Two quotes from two sources will provide the foundation for today's blog posting.
The first source is Alan Weisman's The World Without Us, which I recently finished, having spent much of the last four days inside it. It is the best piece of non fiction I've read in years and a surgically precise, yet wonderfully entertaining and inventive, stock taking of the wreckage and destruction humanity has wrought on this planet, the Earth, our home, at its own peril. No whining, no crying, no sanctimonious hectoring of the world population from a private jet soapbox about their carbon footprint, just scientific chronicling of human and natural wonders. And their imminent doom, which was probably inevitable anyway, but greatly accelerated thanks to us and our persistent addictions to plastic, petroleum, heavy metals, overfishing, factory farming, monoculture, and nuclear power/weapons with the plutonium and uranium stockpiles that go with them.
It's much more specific and enjoyable than that, but the quote is not about us current inhabitants of Earth. It is about ancient Mayan civilization, which flourished for centuries and suddenly collapsed. This quote is part of the explanation derived from Mr. Weisman's research
"Nobility is expensive, nonproductive, and parasitic, siphoning away too much of society's energy to satisfy it's frivolous cravings."
It refers to something that is indeed frivolous, and exotic to our modern, rational eyes. Empires' expansion of agriculture does away with swaths of biodiversity in order to grow staples, to feed expanding populations, to form herculaean slave labour forces, to construct palaces, tombs, and fine clothes, and mine precious minerals and stones, all to feed a deluded and useless king or prince's fantasies of self-aggrandizement.
No wonder the Maya collapsed and were buried under a carpet of Amazon forest over the next 1,500 years, a process that was totally indifferent to them and their accomplishments.
When we try to think of a modern equivalent to such colossal hubris and delusions of grandeur, one thing inevitably comes to mind. A thing which involves spending 1.2 billion dollars to plot the continual maintenance of an economy which is doomed to collapse because of its dependence on resources and its own inability to grow consistently and indefinitely. This involved clearing a civil population from a bustling city, paying police millions in overtime to sit on and intimidate those brave enough to contest, building fake lakes, and achieving no visible benefit or tangible result for anybody. This megalomaniacal romp was nothing more than a pathetic excuse for a closet fascist to show his fascist true colours to the city he can't stand. His government has so carefully cultivated an image of order, stability, and defending the economy (and the status quo) that people overwhelmingly believe them. Canada, drunk from it's own abundant resources, believes it can have the planet and eat it too.
Yet much fallout from the affair has been blamed on the "little people", the "anarchists", the people who dared to attempt to disrupt the Prime Minister's economic sinking ship orgy that he got to be the life of, for their lack of morals, their disrespect, their challenging of the status quo. The nerve of them to ransack businesses and burn police cars. Well, they got the largest mass arrest in Canadian history that thanked them in kind, in particular French speaking ones, while these men were inside plotting our health and well-being. Many of these people may have been anarchists in their political views but did not take part in the aggressive actions of a few, but it doesn't help them. If I read the paper or facebook news, we are not much in the mood these days to tolerate any sort of politics other than the red-blue, pepsi-coke, no substantial difference between the two variety, and all others are universally condemned. Fringe lunatics, everyone who went to the protest or sympathized in the least. The second quote, almost a hundred years old, explains the predictability of the angry uniform reaction in the mainstream media and among status quo individuals:
“The Psychology of Political Violence” (1917)
The ignorant mass looks upon the man who makes a violent protest against our social and economic iniquities as upon a wild beast, a cruel, heartless monster, whose joy it is to destroy life and bathe in blood; or at best, as upon an irresponsible lunatic. Yet nothing is further from the truth. As a matter of fact, those who have studied the character and personality of these men, or who have come in close contact with them, are agreed that it is their super-sensitiveness to the wrong and injustice surrounding them which compels them to pay the toll of our social crimes. The most noted writers and poets, discussing the psychology of political offenders, have paid them the highest tribute. Could anyone assume that these men had advised violence, or even approved of the acts? Certainly not. Theirs was the attitude of the social student, of the man who knows that beyond every violent act there is a vital cause.…
That every act of political violence should nowadays be attributed to Anarchists is not at all surprising. Yet it is a fact known to almost everyone familiar with the Anarchist movement that a great number of acts, for which Anarchists had to suffer, either originated with the capitalist press or were instigated, if not directly perpetrated, by the police.
Maybe Emma Goldman generalized too much in this essay. It's not all pinned squarely on the shoulders of self described and accidental "anarchists". "Socialists" are also thrown in, as well as "the Left", "Libtards", "Leftards" and, if you go a bit further right (where 90% of the MSM sits) "Liberals" is sufficiently pejorative. All of which are "deluded" and "loony" enough to question what's going on. And when the MSM isn't lining up to take shots at opposition to the G20 with these various monikers, it has apologists like Craig Kielburger selectively reading history and saying that Gandhi and MLK are the only path to freedom, equality, and justice. That non-violent, civil disobedience has achieved great things. Yet not only do they ignore liberation from oppression that has been achieved through tenacious armed struggle, such as the(this is for you, right wing detractors) State of Israel's in 1948 from the Arab foes which surrounded it, they also swipe away with the swipe of their pens the thousands of violent acts which underpinned Gandhi and King's movements and gave them their strength.
But this is not about history, about divisive class warfare, about radical anarchist theory. This is about the Earth we live on, the Earth that will punish us for our opulence. It is very hard for North Americans to understand that every car, every TV, every steak, every tank of gas, every all inclusive resort, every case of bottled water, every 7$ half skim mocchacino that we buy, without restrictions, with questioning why, without thinking there's anything wrong with it, and without anyone demanding justification for the action, is an act of pure anarchy. The oceans are filled with a billion tons of plastic that we have produced in the last fifty years - all the plastic we have and continue to produce is on earth, breaking down but never disintegrating, getting eaten by the bottom of the food chain and going up. The oceans, which keep the planet alive, are sick, less and less able to absorb the skyrocketing amounts of carbon dioxide we are propulsing into the atmosphere. But people don't think it's their problem, they want convenience - fast, easy, satisfying, and numbing convenience of tv dinners. We want to fight the planet to give us more, not reward it by asking for less. This is the real anarchy. F--- you Earth, we don'r care about you, we're stuffing you and us and the birds and the bees and fish down this black hole, and never coming back.
I saw a placard in Europe, where the results of an all-entitlement, non productive economies with miniscule birthrates are wreaking havoc on the Southern nations, that said "Les vrai casseurs sont les chefs d'états." "Casser" is to break something, forcefully and decisively. So the real "casseurs" are not the breakers of some storefronts, but the people who insist we each commit as many acts of anarchy as we can, every day. Listen to America the past couple months, telling Germany and Asia, imploring them to get their citizens to consume more, because America's done its share of over-consumption duty. Is this really where we are, as a human race? Consuming our way out of a bloody mess that we caused in the first place. Breaking everything, destroying everything, respecting nothing. Strip mines, open pit mines, urban sprawl, pesticide filled fields, parking lot expressways, oil gushing in the gulf. And a million new humans, every four days. This is ridiculous...this is insanity...this is...this is....this is bloody anarchy.