The Democracy of Suffering: Todd Dufresne | Ideas with Nahlah Ayed | Live Radio | CBC Listen. Should we fight the system or be the change? Paul Kingsnorth: Hope in the Age of Collapse. Sometimes – rarely – online debate can be useful. This was one example. This email debate with American journalist Wen Stephenson, about the current state of the world and what can be done about it, was prompted by his scepticism about my essay Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist.
It’s a rare example of an online exchange leading to an interesting and grown-up discussion, rather than a bad-tempered slanging match. You can read the debate, complete with Wen’s personal introduction, on his Thoreau Farm website. Dear Paul, Thanks so much for engaging in this exchange. I confess that I’ve only recently come to know your work. But while there are many things about the essay that I genuinely admire — especially the way it nails the state of anxiety in which environmentalism seems to find itself today, the internal tensions and contradictions — I found your dismissiveness toward the climate movement, and especially your conclusion, profoundly frustrating and discouraging. Indeed. Wen Paul. Paul Kingsnorth: Confessions of a recovering environmentalist. It’s Not Climate Change — It’s Everything Change — Matter. Not that the lobster can do anything about it, once in the pot. But we might. We’re supposed to be smarter than lobsters.
We’ve committed some very stupid acts over the course of our history, but our stupidity isn’t inevitable. Here are three smart things we’ve managed to do: First, despite all those fallout shelters built in suburban backyards during the Cold War, we haven’t yet blown ourselves up with nuclear bombs. Second, thanks to Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book on pesticides, Silent Spring, not all the birds were killed by DDT in the ’50s and ’60s. And, third, we managed to stop the lethal hole in the protective ozone layer that was being caused by the chlorofluorocarbons in refrigerants and spray cans, thus keeping ourselves from being radiated to death.
“For everything to stay the same, everything has to change,” says a character in Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s 1963 novel, The Leopard. Meanwhile, courage: homo sapiens sapiens sometimes deserves his double plus for intelligence.
Scandinavia. Inspiration. Overviews of the year. Supportive Sites. Particular Campaigns. Politics. Economics. Food. Climate Change. Are you a solutionist or a zero-growth economist? The pope v the UN: who will save the world first? | Global Development Professionals Network. Everyone, it seems, recognises that Pope Francis’s encyclical is a striking document. But to really appreciate its significance, it’s worth contrasting it with another document that purports to tackle the same challenge: the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). The SDGs have emerged from a long, complex process, stretching over the past four years.
They are hanging on a promise to be able to eradicate “all poverty, in all its forms, everywhere” by 2030, and to do so in a way that moves us to a more environmentally sustainable economy. But while the pope’s encyclical has caused a stir around the world, almost no one is excited about the SDGs. The problem is that, unlike the encyclical, the SDGs are not fresh, or paradigm shifting. This is a question of substance. The pope doesn’t hit the right note on every issue, of course, and his statement – progressive though it may be – certainly doesn’t absolve the Catholic church of all its past and present failings. 1. 2. 3. Join Us! - The Peterborough Dialogues. The Future Must Be Green, Red, Black and Female. (Photo: James Cridland / Flickr) The human species must acknowledge that any future that allows us to retain our humanity will jettison capitalism, patriarchy and white supremacy - and be based on an ecological worldview, says Jensen.
(These remarks were prepared for a private conference on sustainability, where the participants critiqued corporate farming, "big ag," and "big pharma" and industrialized medicine. There was agreement about the need for fundamental change in economic/political/social systems, but no consensus on the appropriate analysis of those systems and their interaction.) The future of the human species - if there is to be a future - must be radically green, red, black and female. If we take this seriously - a human future, that is, if we really care about whether there will be a human future - each one of us who claims to care has to be willing to be challenged, radically.
This is not defeatist. This is reality, and sensible planning should be reality-based. The Anthropocene: It’s Not All About Us. Anthropocene artifacts. (Photo by Garrett, on Flickr) Time to celebrate! Woo-hoo! It’s official: we humans have started a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene. Who’d have thought that just one species among millions might be capable of such an amazing accomplishment? Let’s wait to stock up on party favors, though. Welcome to the Anthropocene: A world that may feature little in the way of multi-cellular ocean life other than jellyfish, and one whose continents might be dominated by a few generalist species able to quickly occupy new and temporary niches as habitats degrade (rats, crows, and cockroaches come to mind).
To be sure, there are celebrants of the Anthropocene who believe we’re just getting started, and that humans can and will shape this new epoch deliberately, intelligently, and durably. Is the Anthropocene the culmination of human folly? But the prospects for current nuclear technology are not rosy. Corn grown for food or fuel. What else can be done? Chris Hedges | The Sparks of Rebellion.
Occupy Wall Street rally, March 16, 2012. (Photo: Michael Fleshman / Flickr) I am reading and rereading the debates among some of the great radical thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries about the mechanisms of social change. These debates were not academic. They were frantic searches for the triggers of revolt. Vladimir Lenin placed his faith in a violent uprising, a professional, disciplined revolutionary vanguard freed from moral constraints and, like Karl Marx, in the inevitable emergence of the worker’s state.
The revolutionists of history counted on a mobilized base of enlightened industrial workers. We must develop a revolutionary theory that is not reliant on the industrial or agrarian muscle of workers. It is not the poor who make revolutions. Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. “History teaches that we have the power to transform the nation,” Kevin Zeese said when I interviewed him. Zeese said this mass resistance must work on two tracks. Artists, like rebels, are dangerous. Why It’s Still Kicking Off Everywhere. This article is an edited and abridged version of Paul Mason’s 2013 Amiel Trust lecture. It is from Issue 53 of Soundings and is available online exclusively at New Left Project.
Two years on from the Arab Spring, I’m clearer about what it was that it inaugurated: it is a revolution. In some ways it parallels the revolutions of before – 1848, 1830, 1789 – and there are also echoes of the Prague spring, the US civil rights movement, the Russian ‘mad summer of 1874’ … but in other ways it is unique. Above all, the relationship between the physical and the mental, the political and the cultural, seems to be inverted. There is a change in consciousness, the intuition that something big is possible, that a great change in the world’s priorities is within people’s grasp. What is underpinning the unrest that has swept the globe? What we are seeing is not the Arab Spring, the Russian Spring, the Maple Spring, Occupy, the indignados.
The collapse of neoliberalism The revolution in technology. Agamben: From the State of Control to a Praxis of Destituent Power. Faced with absolute state control and the rapid eradication of political society, only a theory and praxis of destituent power can reclaim democracy. This is the transcript of a public lecture by Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben delivered to a packed auditorium in Athens on November 16, 2013 and recently published by Chronos.
A reflection on the destiny of democracy today here in Athens is in some way disturbing, because it obliges us to think the end of democracy in the very place where it was born. As a matter of fact, the hypothesis I would like to suggest is that the prevailing governmental paradigm in Europe today is not only non-democratic, but that it cannot either be considered as political. I will try therefore to show that European society today is no longer a political society; it is something entirely new, for which we lack a proper terminology and we have therefore to invent a new strategy. A Permanent State of Exception What is happening today is still different. Michael Shermer on morality. NASA-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'... A new study partly-sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.
Noting that warnings of 'collapse' are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that "the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history. " Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to "precipitous collapse - often lasting centuries - have been quite common. " The independent research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary 'Human And Nature DYnamical' (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. Managing disorder: towards a global state of control? Refusing to tackle the causes of our troubles and allow public space for dissent, the neoliberal state is sliding inexorably towards authoritarianism.
Image: Brazilian police demonstrated its new riot gear last month. When an Egyptian judge condemned 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death this week, he underlined in one fell swoop the terrifying reality in which the world finds itself today. The revolutionary euphoria and constituent impulse that shook the global order back in 2011 have long since given way to a re-established state of control. Violent repression of protest and dissent — whether progressive or reactionary — has become the new normal.
The radical emancipatory and democratic space that was briefly opened up by recent uprisings is now being slammed shut. In Spain, meanwhile, the right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy is reverting to old-fashioned Francoist tactics to suppress the country’s powerful anti-austerity movement. Watch a Jaw-Dropping Visualization of Every Protest Since 1979. Bureaucracy, Autocracy and Neoliberal Canada. (Photo: Fibonacci Blue / Flickr)We must not only intervene, resist and oppose neoliberal governments and corporate capitalist hegemony; we must finally put an end to these death-dealing institutions. One cannot reflect upon the notion of human adaptability without experiencing both a sense of awe and a feeling of increasing uneasiness.
We are awed when science tells us that one of the most powerful evolutionary intellectual capacities we possess is the ability to adapt to challenging and unforeseen situations and environments. We adjust to extremities of weather, the loss of loved ones, constantly changing technologies and shifting social, economic and political circumstances - not always quickly or faultlessly, but inevitably, given time. In the same moment of reflection, we can experience apprehension when we sense that we have become habituated to things that are contrary to our individual or communal interests: systemic injustices, intolerant, racist or sexist attitudes. Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour ... By David Cain / raptitude.com/ Oct 23, 2013 Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months of traveling. Because I had been living quite a different lifestyle while I was away, this sudden transition to 9-to-5 existence has exposed something about it that I overlooked before.
Since the moment I was offered the job, I’ve been markedly more careless with my money. I’m not talking about big, extravagant purchases. In hindsight I think I’ve always done this when I’ve been well-employed — spending happily during the “flush times.” I suppose I do it because I feel I’ve regained a certain stature, now that I am again an amply-paid professional, which seems to entitle me to a certain level of wastefulness. What I’m doing isn’t unusual at all. It seems I got much more for my dollar when I was traveling. A Culture of Unnecessaries You may have heard of Parkinson’s Law. The Human Age »
Naomi Wolf: When Protest is Effective and When it is Not. My Talk at TEDxBoulder: Civil Resistance and the “3.5% Rule” | rationalinsurgent. I gave a talk at TEDxBoulder on September 21st. It was a great event, and I shared the stage with over a dozen terrific speakers and a number of talented musicians. We shared our ideas with a sold-out audience of about 2,200 people, and I’ve never been more nervous giving a talk! I anticipated that people might have questions about some of the claims I make in this talk, as well as some of the specific references I make. As you can imagine, when you have 12 minutes to tell a story, present some counterintuitive information, and try to make it engaging, there’s no time to fully reference your points. Feel free to leave your remaining questions in the comments section.
I’d like to ask you to imagine that you live in a very repressive country—there are elections but they are fake. Not everyone wants to take the same chances in life, and many people won’t turn up unless they expect safety in numbers. Noam Chomsky & Howard Zinn "Is There Hope in This Desperate Time?" Radical Paganism | PAGANARCH. Jason Pitzl-Waters’ recent op-ed piece in The Wild Hunt is fucking excellent. … I stayed a Pagan because it also promised me a world, a culture, remade. A world where multiplicity, diversity, was honored. A world where a singular, all-powerful, male-pronouned, deity was replaced with innumerable pantheons of powers. A world where there was Goddess. Not just one Goddess, but a million goddesses. Paganism, if it isn’t radical, is worthless. The brilliance of Capitalism is this, that it’s taught us all that we cannot make our own worlds and instead must rely on what the market provides, selecting from the aisles our beliefs, our opinions, and our modes of living.
Honoring gods and goddesses [and I note with pleasure that Jason does something not many Wiccan-ish writers do--too often, they talk about the Goddess and ignore the obvious question the polytheist poses: "which one? " If Paganism doesn’t mean trying to stop this, then Paganism is fucking worthless. Like this: Like Loading... The Evolution of Consciousness. What Shade of Green are You? | Generation Alpha. Part 1: The Spectrum of a Movement The environment movement has, of late, become all but subsumed by the climate movement.
I point this out not because climate doesn’t matter, but because it’s not the only thing that does. I fear that many important challenges are going unaddressed due to lack of attention. And I fear that our tactics are narrowing in scope, shunning direct action and favouring populism. The aim to attract more mainstream attention and support means vanilla tactics dominate while striking at the core of issues is viewed as too radical for popular appeal. The emerging trend of the environment movement is toward the centre of the bell curve, both in terms of issues addressed, and the means by which they are addressed. As the movement pulls resources toward the organizations and agendas at the centre of the bell curve the extremities get frozen out, and alternative perspectives get lost. Bright Green Lite Green Deep Green Dark Green Pigeonholing Finding common ground.
How Will the 99% Deal with 70 Million Psychopaths? How to Occupy the Noosphere – TedX. Jared Cohen on the future of the digital world | CBC. Internet addiction is just the next evolutionary step. Human Intervention as a Competitive Advantage. Governing the Web (and everything else) Why the internet of things could destroy the welfare state | Technology | The... An online Magna Carta: Berners-Lee calls for bill of rights for web | Technology.