Monday, 18 November 2013

Protest Chants.

Pieces of social history. Love them.

  • "Damn right we're pissed
the future belongs to the anarchist"
  • "No gods
no masters
fuck those bastards"

  • "look whose calling the shots
make sure it's not the trots!"

  • "SWP, we know you.
You are worse than the boys in blue! "
2, 4, 6, 8, Israel is a terror state!"

  • "slogan slogan slogan slogan shout shout shout shout"
  • Nick Clegg Nick Clegg
    We know you
    You're a fucking Tory too

  •  "They say cut back we say fuck that"
  • miners 84/5 picket line chants of 'here we go here we go here we go!'

  • "Can you hear the Fascists sing no no..."
•   Who killed Mark Duggan?, You killed Mark Duggan!
  • "Oh I'd rather have a Panda than a prince, Oh I'd rather have a Panda than a Prince"-to the tune of     She'll be coming round the mountain.
  • “Whose streets? Our streets!”
  • “However we dress, wherever we go: Yes means yes and no means no!”
  • "What do we want? Safe streets! When do we want them? NOW!”
  • "123 fuck the bourgeoisie"
  • "from oakland to greece, fuck the police"
  • "Ah-Anti-Anticapitalista!"
  • "No justice, no peace, fuck the police."
  • "1, 2, 3, 4 escalate the class war, 5, 6,7, 8 organise to smash the state."
  • "1-2-3-4, we declare a class war! 5-6-7-8, organize and smash the state!'
  • "No borders, no nations, stop deportations."
  • "Oh, cameron is a wanker
He wears a silk cravat
He took one look at the welfare state and said I'm having that
He won't say no to bankers
He won't bail out the poor
We'll show these ConDem bastards the true meaning of class war "

  • The people united will never be defeated.
  • "Fuck the queen and the union jack! The people's flag , is red and black!"
  • "No megaphones, no dogma, fuck the old left order."
  • "No justice, no peace Fuck the police!"
  • "The proletariat! Who are we? We're the last class in history!"
  • "Unemployment and inflation are not caused by immigration. Bullshit.Come off. the enemy is profit"
  • "One Sol-ution, Rev-olution"
  • "There will always be unemployed
until capitalism is destroyed"

  • "no more Royals at Holyrood
 Abolish the monarchy for good"

  •  Iain Duncan Smith's a ratbag    
    Iain Duncan Smith's a ratbag    
    Iain Duncan Smith's a ratbag    
    you can shove your bedroom tax    
    up your arse!     
  •  There are many many more of us than you  
    There are many many more of us than you    
  • Liberal, Labour, Tory    
     Same old fucking story!
  • Stop the workers being betrayed,    
     Solidarity and mutual aid!  
  • Condem ,Labour all the same    
     They all play the bosses game      
  • Hey Hey! Ho Ho!    
     Rubbish chants have got to go!      
  • We shall not, We shall not be moved,  
     We shall not, We shall not be moved.  
     Just like our comrades in the Spanish revolution.  
     We shall not be moved.  
    We dinnae want Capitalism , we shall not be moved,  
     We dinnae want Patriarchy , we shall not be moved.  
     Just like the Paris Uprising May 1968,  
     we shall not be moved.  
    It's time tae rebuild the world, friends, we shall not be moved;  
     It's time tae end the old world comrades, we shall not be moved;  
     Just like the Turkish revolution  
     we shall not be moved  
    No more private property, we shall not be moved,  
     No more rule by money, we shall not he moved,  
     Just like the 1926 General Strike ,  we shall not be moved.  
    Solidarity forever; we shall not be moved,  
     Solidarity forever; we shall not be moved,  
     Just like Greece and Spain  
     We shall not be moved.    


Sunday, 17 November 2013

What I favour: Anarcho-Communism.

What I favour

1.        Complete abolition of all systems of domination, of oppression, of privilege to be replaced by a society guided by the principles of freedom,equality and solidarity with respect for all beings . This requires the abolition of the state and all it’s institutions, marriage, Patriarchy(which I include to mean the gender binary  etc), White Supremacy, Animal use and destruction of the Earth among other systems. Such a complete abolition of oppression will require a complete transformation of society and a radical re-thinking of how society is organised.

2.       The revolution must come from below from the grassroots and no where else. I am against dictatorship of the proletariat or vanguards. Marxist-Leninism is in direct opposition to all I favour.

3.        Grassroots (direct?) democracy

4.        worker control via anarcho-syndicalism ending wage labour with an aim towards abolition of the wage system and the end of all work except that which is voluntarily done as required for the function of society.

5.       I accept that full free communism may not be possible straight away but I think it best to aim for a society of   Anarcho-Communism – which will be a stateless classless marketless moneyless society. Production and distribution based on need not on profit. Need meaning more than just basic subsistence needs but also psychological needs. The fullest possible development of individuals and society's potential. An end to consumerism once and for all.

6.       Anarcho-Communism is I believe the best way to achieve a Green Society. I am critical of Mutualism and Individualist anarchism.

7.       I accept other forms of anarchism will be tried and will I may disagree with them I accept them in the spirit of toleration as long as they do not make use of oppression or exploitation, formal or informal , systematic or institutional.

8.       I claim no right to give a blueprint of the future society.  it is neither democratic to do so nor I am no prophet and so I cannot predict the future. This is what I favour only and I would not force it on others.
Anarchy will be unlikely to come in my lifetime. It will take years of preparation maybe decades maybe centuries.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Errico Malatesta Quotes.

Anarchist-Communism (Errico Malatesta)[3]

Those anarchists who call themselves communists (and I am one of them) do so not because they wish to impose their particular way of seeing things on others or because they believe that outside communism there can be no salvation, but because they are convinced, until proved wrong, that the more human beings are joined in brotherhood, and the more closely they co-operate in their efforts for the benefit of all concerned, the greater is the well-being and freedom which each can enjoy. They believe that Man, even if freed from oppression by his fellow men, still remains exposed to the hostile forces of Nature, which he cannot overcome alone, but which, in association with others, can be harnessed and transformed into the means for his own well being. The man who would wish to provide for his material needs by working alone is a slave to his work, as well as not being always sure of producing enough to keep alive. It would be fantastic to think that some anarchists, who call themselves, and indeed are, communists, should desire to live as in a convent, subjected to common rules, uniform meals and clothes, etc.; but it would be equally absurd to think that they should want to do just as they like without taking into account the needs of others or of the right all have to equal freedom. Everybody knows that Kropotkin, for instance, who was one of the most active and eloquent anarchist propagandists of the communist idea was at the same time a staunch defender of the independence of the individual, and passionately desired that everybody should be able to develop and satisfy freely their artistic talents, engage in scientific research, and succeed in establishing a harmonious unity between manual and intellectual activity in order to become human beings in the noblest sense of the word. Furthermore communist-anarchists believe that because of the natural differences in fertility, salubrity and location of the land masses, it would be impossible to ensure equal working conditions for everybody individually and so achieve, if not solidarity, at least, justice. But at the same time they are aware of the immense difficulties in the way of putting into practice that world-wide, free-communism, which they look upon as the ultimate objective of a humanity emancipated and united, without a long period of free development. And for this reason they arrive at conclusions which could be perhaps expressed in the following formula:
The achievement of the greatest measure of individualism is in direct ration to the amount of communism that is possible; that is to say, a maximum of solidarity in order to enjoy a maximum of freedom.

An authoritarian party, which aims at capturing power to impose its ideas, has an interest in the people remaining an amorphous mass, unable to act for themselves and therefore always easily dominated. And it follows, logically, that it cannot desire more than that much organisation, and of the kind it needs to attain power: Electoral organisations if it hopes to achieve it by legal means; Military organisations if it relies on violent action.
But we anarchists do not want to emancipate the people; we want the people to emancipate themselves. We do not believe in the good that comes from above and imposed by force; we want the new way of life to emerge from the body of the people and correspond to the state of their development and advance as they advance. It matters to us therefore that all interests and opinions should find their expression in a conscious organisation and should influence communal life in proportion to their importance.

The Anarchist Revolution (Errico Malatesta)[6]

The Revolution is the creation of new living institutions, new groupings, new social relationships; it is the destruction of privileges and monopolies; it is the new spirit of justice, of brotherhood, of freedom which must renew the whole of social life, raise the moral level and the material conditions of the masses by calling on them to provide, through their direct and conscious action, for their own futures. Revolution is the organisation of all public services by those who work in them in their own interest as well as the public’s; Revolution is the destruction of all coercive ties; it is the autonomy of groups, of communes, of regions; Revolution is the free federation brought about by a desire for brotherhood, by individual and collective interests, by the needs of production and defence; Revolution is the constitution of innumerable free groupings based on ideas, wishes, and tastes of all kinds that exist among the people; Revolution is the forming and disbanding of thousands of representative, district, communal, regional, national bodies which, without having any legislative power, serve to make known and to coordinate the desires and interests of people near and far and which act through information, advice and example. Revolution is freedom proved in the crucible of facts — and lasts so long as freedom lasts, that is until others, taking advantage of the weariness that overtakes the masses, of the inevitable disappointments that follow exaggerated hopes, of the probable errors and human faults, succeed in constituting a power, which supported by an army of conscripts or mercenaries, lays down the law, arrests the movement at the point it has reached, and then begins the reaction.
The great majority of anarchists, if I am not mistaken, hold the view that anarchy would not be achieved even in a few thousand years, if first one did not create by the revolution, made by a conscious minority, the necessary environment for freedom and well-being. For this reason we want to make the revolution as soon as possible, and to do so we need to take advantage of all positive forces and every favourable situation that arises.
The task of the conscious minority is to use every situation to change the environment in a way that will make possible the education and spiritual elevation of the people, without which there is no real way out. And since the environment today, which obliges the masses to live in misery, is maintained by violence, we advocate and prepare for violence. That is why we are revolutionaries, not because “we are desperate men, thirsting for revenge and filled with hate”.
We are revolutionaries because we believe that only the revolution, the violent revolution, can solve the social question.
We believe furthermore that the revolution is an act of will — the will of individuals and of the masses; that it needs for its success certain objective conditions, but that it does not happen of necessity, inevitably, through the single action of economic and political forces.
I told the jury (at my trial) in Milan that I am a revolutionary not only in the philosophical meaning of the word but also in the popular and insurrectionalist sense; and I said so in order to clearly distinguish between my views and those of others who call themselves revolutionaries, but who interpret the world even astronomically so as not to have to bring in the fact of violence, the insurrection, which must open the way to revolutionary achievements. I declared that I had not sought to provoke revolution because at the time there was no need to provoke it; what was urgently needed instead was to bend all our efforts for the revolution to succeed and not lead to new tyrannies; but I insisted that I would have provoked it if the situation demanded then, just as I would in a similar situation in the future.

The Idea of Good Government (Errico Malatesta)[12]

None can judge with certainty who is right and who is wrong, who is nearest to the truth, or which is the best way to achieve the greatest good for each and everyone. Freedom coupled with experience, is the only way of discovering the truth and what is best; and there can be no freedom if there is a denial of the freedom to err.
But when one talks of freedom politically, and not philosophically, nobody thinks of the metaphysical bogy of abstract man who exists outside the cosmic and social environment and who, like some god, could do what he wishes in the absolute sense of the word.
When one talks of freedom one is speaking of a society in which no one could constrain his fellow beings without meeting with vigorous resistance, in which, above all, nobody could seize and use the collective force to impose his own wishes on others and on the very groups which are the source of power.
Man is not perfect, agreed. But this is one reason more, perhaps the strongest reason, for not giving anyone the means to “put the brakes on individual freedom.”
Man is not perfect. But then where will one also find men who are not only good enough to live at peace with others, but also capable of controlling the lives of others in an authoritarian way? And assuming that there were, who would appoint them? Would they impose themselves? But who would protect them from the resistance and the violence of the “criminals”? Or would they be chosen by the “sovereign people”, which is considered too ignorant and too wicked to live in peace, but which suddenly acquires all the necessary good qualities when it is a question of asking it to choose its rulers?

Anarchism, Authoritarian Socialism and Communism (Errico Malatesta)[15]

It is true that anarchists and socialists have always profoundly disagreed in their concepts of historic evolution and the revolutionary crises that this evolution creates, and consequently they have hardly ever been in agreement on the means to adopt, or the opportunities that have existed from time to time to open up the way towards human emancipation.
But this is only an incidental and minor disagreement. There have always been socialists who have been in a hurry just as there are also anarchists who want to advance with leaden feet, and even some who do not believe at all in revolution. The important, fundamental dissension is quite another: socialists are authoritarians, anarchists are libertarians.
Socialists want power, whether by peaceful means or by force is of no consequence to them, and once in office, wish to impose their programme on the people by dictatorial or democratic means. Anarchists instead maintain, that government cannot be other than harmful, and by its nature it defends either an existing privileged class or creates a new one; and instead of aspiring to take the place of the existing government anarchists seek to destroy every organism which empowers some to impose their own ideas and interests on others, for they want to free the way for development towards better forms of human fellowship which will emerge from experience, by everybody being free and having, of course, the economic means to make freedom possible as well as a reality.
It seems unbelievable that even today, after what has happened and is happening in Russia (1921), there are still people who imagine that the differences between socialists and anarchists is only that of wanting revolution slowly or in a hurry.
Social democrats start off from the principle that the State, government, is none other than the political organ of the dominant class. In a capitalistic society, they say, the State necessarily serves the interests of the capitalists and ensures for them the right to exploit the workers; but that in a socialist society, when private property were to be abolished, and with the destruction of economic privilege class distinctions would disappear, then the State would represent everybody and become the impartial organ representing the social interests of all members of society.
Here a difficulty immediately arises. If it be true that Government is necessarily, and always, the instrument of those who possess the means of production, how can this miracle of a socialist government arising in the middle of a capitalist regime with the aim of abolishing capitalism, come about? Will it be as Marx and Blanqui wished by means of a dictatorship imposed by revolutionary means, by a coup de force, which by revolution decrees and imposes the confiscation of private property in favour of the state, as representative of the interests of the collectivity? Or will it be, as apparently all Marxists, and most modern Blanquists believe, by means of a socialist majority elected to Parliament by universal suffrage? Will one proceed in one step to the expropriation of the ruling class by the economically subjected class, or will one proceed gradually in obliging property owners and capitalists to allow themselves to be deprived of all their privileges a bit at a time?
All this seems strangely in contradiction with the theory of “historic materialism” which is a fundamental dogma for Marxists.
“Communism is the road that leads in the direction of anarchism.” This is the theory of the bolsheviks; the theory of marxists and authoritarian socialists of all schools. All recognise that anarchy is a sublime ideal, that it is the goal towards which mankind is, or should be, moving, but they all want to become the government, to oblige the people to take the right road. Anarchists say instead, that anarchy is the way that leads to communism or elsewhere.
To achieve communism before anarchy, that is before having conquered complete political and economic liberty, would mean (as it has meant in Russia) stablising the most hateful tyranny, to the point where people long for the bourgeois regime, and to return later (as will happen in Russia) to a capitalistic system as a result of the impossibility of organising social life which is bearable and as a reaction of the spirit of liberty which is not a privilege of the “latin spirit” as the Communist foolishly accuses me of saying, but a necessity of the human spirit for action in Russia no less than in Italy.
However much we detest the democratic lie, which in the name of the “people” oppresses the people in the interests of a class, we detest even more, if that is possible, the dictatorship which, in the name of the “proletariat” places all the strength and the very lives of the workers in the hands of the creatures of a so-called communist party, who will perpetuate their power and in the end reconstruct the capitalist system for their own advantage.
When F. Engels, perhaps to counter anarchist criticisms, said that once classes disappear the State as such has no raison d’etre and transforms itself from a government over men into an administration of things, he was merely playing with words. Whoever has power over things has power over men; whoever governs production also governs the producers; who determines consumption is master over the consumer.
This is the question; either things are administered on the basis of free agreement among the interested parties, and this is anarchy; or they are administered according to laws made by administrators and this is government, it is the State, and inevitably it turns out to be tyrannical.
It is not a question of the good intentions or the good will of this or that man, but of the inevitability of the situation, and of the tendencies which man generally develops in given circumstances.
What is the true basis of the differences between anarchists and State communists? We are for freedom, for the widest and the most complete freedom of thought, organisation and action. We are for the freedom of all, and it is therefore obvious, and not necessary to continually say so, that everyone in exercising his right to freedom must respect the equal freedom of everybody else; otherwise there is oppression on one side and the right to resist and to rebel on the other.
But State communists, to an even greater extent than all other authoritarians, are incapable of conceiving freedom and of respecting for all human beings the dignity that they expect, or should expect, from others. If one speaks to them of freedom they immediately accuse one of wanting to respect, or at least tolerate, the freedom to oppress and exploit one’s fellow beings. And if you say that you reject violence when it exceeds the limits imposed by the needs of defence, they accuse you of pacifism, without understanding that violence is the whole essence of authoritarianism, just as the repudiation of violence is the whole essence of anarchism

Anarchism and Property (Errico Malatesta)[16]

Our opponents, interested defenders of the existing system are in the habit of saying, to justify the right to private property, that it is the condition and guarantee of freedom.
And we agree with them. Are we not always repeating that he who is poor is a slave? Then why are they our opponents?
The reason is clear and is that in fact the property they defend is capitalist property, that is, property which allows some to live by the work of others and which therefore presupposes a class of dispossessed, propertyless people, obliged to sell their labour power to the property-owners for less than its value.
The principle reason for the bad exploitation of nature, and of the miseries of the workers, of the antagonisms and the social struggles, is the right to property which confers on the owners of the land, the raw materials and of all the means of production, the possibility to exploit the labour of others and to organise production not for the well-being of all, but in order to guarantee a maximum profit for the owners of property. It is necessary therefore to abolish property.
The principle for which we must fight and on which we cannot compromise, whether we win or lose, is that all should possess the means of production in order to work without subjection to capitalist exploitation. The abolition of individual property, in the literal sense of the word, will come, if it comes, by the force of circumstances, by the demonstrable advantages of communistic management, and by the growing spirit of brotherhood. But what has to be destroyed at once, even with violence if necessary, is capitalistic property, that is, the fact that a few control the natural wealth and the instruments of production and can thus oblige others to work for them.
Imposed communism would be the most detestable tyranny that the human mind could conceive. And free and voluntary communism is ironical if one has not the possibility to live in a different regime — collectivist, mutualist, individualist — as one wishes, always on condition that there is no oppression or exploitation of others.
Free then is the peasant to cultivate his piece of land, alone if he wishes; free is the shoemaker to remain at his last or the blacksmith in his small forge. It remains to be seen whether not being able to obtain assistance or people to exploit — and he would find none because nobody, having a right to the means of production and being free to work on his own or as an equal with others in the large organisations of production would want to be exploited by a small employer — I was saying, it remains to be seen whether these isolated workers would not find it more convenient to combine with others and voluntarily join one of the existing communities.
The destruction of title deeds would not harm the independent worker whose real title is possession and the work done.
What we are concerned with is the destruction of the titles of the proprietors who exploit the labour of others, expropriating them in fact in order to put the land, houses, factories and all the means of production at the disposal of those who do the work.
It goes without saying that former owners would only have to take part in production in whatever way they can, to be considered equals with all other workers.
Will property (in the revolutionary period) have to be individual or collective? And will the collective holding the undivided goods be the local group, the functional group, the group based on political affinity, the family group — will it comprise all the inhabitants of a nation en bloc and eventually all humanity?
What forms will production and exchange assume? Will it be the triumph of communism (production in common and the distribution of goods on the basis of the work done by each individual), or individualism (to each the individual ownership of the means of production and the enjoyment of the full product of his labour), or other composite forms that individual interest and social instinct, illuminated by experience, will suggest?
Probably every possible form of possession and utilisation of the means of production and always of distribution of produce will be tried out at the same time in one or many regions, and they will combine to be modified in various ways until experience will indicate which form, or forms, is or are, the most suitable. In the meantime, the need for not interrupting production, and the impossibility of suspending consumption of the necessities of life, will make it necessary to take decisions for the continuation of daily life at the same time as expropriation proceeds. One will have to do the best one can, and so long as one prevents the constitution and consolidation of new privilege, there will be time to find the best solutions.
I call myself a communist, because communism, it seems to me, is the ideal to which mankind will aspire as love between men, and an abundance of production, will free them from the fear of hunger and will thus destroy the major obstacle to brotherhood between them. But really, even more than the practical forms of organisation which must inevitably be adjusted according to the circumstances, and will always be in a constant state of change, what is important is the spirit which informs those organisations, and the method used to bring them about; what I believe important is that they should be guided by the spirit of justice and the desire of the general good, and that they should always achieve their objectives through freedom and voluntarily. If freedom and a spirit of brotherhood truly exist, all solutions aim at the same objective of emancipation and will end by being reconciled by fusion. If, on the contrary, there is no freedom and the desire for the good of all is lacking, all forms of organisation can result in injustice, exploitation and despotism.


Sunday, 3 November 2013

NUS priority campaign: ‘Women in Leadership’ and why I’m not on board.

NUS priority campaign: ‘Women in Leadership’ and why I’m not on board.

by itisiwhowillit

NUS have launched one of their priority campaigns for this year, called ‘Women in Leadership’.  I get the sentiment behind it; women are grossly under-represented in Parliament, in the media, in unions, and in our Universities (beyond undergraduate students).  What I don’t think is helpful, though, is getting women up there in the hope that it will contribute to the destruction of systematic sexism.
Women CEOs still use sweatshop labour (which is 90% women workers), they’ll still have companies where there is a huge wealth disparity (Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi took home $17 million dollars in 2011, whilst the average wage for a merchandiser at Pepsi is $32, 450), and they will still discriminate when hiring workers. The CEO of Kraft is a woman- and Kraft are moving to Switzerland in a move that will dodge £60 million  a year in taxes.
Women policy makers in our Parliament still enforce & create policies that oppress women. Margaret Thatcher was a woman. Nadine Dorries is a woman. Louise Mensch is a woman. Baroness Warsi is a woman. Blair’s Babes were women. I don’t really need to go into the horrors they’ve participated in- whether it’s the war on Iraq or the war on consent, these women have actively made life worse for women beneath them- black women, LBTQ women, poor women, disabled women, school girls, mothers. They are not part of the solution- they are part of the problem.
We’re living in an era of unprecedented attacks on the poor and vulnerable. ATOS is killing thousands of people a year. Women are being turned away from rape crisis centres because of funding cuts. Mothers are sending their children to school hungry, and they sure as hell aren’t getting a free meal there. Should our union’s priority campaign really be about getting women into positions of power, or should it be about fighting those with power, holding them accountable, and fighting for those being fucked over.
When you smash the glass ceiling, you just let the shards fall on those beneath you- you cut them up. We shouldn’t be advocating that women get into positions of power- we should advocate that women fight, as a community to destroy the power structures that oppress them. Feminists should be fighting capitalism, not fighting to get to the top of it. Feminists should be fighting for a democratic, participatory society- not to get into unaccountable, poorly elected positions themselves.
Ultimately, as a leader your interests shift. Being a parliamentarian is about striking the balance between suppressing dissent, and giving enough scraps to keep people from dissenting. Being a CEO is about giving your workers just enough to live on, but ensuring that ultimately, as much money as possible goes into your pocket. Being a General Secretary is about appeasing the government and appeasing your members. It’s all about compromise. As a feminist, I don’t accept compromise. I want to live in a genuinely intersectional society. Feminism and capitalism are irreconcilable (logically and morally). Leadership is necessary to capitalism- it creates the illusion of social mobility, it maintains aspirational fantasies in people and it keeps them fighting each other- not the system that holds them at gunpoint.
Toni Pearce, NUS President says it shouldn’t be another 144 years until we have another women general secretary of the TUC. To which I respond: I disagree. We shouldn’t see another general secretary, irrespective of gender. Workers should control the means of production, they should control their workplaces and lives democratically, not through a poorly elected mouthpiece.
I’m a stuck record and a cliche, but power corrupts. Fuck power and fuck leadership.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Best of how Deep is Deep Ecology.

Bradford calls his approach Deep Social Ecology.

George Bradford, "How deep is deep ecology: a challenge to radical environmentalism," Fifth Estate, Fall 1987.This book’s principle essays first appeared in slightly different form in Fifth Estate newspaper.

George Bradford, "Toward a Deep Social Ecology," in Environmental Philosophy.

George Bradford, How Deep is Deep Ecology? is brilliant.

Some Quotes:-

"In opposition to “humanism” (defined rather simplistically as the ideology of human superiority and the legitimacy to exploit nature for human purposes), deep ecology claims to be a perspective taken from outside human discourse and politics, from the point of view of nature as a whole. Of course, it is a problematic claim, to say the least, since deep ecologists have developed a viewpoint based on human, socially generated, and historically evolved insights into nature, in order to design an orientation toward human society. At any rate, any vision of nature and humanity’s place in it that is the production of human discourse is by definition going to be to some degree “anthropocentric,” imposing as it does a human, symbolic discourse on the nonhuman. "

"But deep ecology’s “intuition... that all things in this biosphere have an equal right to live and blossom” is the same projection of human social-political categories onto nature — a legalistic and bourgeois-humanist anthropocentrism itself. Ecology confirms the animist vision of interrelatedness, but when expressed in the ideological terms of this society, it denatures and colonizes animism, reducing it to a kind of economics or juridical, legal formalism. Neither animals nor primal peoples recognized or conferred abstract legal rights, but lived in harmony and mutualism, including a mutualism of predation of other species to fulfill their needs and desires. Human subsistence was bound up with natural cycles and not in opposition to them; people did not envision an alienated “humanity versus nature” dualism (which, whether one takes “nature’s side” or “humanity’s,” is an ideology of this civilization), but rather “humanized” nature by interacting mythically and symbolically with it."

When ecological “antihumanism” (justly) rejects technocratic resource management, it does so for the wrong reasons. The dualism of its formulation takes the technocratic reduction of nature to resources for an undifferentiated species activity based on supposed biological need. While human beings and institutions that actively engage in the destruction of nature must be stopped by any means necessary and as soon as possible, it should not automatically be assumed that they are acting out the biological destiny of the species; that would be to take at face value the corporate and state rationalizations for exploitation (“we do it all for you”). The human social context that produces this aberrant destructiveness is not readily explained by ecological analysis.
Deep ecologists err when they see the pathological operationalism of industrial civilization as a species-generated problem rather than as one generated by social phenomena that must be studied in their own right. Concealing socially generated conflicts behind an ideology of “natural law,” they contradictorily insist on and deny a unique position for human beings while neglecting the centrality of the social in environmental devastation. Consequently, they have no really “deep” critique of the state, empire, technology, or capital, reducing the complex web of human relations to a simplistic, abstract, scientistic caricature.
Thus humanity as a species, or a voracious human self-interest acting through “humanism,” is blamed for ecological degradation by most (if not necessarily all) deep ecologists, particularly the American adherents close to Earth First!. This formulation, shared by many people in the U.S. conservation movement, tends to overlook the fact that preservation of wilderness and defense of natural integrity and diversity is essential to human survival also. There is no isolated “intrinsic worth” but an interrelated dependency that includes us all."

" Speaking of the unintended consequences of technology, they refer to the agricultural crisis in California’s Central Valley, where the agribusiness “which claims as its goal, ‘feeding the hungry of the world,’ is now creating an unhealthy, almost unfit environment for many human inhabitants of the Valley.” Here they seem to take corporate propaganda at face value, so that technological short-sightedness and the “humanist” goal of “feeding the world” become the cause of the problem, rather than capitalist looting, which degrades the natural integrity of the valley not to feed people but to line the investors’ pockets. "

"Anthropocentrism or not, humans are the only beings in a position to wage effective war against the empires and articulate an earth-based culture and a renewal of the land."
  • I agree. So humans are unique in that sense.

"Population growth is certainly a cause for concern, perhaps even alarm. More than 900 million people are presently malnourished or starving, and hunger spreads with the rising numbers. But Malthusian empiricism sees many hungry mouths and concludes that there are too many people and not enough resources to keep them alive. Scarcity and famine are thus explained as natural phenomena, inevitable, irrevocable, even benign. The pseudo-objectivity of scientific ideology is probably nowhere more profoundly expressed than in this Malthusian model. If, astonishingly, it is still necessary to argue against Malthus a century and a half later, it is because people know so little history. "

But of course it is not so clear at all. If carrying capacity has been exceeded and there isn’t enough to go around, why are crops systematically dumped and destroyed? Only a critique of the system that turns food into a commodity can make sense in such a context. And his numerical mystification fails to note that “per capita” energy consumption includes the urban megalopolises, the glut of industry, transport, the military, and the frenetic form of life specific to industrial capitalism. To identify biological carrying capacity with such figures is patently absurd.

There is no doubt that the present form of existence is destructive, and increasingly destructive as population grows. But to argue that “even our most normal and non-reprehensible ways of using resources to support human life and pursue human happiness” are destroying the environment is to forget that it is the form of culture in industrialism and the manner in which pursuing “life and happiness” is organized that is destroying life, not necessarily sheer population numbers. The toxic wastes produced by industrialism are not “unavoidably created by our life processes,” they are the result of capitalist looting and a pathological culture. People need neither vast energy consumption nor toxic-waste production to be kept alive; in fact, we are being steadily poisoned by them.

The notion of carrying capacity is trivialized by reduction to absurd statistics. No one really knows what the earth’s actual carrying capacity is, or how much land we need in order to live in a renewable manner. What have megatechnic projects, freeways, asbestos, nuclear power, armaments production, or the automobile to do with biological carrying capacity? What have they to do with anything except the inertia of investment, technological drift, and capital accumulation? Catton’s ecological paradigm reduces everything to numbers and mechanistically applies its analysis to society, rendering it blind to the actual forces leading to extinction. When this methodology compares, for example, statist wars and imperial rivalry to the territorialism of animals, it imposes the (current) scientific description of one highly complex order onto another, unrelated one. This is pseudozoology at its worst"

"Even gardening is a “violent activity.” This viewpoint is not much of an option for the majority of us, and it’s hardly going to be pursued. (In any case it is the old alienated dualism operating, that denies humans any place in nature, denies what we have evolved into; it’s like decrying the mammals for eating dinosaur eggs."

"The deep-ecologist argument, based on Catton’s carrying-capacity theory, is that there is no longer enough to go around in anything resembling a renewable, sustainable manner. Any suspicion that starvation might presently be the result of distribution and other social conflicts alone, rather than natural limits, is considered a “humanist,” “anthropocentric” (and probably Marxist) fantasy. (Perhaps other deep ecologists, such as Arne Naess, would not agree with such views, but few if any have criticized them or explicitly and forcefully distanced themselves from them.) "

"Despite some shortcomings in their views (a marked social-democratic, pro-development stance, and a lack of criticality concerning industrialism as a system and socialist countries like China, in particular), their arguments are very persuasive and bring together a critique of industrial agriculture and the global market that would help deep ecologists to ask deeper questions about hunger. [10] The notion that present scarcity is generated by overpopulation cannot be substantiated, they argue; not that there are no natural limits, but that “the earth’s natural limits are not to blame.” The world is presently producing enough grain to supply everyone’s caloric and protein needs. (A third of it goes to livestock.) And these figures do not include the many other nutritious foods available, such as beans, nuts, fruits, vegetables, root crops, and grass-fed meat. The Malthusian argument “is worse than a distortion,” they argue, since it shifts the blame to “natural limits” and to the hungry in a world where “surplus” food stocks are dumped like any other commodity to increase their profitability. Boring, left-wing humanism notwithstanding, the refusal to understand that food has become a commodity is to mystify the modern shredding of the sacred food-web. "

W"hat are the causes of hunger? We should remember that, historically, colonialism, bringing with it an emerging capitalist economy and the wage system, destroyed the traditional economies in most countries. By substituting cash crops and monoculture for forms of sustainable agriculture, it destroyed the basic land skills of the people whom it reduced to plantation workers. With the traumatic destruction of indigenous cultures came a desperate acceptance of and desire for the industrialized goods of Western commodity society. Contrived by colonialism, this recipe for disaster accounts for the world crisis we are now witnessing. "

"Harrison’s study confirms LappĂ© and Collins’s argument. “Much of the best land that should be used for domestic food production in the developing countries is growing cash crops for the West,” he writes, and “five of the most common, sugar, tobacco, coffee, cocoa, and tea, are not doing the West much good either.” Cattle production for consumption by the imperial metropolises also undermines local subsistence, Harrison observes. “’Sheep eat men,’ the peasants displaced by enclosures of common land in England used to complain. Cash crops eat men in much of the developing world.”

"In this scenario not even increased food production serves to help the hungry. As Lappe and Collins demonstrate, “the increase in poverty has been associated not with a fall but with a rise in cereal production per head, the main component of the diet of the poor.” So the image of Green Revolution technology (drawn for example by Catton) as causing a population increase and subsequent destruction of carrying capacity is a fiction. The Green Revolution is utilized by large landholders to produce for the global supermarket, not to feed people locally. It increases hunger by bringing the industrial revolution to agriculture, thus destroying subsistence as well as agricultural and genetic diversity, and by creating dependence on chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and machinery — and the corporations that produce them.
Nor is toxic-chemical agriculture a result of population pressure. The U.S. uses one billion pounds of toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides annually — some 30 percent of world consumption. A good part of the applications are simply for cosmetic purposes, with as much as a third going to golf courses, lawns, parks, and gardens. Lappe and Collins estimate that, despite a tenfold increase in the use of such agents, the crop loss to pests in this country has remained at around 30 percent since the 1940s. They argue that if such chemicals were eliminated altogether, losses would increase by about only 7 percent. In the meantime, in addition to the ecological destruction pesticides bring about, their residues are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to be “the nation’s third worst environmental cancer risk after toxic chemicals in the workplace and radon gas in the home.” [15] Half of all pesticides produced, some of them illegal in the U.S., go to the Third World, but they come back to haunt us with our morning coffee and cantaloupe.
So toxic agriculture is not a function of subsistence but of corporate profits. To link the two in a Malthusian argument is to line up indirectly with the Wall Street Journal, which argued that the disaster at Bhopal was unfortunate but a necessary risk in order to feed people. Bhopal wasn’t only a horrifying example of a technological civilization completely out of control, it was a corporate crime. It is those sorcerer’s apprentices, the capitalist corporations, we might remind these careless deep ecologists, who turn scarcity and starvation in one place into luxuries somewhere else. And where people resist the operations of this “economic freedom,” the armed might of the state, complete with covert and overt operators, steps in to make sure that things remain just as they are and that business goes on as usual.
Under increasing attack, squeezed from all sides, the world’s poor are having large families in a desperate attempt to get support in their old age, to obtain cheap labor power on their plots or in the labor market, and to overcome high infant-mortality rates. In much of the world, another child is an economic benefit and will bring more income to the family than will be expended in the child’s upkeep. [16] Yet there are also many indications that large families have an adverse effect on their members, who tend to be less nourished and in worse health than those of smaller families. Furthermore, as Harrison observes, this short-term survival strategy has long-term social costs for the community and the country in land fragmentation, erosion, poverty, and urbanization. The poor of the Third World are courting “long-term ruin to avoid immediate disaster.” "

"Both views see a renewal of local subsistence and self-reliance as key, and both call for radical, sweeping land reform. This does not mean a simple redistribution, however, but the creation of cooperative, participatory, and egalitarian societies aimed at helping the people at the very bottom. LappĂ© and Collins write that their perspective “is not a simple call to put food into hungry mouths.” In fact, they oppose food aid because it does not reach the hungry, undermines revolt, and destroys local food production. They insist, rather, that “if enabling people to feed themselves is to be the priority, then all social relationships must be reconstructed.” This amounts to a call for agrarian revolution.
First and foremost, such a revolution must liberate women. They are “the poorest of the poor,” as Harrison says. They constitute “the largest group of landless laborers in the world,” since even in cooperatives and land redistributions, they are frequently shut out. Industrialization and urbanization also hurt them the most, destroying their handicrafts and worsening the unjust division of labor to “the notorious double day” of wage work and household work. If they have fewer children, they suffer for lack of labor power; if they have more, they are overburdened and their health undermined."

"The population question can never be addressed until having fewer children can become a reasonable option. That means freedom for women from male domination, and an agrarian social transformation that reunites agriculture and nutrition, renews self-reliance and subsistence, and creates equality. If deep ecologists can recognize that these social questions must be resolved in order to reconcile humanity with the natural world, that a whole earth vision must be grounded in the social, they will make the leap that they desire in their understanding and practice. Human liberation is integrally bound up with the liberation of nature, and therefore is truly “deep ecological.”"

It is a tenet of deep ecology that nature is “more complex than we can possibly know” (Sessions and Devall). In that case, deep ecologists should refrain from blanket statements about human populations, since no interpretation can presently be substantiated in any absolute terms. (So glib remarks about someone else’s “die-off” only come from a preference, not a recognition of natural necessity. In such a case “theory” is nothing but mean-spirited ideology, with fascist implications — and helps, by the way, neither bears nor whales nor rainforests.) Catton says there are already too many people; Sale, on the other hand, argues that the entire world’s population could fit into the U.S. with a density less than England’s, and in the fertile agricultural regions with a density like that of Malta. The statistics, to back up arguments, grow exponentially.
Meanwhile, practical steps must be taken to stop the process by which the world and everything in it are being reduced to money, and finally, to toxic waste. “Letting nature take its course” by consigning people to starvation is not a solution even within its own terms, since the deteriorating situation described so vividly by Harrison and others won’t go away when a few million — or many millions — die. The earth will continue to be gouged and the forests leveled, and society’s capacity to bring about change will be diminished. Such Malthusianism even violates deep ecology, since it neglects the totality of the habitat destroyed for all species in the wake of the famine and doesn’t recognize that environmental desolation in one place affects natural integrity everywhere.
In The Conquest of Bread, Peter Kropotkin raised the issue that remains central today for social and ecological transformation. Bread, he said, “must be found for the people of the Revolution, and the question of bread must take precedence of all other questions. If it is settled in the interests of the people, the Revolution will be on the right road; for in solving the question of Bread we must accept the principle of equality, which will force itself upon us to the exclusion of every other solution.” In answer to Kropotkin’s profound observation, some among the deep ecologists would prefer to respond with a simple program: let them starve. "

"And perhaps they have a point. Perhaps there are too many people to live in a renewable manner. Perhaps the starvation of some is unavoidable. But as long as poor and tribal people around the globe starve while overfed, high-energy-consuming bankers sit in air-conditioned high-rises in New York, Paris, or Dakar, something is wrong. Before the poor of the world die of hunger — those little communities which are also small and unique parts of the whole picture, as Aldo Leopold might have said — let’s deal with the neckties in the high-rises. It’s nature’s way too, after all, for people to pool their imaginations and their desires to cooperate in making revolutionary change."

"The ideology of population control is summed up by Hartmann as based on three tenets:
  1. Rapid population growth is a primary cause of the Third World’s development problems, notably hunger, environmental destruction, economic stagnation, and political instability.” Notice that it is development itself (which means capital accumulation), and not environmental and human well-being, which is the central concern. People are “units.”
  2. People must be persuaded — or forced, if necessary — to have fewer children without fundamentally improving the impoverished conditions in which they live.” Such improvement, of course, would demand agrarian and social revolution, which would undermine both the local elites and ultimately, perhaps, the entire development model of industrial- capitalist civilization.
  3. Given the right combination of finance, personnel, technology, and Western management techniques, birth-control services can be ‘delivered’ to Third World women in a top-down fashion and in the absence of basic health-care systems. In both the development and promotion of contraceptives, efficacy in preventing pregnancy should take precedence over health and safety concerns.” One can see the entire operationalism of mass technology and the disabling professions at work in this assumption. "

" Desertification, like deforestation, is largely a result of inequities on and exploitation of the land"