Saturday, October 3, 2015

Reaction, not Resistance.

I generally refuse to debate to which degree our collective future is set in stone. Placing hypothetical situations at the forefront of political thought seems foolish to me, as none of us are clairvoyant. Hypothetically, if all fossil fuels were left in the ground, and no more were burned as of tomorrow, we might have a chance of survival as a species. Hypothetically, a solar storm could knock the grid offline, saving the natural world from further extirpation. Hypothetically, the powerful could adopt humane policies to reduce human suffering during ecological and industrial collapse. We know, however, that these are sordid fantasies. They are sordid because they detract from real suffering being visited upon the natural world everyday, and the suffering of those humans to which the apocalypse is not a distant future event, or a clever metaphor. For many people, the end of the world has arrived, in all of it's painful indifference to life, love, and any sense of fairness or equality. To paraphrase Orwell, if you want a vision of the future, look at the Democratic Republic of Congo.
I've taken this to mean that our politics must necessarily be reaction based. There will be no better tomorrow, no salvation, no retribution or justice. There will be pain, a pain that we will not be able to alleviate, only react to in the interim, before our inevitable untimely deaths. For these reasons I consider political philosophies that seek to create a better world outdated, and I feel we are forced to adopt a reaction based politic.
Reactive politics do not have constraints, they do not adhere to a specific goal, they are unique to the individual, and are therefore indomitable. For each individual with a reactive politics, there is the potential for action. Reactive politics can not be defeated, for it has no desire to win, indeed, winning is seen as impossible, and abstract to the point of protecting civilization from it's enemies. Revolt, for the reactive individual, is for it's own sake. Reactive politics cannot be coopted, they exist only in the moment of action. When wild animals, and wild humans kill civilization's emissaries, they are engaging in reactive politics. The killing is not meant to culminate into a revolution, nor is it based in an ideology, but is a reaction to an immediate threat. Humans engage in reactive politics even when all hope is lost, as was the case during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. They chose to die in their own terms, despite the knowledge that their deaths were certain. Over this century, as more and more communities come to see that hope is lost to head off climate change, reactivity will become a common form of radical politics, and the powerful will have much more to fear.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Rainbow Family Won't Take No For an Answer

-Eight years ago, at the age of eighteen, I was a newly homeless and pitifully inexperienced traveler hitchhiking up the west coast of Florida. My relative indolence and privilege had led me to believe I could pull this off while carrying nothing but a sleeping roll and some water in a school bag. Needless to say, I quickly became hungry, very hungry. I was eating so little that it became hard to even stand, while I attempted to solicit rides from the on ramp of I-75.
-I remembered something an acquaintance had told me in passing about something called the Rainbow Gathering, that they gave away food. I knew nothing more and didn't need to. If they would feed me, I would go. So I did, and was met with a mass of substance fueled adult children gathered in Ocala National Forest under the auspices, supposedly, of praying for world peace, although even the most casual observer can see that it was primarily a space for abusing substances. Of course this is not universal among rainbow attendees (I don't mean to make assumptions about people I don't know) and I met many people I am still proud to call friends. The prevailing atmosphere though, was one of absolutely toxic and suffocating masculinity. I would not have been able to articulate this at the time.
- I decided to write this because of a horrifying and genocidal decision by the Rainbows to hold their national gathering this year in Black Hills National Forest, unceded Lakota Sioux territory, considered to be sacred. The Lakota Sioux people have been unequivocal in their opposition to the Rainbow Family coming to the Black Hills, and their demands should not have to be repeated (you can get a good idea why here
- In typical patriarchal form, the Rainbows have refused to take no for answer. This was the same behavior that I observed at the Ocala Gathering. Drunken men accosting drivers for spare change at the entrance, Trash strewn everywhere, poorly dug latrines spilling shit into the ground and surface water, women being discouraged from reporting rape. They even managed to start a forest fire in long grass. The level of cultural appropriation employed by this subculture is nauseating to me in retrospect. Dozens of spiritual traditions and cultural practices from around the globe are viewed as open game, from Buddhism to Hinduism, from Hopi traditions to Muslim traditions. All for the benefit of white american men looking to get fucked up.
- I want to be straight forward now, that this kind of violation constitutes rape, just like the women at the gathering, just like the pristine tracts of land that the Rainbows destroy, and just like the genocided culture the Rainbows are now threatening to descend upon. Often what passes for the opposition in the US terrifies me. After all, a fascist man will rape and be clear with his victim that it is out of contempt and hatred for her, a Leftist man will rape and tell his victim that she is being liberated.
- Do tie-dye and incense make genocide more palatable? Does the suffering of others get assuaged in our minds if the aggressor has flowers in his hair? Is the Grateful Dead playing in the background loud enough that they can't hear NO? It's long since time to stop and listen, to reflect on ourselves, and to tell the Rainbow Family to go somewhere else.

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Short Poem

watching the well dry makes one thirst,
and willing to kill for those last few drops.
liquid exquisence, the simplest worth,
don't forget the taste.

don't forget the taste of the air,
exhuast and vapor, the ghosts of smoke,
moves through the locks of a child's hair,
remember that taste,

or begin to forget

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Meaningless Resistance, Suicidal Despair

TRIGGER WARNING: Discussion of Violence

- This year on April 18th, during Washington, D.C.'s Cherry Blossom festival, an anonymous man stepped onto the lower west terrace of Capitol Hill, unzipped his backpack, took out a placard that read "Tax the 1%" and proceeded to shoot himself in the head. The story garnered very little media attention.
- We don't know who this man was, not even his name, and we can only speculate as to the motivations and circumstances surrounding his suicide. We are left then to interpret this event as one might a dream.
- To my mind, the most important symbol in this event is the placard. The demand ,"Tax the 1%", is tepid, something most of the industrial world does already, yet so deeply out of reach in the United States that it drove this man to suicide. Many of us know that if such a mild reform isn't going to be implemented, that we have no chance of our more radical demands being met, and to the powerful doing anything to stave off our extinction as a species is deemed radical.
- It is understandable then, that among those fighting for even the most mild reforms and concessions, a deep despair arises. The despair does not only arise from the knowledge that reform will not be granted, but from the knowledge that such reforms will not save us. For myself, and for many others I have spoken to, this can be too painful to admit, so we protect ourselves through denial.
- We tell ourselves that technology will make fossil fuels obsolete. We tell ourselves that passing a given law will pave the way for a just society. We tell ourselves that if we all cut our personal carbon footprint, eat vegan, use less water, etc. the next century won't be the horrific mess it's shaping up to be. We tell ourselves that putting the right politician in office will change everything. We tell ourselves that popular revolution is nigh. No lie is too transparent, if it allows us not to collapse into despair.
- For some of us, when the denial becomes so thick and obtuse that it can no longer be maintained, it will be too much to live through. We are not helping ourselves by obscuring the nature of our predicaments. This man is not the first to take their own life as an act of meaningless resistance, and I fear as the century progresses, he won't be the last.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Rapture of The Left and The Technological Messiah.

- I once had a friend say to me that climate change is the rapture of the left. Initially I disagreed with him. I argued that climate change is a measurable trend, not a future event foretold to a prophet. I argued that climate change required no faith, as it can be displayed very clearly to anyone willing to learn. I pointed out every problem with the metaphor that I could think of. Surely, secular, scientific people have no belief in raptures, divine judgement, or a god. I was very wrong.
-The reason, I think, that I didn't understand my friend's analogy is that it was missing an important caveat. If climate change is the rapture of the Left, then who is their god? What does the left believe will offer humanity, or at least a select few, salvation? The obvious answer is technology. Environmentalism, in a darkly ironic way, has become a global cult of technology worship.
-The myth goes like this: For a long time humanity lived in harmony with nature, until something called the industrial revolution. This was when humans started to burn fossil fuels, creating an ever widening rift between humans and their environment. Since the industrial revolution, the human population of this planet has exploded to 7.5 billion, almost all of their lives completely dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. Because of our hubris and greed, humanity will be punished by droughts, rising seas, extreme weather, etc. Yet there is a way to be saved!
-The messiah is at hand, his earthly form is solar panels, wind turbines and smart grids. We must worship him by recycling, eating organic, riding bicycles, and displaying smug disdain for all the unsaved who do not follow our messiah.
-This is the belief structure of the modern left, and it needs to be challenged at every turn. I'm not the first to say this, and I won't be the last, that technology will not save us.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Humanity is Dead. Long Live Humanity!

There is nothing wrong with our species. Let me repeat that, there is nothing wrong with our species. We are not flawed, inherently selfish, greedy, or malignant. We are animals, in the same way that whales,  sparrows, and mice are animals. A baby born in 2015 is the same kind Paleolithic animal as a baby born in 6,000 BCE.
Misanthropy is a cop out that reeks of lazy analysis and a dismissive attitude. It is the shadow cast by Abrahamic religion onto modern secular thought. We did not fall from grace, grace is present in every facet of life on this planet that we are so very lucky to live on.
Do you believe that the species is flawed inherently? Can you say this of your lover, your parents, your children? Can you say this of indigenous peoples who have lived since time immorial without driving themselves to extinction?
I think not.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

To save our species, impossible. To save our spirits, fight!

There is little that disgusts me more than those who would retreat into a narcissistic spirituality when confronted with the news of human extinction. As if the endless self reflection and quasi-therapeutic trappings of this new spiritual movement will do anything to alleviate the despair and anger of the 7.5 billion people who face certain annihilation. As if the young people of this world, having seen our future dashed upon the rocks of this civilization's hubris, want to hear about accepting despair, and working through anger. We have a right to this anger, we need this despair.
The goal of this spiritual movement is to prepare it's adherents to die peacefully. If humans are to go extinct, they say, then what is left but to turn inward. This will never work, and probably cause more harm to it's adherents.
I find this movement despicable in it's retreat from any notion of actually doing anything, in a very real and terrifying sense it is the graveyard of environmentalism. I'm very sorry, but many young people will not accept that, and even if they know that all hope is lost, they will still want to fight. They will want to fight for spiritual redemption, for emotional healing,and to exact a kind of justice on the classes of people who have condemned them to death.
The appropriate  spiritual response to human extinction is not self reflection, but outward rage and playful destruction. This rage acted out on the edifice of civilization will not save our species, but it can save our spirituality now.