Archive for September, 2011

by Nicolas Kulish (International Herald Tribune/New York Times)

MADRID — Hundreds of thousands of disillusioned Indians cheer a rural activist on a hunger strike. Israel reels before the largest street demonstrations in its history. Enraged young people in Spain and Greece take over public squares across their countries.

Their complaints range from corruption to lack of affordable housing and joblessness, common grievances the world over. But from South Asia to the heartland of Europe and now even to Wall Street, these protesters share something else: wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over.

They are taking to the streets, in part, because they have little faith in the ballot box.

“Our parents are grateful because they’re voting,” said Marta Solanas, 27, referring to older Spaniards’ decades spent under the Franco dictatorship. “We’re the first generation to say that voting is worthless.”

Economics have been one driving force, with growing income inequality, high unemployment and recession-driven cuts in social spending breeding widespread malaise. Alienation runs especially deep in Europe, with boycotts and strikes that, in London and Athens, erupted into violence.

But even in India and Israel, where growth remains robust, protesters say they so distrust their country’s political class and its pandering to established interest groups that they feel only an assault on the system itself can bring about real change.

Young Israeli organizers repeatedly turned out gigantic crowds insisting that their political leaders, regardless of party, had been so thoroughly captured by security concerns, ultra-Orthodox groups and other special interests that they could no longer respond to the country’s middle class.

Anna Hazare leads a protest during his public hunger strike in New Dehli.

In the world’s largest democracy, Anna Hazare, an activist, starved himself publicly for 12 days until the Indian Parliament capitulated to some of his central demands on a proposed anticorruption measure to hold public officials accountable. “We elect the people’s representatives so they can solve our problems,” said Sarita Singh, 25, among the thousands who gathered each day at Ramlila Maidan, where monsoon rains turned the grounds to mud but protesters waved Indian flags and sang patriotic songs.

“But that is not actually happening. Corruption is ruling our country.”

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Part II of an Investigative Report into Tar Sands Action & the Paralysis of a Movement

by Cory Morningstar (Political Context)

We have now reached a new level of subservient conditioning in an action ironically titled “Stop the Machine.” If the freedom fighters from liberation armies and resistance fronts read “the rules” that the organizers have established in order to “stop the machine,” they would undoubtedly come to the conclusion that Americans are insane.

The rules put forward by the organizers of this action demonstrate how the bourgeois environmental movement as a whole believes it has the moral superiority and authority to impose their unnegotiable, absolute tactical doctrine on all others, framing anyone who falls out of line with the dogma as provocateurs or “haters” who wish to incite violence. Such free-thinkers will be verbally chastised, stigmatized, then isolated and marginalized. Some of the actions that have been undertaken include: training “peacekeepers,” a request that participants undergo nonviolence training, employing “peace cameras” to video anyone who might initiate violence with a request that participants bring cameras too and work with police to make them aware of threats and to isolate counterprotesters if they should attend.

Other rules include turning your anger at injustice into a positive, non-violent force; no destruction or vandalism of non-sentient objects; no running or other “threatening” motions; no insulting or swearing; protecting those who “oppose or disagree with us” (i.e., police) from insult or attack; no verbal or physical assaults on those who “oppose or disagree with us” (i.e., police) “even if they assault us.”

Participants are to embrace an attitude, as conveyed through their words, symbols and actions, of openness, friendliness, and respect toward all people encountered, including police officers and military personnel. The participants agree to be obedient to the organizers of the action or, if they do not obey, they must withdraw from the action.

Citizens are essentially being trained to completely submit to the corporate state – even if they are beaten with weapons. The organizers have embraced the Gandhian myth that all neo-pacifists wear something akin to a shield. They will need this shield in order to protect themselves from their own hypocrisy.

Who needs big brother when you have “the movement” itself protecting the corporate state hell-bent on eradicating us? If it were presented as educational outreach to further ideas and crucial analysis/critiques, this campaign would be deserving of much credit, as it highlights critical issues such as capitalism, corporate-controlled state and other vital truths that bright green NGOs refuse to address. However, as currently presented – an action to “stop the machine” – to even imply that “the machine” could actually be stopped through the outline and extensive “rules of non-engagement,” shields the truth rather than exposing it.

Of course, this is often what happens when activists are replaced with global strategists, finance officers, marketing executives and branding agencies. For countries exploding with citizens holding business degrees and MBAs, we could not possibly be more unintelligent and out of touch with reality, even if we tried. How many species on this planet knowingly and deliberately destroy their own habitat, their own future?

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Part I of an investigative report

“Only death will save us. Mediocrity begets mediocrity. It is tragic that the conditioning of civil society is so deep – that most everything relevant beating them on the head is received as nothing more than a cool breeze.” — Harold One Feathera

The late Pacheedaht warrior Harriet Nahanee/Tsibeotl

by Cory Morningstar (Political Context)

Only death will save us…

What are the underlying motivations and loyalties of the social and political forces involved in the Tar Sands Action campaign, and, indeed, the bourgeois environmental movement as a whole? In our inability to avert an oncoming ecological collapse, coupled with what appears to be an insurmountable climate genocide, we must understand how the forces we seek to resist constantly absorb opposition, through compromised NGOs and other means. Never underestimate the strategies and mechanisms of the global elites for retaining their power, control, and domination of Earth and her inhabitants.

Cognitive dissonance compromises environmental activism. We must open our eyes, even if the ugliness is difficult to accept. Many seemingly credible activists who are paid to “lead” environmental organizations cannot admit to themselves that they have caved into the very systems they purport to oppose; there is no acceptable excuse for such lack of judgement and foresight – for if it is ignorance, it is willful. It is no longer singular individuals who create and shape our systems. Instead, the plutocrats construct and mould the systems and sustain illusory movements. As the majority of environmentalists and citizens who support such movements are not fully conscious of the role they play in propping up the industrial machine, this article attempts to inspire the courage to break free, re-organize, and move forward.

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to enjoy the world and a desire to tear down the systemic structure that is destroying the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” — Elwyn Brooks White

Prologue – Lambs to the Slaughter

“As with any pathologically-based manifestation, hegemonic pacifism in advanced capitalist contexts proves itself supremely resistant – indeed, virtually impervious – to mere logic and moral suasion.” — Ward Churchill, Pacifism as Pathology, 1984

Holding hands, singing songs, and forming circles has little effect beyond making individuals feel good about themselves. Of course, this is the main objective of the mainstream NGO: to appeal to one of our ugliest human traits – that of individualism, which our toxic culture celebrates. Such niceties also serve as fine fodder for media and for rounding up donations.

To have falsely promoted what was at best an educational campaign (which did not speak to the root causes of climate change) as “civil disobedience” was disingenuous, if not fraudulent. Yet, the NGOs continue to promote their publicity stunt under this guise. And it worked. Branding agencies and marketing executives will take note of this latest “success.” In truth, this (in)action merely succeeded in having seduced the public into a false belief that this system, into which violence is inherently built, can be overcome with moral suasion. At the eleventh hour, campaigning to build upon such a notion is not only incredibly deceiving – it is incredibly dangerous.

Organizations both within and outside of the nonprofit-industrial complex continue to unabashedly further the idea that passiveness, obedience and submissiveness to the corporatized state – which has made the conscious decision to allow billions to suffer and die – is the only moral choice. They insist that we must dismiss reality (that the Earth and her inhabitants are being killed all around us) while they dismiss the fact that moral suasion cannot stop this. They insist that we embrace their delusion at any cost. Tragically, such a suicidal position only serves to further weaken our own position as it strengthens the position of the corporate state tenfold. Like lambs, we are being led to the slaughter with stops all along the way for refreshments and photo ops. It’s the final step in the art of annihilation that the NGOs have become so skilled at. The puppet masters are shaking in their boots, not with fear but with derisive laughter.

Those who know better, who choose to lend legitimacy to such organizations by way of supporting or promoting such grand spectacles of illusion, are in fact biting their own foot. Some of the statements heard echoing off the walls of delusion are “But where would we go?” and “Yes, I know, I agree, but it’s better than nothing.” Yet subduing and disempowering citizens is not better than nothing. And silence is complicity.

A “better than nothing” approach for a campaign such as Tar Sands Action is deeply flawed. By supporting / promoting compromised organizations and/or leaders of such compromised organizations, one provides a tract of general legitimacy for those who continue to prop up the malignant, capitalistic system and guarantee planetary demise while undermining the grassroots. Right or wrong, when we vocalize support or otherwise endorse such sanitized “actions” and the players behind them, we are seen as sanctioning them on the whole, and it makes walking the fine line of organizing an effective movement much more difficult.

Directing thousands of well-intentioned citizens to follow a false god with the last name of McKibben – whose organization ( is funded, overseen and partnered with the planet’s most powerful corporations and families – only ensures that society will be led to believe in the false illusion of “green capitalism” – what the corporate enviros have termed “climate wealth.” In McKibben’s own words: “Greed Has Helped Destroy the Planet – Maybe Now It Can Help Save It.” A vision based on rejecting ethics while further nurturing one of the worst human traits is one that any sane person working towards a just world must automatically reject. A vision based on the very same system that has now brought us to the precipice is a fool’s game, a deadly game that flies in the face of logic.

Many of the corporate greens can demonstrate strong points in regard to many issues – this is of little surprise as it is imperative for them to retain a level of credibility. Furthermore, they have millions of dollars available for specialized reports, which makes it easy. Of course, rarely will they campaign on such reports when they are released (quietly in most cases) to the public. We have to accept the fact that much of the environmental movement is now funded primarily with Rockefeller Family money (McKibben himself now states this proudly after a somewhat embarrassing incident on Climate Challenge TV) and corporate funnelled foundation money, which defines (dilutes) success in increments that, in the grand scheme of things, mean little. We can’t tolerate another 6,000 mW of coal active in FL, for example, but that is a victory to the Beyond Coal campaign because they managed to stop another 13K mW. In the next cycle, industry will again ask for 20K mW, and will get 5-8k mW. And that will be labeled another victory. At which point are these victories pyrrhic?

Continue Reading HERE.

‘Jensen’s is not a revolutionary theory

That said, they have no fucking idea what revolution means, or how it could come about. Capitalism and the state are massively powerful and adaptive human systems, and they can only be destroyed through the coordinated action of the great majority of people in this society, and world.

Assuming from the get go that a majority of people are insane and therefore not worth thinking about prevents Jensen and Co from being revolutionary at all, which is why there is so much reliance on collapse as a solution in his work.

Collapse does not equal revolution

But anyone with a thought in their head can see that even if the perfect storm of capitalist transition, peak oil, and climate change comes about, the resulting devastation will not eliminate either capitalism or the state.

The police and military forces of the world will still have the guns and money, and indeed, crisis is almost always used as an excuse for greater violence and oppression than otherwise. This is well demonstrated in Naomi Klein’s *The Shock Doctrine* which shows how present day capitalism thrives precisely on collapses, by using them to justify mass theft, privatization and so on…whether that be after the Tsunami, New Orleans, Iraq, or the entire post-collapse Soviet Union. “

“Amazon activists Dorothy Stang, a 73-year-old nun, was murdered in 2005. In May activists José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espírito Santo were also assassinated. Photograph: Reuters

Raimundo Francisco Belmiro dos Santos, a defender of the Amazon jungle, has requested urgent protection from the authorities in Brazil after reporting that a number of hired gunmen are looking for him, because landowners in the northern state of Pará have offered a 50,000 dollar contract for his death


Belmiro dos Santos is a 46-year-old “seringueiro” or rubber tapper who fears for his life and the lives of his family, after receiving numerous threats for his activism against the destruction of the Amazon jungle.”

Plant Seeds or Plant Bombs?

So many people are content to “plant seeds of change,” and patiently hope they grow. These are the people who say “Every little bit helps” and “If I change even one person in my life, I’ve done my part.” A certain abolitionist leader once in vogue would inspire his feet-kissing disciples with these soul-stirring words: “If you do nothing else today, at least talk to one person in the grocery store about going vegan.” To understand the true depth of this absurdity and internalization of the Stockholm Syndrome, imagine if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.aroused his thousands of followers with these words: “If you do nothing else today, talk to at least one white person about  racism.” In truth, King called for mass civil disobedience and wanted “to fill the jails with singing children.” That courage, conviction, and bold defiance is utterly lacking in the pacified landscape of “politics” today.


Planting seeds assumes an infinite model of change, but world scientists insist we have only a finite amount of time before crossing the tipping point where climate change wreaks havoc on this earth and makes life hellish at best and impossible at worst. The neo-Johnny Appleseed’s of the world will grow a tree for every rainforest leveled, and convert one person to veganism for every thousand new carnivores China churns out every day. Do the math. It doesn’t add up in our favor.

In a world of climate change, species extinction, overpopulation, predatory global capitalism, social crisis, mass exploitation, dire human need, growing scarcity and multiplying resource wars, the decline in democracy and civil rights in tandem with the expansion of police states and fascist control systems, and the massive spike in meat growth (principally due to omnivorous demands in China and India, the world’s two most populous nations), the global, systemic picture  — not visible to those living in the bubble of denial — doesn’t inspire hope, but sure ought to ignite rage and anger.

The clear implication is we have to do more, much more, not only educate, but demonstrate and agitate. We have  to build global resistance movements strong enough to match and exceed the power of transnational corporations, the WTO and IMF, the US imperialist state, and the military-industrial killing complex. We have to radically transform both psychological mindsets and social institutions; we have to end anthropocentrism, destroy speciesism, and transcend humanism; we must dismantle systems of hierarchical domination; and we must monkeywrench the machinery of global capitalism until it grinds to a halt.

Perhaps this is setting the bar too high, but most set it far too low, so low that we trip on the fallacies of liberal-individualism and  trumpet the most pathetic reforms granted to co-opt struggle such that, indeed, we rise and proclaim “victory!” In truth, I’m not overly confident humans are capable of meeting the challenge before us, and of creating the forces of Eros powerful enough to check the lethal effects of Thanatos that have prevailed in dominator cultures for the last ten thousand years.

But global resistance, radical liberation movements, and alliance politics are likely our only bet, and planting seeds surely is a losing strategy even if we can find some not yet owned and genetically modified by Monsanto. This patient  wait-and-hope approach might have had some charm or nobility in the time of Seneca, Socrates, or Buddha. But not in the 21st century of social collapse and biological meltdown, not in this era of  ecological crisis so advanced that scientists warn the window of opportunity to prevent irreversible devastation may be just a few years off.

And so, I suggest, instead of planting seeds, we need to plant bombs. We have to ignite and trigger explosive forces of anger, discontent, awareness, resistance and transformation, or we are going down the same road of extinction every human (Homo) ancestor went down, as we take most of life with us, and degrade every ecosystem before we go.

In the 1960s, Malcolm X framed the choice in terms of “bullets or the ballot box.” More than a half century later, immanent disaster at all levels demands that we raise similar critical choices once again, with far greater urgency: Do we watch and wait,  or act and attack; stay calm and seated or mobilize for war; dally in isolation or unite with armies of exploited, disaffected malcontents; plant seeds or plant “bombs.”

The answer lies in not in the works of Gandhi and King, not in the pundits and media manipulators, nor in the conditioned fear response of the voices around us, but in the objective conditions of crisis themselves, in the agony of the animals, and in the pain of the earth.

[The following is inspired by a Facebook thread dominated by denialists, fundamentalists, purists, and single-issue consumerists and isolationists.]

Many are missing a key point in the rush to absolve themselves and this weak movement of any flaws or imperfections, and to insist that veganism is not a religion, but is in fact its antithesis. Comforting, but wrong on many counts.

There are many criteria that constitute a full and viable definition of religion, and while veganism does not have them all, it meets too many criteria to an uncomfortable degree. Veganism, properly understood, is science, ethics, and anti-oppression politics. But this movement is chock full of fundamentalists and True Believers who think the Second Coming and World Salvation is going to happen in our lifetime, or even in 6 years according to one person! And that the spread of veganism somehow translates into revolutionary social change, if any attention is given at all to oppressive social structures.

It is like a religion in its cultism (Francione and his now dying flock of disciples); in its purism and holier-than-thou pontification that promotes a feeling of superiority to those you judge as impure and not as “enlightened” as you, and that have a deep need for simple answers to complex problems that vegans alone are NEVER going to solve as thinkers or activist! It is like a religion in the mass denialism of what SCIENTISTS are saying and warning, can’t have a little truth about the full extent of global crisis dent that smile and positive faith. It is like a religion in the daily announcements “we are winning!” when we are in are in fact losing badly (with accelerating climate change, overpopulation, species extinction, predatory capitalism, and the massive spike in meat consumption due to the modernization of the two largest countries in the world, China and India).

It is like a religion in its tiny bubble world. It is like a religion in brash preaching methods, where vegangelicals say:”Brother have you found Vegan? Do you have Vegan in your heart?” “Let me show you the way! – as if veganism is not the first but also the last word on knowledge, ethics, personal and social transformation.

It is like a religion in its isolation from society and other social movements, in its sectarianism, it is infighting, in its factionalism where split leads to sub-split. It is like a religion in that any vegan or otherwise who dares challenge the Masters, Gurus, and Groupthink are castigated, ostracized, demonized, called “pessimists” and “dangerous” and stoned with righteous wrath. It is like a religion in the recitation of “facts”  with no basis in reality (“every vegan saves 1,000 animals in their lifetime,” etc, when government surplus makes up the difference and the rising Tsunami tide of carnivorism negates the impact).

I used to always deny this charge too, and I took deep offense, and insisted, no, veganism is secular;  it is ethics, science, and politics. But increasingly I have seen the rise of cultism, purism, fundamentalism, Manichaeism, and Southern Baptist revival meetings take place daily on the Fakebook news feed. Not everyone needs the crutch of faith and is unable to examine criticism or other perspectives, or — imagine! — listen to the dire warnings of world scientists and social theorists. But enough live in a theological paradigm and narrative to justify rejecting the claim that veganism is not a religion. It is flat wrong to deny the alarming authoritarian, cultish, fundamentalist, fascist purism, Manichean, True Believer Syndrome rife in the global vegan movement. There is a pronounced tendency toward an inability to tolerate criticism and dissent, if only to make veganism a real, living, vital political and ecological force in this world, rather than an insular, marginalized, elitist, non-thinking, ahistorical and apolitical form of mass delusion.

And vegan compassion? Please, toward nonhuman animals, yes, but toward their fellow bipeds, they are as rude, petulant, mean-spirited, and outright vile and ugly as any other group of people. For clearly veganism does not change the basic personality structure, nor other facets of one’s life. I can cite you dozens of pages of petty, hateful, lies and false accusations I have received from “compassionate” fellow vegans in this “loving community,” and pacifists are the most aggressive and violent of them all. Vegans have no monopoly on any virtue whatsoever, and self-righteousness in fact makes them worse and more annoying and alienating people than before being their born again experience and conversion process.

As a vegan for 18 years and activist for 30, it pains me to say this,but  I care not whether this is popular, I don’t need the backslaps and faux Fakebook “friendships,” and I have come to this conclusion through long, painful, careful analysis and experience:  While CRUCIAL to a viable social and ecological future, veganism is riddled with philosophical flaws and tactical errors and needs to be completely rethought and rebuilt from bottom up, with all the orthodox “truths” and unquestioned assumptions discarded to reconstruct this molecular movement on a more solid basis that acknowledges our marginality, our impotence to effect significant change, the  justified contempt spat on us by leftist and progressive movement, the failure of vegan “education,” and the joke of vegan  outreach (to white privileged community only).

If you are purist, lifestyle-oriented, consumerist, apolitical, single-issue, uninvolved in other social issues and struggles, unwavering in your “faith” that “we will win,” don’t read scientific and ecological reports;  don’t study the social and ecological crisis unfolding throughout the world;  only read vegan literature, feel yourself morally superior to non-vegans (there are MANY criteria of being a good person and ethical citizen other than food choices);  and if you are offended or alienated by what I am saying, by any sort of constructive criticism and provocative challenge to your belief system and self-identity; and especially if you respond to me with insults, anger, and hatred, you are, my friend, a vegangelical, through and through, and there is no virtue in that whatsoever. Get thee to a nunnery.

Despite the clams of lifestyle vegans, veganism IS hard, it is NOT easy — that is, if  you are operating with a rich, manifold, and political concept of deep veganism rather than the facile, purist, lifestyle, single issue, color-by-numbers approach. No, on the whole, it is not hard to find and cook vegan food for many people, especially privileged whites or middle and upper classes of any type. But it IS hard to transcend the reduction of veganism to lifestyle issues, one-dimensional perspectives, groupthink, and comforting delusions, in favor of challenging study of a wide array of disciplines and issues, and a politics of resistance that seeks radical social transformation at the institutional level, rather than a lifestyle level with occasional and perfunctory efforts at “education.”

Veganism is hard, because of the intense challenge to break out of the prisonhouse of marginalization. It is a formidable task to address the larger issues of power, domination, and deep crisis; and to become part of a vital global alliance politics and resistance movement that alone has any chance  to stop our rapid descent into oblivion, as we take countless species with us and inflict untold damage to the planetary ecosystems that are already preparing their furies for us.

Thursday September 22:

El Paso to Frankfurt, Germany

Sunday September 25:

Vegan brunch talk, Theater Blauer Hirsch, Saarbrücken, Germany: “Losing the War We Have to Win: How to Actualize the Potential of Veganism for Radical Social Change”

Tuesday September 27:

Seminar lecture at University of Southern Denmark, Odense, 3 pm: “Everything You Know About Human Nature is Wrong: The Revolutionary Implications of Ethology and Postmodern Science”

Wednesday September 28:

Talk with activist communities, Frankfurt Germany, 7:30 pm: “Radical Abolitionism: Total Liberation by Any Means Necessary

Thursday September 29:

Lecture in Zagreb, Croatia: “Beyond Humanism: The Paradigm Shift of Animal Standpoint Theory” (Animal Friends of Croatia) (2008 lecture of Total Liberation and Moral Progress)

Friday September 30:

Everything You Know About Homo Sapiens is Wrong: The Revolutionary Implications of Cognitive Ethology

30 September · 16:00 – 17:00

University of Maribor, Slomškov trg 15, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia

RADICAL ABOLITIONISM: Total Liberation By Any Means Necessary

30 September · 18:00 – 19:30

Zavod Udarnik

Saturday/Sunday October 1-2:

Paris, France: Vegan Day Celebrations; talks with activist communities

Monday Oct 3:

Return flight, Paris to El Paso

I am very proud to join the faculty of the cutting-edge Kerulos Center, run by the amazing Gay Bradshaw (faculty profile) (home page of The Kerulos Center) (about Gay Bradshaw, PhD, PhD)

Please take the time to examine Gay’s groundbreaking work, explore the site, and support the Kerulos Center!

Given the controversy and furor this has caused among the True Believers, allow me to provide an interpretive tip: This piece is not about feline predators, it is about human hypocrites, the impossibility of being pure, contradiction-free, non-violent, and even “vegan.” Its about being honest. it’s against factionalism and vegan police whose focus in on flaws in lifestyle rather than contradictions in social structures that are producing increasingly deep and irreversible social and natural breakdown and catastrophe. It’s about dialectical embeddedness, existentialist paradox, and the “ethics of ambiguity” (De Beauvoir). Increasingly, veganism degenerates into a fascist, sanctimonious, elitist, consumerist, individualist, apolitical religion, fundamentalism, and form of Panglossian optimism, such that everyday a dozen Facebook warriors gleefully bring us the good tidings that “we are winning!” No, we are losing, losing and badly. We are living in mass denial, oblivious of scientific warnings to humanity, living in a fool’s paradise amidst this unique moment in history characterized by social collapse, the dramatic spike in meat consumption in China and India (the two most populous nations in the world vs. the less than one % of “vegans” in the US), climate change, mass extinction, and biological meltdown. It’s not about cats …

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