuss what has been condemned by Venezuela as“an act of intimidation by North American imperialism.” In addition he is preparing a lawsuit against the US head of state to be taken to the international court.
“The US cannot be allowed to continue with its policy of intimidation and blockading presidential flights,”
“I would like to announce that we are preparing a lawsuit against Barack Obama to condemn him for crimes against humanity,”
Back at home the Bolivian government has enacted a law to reclaim privately owned land deemed idle, and redistribute it for the good of the people
"This land belongs to the Bolivian people and it will remain for the Bolivian people."
I feel manic - pinned - all possible emotions are firing synchronously - I can not distinguish the rational from the irrational - I have a fever - I'm hot and I'm cold - there is no discernable interval between quick firing feelings of deep love for nature and total despair at the rapid assault we are launching against her - the reason is a paradigm shift in my understanding - for although I imply there are two discrete items here - myself and nature - I know that there is a sensuous connection, a healing of a conceptual rift, a sense of oneness - I am no more separate from nature as I am from my own limbs - this extends outward and echoes in eternity – As above, so below and everything in-between, the electrons that circle the protons and neutrons, the planets that circle the sun
In this brief epoch of consciousness I have been granted, this fleeting form soon to be absorbed into the earth – How can I possibly heal you like I would a mother, brother or friend? How can I accept this helplessness - This relentless plague of accumulation & metastatic comodification - The ailing resources, the salvage and fortress societies, the totalitarianisms yet to be born. A million crushed skulls of suckling infants.
The bees are leaving us, the atmosphere is now saturated with 400ppm CO2, at +3degrees C the last ice is melting and the Amazon is gone at 4 - The fish the animals the insects, the natural disasters, the resource wars, the oceans the soil, the water, the air – the assault is generalised, the arsenal is ever expanding
We can not measure global consciousness, the will to heal you, to heal ourselves, I hold on to some small hope that we can penetrate and enlarge upon interstices within the given - moments of clarity, the ecosocialist meme – to prefigure at the 11th hour - a new world.
On saturday I blogged about the reported murder of up to 80 Yanomami by Gold Miners in the Venezuelan Amazon (HERE)
My article was also published here (Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources)
. Venezuelan authorities have since launched an investigation of sorts and claim to have found no evidence to corroborate the reports. Reuters
have published this about the dispute:* Venezuela says no signs of violence in rainforest
* Tribal groups press government to continue probe
By Paulo Prada
RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Venezuela and indigenous groups are disputing whether an alleged massacre of Amazon villagers took place after Venezuela's government said it found no evidence of an attack.
A group representing the Yanomami tribe last week said that Brazilian gold miners had crossed the border and attacked a village from a helicopter. It said the assault could have killed more than 70 people.
Though the attack allegedly happened in July, the tribe was only able to alert the government recently because of the distance and isolation of their native region along the long, dense jungle border with Brazil.
Venezuelan officials said over the weekend that flyovers of the area led them to believe that the allegations were false.
"We can tell the country that we have seen no evidence of death," said Nicia Maldonado, Venezuela's minister of government affairs, in televised comments.
Native rights groups and some local politicians criticized the government, saying it reached that conclusion prematurely.
The remoteness of the region - and the nomadic habits of the Yanomami tribe - make it unlikely officials could have reached the exact spot where the attack was reported to have taken place, they said. Even natives, they point out, take days to move among settlements in the region.
In a collective statement, 11 tribes and rights groups including the Yanomami said, "It cannot be said that there isn't evidence" and pressed the government to continue investigating.
Liborio Guarulla, an indigenous Venezuelan and governor of Amazonas, the southern state where the attack is said to have happened, accused the government of "mobilizing resources just to silence the matter."
To some officials, the allegations of an assault by foreign aggressors, wielding guns and explosives from a helicopter, is difficult to believe. Not only would assailants need resources, know-how and familiarity with terrain not easily accessed from above, they would need knowledge of the habits and whereabouts of the Yanomami, who live in small groups and change settlements frequently.
"It would be extremely hard to do," said General Rafael Zambrano, commander of the Venezuelan army unit responsible for the region. Zambrano in a telephone interview said a small patrol of troops continues to inspect the area just in case.
YANOMAMI REQUEST UNUSUAL
People familiar with the Yanomami said their request for an investigation is unusual because tribal tradition frowns on discussions of the dead.
"It's a measure of how serious the problem is that they are making these allegations," said Marcos Wesley de Oliveira, coordinator of a regional program for indigenous people at the Instituto Socioambiental, a Brazilian advocacy group.
The tribe's native land on both sides of the border in recent decades has come under increasing pressure from wildcat gold miners and other outsiders.
Brazil's government last week said it asked Venezuela for more information about the alleged attack and whether Brazilians were involved. On Monday, Brazil's foreign ministry said it hasn't yet received any request from Venezuela for help investigating.
If an attack occurred, it remains unclear how many victims there may have been.
In the document they presented to Venezuelan authorities, the tribe said that only three members of the village are known to still be alive.
Those three, the document said, had been hunting when they heard the sound of a helicopter, gunfire, and explosions. The hunters, the document said, alerted Yanomami from another settlement, who went to the village and found charred bodies.
Survivors of Brazil's 1993 Haximu massacre hold urns containing the ashes of their relatives. © C Zacquini/ Survival
A computer screen in Wall Street registers a rise in gold prices - An analyst writes today
: "One of the distressing things about low volume markets is when prices tank for no apparent reason, but when prices go the other way - it sure can be fun. Gold was up $16.09 in early trading to $1,635.19 and silver was up $0.44 to $29.14 dropping the silver/gold ratio all the way to 56.1. The numbers are going up so fast that even my ticker is behind this morning"
Whilst the 'distressed'
gold trader is having so much fun
that even his 'ticker'
is behind this morning' Survival international
are revealing details of a brutal massacre in the Venezuelan Amazon.
The global economic crisis of 2008 sent gold
prices through the roof and investors have been seeking a safe haven during the 'down-turn'. This has exacerbated a gold rush in the South American Amazon bringing violence, disease and conflict to the mineral-rich rainforests of Brazil, Guyana, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Venezuela.
The Yanomami Indigenous territory covers 96,650 km2 of tropical forest across Venezuela and Brazil representing the largest forested indigenous territory in the world. The Yanomami has a total population estimated at around 32,000. This year is the 20th anniversary of the official creation of this territory which is supposed to be exclusively for use of the tribes.
Between the 1940s and the 1960s various catholic and evangelical missions, established the first points of contact with the tribes. This led to clusters of serious epidemical outbreaks as unfamiliar pathogens were introduced; mainly measles, influenza and whooping cough.
Contact became significantly more frequent in the 1970s and 1980s bringing roads, colonization projects, and industry in various forms; farmsteads, sawmills, masons and the first mineral prospectors and gold miners (garimpeiros). These contacts provoked an epidemiological shock of great magnitude,
causing many deaths; deterioration in health and an upset to the social relations and behaviours established over centuries.
To this day there remains some uncontacted Yanomami tribes. A large number of miners currently in the area are reported to be very close to the as yet uncontacted Moxateteu ,
accordingly there are serious concerns about their survival, if not by massacre then by disease.
Indigenous peoples are so often the vanguard in the fight for planetary ecology both focal & global. The Yanomami territory represents an area with some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet, great numbers of species, many as yet undiscovered and of course a huge carbon sink. Cattle ranchers are invading the territory and deforesting from the east and rivers are being polluted with mercury. The Yanomami were officially recognized for their importance in terms of protecting Amazonia's biodiversity by Presidential decree on 25th May 1992.
The slow motion, patchy genocide of the Yanomami has been underway since the 70s. During the 1980s and 1990s it is estimated that 40,000 lost their lives often with political support of varying degrees of transparency or negligence. Wikipedia defines genocide
as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group"
This definition could perhaps lead us to think the term Genocide is ill matched to the Yanomami. 'Deliberate' implies a more mindful, targeted and coordinated process. Reports of Yanomami killings are patchy over the decades, 1 or 2 here and there, one shot, 2 beaten to death with sticks, 150 of disease, 73 massacred and so on. Certainly 'deliberate' is apt to describe isolated events such as the 73 massacred in 1993 but more generally the Genocide is perhaps best understood as one of collateral damage, or another one of those 'unpaid costs'. This is proportional to the number of miners appropriating the territories (Disease & Murder) and political constraints (or lack-thereof) at the time. Both of these vectors are of course themselves subordinated by the efficient cause. The socio-economic system (capitalism) and fluctuations of Market forces therein. D
avy Kopenawa, Yanomami, health co-ordinator and spokesperson reports that there could now be over 1000
illegal miners operating inside the Yanomami reserve. He says: "I'm worried – my people are suffering - the miners are hiring planes to come into the reserve. Their entry is constant - It is dangerous to go where they are. They are all armed - If we go near them they will kill us. We are getting information that the invaders are getting close to our lands. The Yanomami are asking for support,"
This has been corroborated by unfolding news that an attack by gold miners in the Venezuelan Amazon close to the Brazilian border has left up to 80 people dead. Survival international report that due to the community's remote location, it took those who discovered the bodies several days to walk to the nearest settlement to report what they had found. Details are slowly emerging and three survivors have been found. It appears that a large meeting place or communal house has been torched with the charred remains of the bodies inside. A statement from a network of Yanomami groups called on Venezuelan authorities to investigate the incident and to co-operate with Brazil to "control and watch the movement" of miners in the area.
The state of the global economy, the price of gold and the increasing number of miners indicate the situation is becoming increasingly more desperate. In addition the Brazilian government are currently debating a bill which, if approved, will legalise large-scale mining within the territories.
The Yanomami have not been properly consulted about these developments.
Davi Kopenawa (Featured in video below) reports: ‘The Yanomami people do not want the national congress to approve the law or the president to sign it. We do not want to accept this law - Our land has to be respected. Our land is our heritage, a heritage which protects us - Mining will only destroy nature. It will only destroy the streams and the rivers and kill the fish and kill the environment – and kill us. And bring in diseases which never existed in our land.’
Act now to help the Yanomami
Your support will help the Yanomami keep control of their lands, lives and futures.
There are many ways you can help.
Further Reading/ Weblinks
In 2008, A manga interpretation of Das Kapital
(Manga de Dokuha /
Reading Das Kapital through Manga) sold 6000 copies in its first few days and became one of the publishing events of the year. Now it has been published in English by radical publishing house Red Quill Books.
From the back cover:"As the gap between rich and poor continues to widen, a new generation is reflecting on the insights of Karl Marx. Marx not only stood against the global economic system but he also helped us understand it. He explained how wealth was created on the backs of workers, how "surplus value" is realized and how accumulation is achieved through unpaid labour-time, the intensification of work and the tyranny of credit.
"Capital - In Manga!" is the English translation of the Japanese bestseller. It's a story of a cheese-maker turned capitalist and how greed, exploitation and its social consequences destroys lives and remakes workers into commodities.
It is hoped that this manga may act as a bridge to Marx's original work"
Photo from opening ceremony of London 2012 olympic games
“Capitalism..has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, that it is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells”. Karl Marx
In the Mel Gibson film Apocalypto the Mayan kingdom is faced with its decline and the rulers insist the key to prosperity is to build more temples and offer up human sacrifices. Academics criticised the film stating that the sacrificial subjects would more likely be royalty and elites as opposed common forest dwellers.
Today the whole of humanity and countless other species are faced with the prospect of their demise. Some agencies are no longer counting in decades or even years before such time that we reach climatic tipping points but rather in the number of months.
The Mayans; to their credit, had a plan. They recognised the elites carry greater weight for sacrifice to their deity than the general population. Our deity is the prevailing socio-economic system and our elites are the <1%, the purveyors of the corporate-political-military complex (CPMC). Our temples are the oil fields, pipelines, chimneys, airports, cars and manifold commodities, often needless that create exchange value but have little or no use value. Last night’s Olympic games opening ceremony was a temple where vested interests of the global elite had converged, and worship to the deity capital was ritualistically performed.
In the huge London arena (the site of the world’s newest corporate tax haven, courtesy of the British tax payer) a potted history of capitalism from feudalism to the industrial revolution to the present day was bought to life - the audience watched on and waved enthusiastically while huge mock coal chimneys were erected, and miners with soot stained faces and their well dressed capitalist masters mimed, gyrated and danced; gesturing like crazed primevil peoples as the chimneys arose from the ground, penetrating the previously commons managed grasslands.
The structures of the polluting fossil fuel economy, the means of production and in this case instruments of ecocatastrophe were there at the centre, at the altar. The sacrificial subjects behaved appropriately in honour of their deity and elites, who occupied a large proportion of available seats.
A quarter of all tickets – rising to perhaps two-thirds for top events have been given to Olympic bodies and corporate sponsors. These sponsors represent a veritable feast of exploitation, pollution, and corruption. To name just 2 - Mcdonalds, the London 2012 official Olympic restaurant brings you, obesity, diabetes, deforestation and methane and BP the official sustainability partner – brings you the finest lobbyists, the Deepwater Horizon disaster, huge quantities of carbon emissions and a reliance on profit and access from illegal wars.
This spectre of vested interests and cognitive dissonance did however have some surprise moments. A big nod to the NHS, (which may soon be a service consigned to history as its slow motion privatisation continues) in the music montage, dancers formed a CND sign, the anarchist, anti-monarchists -The Sex Pistols were featured and of great surprise was the inclusion albeit briefly of the song ‘Uprising’ by Muse. In an interview frontman Matt Belamy comments: "This song is influenced by glam rock, 80s synths, riots and the more eccentric protesters at the recent G2O protests. It expresses a general mistrust of bankers, global corporations, and politicians."
And “the whole song is about having a massive mistrust for people in power, whether it be government, or bankers. We're living in a society where we're being told to keep quiet, to just accept things as they are."
It was also amusing that the most prominent song in the montage was Dizzy Rascal’s ‘Bonkers’ – Could Danny Boyle who directed the ceremony have been trying to tell us something?
Then on to a speech by Seb Coe who claimed the olympics celebrates ‘the best of mankind’ followed by the athletes procession -The first 2 nations, countries hit hard by exploitation and imperialism and the inherent deficiencies of the socio-economic order were Greece & Afghanistan. Some time later I had to wonder what the handful of athletes from the little island of Tuvalu made of the occasion. Perhaps of all the teams these athletes have the most acute awareness of climate change; it is a daily concern for them. Their home, a tiny island is slowly disappearing under the Pacific ocean. At the 2009 united nations climate conference in Copenhagen the island’s chief negotiator Ian Fry stated "Tuvalu is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change, and our future rests on the outcome of this meeting."
When the conference failed to reach a binding, meaningful agreement he said"It looks like we are being offered 30 pieces of silver to betray our people and our future... Our future is not for sale. I regret to inform you that Tuvalu cannot accept this document”
He closed by reiterating the point that global warming is currently "the greatest threat to humanity"
, and ended with an emotional plea "the fate of my country rests in your hands”
My message from the opening ceremony WE ARE ALL TUVALUENS!
Recent events trace a threatening trajectory, sufficiently so that it maybe worthwhile to look ahead a few generations to the millennium anniversary of one of the great events in the establishment of civil and human rights: the issuance of Magna Carta, the charter of English liberties imposed on King John in 1215.
What we do right now, or fail to do, will determine what kind of world will greet that anniversary. It is not an attractive prospect – not least because the Great Charter is being shredded before our eyes.
The first scholarly edition of the Magna Carta was published in 1759 by the English jurist William Blackstone, whose work was a source for U.S. constitutional law. It was entitled “The Great Charter and the Charter of the Forest,” following earlier practice. Both charters are highly significant today.
The first, the Charter of Liberties, is widely recognized to be the cornerstone of the fundamental rights of the English-speaking peoples – or as Winston Churchill put it more expansively, “the charter of every self-respecting man at any time in any land.”
In 1679 the Charter was enriched by the Habeas Corpus Act, formally titled “an Act for the better securing the liberty of the subject, and for prevention of imprisonment beyond the seas.” The modern harsher version is called “rendition” – imprisonment for the purpose of torture.
Along with much of English law, the Act was incorporated into the U.S. Constitution, which affirms that “the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended” except in case of rebellion or invasion. In 1961, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the rights guaranteed by this Act were “(c)onsidered by the Founders as the highest safeguard of liberty.”
More specifically, the Constitution provides that no “person (shall) be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law (and) a speedy and public trial” by peers.
The Department of Justice has recently explained that these guarantees are satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch, as Jo Becker and Scott Shane reported in *The* *New York Times* on May 29. Barack Obama, the constitutional lawyer in the White House, agreed. King John would have nodded with satisfaction.
The underlying principle of “presumption of innocence” has also been given an original interpretation. In the calculus of the president’s “kill list” of terrorists, “all military-age males in a strike zone” are in effect counted as combatants “unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent,” Becker and Shane summarized. Thus post-assassination determination of innocence now suffices to maintain the sacred principle.
This is the merest sample of the dismantling of “the charter of every self-respecting man.”
The companion Charter of the Forest is perhaps even more pertinent today. It demanded protection of the commons from external power. The commons were the source of sustenance for the general population – their fuel, their food, their construction materials. The Forest was no wilderness. It was carefully nurtured, maintained in common, its riches available to all, and
preserved for future generations.
By the 17th century, the Charter of the Forest had fallen victim to the commodity economy and capitalist practice and morality. No longer protected for cooperative care and use, the commons were restricted to what could not be privatized – a category that continues to shrink before our eyes.
Last month the World Bank ruled that the mining multinational Pacific Rim can proceed with its case against El Salvador for trying to preserve lands and communities from highly destructive gold mining. Environmental protection would deprive the company of future profits, a crime under the rules of the investor rights regime mislabeled as “free trade.”
This is only one example of struggles under way over much of the world, some with extreme violence, as in resource-rich eastern Congo, where millions have been killed in recent years to ensure an ample supply of minerals for cellphones and other uses, and of course ample profits.
The dismantling of the Charter of the Forest brought with it a radical revision of how the commons are conceived, captured by Garrett Hardin’s influential thesis in 1968 that “Freedom in a commons brings ruin to us all,” the famous “tragedy of the commons”: What is not privately owned will be destroyed by individual avarice.
The doctrine is not without challenge. Elinor Olstrom won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2009 for her work showing the superiority of user-managed commons. But the doctrine has force if we accept its unstated premise: that humans
are blindly driven by what American workers, at the dawn of the industrial revolution, called “the New Spirit of the Age, Gain Wealth forgetting all but Self” – a doctrine they bitterly condemned as demeaning and destructive, an assault on the very nature of free people.
Huge efforts have been devoted since to inculcating the New Spirit of the Age. Major industries are dedicated to what political economist Thorstein Veblen called “fabricating wants” – directing people to “the superficial things” of life, like “fashionable consumption,” in the words of Columbia University marketing professor Paul Nystrom.
That way people can be atomized, seeking personal gain alone and diverted from dangerous efforts to think for themselves, act in concert and challenge authority.
It’s unnecessary to dwell on the extreme dangers posed by one central element of the destruction of the commons: the reliance on fossil fuels, which courts global disaster. Details may be debated, but there is little serious doubt that the problems are all too real and that the longer we delay in addressing them, the more awful will be the legacy left to generations to come. The recent Rio+20 Conference is the latest effort. Its aspirations were meager, its outcome derisory.
In the lead in confronting the crisis, throughout the world, are indigenous communities. The strongest stand has been taken by the one country they govern, Bolivia, the poorest country in South America and for centuries a victim of Western destruction of its rich resources.
After the ignominious collapse of the Copenhagen global climate change summit in 2009, Bolivia organized a People’s Summit with 35,000 participants from 140 countries. The summit called for very sharp reduction in emissions, and a Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth. That is a key demand of indigenous communities all over the world.
The demand is ridiculed by sophisticated Westerners, but unless we can acquire some of the sensibility of the indigenous communities, they are likely to have the last laugh – a laugh of grim despair.
Revisiting the Magna Carta.
BY Noam Chomsky <http://inthesetimes.com/community/profile/10246
*Editor’s note: This column is adapted from an address by Noam Chomsky on
June 19 at the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, as part of its
600th anniversary celebration.*
Populationism leads to dark places.....
Populationism is a distraction...............
Populationism will not prevent catastrophic climate change.......
Populationism sustains the 1%....
New eco village starting in Windsor, Saturday, 9 June 2012. There will be a new eco village starting in Windsor in June. We plan to grow our own food, build shelters and live sustainably to show an alternative to the current system of crisis. We will be taking over a piece of disused land on the Crown Estate. If you share our vision then you are welcome to join us. Meet up at 11am on the 9th of June at Syon Lane Community Allotment, adjacent to Platform 1, Syon Lane Station, Rothbury Gardens, Isleworth, Middlesex. On Saturday 9th June, we will be walking from Syon Lane Community Allotment in West London to Windsor. We will be camping for one night on the route. Our aim is to start a community on a piece of disused land on the Crown Estate. Bring camping equipment:
Full details here: http://diggers2012.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/stand-up-ye-diggers-all/