On anarchism, socialism and things environmental

Any discussion of historical anarchism and socialism is interesting in itself, giving us some perspective on how we got here today. However, things are different today than in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War, government bureaucrats and politicians have learned much in the interim about how to mold public opinion, manufacture consent and manipulate election outcomes. The corporate oligarchy has strengthened and expanded it stranglehold on the public franchise.

The fact still remains that anarchism and socialism have no intrinsic environmental advantages over capitalism, totalitarianism and corporate oligarchy. The state capitalism of the late Soviet Union was far more destructive to wild lands than Chicago School free market capitalism exported by the United States, as badly as that turned out. It is not capitalism or socialism that is the problem, it is industrialism.

industrialism – an economic system built on large industries rather than on agriculture or craftsmanship

Industrialism, whether of the capitalist or socialist coloration, is the basic tyrant of the modern age.” Ed Abbey

Our modern industrial economy takes a mountain covered with trees, lakes, running streams and transforms it into a mountain of junk, garbage, slime pits, and debris.” Ed Abbey

Case in point: Here in Santa Cruz, on the Left Coast, the good coast, our City Fathers (and Mothers) have decided we don’t have enough water to last through periods of drought. Their proposed solution is to build a $120+ million desalination plant, that requires 4 to 5 million dollars annual maintenance costs, and enormous energy consumption, whether it’s used or not. They refuse to listen to the argument that we have outgrown our water supply, and therefore, an equally applicable solution is to stop growing, increase conservation and make do with what we have. Rather than deciding to step back from the edge of the precipice, turn around and walk forward, they’ve decided to pretend they can walk on air beyond the abyss.

Our task then is to prevent, by whatever means necessary, further degradation of the Earth’s natural systems, and find a way to organize human societies such that we do not consume more resources than are naturally replenished, that we do not produce more wastes than can naturally be dispersed, and that allows us to exist within naturally occurring cycles of resource availability. 

To The States, or any one of them, or any city of The States, Resist much, obey little;
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved;
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, of this earth, ever afterward resumes its liberty.
” Walt Whitman 

If America could be, once again, a nation of self-reliant farmers, craftsmen, hunters, ranchers, and artists, then the rich would have little power to dominate others. Neither to serve nor to rule: That was the American dream.” Ed Abbey

Be of good cheer, the military-industrial state will soon collapse. Meanwhile, we must do all in our power to oppose, resist, and subvert its desperate aggrandizements. As a matter of course. As a matter of honor.” Ed Abbey

Global Warming and Grasping at Socialist Straws

Anthropogenic Global Warming is being used by the Left as a hammer to bash capitalism in the name of Climate Justice. This is a grave mistake. The assumption is that rich countries have created Global Warming at the expense of poor countries, and, therefore, rich countries should stop Global Warming and recompense the poor countries suffering from its effects.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Climate Change is a natural phenomenon that has occurred since there was atmosphere on the Earth.

Is the average surface temperature increasing? Yes, as it has increased for the past 15,000 years since the beginning of the present interglacial.

How has that warming occurred in the past in the absence of human industrial activity?

Is the increase in average surface temperature of the past 240 years unusual in climatological history? No, not at all.

Most importantly, who benefits from the widespread impression that Global Warming is a threat to humans and human civilization? The Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, capitalists everywhere. “Green” technology is the new glowing hope of capitalism, built on a sham, supported by the IPCC whose head is deeply invested in green technology and carbon trading schemes.

The scientific community faces declines in funding due to the current recession. Grant funds are drying up. Departmental budgets are down. Administrators are demanding that researchers find new sources of grant funds. Who is offering grant funding? Those very same sources seeking to bolster the image of global warming. Researchers are forced to publish in professional journals feeling the pinch of recession. Pressure is brought to bear to encourage “positive” articles on global warming. Researchers must choose between publishing articles acceptable to professional journals or step outside the mainstream “consensus” cohort.

Yet, the science is still there, when it is not withheld from public examination, as is the case with the CRU data. Independent scientists, emeritus faculty and others whose livelihoods do not depend on kow-towing to the capitalist agenda, publish dissenting articles. Meanwhile, global capitalists lap dogs, such as the IPCC, cite such paragons of scientific acumen as Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund (with its capitalist partner Allianz) and dodgy data sources that, on close examination, cannot be verified.

Before we adopt Global Warming as the Socialist Big Stick, we would do well to examine all the research, and listen to the interpretations of all the scientists. Socialism may end up, once again, swinging in the chill winds of history.

A Vision of the Future

In this article on Common Dreams, a 93 year-old woman has provided a vision of the future – from the past. Dr. Grace Lee Boggs shows us how Detroit is a vision of the future, a city that “no longer has to adhere to the usual capitalist mantra of growth and expansion because it is absolutely clear that the industrial system is finished. This fact allows citizens to respond by starting something new all over again.”

We are witnessing the final failure of capitalism, as gleefully predicted by Socialists everywhere. Even official economists are beginning to admit that the whole idea of free market capitalism is failing, that traditional methods of propping up the capitalist economy have failed to budge the current growing recession, even unto “wars” (read: invasions and occupations) waged on two fronts.

Although it may seem to young people that we are “starting something new all over again,” we are really reviving what has always worked: local self-reliance, local politics, local economy, local social services. Victory gardens, allotments, cooperative child care, extended families, cooperative housing, flexible kinship systems, midwifery, and, most importantly, self-reliance and mutual aid, have always been the most effective social organizations to support the people at the local level. It is only when a professionalized central authoritarian government attempts to take control, supported by a professional constabulary and a standing army, that local social systems are broken down and forced to fail.

This doesn’t mean that capitalism, the private ownership of production, is bad in itself. It is only centralized capitalism that breaks down “normal” social relations, with the extension of the concept of a “free market,” which has never been free, outside the realm of economics. Social services can never be organized under free market auspices, which is intrinsically based on distinctions between haves and have-nots. In “free market” social serves, someone is always, by definition, left out.

The only social system that is historically documented to provide egalitarian social services is non-state, locally organized, bioregionally-based mutual aid. Call it (small c)communism, socialism, anarchism or what have you, the concept of local self-reliance based on mutual aid and local resources is the only demonstrably “sustainable” social form ever devised by human societies.

As our civilization, if that’s what it is, faces the unavoidable limitations of Peak Oil and climate change, David Brower’s advice becomes increasingly relevant:

Progress consists of turning around and taking a step forward.

A movement with no name

Pay very close attention to this article in Orion Magazine. This is the future. This is anarchism.

We’ve been looking for many years for The Revolution (TM), that will throw off the yoke of Capitalism, overthrow The State, end the oppression of The People and stop the Heartbreak of Psoriasis.

Meanwhile as we theorize, argue amongst ourselves, demonstrate in clever parades, write epic, thoughtful tomes, the revolution has been quietly assembling itself outside the glare of public notice.

That’s the way anarchy works.

I’ve set up a Blog network, a Blogwork, that will follow various aspects of the revolution now occurring. It will bring together threads of the revolution and attempt to weave them into a broader overview. It will be incomplete, out of date, a poor shadow of what’s really happening. It will be a start.

Hayduke Blogs will be the Dispatch Center, where it comes together. I will link here to other sites and other stories.

Hayduke Ponders will deal with the philosophical and “spiritual” aspects of the revolution, those innermost thoughts that we use to attempt to give meaning to the world around us.

Weeks’ Antiques is about taking action to facilitate the change and spread the word. (A special prize for the first person to discover the literary reference of this blog’s title)

Hayduke Bikes is about my personal anarchic solution to the transportation challenge.

As a starter, here’s the first installment of Hayduke Ponders, the philosophy of Taoism that seems most relevant.