Germans did it. The Italians. The Chileans. The Spanish. And, now, the Americans.
When I was a kid, the ultimate enemy, other than the bully down the block, was the Nazi. This cruel and malevolent force filled with cretinous fiends would just as soon toss a baby into the air and catch it on a pitchfork in the name of nationalism as brush their teeth. They were despicable. Despite the desire of many to paint the Germans as a people who were completely deranged, my young mind could not believe that every single German was happy with a regime that was so evil. And, of course, not every German was such a monster. But the victims, many of them, were Germans--Germans who were branded not German, the other, the lower creature. Yet, enough people turned their heads, closed their eyes and often willingly and enthusiastically participated in the mayhem. Why?
Is it simple tribalism? I don't know. I wish I did. The next question is what do we do about this rise of fascism? The progressive left counsels that we not greet violence with violence because we become no better than those who impose violence upon us. I then think back to what ultimately helped destroy fascism in history and I see it is war. It is resistance. Very few, if any, repulsions of fascism occurred with only the voices of the people. World War Two was an orgy of violent action that only came about after Fascist countries had already killed millions through death camps and cleansing operations. While it is clear that the companies which profit from war were clearly behind a great deal of the impetus for war, and it is true that those same companies could care less about the motivations of any of their customers, the fact is, it was violence that destroyed the fascist movements of the mid twentieth century.
One must ask, then, will countering violence with violence in the early stages of fascism hinder it or help it? Unfortunately, I believe that violence to counter fascism will lead to more fascism because fascists have only one tool in their toolbox and that is violence. Like Hitler, they will seize upon any act of violence against their authority as reason to apply more violence. We know this from history. Many of the false flag operations of history were developed to justify a fascist response. Agents provocateur are rife within the Occupy Movement: cops and soldiers and spies who are all throwing brickbats in order to justify escalation of violence across the spectrum of peaceful dissent.
What to do? Now, before some creepy right-wing shitbag grabs what I am about to say and uses it out of context, I will right here say that the following is not a call to suicide-bombing by anyone anywhere. One of our greatest tools is the rise of complete video coverage of every event and the Internet as broadcast medium, as long as it remains open. With constant live-streaming and posting, every time some cop throws a punch at a peaceful protester, a journalist, or a hapless stander by, that video becomes the equivalent of a peaceful suicide bomb. Peaceful protestors and, increasingly, journalists are putting their bodies in the mine-field of the police lines. They trigger the cops who are essentially human suicide bombs. The cops do not die; however, they go on to explode over and over. One never knows when a cop will grab the cord on his suicide vest and explode. Who knows? You may be guilty of the heinous crime of using the sidewalk. Bam, cop explodes wounding three.
If this incident is captured on video, it affects more than those who are hit and those who do the hitting. (Make no mistake, the police suffer psychological injury as well--at least the sane ones do.) It shows people the facts on the ground, much like television did during the Vietnam War, when it was a responsible, fact-oriented enterprise. The government, and that includes the Obama administration which is coordinating this suppression, is hell bent on clearing journalists from the operating area and on conducting operations, where possible, at night to forestall those who might document and post their crimes. They know the power of exposure. They know that when people see the inherent unfairness and cruelty manifest in a fascist government, that the people will rise up and hang them from their heels. But, that may take some time.
The truth is, the majority of Americans are completely out of the loop. They know that things aren't as good as they used to be, but they buy into the propaganda that applying more of the same will somehow make it all better--for now. The news they get is biased and completely untrue, and due to the gutting of the Fairness Doctrine by Raygun, it is likely they will never get the truth from the four to six media conglomerates that control 95% of everything that hits the average American's brain pan. The corporate media that they watch is tilted to the corporation's viewpoint. They watch one station and one only and without the Fairness Doctrine, they will never be in danger of receiving the opposing view. In other words, even though they are fixated on how evil the socialist government is, according to their TV personality, they will support their glorious government when they fight the socialists and anarchists and jihadists on the streets.
But, like Nazi Germany, Mussolini's Italy, and Spain's fascist era, these cruel people will continue to apply the only tool they know, violence, and they will eventually affect those brain-dead people who are for now comfortable. As each new group of aggrieved people take to the streets, a new level of violence is enacted to suppress them. This causes collateral damage to friends and relatives and the ranks of the anti-fascists grow.
Now, having said all that, I have bad news. It seems that the fascist impulse is hard to kill. A year or two after WW2, a survey indicated that better than fifty percent of French people felt that violence should not have been used to overthrow Hitler.
Really? It is to weep.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
I think not. The main purpose of college is not to create large groups of people who are capable of thinking independently, this is disproven on its face by the fact that most people are unaware that industrial civilization's main purpose is the destruction of the planet.
Yes. A simple examination using the basic skills that colleges purport to teach will lead inexorably to this fact. Most of the professions that require a degree are either directly or indirectly involved in the perpetuation of the industrial paradigm. Name a degree that doesn't. Perhaps those few scoffed at degrees such my own, an MFA in creative writing, come to mind. "Do you want fries with that burger" is the usual taunt leveled at me by other minions of the Planet Destroying Machine (PDM). Perhaps those whose degrees are involved with fine arts, dance, etc. may seem to not be supportive of the PDM, but the truth is, they all support the PDM in some fashion or degree.
Next you might challenge the thought of the PDM. Why, I say, I say, without this precious industrialized society, we'd be suffering from bad teeth, poor nutrition, violence, and a lack of stuff. Total horse shit, but that is what is likely to be said. The truth is, the nasty truth that many spend untold hours trying to debunk, is that prior to agriculture the diseases of "civilization" simply did not exist. For further information I highly recommend Lierre Kieth's book "The Vegetarian Myth." Many people cite low average life span as proof of the terrible life that hunter-gatherers endured. This also is fabricated, a matter of statistical prestidigitation. The truth is, when Europeans came to the America's they were short, diseased, and suffering all the diseases of civilization. The natives were tall and healthy, until, of course, they contracted the diseases foisted on them by the Europeans.
Minor digression over. The PDM is easy to spot. Why is it destroying the planet? What makes me think this? Simple. What is the main objective of our industrial economy? Growth. You hear it all the time. "We must grow the economy." "We need more jobs." Next, consider the following statement: WE LIVE ON A SPHERE. This has dramatic repercussions. First, it means that we have finite resources. It means that we can only extract and disperse energy and materials for only so long before it all collapses. This is the easiest truth to apprehend. (Sorry, economists. I did mean to talk over your heads.) So, growth means an ever increasing need for energy and materials. That means ripping it from the Earth, which means the destruction of the planet.
If the goal is to perpetuate the species beyond another hundred years, then the PDM is not the way to go. Industrial society and its corollary of infinite growth will lead to the death of our species and many other innocent species as well. The planet will still go round and round for a very long time, but it may do so without the sound of human laughter.
Do we need college? Not as currently configured. What we need are schools that prepare us for a no- to reverse growth world. Engineers must become de-engineers, trained to help us disassemble the dangerous and poisonous elements of our society such as nuclear facilities, operating and abandoned mines, waste dumps, junkyards, cities, and chemical plants. We need agricultural schools to become permaculture schools. Doctors need to treat the whole person with herbs and natural practices and to, above all, teach people how to avoid contact with industrial civilization. Doctors need to teach how to avoid having children using common herbs. The arts need to tell the truth about planet killing and stop serving as the propaganda arm of the PDM. And, finally, economists need to find a new trade. Their "science" is merely the art of counting the imaginary chits that make the PDM go. In a society without constant growth, there is only one type of economy and that is the gift economy.
How do we escape the grinding wheel of "higher education?" We won't. As long as we live in the expert society driven by people telling us expert lies and us believing those lies because we have been taught to embrace the daddy authority figure for so long that to contradict daddy would cause severe cognitive dissonance. No, the society at large will force march us all to our doom in order to propitiate the PDM. And many of you will feel very smug about the whole thing as you dust your degrees and puff your chests feeling your solidarity with the PDM's expert class. You will engineer the railroad routes, design the cattle cars, study the psychology of frightened masses in order to move them without fear of rebellion, you'll work out superb computer programs to track everyone as they move through the PDM, and you'll design wonderful killing machines and ovens. And, as you pat each other on the back and as the final days of the human species come to pass, you will no doubt write plaintive poetry bemoaning the loss of the golden age of industrial civilization.
I know in many people's eyes, I am a heretic. I've bitten the PDM's all giving hand. What I wish I could do is wrap a massive cord around the PDM's leaden feet and ankles and cause it to trip and crash to the Earth, splintering it into a million pieces. So far, there are few college courses on killing the PDM.
Maybe next semester.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
We are in the land of hair-triggers, walking on tip-toe past a picket of weaponry aimed at our heads and hearts.
One interesting trigger comes in the form of credit crunches in Europe being staved off by creative money creation and bizarre money swaps that seem like a game of musical chairs. This game, however, is rigged in a unique fashion. Instead of someone finding themselves standing without a chair and thus out of the game, the rules have been bent and we now find chairs occupied uncomfortably by several asses. It is only a matter of time before one of the occupants squirms a bit too forcefully and knocks off one of the participants.
We are on a precipice at the moment regarding Iran--a big trigger. There has not been as substantial a buildup of military might in the region since the invasion of Iraq. Advanced aircraft are being positioned in the United Arab Emirates. Aircraft carriers arrive in the region. Preparations are underway throughout the region. Even news organizations are preparing for war with Iran by deploying into likely hotspots like Israel. But there are hopeful signs such as resumption of talks with Iran seen as having a more serious attitude towards negotiations, no doubt the result of economic sanctions and military pressure.
The war drums are being beat by the media and the ever present hawks in the government. Nowadays, nearly everyone in the Congress is a hawk by virtue of the sly strategy of placing arms manufacturing plants in as many congressional districts as possible, thus tying local jobs to elections. Let us be absolutely clear: war in the Middle East has nothing to do with terror, real or imagined, patriotism, democracy, freedom or any of the other only too easily mouthed oily boosterism phrases that pass as thinking in this Wall Street captured world. It has to do with the industrial-military complex. It is a money machine. The United States has become so intertwined with this monster, that to remove the cancer would kill the patient. The military employs 2,316,000 active duty, reserve, and civilian personnel. Currently 12.7 million are unemployed--eight percent. To add that 2.3 million of military related jobs to the unemployment roles would be catastrophic because the knock on effect would result in another 3-4 million people losing their jobs in support roles. We have become a military economy.
Of course, there is the peak oil trigger. I think a better name would be "peak everything" as Richard Heinberg notes in his book of the same name. Oil peaked in 2007 0r 2008 depending upon how you rig the figures. Coal will peak in a few years and perhaps has already peaked in 2011. Metals are peaking and though we have mega tons of scrap lying in trash heaps and landfills, the truth is, with a peak in energy, the ability to refine and smelt and reuse metal will decline along with the raw resources.
And there is the climate change trigger. This is the wild card. Without a viable planet, how much we consume or don't becomes irrelevant. Many scientists claim that it is too late and that humanity will die out in the next hundred years. Harsh stuff. One particularly downbeat scientist recently recanted and admitted to being too alarmist. However, it is not too hard to find evidence that we are accelerating towards an environmental collapse. I feel this trigger has been pulled and can't be unpulled.
So, there are a large number of guns on the mantle. And, as Anton Chekov said, if you put a gun on the mantle in the first act, it must be fired by the third. The question is when will one or more of these triggers be pulled and the damage incurred in earnest? As we are not working very hard at mitigating any of the potential triggers, I can only say that we are instead whittling away at the hairs, scraping away bit by bit, and simultaneously tightening the spring on the trigger. The room may not be filled with a cacophony of gunshots this year, but I would say that we are due for one within the five years.
Interesting times, my friend.