Open Menu; contribute as you will….


Muziris* rendered by artist Ajit Kumar


A few offerings:

Panic at the Guardian: ‘Amid Syrian chaos, Iran’s game plan emerges: a path to the Mediterranean; Militias controlled by Tehran are poised to complete a land corridor that would give Iran huge power in the region

“Yet among the militias’ backers in Iran there is little concern. Since their inception, the Shia irregulars have made their name on the battlefields of Iraq, but they have always been central to Tehran’s ambitions elsewhere. By not helping to retake Mosul, the militias are free to drive one of its most coveted projects – securing an arc of influence across Iraq and Syria that would end at the Mediterranean Sea.”

Tehran’s road to the sea
 (see here; I can’t grab the image, the stingies.)

Compare: Pepe Redux: ‘Why the New Silk Roads terrify Washington’, by Pepe Escobar

“Kazakhstan is even flirting with the ambitious idea of a Eurasian Canal from the Caspian to the Black Sea and then further on to the Mediterranean. Sooner or later Chinese construction companies will come up with a feasibility study.”

‘Economic ‘Recovery’ Feels Weak Because the Great Recession Hasn’t Really Ended’, the IMF foretells of vulnerable banks in US and EU while enabling unsustainable debt-leveraging, says economist Michael Hudsonm via TRNN       (the transcript and video)

Calling all eggheads: ‘Marxism and the Dialectics of Ecology’, by John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark, monthly review


alt Mt. Mushmore

76 responses to “Open Menu; contribute as you will….

  1. when i clicked on to the NYT about 5 pm today to see who else we are now at war with, their article “Only Hilary Can Save Us from the Apocalypse” had 666 comments. no j/k.

  2. courtesy of ‘Two Parties, One Machine’, by William Hawes

    “Instead, we might want to take heed from another sixties icon, Mario Savio:
    There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”

    • nice michelle obama looking therapist. and what a quote about steve jobs. not to kick a dead horse that we pummeled to death at tarzie’s, but i don’t think that will make it into the opera, (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. what a bunch of phonies ;)

      Fire devours in front of them,
      and behind them a flame burns.
      Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,
      but after them a desolate wilderness,
      and nothing escapes them-Joel 2:3

      they showed the “Alien” saga on AMC this weekend, the 1st movie being the only one w/any merit. Why are they out in space? They are miners, capitalist demon-seed spurted out into the rest of the cosmos to further the cycle of waste & consumption. And what they meet is themselves, or rather The Company, of which they are a part, theriomorphed, transformed into an animal. (“Let’s go over the bonus situation…you pay me some money i’ll be happy to do it…They wanted it [the alien] for their bio-weapons division…that goddamn Company!”) and the rest of the movies? more conversion of a gem of a movie into capitalist garbage. then, ugh, Alien vs Predator. what’s next, Aliens vs The Jedi?

      • she was a nurse or doc on one of the big hit medical shows; the scene is from a teevee series ‘mr. robot’ that sounds like a ‘fight the authors of our dystopia’. but what a scene; hawes had quoted elliot in his essay. i just watched ‘children of men’, a similar theme, how depressing it was.

        holy crow on the joel passage; how apropos and unknown to me. ‘alien’: is that the sigourney weaver one? nice trippin’ on the others, both apparently real, plus the imagined ones. i confess i never cared for the star wars films; i might be a minority of one, lol.

        • residual childhood nostalgia for Star Wars. i saw the recent S.W. flick back in 1977. “children of men”…boy howdy. is that a vision of the future or what? yes, alien, s. weaver. “ash is a goddam robot!”

  3. Metabolism is a term that is used to describe all chemical reactions involved in maintaining the living state of the cells and the organism.

    The “living state” of nature and society changes, as does it’s metabolism. Marx anticipated severe metabolic crises (leading to a terminal crisis?) under capitalism; his “[s]ocialism thus required that the associated producers rationally regulate the metabolism of nature and society.”

    The anticipation of a “metabolic rift” should have compelled us to regulation of our social metabolism BEFORE a critical rift occurred while under crapitalist dominion. Any counter that socialists are persuaded by it to delay until the “metabolic rift” is ridiculous.

    Moore says that capitalism produces “metabolic shifts”. Foster says that

    [capitalism’s] technological “solutions” are generally proposed and employed, such as carbon capture and sequestration, without actually addressing the systemic roots [… I]nsofar as capitalism is only able to shift such ecological contradictions around, it eventually creates a wider rift in the universal metabolism of nature, with effects far beyond the immediate processes of production

    The reason it widens the rift is it treats humans and nature as tools for accumulation. The capitalist pretends that his products only enhance the consumers’ well-being, but this is not his prime directive. Clearly the “metabolic shifts” are discriminatory and the capitalist is willing to sacrifice humans and nature to his god. They are also opportunities for further accumulation and, if they have no real solution in a crisis, they will sell a fraud. This is another mechanism by which capitalists escape the “commandments” of and deliverance by capitalist theology.

    ¡Basta! for now.

  4. I started Marxism and the Dialectics of Ecology and struggled along. At least the first part of it is based on an unstated formal theoretical structure that causes the author to burp up triads of concepts. In the midst of several paragraphs that merely stated the triads without grounding, it occurred to me that some idle graduate student could read this paper and Wendell Berry’s The Unsettling of America, a classic from 40 years ago in the early days of the environmental movement. And another could brush it up against some thorough history of the enclosures that marked in Britain the transition from feudalism to capitalism.

    Then I reached this: “bourgeois society’s extreme division between town and country.” Well, of course. The very word bourgeois is taken from those who dwell in towns. Whatever the class divisions were under feudalism, what happened with the rise of separately chartered towns created first trades, then banking and accounting, and then capitalist relationships that separated the non-capitalist country from the capitalist exurbs that were the extension of the town into the country. Country life in this sense was primarily subsistence farming by land-poor farmer; exurban agriculture was either plantation agriculture of export-crop agriculture raised by often the same subsistence farmers whose civilization was “country”. or “rural’. What has disappeared is that non-capitalistic subsistence as agriculture became agribusiness. But now it is reappearing in towns as “urban agriculture” and in local farmers markets that tend to operate as cooperatives and in myriad small proprietorship capitalist farms and local restaurants and some stores. And as Wendell Berry pointed out where agribusiness is anchored is in the agricultural universities that turn out agricultural experts who often have never farmed at all.

    I need to struggle with this article a little more to see what else might be there. WD, explain your intuitions about why it might be useful to those with the patience to puzzle through this academic piece. And why it wasn’t just more academic drivel.

    • thank you, egghead #2 for your diligence. first, i had no idea if t’were drivel or not, as i got lost early on, esp. since i’m unused to dialectics. some time ago, Axe/rax had brought a few interesting bits and bobs he said were from socialist ecology essays; they piqued my interest. third, just the notion of ‘the metabolism of nature’ pinged a lot of past and current readings for me, one being (long ago now) eisenstein’s ‘sacred economics’, as well as a few others who believed that all of the planet’s resources should be treated as ‘gifts’ not to be commodified, profitized, etc. (‘capitalized’ in the essay above)

      i got bogged down before i could read if the discussion included water, as well, because some interesting theories have emerged about that (one review on eisenstein’s page, included, plus the japanese man [on edit] masaru emoto (there are videos, too) showing (or not to detractors) that water has the sort of intelligence and being-ness that other life forms are increasingly seen as having, and is ‘persuadable’ by prayer thoughts. evo morales, remember, granted personhood to the environment, although there’s evidence that bolivia is disregarding that increasingly ;-)

      marx got what the attempts to ‘rebuild the soil’ were doing, but imagine if he lived when Monsanto, cargill, ruled big ag, and had seen that soil is not only depleted, but toxic and devoid of healthy bacteria, and the aquifers are suffering as much as the rivers and oceans. some of the concepts of ‘unintended consequences’ of genetic tinkering w. food i’ve forgotten as they were so new to me, but didn’t it amount to gene-jumping from species to species?

      i read berry far later than that early work; wish i’d read it at the time. and yes, city gardening, but i confess that i cringe when reading about gardening in empty lots: who knows what toxins lurk in the soil? cool on the etymology of ‘bourgeois’; i hadn’t thunk. ‘burgermeister’ for instance.

      • The current practice of urban agriculture assumes that all urban land is toxic and first puts down a layer of at least 2 feet of some sort of soil structure that will both seal of the underlying layer and be good soil for organic farming. Will Allen of Growing Power has been doing this extensively in Milwaukee and Chicago and setting up industrial routes for recyclables for composting. This comes pretty close to being state-of-the-art (in a practical sense). The natural waste from large-scale brewing goes into Growing Power’s composting units along with restaurant scraps and neighborhood composting pickup and aggregation. These operations are being duplicated in other places. There is a composting pick-up service in this area that organizes bike routes for kids and teens to pick up compost, which they arrange to have a station at a community garden. In return they get the compost that the community doesn’t use for other locations and other community gardens.

        At a meeting this last week, we were talking about rural water issues which went quickly to aquifer and groundwater issues, as well as the impact of urban and even small town land where residents are insulated by city water and sewer from the groundwater issues. What the political climate has done is make it very difficult to talk about the issues in which upstream neighbors (or over-the-aquifer neighbors) can affect downstream neighbors (or drawing-from-the-aquifer neighbors) and register any sense of collective responsibility or relationship through environmental processes. The downstream neighbors and drawing-from-the-aquifer neighbors is a different story; they know exactly who threatens their water sources.

        It is interesting to read how gift economies functioned within societies; they generally were are backhanded way of showing the status of wealth through the size of one’s generosity. And engendered gifting competitions or escalating reciprocity in order to compete for status.

        • that’s good news, and i hope many are following growing power’s model now; not o much in the past, at least according to photos i’d seen. but city farming evolution; good. i love the equivalent of the Baker Street Irregulars on bikes composting! last i’d looked, the ‘average’ USian eats just shy of a ton of food a year; fancy that. some is likely and sadly waste, but still…

          city gardens and ‘being insulated from groundwater/sewer issues’. but still, what’s in the water can be a yuge obstacle to organic gardening, can’t it? if i understand what you’re saying about the political side of drawing from downstream, down aquifers, yes indeed. nonquixote keeps pluggin’ away at that in his area. and what the EPA says ain’t always enforced. here, the mining/drilling concerns file on water that’s already been filed on, but they have the money to win in court, even so. what.a.system.

          yes, the wiki told some of that history; what i’d meant (and eisenstein, iirc) was more on this order, though there are likely many other thoughts on it. to me, it’s a bit of a hippie thing: sharing is good, and it always comes back to you. ;-) but yes: first nations, first americans and giveaways/potlatches, a bit of both styles and reasons, no?

  5. This concept is important:

    Capitalism is therefore an extreme form of dissipative system […] it maximizes the throughput of energy and resources [including the “vital forces” of humanity to extract surplus value and exhausts waste …] back into the environment.

    What is a dissipative system?

    A dissipative system is a thermodynamically open system which is operating out of, and often far from, thermodynamic equilibrium in an environment with which it exchanges energy and matter.

    My simple understanding is that capitalism seeks a high rate of evolution at the expense of resources. While capitalists pretend they will be able to evolve out of any predicament they get themselves into, the point of the above concept is that their ability to evolve is limited by the earth’s resources (and inputs – predominantly solar energy).

    So, their infinite adaptibility is a fraud. Of course, Elon Musk and Hawking’s response is that the human race must leave the planet (for the sake of capitalism). Surely much of the human race will have to (be) sacrifice for that.

    Besides all the material pollution of this race of the “most fit”, it’s cultural pollution will remain with us when most “racers” can only crawl. Then, the faith that “capitalism” benefits mankind is refined: capitalism benefits the only the “fit” while those being eliminated are prepared to believe they are only being retrained.

    • thanks again, comrade. not grokking ‘thermodynamic equilibrium’, i tried the wiki; nope, too far over my head. but i agree that capitalists think they can mitigate what they’ve ruined to a certain extent, but have so little regard for the gifts and actual ‘life force’ within the natural world. silly example, but when we used to go do sweats w/ native americans, some would say that a rock could only be heated (and used in the lodge’s pit) once, as after that, the spirit of the rock was…no longer there, but in the very atmosphere.

      to me, part of the capitalist fraud w/ climate change ‘solutions’ comes with those O, so sustainable forms of energy production, never mind the insane external costs. ‘just replace your gas car w/ an electric one, problem solved!’ (i actually saw a smart anticapitalist blogger write recently. er…not to mention more consumption for the comfortable class, but 80% of the US’s carbon footprint is the military and factory farming, no?

      and why do the big climate heroes never say: “quit wanting and consuming so much shit!”?

      • A system in “thermodynamic equilibrium” roughly means that its combined (not additively) net imports of entropy (“disorder”) and energy are zero. Living systems are out of thermodynamic equilibrium as they import “order” and energy:

        solar energy is converted into the necessary useful work […] to maintain the plant in its complex, high-energy configuration by a complicated process called photosynthesis. Mass, such as water and carbon dioxide, also flows through plants, providing necessary raw materials, but not energy. In collecting and storing useful energy, plants serve the entire biological world.

        For animals, energy flow through the system is provided by eating high energy biomass, either plant or animal. The breaking down of this energy-rich biomass, and the subsequent oxidation of part of it (e.g., carbohydrates), provides a continuous source of energy as well as raw materials. If plants are deprived of sunlight or animals of food, dissipation within the system will surely bring death. Maintenance of the complex, high-energy condition associated with life is not possible apart from a continuous source of energy

        Bellamy Foster essentially says that capitalism is extremely (most far?) out of thermodynamic equilibrium because it consumes the Earth’s stored organic energy and excretes inorganic disorder (waste).

        • why didn’t they just say that???? no, really, thank you for the elegantly simple explanation…save for: animal manure IS organic, and now often laden with deleterious bacteria and in CAFOs, often sprayed raw onto ag fields with hideous b’owback what’s fed and administered to livestock. now superbugs have become part of the equation; how creepy is that? lots of pigs are imported to britain now…apparently laden with either MRSA or other worse bugs.

          but thank you so much, Axeish/Raxish.

  6. So, Marx argued that capitalism’s consumption outstrips nature’s production and that this is very much due to the non-valuation of natural resources. Moore argues that capitalists’ product can substitute for nature’s but that’s “natural”. Perhaps such sophistry Marx did not anticipate.

    Still, Moore’s claim is limited by natural resources and processes that we can’t replace and supplant, respectively. And even when capitalism does assign value to natural resources, it’s exploitation-logic remains as it “strives” for sustainability (and returns to feudalism?)

    Perhaps we’re too deluded by our virtual world to recognize that Marx’s metabolic rift remains correct even with advanced capitalist technologies. Might that delusion be a purpose of our virtual world?

  7. is the instinct of the meth addict a sign of “spiritual” health or of decay? the antidote to the addict in our society is to make them a “functioning” member who’s constantly in recovery and thus an object of experimentation. what if their addiction is unconscious rebellion against a prescribed social function? and the “healthy” addict is one whose rebellion has become conscious?

    i don’t think any of that tho’t is original to me, but there’s some hand-wringing & wrinkled-brow making in the press over why US kids are so fat, etc., and there are so many addicts. oh gawd, we need another mental health initiative.

    uh, could it be b/c the plebeians are the internal enemy? the obesity/addiction industries exist to stupefy the masses? the imperial state always has also an internal enemy, usually the large slave population (think Spartacus, the antebellum South, the Spartans & their helots), whose forced labor allows resource expenditure in external warfare. the hyper-exploited laborer is always viewed as an internal threat.

    Well, well, well, obesity in the US is now a “national security threat.” the mechanisms of suppression/control of the masses are now viewed as inimical to Uncle Sam’s imperialist objectives. How will the US walk that tightrope of producing enough soldiers while not impinging on Coke’s & McDonald’s profit-taking from stupefaction of the masses?

    National Service & trade deals to export Coke & McDonald’s and the like, just like tobacco.

    these are not the only options, we swim in Manichaeanism, but is it better to be a fat diabetic amputee slurping a Big Gulp fantasizing about the Price is Right? or to live the “iphone” dream & be a Steve Jobs who enables the fat diabetic amputee to fantasize about the Price is Right from the comfort of his dialysis machine? unconscious rebellion vs. conscious hyper-exploitation?

    • there’s a lot to unpack here, amigo, worthy of a far longer discussion than the time i have right now. first, did you mean ‘obesity/addiction industries’ or ‘anti- both’ industries? why did you choose meth addiction, rather than the current flip-out of ‘prescription opiates’ (i forget the trade names, but rush limburger ones; yves smith did a whole rather baffling to me post on it). and you seem to be conflating ‘fat’ w ‘addictions’, unless i’m misinterpreting/misreading again.

      many drugs offer temporary relief from the life pain one is in, no, as in: i don’t like the way i feel while unmedicated? not knowing/not feeling: the blue pill pushed to an extreme? by the by, where is our free soma? how sily our rulers are, save for the protestant ethic of: suffering is good, as well as…instructive?

      not fat soldiers as a nat sec emergency, i thought you’d been jesting but yes, it turns out that in 2014 some ‘rear’ (ha) admirals were complaining that 25% of cannon fodder age were too fat to serve, and that in the military already, 61% were obese. they seem to have changed some of the military and police standards to accommodate shorter, heavier, but no matter. also: one felony might just be permitted…. and the ‘rear’ admirals called for more to join ‘the healthier generation Org!!

      but being overweight can also be directly attributed to malnutrition, not just calorie consumption, as well as class: including: healthy food deserts, waaay too many starches (sugars) that fill one’s belly and provide scant nutritive value, foods laden with corn syrup, even canned soups for cripessake, and of course: GMOs, some of which bugger w/good gut bacteria, esp. given that almost all usa corn is full of bT and makes little pesticide factories in one’s gut. factory farmed anti-food, yes, not to mention that the dead soil good bacteria and nutrients don’t make it into the crop. and yes, this is the fattest nation on earth last i’d looked.

      but sure, mental health initiatives now likely mention: ‘depressed w/ suicidal ideation? oppositional defiant disorder? there’s a pill for that!’ and yeah, some mental health disorders are helped by meds thru trial and error, but some of the hardest (say schizophrenic) patients hate taking them and feeling like ghosts of their former selves. and few shrinks do talk therapy any more, in any event, and if they do: hola, the prices they charge! ’bout like attorneys. ;-)

      but what you’re asking is an addict’s or over-eater’s adaptation a natural response to the insanity of life in this zeitgeist? maybe.

      ‘unconscious rebellion vs. conscious hyper-exploitation?’ hmmmm.

      anyhoo, i gotta get to chores; i spent a long time on the phone w/ fambly just now. more crises, so powerless to actually help. dammit.

      • lazy writing on my part. “meth addiction” as a metonym for all kinds of drug addiction, incl. alcohol. (but prescription opioids? srsly? rich people & their problems ;) and i meant to suggest the strategies of population control, specifically “scientific diets” like McDonald’s, Pepsi, GMO’s, etc.,
        whose experiments render everyone unfit even for rendering in a hog fat plant, these strategies conflict w/the need for cannon fodder. the “internal enemy” is too fat & diabetic to fight an Long War but the ever-expanding battle of the bulge. (Paging Major Groan.)
        “Michelle Obama raised eyebrows by stressing that childhood obesity is not just a public health issue but a “national security threat,” since one in four young Americans is too overweight to serve in the military.” fat kids, here’s our national Tiger Mom. don’t let her gorge herself & our nation on your Wendy’s blubber! stay on the couch w/your Pay Day candy bars & Bazooka Joe bubblegum & enjoy the thrill of killing stuff from your Xbox. The more massive you are, the more attractive you are to the Universe. And parents, don’t let the national school marm tell you how to raise your precious Fatty Boo Boo’s.

        • ya did manage to get me laffin’ w/ your wee rant, jason. ooof; it was flotus who’d declared that emergency? well, iirc, she got her program, but sadly the funding was taken from some other program that hurt some underclass safety net program, though i forget which. i don’t think that obesity as a planned conspiracy makes it, unless endless food profiteering and ownership can be counted. but as for the obese diabetics adapting to the zeitgeist? guess i don’t think so. that all hurts, while self-medicating does the opposite, no? but i saved this for you:

          • in vast swaths of this country, the only place you can expend your miserly SNAP benefits are at truck stops, 7-11 type stores, gas stations w/3 kinds of (canned) vegetables, meat, grains, etc. that’s not an accident. SPAM! get your salt & nitrate intake for the year at a low, low price.

            neither is our collective ignorance about food an accident. when the goddam weight watchers participants don’t realize how awful the same salt & nitrates are in their low-cal processed “healthier” foods, that ain’t an accident.

            ok, being obese/diabetic as an act of rebellion is a bit of a stretch. but people do become obese thru “comfort” foods. and beer. and being a lard ass subject to one’s own food addictions is preferable to being conscious & healthy. food ownership & profiteering is directed toward very specific ends (immobility), except for the whole foods shopping managerial class who have to have mashed yeast & wheat germ ginko balboa smoothies so they can optimally perform for the boss & be someone respectable.

            anyway…i never tho’t i’d say enough to twinkies, but enuff.

  8. allow me to add this gem from robert parry: ‘Key Neocon Calls on US to Oust Putin’

    and yes, the neocon is none other than the only head of NED, or democracy for some™, not all. the public budget seems picayune, and likely not so, imo.

    another essay there about applying tolstoy to the rush for war might be worth reading as well. (anna karenina, not ‘war and peace’.) (smile)

  9. Bellamy sees an “intent to derail the ecological Marxism associated with the ecosocialist movement, especially its materialist dialectic, by exalting capitalism […] as constitutive of the web of life itself.” The development of this philosopy “reinforced an idealist, subject-object dialectic confined to humanity, the human world, and the human-historical sciences.” In other words, humanity is the only species able to manipulate evolution (and only a few humans do so.)

    The priests of capital dubiously profess that humans are the sui generis manipulators (and products) of evolution. God-namers do not relent.


    [a] dialectical thinker would turn their sights to the processes that constitute […] cities, processes such as migration into and out of cities, or the growth of neoliberalism in both the US and Britain. Cities are then considered not as discrete things but as complexes of processes. [David] Harvey’s way of thinking questions whether we can consider a city without taking its context into account. To look at immigration into cities we also need to understand what is happening in the places outside the city where immigrants come from. But it also draws attention to the similarities between cities—so immigration in both London and New York might affect both in similar ways. Harvey’s dialectical approach turns our common sense way of thinking on its head. He is effectively saying that there is no such thing as a “thing”. What we think of as solid objects are actually made up of processes. Different processes can come together temporarily to produce things but these are always transitory. Things are always in the process of being created or destroyed […]

    The dialectic of nature was further elaborated by dialectical thinkers:

    In 1985 Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin published a collection of essays entitled The Dialectical Biologist. Both were […] distinguished biology professors at Harvard in the US. […] they argue that they had adopted [dialectics] as a method and incorporated it into their practice as biologists. The book was dedicated to Engels, who “got it wrong a lot of the time but got it right where it mattered”.
    [O]ne of the most innovative lines of reasoning Levins and Lewontin develop is what they refer to as the idea of the organism as both subject and object of evolution. Lewontin in particular points out that classical approaches within evolutionary biology have viewed organisms as the passive objects of forces beyond their control. […] Where classical Darwinists see organisms as responding to forces acting on them from the outside, genetic determinists […] argue that plants and animals respond to internal forces originating from their genes. […] Levins and Lewontin argue that such approaches ignore the role that the organism itself plays in its own evolution.

    This key concept of the organism’s “acting” upon it own evolution is an insight into consciousness AND it’s abuse. A society which perpetuates fraud very likely will lead itself into an organizational dead-end. Those primarily in control of the society’s evolution pretend that their cleverness will always provide escape through bottlenecks (perhaps they have no alternative). Their mis-valuation of that which they control feeds their hubris.

    • i got a bit lost in your first graphs, but i can totally applaud levins and lewontin for understanding that an organism can act on it’s own evolution is trippy, but key, i think, and no, there seems to be no escape in the plans of the few. not having been schooled, or rather having schooled myself early in anticapitalism, it was when i covered the g-20 sustainability conference in rio and understood from the many indigenous tribes from the global south who’d caravaned there to participate (no, they weren’t permitted) what a train-wreck the de facto rules of capitalism amounted to for the planet.

      over and over their various statements spoke of it in very earnest, far-seeing, and experiential terms. and there was always, of course, an inherent spirituality of Life! permeating it all. as with the ‘cochabamba accords and the rights of mother earth’, and others. glorious and furious words. thank you again.

  10. jacobin has been sustaining some major hits in the twittersphere recently, partially for promoting the ‘peace in syria is war’ (no fly zone, etc.) but look, and please compare: ‘Chicago Teachers Win More School Funding Without a Strike’; Jacobin’s Micah Uetricht explains why the concessions won by the teachers are credit to its militant leadership and why the union’s democratic nature might spur some teachers to reject the deal, at trnn

    ‘Chicago teachers denounce contract sellout’ by Kristina Betinis, 12 October 2016

    “Late Monday night, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) announced a tentative four-year agreement with the Democratic administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Immediately teachers and parents took to social media to denounce the contract terms as well as city and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials and the CTU, which took nearly two years in behind-the-scenes negotiations to produce the concessions contract. Plans to put the current agreement before teachers for a vote have not yet been announced.”

    bonus: ;-)

    • How about “Bernie’s Whipped Chocolate Gravel”.

    • Ya need allies in addition to militants.

      UETRICHT: The teacher I spoke with earlier today was concerned that they had not won as much as they could have on some of the big picture issues about reversing austerity, wanting to end some of the disparities in special education funding.

      Austerity is a global campaign. The CTU needs vast alliances.

  11. Whoman gods then rationalize that since we are the only organisms capable of directing evolution, we have been created to reinvent natural evolution.

    […] leading left geographer Neil Smith refers to capitalism’s “real subsumption of nature all the way down.” He writes: “Nature is nothing if not social.” Social scientists, he contends, should therefore reject natural science’s idolatry of the “so-called laws of nature” and decry the “left apocalypticism” and “fetishism of nature” identified with the environmental movement.

    In this theology, capitalism is the salvation of life; the purveyors of “metabolic rift” and co-terrorists natural scientists and radical ecologists become doomsayers. The theology’s sooth[e]sayers claim they have the capacity to engineer nature itself:

    [Jason Moore triumphantly] contends that “capitalism internalizes—however partially—the relations of the biosphere,” while the forces of capital construct and configure “the biosphere’s internalization of capitalism’s process” [… and that humans will divide and conquer “extra-human nature” (having already divided and conquered human nature.)]

    With all successor religions, some faithful revamp prior history. Here, some cast Marx’s analysis of the relation between humanity and nature as an erroneous conflict between capitalism and nature. In their scheme, Marx failed to see that capitalism was the incipient successor to “socionature”. Some even cast the social as the primordial motor of evolution and thus the social relations under capitalism as it’s consummation. All Hail Our New Lords’ Order.

    For some, like “anti-left” Bruno Latour, an anachronistic environmentalism is superseded as their environment is swallowed by capitalism. Moreover, their “environmental concerns are themselves problematic”.

    Moore traduces thermodynamics, claiming nature can violate the second law (and globally increase “order”) and that human society could too (if it only had the right logic).
    I have been baffled by Jason Moore’s presentations in which he belabors his thesis that humans are part of nature. He did not make these implications clear; it appears he was trick-preaching, not arguing.

    • yayuss. see the OP above: “Panic at the Guardian: ‘Amid Syrian chaos, Iran’s game plan emerges: a path to the Mediterranean; Militias controlled by Tehran are poised to complete a land corridor that would give Iran huge power in the region

      “Yet among the militias’ backers in Iran there is little concern. Since their inception, the Shia irregulars have made their name on the battlefields of Iraq, but they have always been central to Tehran’s ambitions elsewhere. By not helping to retake Mosul, the militias are free to drive one of its most coveted projects – securing an arc of influence across Iraq and Syria that would end at the Mediterranean Sea.”
      Compare: Pepe Redux: ‘Why the New Silk Roads terrify Washington’, by Pepe Escobar

      i’ve had a bit of a physical mishap; i’m sure it will be sorted out by tomorrow. until then, talk among yourselves , if you will. sleep well, dream well as you’re able. a fave:

  12. [Astronaut Edgar] Mitchell astutely realized that the re-dating of the Great Sphinx not only questions the traditional scenario for the origins of civilization, but also the standard Neo-Darwinian paradigm. This was a subject central to his thinking and research during his post-Apollo years. Darwinian evolution is based on random mutations acted upon by the environment. In Mitchell’s opinion, this is incorrect. He marshaled evidence and theory to support the conclusion “that evolution in general is driven by a learning feedback loop with the environment, rather than by random mutations” (Mitchell, “Nature’s Mind: The Quantum Hologram,” undated [circa 1998]).

    The quickest to evolve pretend they are the favored. “If contingency played little part in how history turned out, if the present was inevitable, then it makes little sense to challenge the status quo.”

    {Stephen Jay] Gould often noted, in his examination of the history of science, that many metaphysical interpretations of nature remain unchanged even when the scientific understanding of the relevant phenomena fundamentally changes. This persistence in interpretation despite radical change in evidence suggests a cultural bias rather than a logical inference from the facts of nature.

    For example, [Alfred Russel Wallace …] examined the physical structure of the earth, solar system, and universe and concluded that if any part had been built ever so slightly differently, conscious life could not have arisen. Therefore, intelligence must have designed the universe….[…] The central fallacy of this newly touted but historically moth-eaten argument lies in the nature of history itself. Any complex historical outcome—intelligent life on earth, for example—represents a summation of improbabilities and becomes thereby absurdly unlikely. But something has to happen, even if any particular “something” must stun us by its improbability.

    For those racing to supremacy, their own improbability is no reason to pace themselves. One wonders if the phantasm of Armageddon is just a symbol for their willingness to have the world destroyed should they be.

    Should human consciousness worship in the house of learning or that of conquest?

  13. 4:30 PM WPR News — Michele Obama stressed over this issue and questioning how could we maintain our moral authority in the world with a Donald Trump (sexual predator) in the White House.

    OMG!!! LOL!!!!

  14. just as a side note, when i clicked into this thread last night and got the banner of the luscious pink bleeding hearts, and realizing that this thread was almost entirely about maxist/socialist ecology, including postulates concerning biological forms directing their own evolution w/ something at least akin to intelligence…that no one hear ever remarks on the banners at the top of each click into the site.

    they are all plants we grew, or wing-ed and four-leggeds that we’ve built a sanctuary here in our (albeit large) yard, and i’ve photographed both to be
    let others enjoy, and to be able to study up close.

    in other words: what the fook is wrong you great idjits, anyway???
    (end rant; continue what you were doing.) ;-)

    • Was reviewing a program about tree communities, sharing sunlight between mature trees and “mother,” trees limiting sunlight to seedlings to slow their initial growth for the first few years, which helped the youngsters develop the strong early wood that saw them into long healthy lives. Recall reading the Findhorn books back in the early 70’s.

      Just saw you comment from yesterday, physical mishap? Hoping nothing serious. Almost put my foot in my mouth last week, but avoided catastrophe. ;^)

      • Findhorn! devas! alas, no devas in our crap (thru no fault of our own) garden this year. if that’s so, that’s smart, though. adventitious trees, or others? we have so many of the former here by now, but had to have sawyers in to cut an entire row of what turned out to be (not as advertised) lombardi poplars…to save the expense for our chirren later).

        what would have been ‘putting yer foot in yer mouth last week’? thanks, though, for inquiring. hope it’s not cuz you don’t wanna be one of the ‘great idjits here! (yes, j/k.)

        ah, i took another fall, tore some more cartilage, back on a crutch for the nonce again; doin’ all the unguents and potions including cbd oil and all. mr wd wondered before he left for work, could he do anything to help before he left? yeah, how ’bout an el kabong of a mallet to the head? yanno, the moar permanent solution…

        on edit: i’d forgotten to mention the (cough, splutter) ‘glass half full’ part: at least over the past few days i’d gotten this sluttish house mucked out over two days, allowing me to do some extras, and preparing enuff food for the next few days, and i won’t be tithing it to ‘others in need’ cuz: we need it now.

  15. I gave Marxism and the Dialectics of Ecology another try and came to the conclusion that the point was buried at the end and never really introduced:

    Within Marx’s critique of capital and alienated metabolism resides the affirmative conception of metabolic restoration—a non-alienated social metabolism that operates within the “everlasting nature-imposed condition of human existence.” Metabolic restoration necessitates confrontation with “the social antagonism between private property and labor,” in order to uproot the alienation associated with the system of capital. Such materialist grounding helps facilitate a complex, dynamic analysis, informing how productive activities can be managed in relation to the larger biophysical world. As critical realist Roy Bhaskar wrote, “we survive as a species only insofar as second nature respects the overriding constraints imposed upon it by first nature. From this nature, although it is always historically mediated, we can never, nor will ever, escape.

    Already in the nineteenth century, Engels stressed that “freedom does not consist in the dream of independence from natural laws, but in the knowledge of these laws.” In fact, “real human freedom” requires living “an existence in harmony with the laws of nature that have become known.’ A sustainable, co-evolutionary ecology requires that the associated producers rationally regulate the social metabolism of nature and society, in the service of advancing human potential. It is this that constitutes Marx’s most developed, most revolutionary definition of socialism.

    Southern Dragon often made the point that Marx did such an exhaustive dissection of Capital that the ideas behind what succeeded capitalism were not developed more than as polemics. No doubt there is a matter of experimentation required to get successor ideas workable and restraint in theoretical imagining goes to the point that something that dialectically evolved from successive states of material conditions often precedes instead of follows the ideas that explain it; certainly capitalism and feudalism before it did.

    So it is now permissable for high-thinking Marxian thinkers to incorporate ecological concerns into their critical thought. Not exactly something Lenin or Mao were focused on, but yes there was a sense in which Marx understood that nature was not unlimited either as a resource or an “away”. And in retrospect, the way that capitalism counts commodities and their factors counts primarily the cost of the labor of extraction, the labor of production, the labor or disposal or recycling. But it has no accounting sense of the value of the resource metabolically for life or for social life nor of the value of the “away” to which “waste” is disposed. Even Triple Bottom Line accounting has to strain to make the ideas of social value and ecological value fit into a chart of accounts that can relate transactions to some broad social impact. That fundamental difficulty of relating nature, society, and value is my sense of what metabolic rift is fundamentally about.

    Commodification, the turning of nature or a social production into a commodity, Hernando de Soto’s “Mystery of Capital”, is at the basis of this rift. Soil becomes land becomes real estate through measurement and registration in official books that allow it to be treated as an asset and borrowed against for other endeavors. If those other endeavors be machinery to till land to produce an income and if the global or local market situation is such that you can pay off that borrowing and have money to extend operations, you see the mystery of capital that so fascinated those mapping out the wealth of nations.

    There is not in accounting the signals for the manager to replenish the land or not degrade the people who labor. The metaphor of stripmining applies in almost every economic action. And the metaphor of residual entropy is the excuse for deliberate disorder and wastefulness. There is no analysis that says that damming the Colorado River and letting stripmining agriculture wastefully use the water to grow crops in a desert that quickly can salt over the soils does not make sense, either rational sense or common sense. It just allows expoitation and monetizing a pubic investment in civil engineering of dams, canals, and water pipes into private hands. And rapidly undercuts the material ability to continue production. That is the metabolic rift.

    Or that’s the way I read the practical import of the article.

    • bless your heart for reading thru to the end, número dos del Señor. Cerebrito. i’ll have to read it later, and doncha just love my banners? ;-)

    • restraint in theoretical imagining [is appropriate since] something that dialectically evolved from successive states of material conditions often precedes instead of follows the ideas that explain it; certainly capitalism and feudalism before it did.

      Yes, well, I doubt there’s much interest in dialectical engineering. But the capitalists’ Market-god is supposed to optimize it’s theoretical imaginings – to the point that its prediction error is random. This is of course a fraud. Capitalist engineers foist the cost of their “errors” on proles. This should be seen as a symptom of a social-metabolic disease. Indeed, prole complaints about corruption and greed hardly alter the behavior of capitalist engineers.

      Whereas you conclude that the “fundamental difficulty of relating nature, society, and value is my sense of what metabolic rift is”, the essay stated otherwise:

      Metabolic restoration necessitates confrontation with “the social antagonism between private property and labor,” in order to uproot the alienation associated with the system of capital.

      The conquest of “nations” is the wealth of “nations”. The exception ingrained in the euro-anglo-colonies is nested in capital’s alienation.

      The too-long essay refrained from pointing out that the metabolic rift with nature includes a metabolic rift with human’s nature. Just as the Capital-god would ruthlessly optimize natural production, so it would ruthlessly “optimize” humanity. A line of argument that should be pursued is an illustration of the symptoms of the capitalists’ metabolic rift in human society. That would also have been too provocative for the purpose of this essay.

      • Sorry that I try to relate the abstract terminology to something a little more concrete and try to unpack exactly how the arguments of capitalism’s defenders run awry.

        Yes, well, I doubt there’s much interest in dialectical engineering. But the capitalists’ Market-god is supposed to optimize it’s theoretical imaginings – to the point that its prediction error is random. This is of course a fraud. Capitalist engineers foist the cost of their “errors” on proles. This should be seen as a symptom of a social-metabolic disease. Indeed, prole complaints about corruption and greed hardly alter the behavior of capitalist engineers.

        Not all of us have spent the long hours polishing our Marxian or Marxist eyeglasses. An example would help ground the abstraction that this paragraph is making in what I suspect is a bit of a jest. What the believers in capitalism’s market -god never grasp about that market-god is that the pure and spotless competitive market ensures that profits go to zero. Thus most business activity has to do with how to rig that market game to their advantage. And, yes, the easiest way to rig it is theft from workers even beyond that which the workers under need of a job concede.

        I am not exactly clear who you mean as “capitalist engineers” — the economists who claim to “engineer” the economy or the folks whose occupational title is “engineer” of one type or another who are responsible for the extraction from nature, wasting of nature, extraction of labor (the “industrial engineers”), wasting of labor.

        Whereas you conclude that the “fundamental difficulty of relating nature, society, and value is my sense of what metabolic rift is”, the essay stated otherwise:

        Metabolic restoration necessitates confrontation with “the social antagonism between private property and labor,” in order to uproot the alienation associated with the system of capital.

        And what exactly is the antagonism between private property and labor than a fundamental difficulty of relating nature (privatisation of property, especially as described by Hernando de Soto) and society (labor, the alienation as described by Marx) and the value ascribed to them in the operation under capitalism.

        How is the inverse of metabolic restoration in the article not the metabolic rift in question? I bring up Hernando de Soto because The Mystery of Capital describes a plan for the alienation of nature into private property and the governmental and business mechanisms required to carry it out. As if the Northwest Ordinance in early US history had not already told how to do that.

        The conquest of “nations” is the wealth of “nations”. The exception ingrained in the euro-anglo-colonies is nested in capital’s alienation.

        My reading of this focuses on the words “capital’s alienation” as if there was ever a possibility for unalienated capital. Yes, what lords of the manor (to use the British case) did to nature and local society, merchants, plantation owners, bankers, and industrialists did to capital. And extended it totally into the rest of society. (Well, there are some resistant areas yet.)

        A second point is to examine what exactly about nations the conquest of nations conquers. The competition for resources is much too simplistic for a type of total action against another society. What exactly was the supposed “competition for markets” about than who would get to create which consumers with which tastes and demanding which goods and services driven by whose advertising. Imposition of the entire capitalist catastrophe on then-subsistence, then-feudal, or barely capitalist societies.

        Your statement is correct but says too little in order to once again use the careful and precious term alienation.

        Just as the Capital-god would ruthlessly optimize natural production, so it would ruthlessly “optimize” humanity. A line of argument that should be pursued is an illustration of the symptoms of the capitalists’ metabolic rift in human society. That would also have been too provocative for the purpose of this essay.

        I notice you accuse the authors of pulling punches. Interesting.

        Yes, “inefficiency” is supposed to be the discussion-stopper for orthodox economists. The back-up logic is Malthus; without efficiency, eventually people will starve, won’t they? The arguments do sometimes get that crude.

        By “ruthlessly optimize humanity”, I take you to be referring either to the increasing rationalization for speed and accuracy of industrial processes and supply chains and the human beings who are time-and-motion-studied to robotic movements, the increasing robotization of industrial plants, the cybernetic application of artificial intelligence to an “internet of things”, Kurzweill’s apotheosis of this process as a singularity, or any or all of these. Or you mean the second coming of a eugenics movement. Yes, all of these are implicit in current global capitalistic culture.

        • No jest. Not much of an abstraction either. 2007-8 and the subsequent failure to prosecute or police bubble-making should come to mind immediately as an example of crapitalist fraud and its true purpose. Furthermore, the professors of the market-god are not guilty of omitting that “pure and spotless competitive market ensures that profits go to zero”. No. Innovation is their claimed trump card for maintaining profit. That is also a fraud. Fraud innovation is their trump card; it snares even smart compradors.

          As to capitalist-engineers: the concept of “the market” is a crapitalist subversion of “the dialectic”. It is supposed to optimally “analyze” the opportunities for welfare (according to crapitalists all market exchanges improve the traders’ wealth). Elite capitalists do not believe this; they rig the market. They thus go beyond the perfect predictions of the market to implement their own plans. Cryptic design and control techniques are used to engineer the society in capitalists’ interest but this power is masked with myth of “the market”.The occupational engineers are mostly driven to be compradors (if not true believers).

          As to “fundamental difficulty …”: “the antagonism between private property and labor” is not a fundamental difficulty (of some sort), it is a conflict essential to crapitalism. Second, “fundamental difficulty”: implies that there is a solution that can only be arrived at with difficulty; i.e. that an escape is non-obvious. That feeds the illusion that crapitalists are only having difficulty finding a solution to their offensive.

          As to “capital’s alienation”: Bellamy-Foster is the one less precisely using “alienation” in “alienation associated with the system of capital.” “Alienation comprised by the system of capital” would be more accurate. My statement is only allusive, to be sure, so I will rephrase: The prejudice of exceptionalism in Western culture is based on the alienation inherent in capitalism.

          Of course the authors pulled punches. Scholars do that; they only try those they think land well and they don’t go after more opponents than they think they can manage.

          As to “optimize humanity”: I mean eugenics and elimination is probable but I also mean that humanity would be optimized behaviorally e.g. for green capitalism. Good consumers could be good producers as well but, if producers must be idled, it’s better to make them occupational consumers. A crapitalist lobotomy is also a lower risk pacification.

          • The prejudice of exceptionalism in Western culture is based on the alienation inherent in capitalism.

            So it is all of modern Western culture (i.e. arising as capitalism arose) that perceives itself as exceptional. And projects that self-perception on all civilizational cultures as a universal feature, which creates the delusion that self-justifies Western imperialism?

            As to “fundamental difficulty …”: “the antagonism between private property and labor” is not a fundamental difficulty (of some sort), it is a conflict essential to crapitalism. Second, “fundamental difficulty”: implies that there is a solution that can only be arrived at with difficulty; i.e. that an escape is non-obvious. That feeds the illusion that crapitalists are only having difficulty finding a solution to their offensive.

            The antagonism is between the societally-blessed holders of certain private property (the means of employment from the perspective of labor, the means of production from the perspective of the economy) and labor. That conflict is over the distribution of the surplus. The fundamental difficulty of crapitalism is that there is no way to paper over that conflict through mysteries of capital (the state blesses a process for designating property owners and recording those beneficences, from which one can secure loans) or blaming the worker (the delusion that better job-seeking skills and more education will create full employment one worker at a time). Of course the idea of a solution through these mystifications is a delusion, the most frequently offered one.

            The further difficulty is that unregulated capitalism destroys its economy (and much more of society and nature if allowed to limp along with the rigging of the sharpies who realize that deregulated markets that are competitive mean zero profits and outright theft doesn’t).

            If workers are to be idled, it is best to make occupational consumers of them and put the full pressure of the total population on its resources. That is the implication of that preference, is it not? Under the illusion of the automatism of the market.

            • projects that self-perception on all civilizational cultures as a universal feature, which creates the delusion that self-justifies Western imperialism?

              Very interesting that you’ve encrypted a neocon maxim in ridicule (achieved by twisting my statement). Neocons evoke the modern elite fear (masses do not just resent them, they legitimately want revenge) with the motivation that all mankind wants to be exceptional so their job as the final exception is prevent the more brutal exception. Be the judicious world policeman as they would say.

              This intellectual philo-warfare (you know about the military philosophers, comrade?) spread through crapitalism in decline makes it spastic and delirious. Perhaps you have the antibodies?

              It strikes me that the conflict between the propertied and labor is not a “difficulty” and your resolution of capitalist value is not fundamental. Also, the essay does not indict “unregulated capitalism” for the metabolic rift. In fact, the essay attacks those who theorize a neo-capitalism that will optimize earth’s “socio-natural” metabolism.

              If “deregulated markets that are competitive mean zero profits” then regulation means the allocation of profit. Clearly, the magicians want to keep the allocation of property out of prole hands; the market-mystification is verily one of their tricks. AND when the profit-motor grows sluggish, they dread regulation. Crapitalists are cognizant of this instability. They choose more barbaric measures to shock proles back to conformity. Didn’t Marx’s exhaustive dissection show the conceptual necessity of devastation, the metabolic rift being the outcome of crapital’s war on nature-nature?

              I believe an underlying difficulty you’re having here is you’re recalling worn liberal stances. In the cold war, American liberalism achieved preeminence, casting its centrism as superior. Without the “communist” threat, it lost its balance. The attack from the right against the overweening state took hold while Amurka’s crapitalist state metastasized; thus initiating a domestic cold war. I guess I am arguing that American liberalism doesn’t have the strength to uphold “regulated capitalism”. The essay argues that the foundational class conflict of crapitalism dooms it (and us). I take the appetite for fraud of Amurka’s crapitalists as a demonstration that crapitalists will not be regulated.

              I cannot grasp your parting shot. Occupational consumers are a transitional species. Eventually austerity would be invoked to reduce their pressure on resources.

      • comrade rax, when i’d asked if your open italics/bold comment were the one i should delete, and i’d asked if ya didn’t you love you my beautiful Life banners, you’d said close to: ‘i toil while you glorify’. i know it was a throw-away quip of some sort, and i keep tryin’ not to be offended by it, but…i yam. i toil mightily to give all of you space to express yourselves, and i yam grateful so many of you ‘brilliants’ do. but this place costs me and mr. wd over $225 to wordpress as well, and that’s money we can ill afford save for the fact that it’s by way of a mental health expense for me. mr. wd reckons it’s worth the cost, bless his heart.

        on edit: he quips that i’m helpin’ to save the world!

        but as to this discussion, i yam clearly out of my league, but i thank both you and tarheeDem for your comments and divergences.

        • Of course you toil. I thought you were teasing us about missing out on glorious nature at some point earlier, as in “the eggheads don’t know what they are missing”. I am missing out on glorious nature, comrade. I take no offense.

        • On edit: You sure ain’t hurtin’ it.

    • delete this one, comrade? and dontcha just love my banner photographs of Life? ha.

  16. I did a piece I thought here yesterday – don’t see it today so I will reprise a bit and sorry it didn’t go through. N. Mex legislature was called into special session to remedy budget, but got shanghaied by the governor, who had said it would be ‘no more than a quickie’ – my words not hers. House is Repub, Senate Dem controlled.

    Anyway, budget items taken care of, the subject of capital punishment i.e. death to police attackers and child killers was foisted. Senate withdrew, House continued on – added a repeal of the delay of corporate tax lowering but a delay for film industry incentives. Senate due back at time of reading this in the Santa Fe reporter.

    I’d finished by saying at least October is lovely. And funny that didn’t go through, but probably I didn’t click through in all the clicks I’m doing these days. Apologies. I hope you are physically comfy,wendye. Really good stuff moving along on here these days – Bravo!

    On to Yemen (sigh). I put a bit at MoA’s thread this morning.

    • how odd, ww, but no…there were no kiwis here yesterday, nor emailed comments from one (and i am getting emails from the site just now). martinez: is she in favor of capital punishment for those crimes? i vaguely remember reading something about the bill on david correia’s twitter acct. or whatever ya call it.

      october here is downright surreal here; during the sunrise and sunset, the golden and red leaves are touched by pink light, and it’s almost like a maxfield parrish painting. the golden delicious apples have an extra bit of pink blush this year for some reason, are sublime in that light as well. the ghostly standing while dry flowers in the garden, too. mr. wd brought almost everything of color in last evening; it’s always hard to see the last of them, tomatoes, too.

      yesterday i sat on my laurels, so to speak, but this a.m. i did get dough for four loaves proofing, although it took a loooong time. i yam glad no one was here to see what a comedy klutz act it was. ;-)

      yemen. yes. NO!

      • Yes, she is, and she sprang that on the legislature after they convened for the budget deals – something like $50,000 a day to have the gang all present for these special sessions, so in effect she’s holding them hostage. The House has already passed it. She was a prosecutor in a former life, and there had been rumors she’d be a vp pick – but she and Trump don’t get along. (Not sure he gets along with his current one, though either.)

  17. I should review that article on ecology in the USSR. If crapitalism doesn’t have a means to value nature except through politics and crapitalism corrupts politics, isn’t it likely that crapitalism’s devastation of nature will surpass what crapitalists accuse the USSR of?

  18. Comrade Rex, consider with me for a moment that the biblical story of creation may (and I think must) be understood not as a literal happening in sequential time, but as an every moment, time filled, budding and bursting forth of episodic immediacies. That is, we are constantly being thrust out of paradise, constantly finding ourselves momentarily within it, constantly figuring out our human place therein and doing well or not in its (paradise’s) propagation and fulfillment.

    After all, the story doesn’t involve cities and civilizations – those come later. (And towers aren’t exactly praised either.) The beginning is earth doing its thing, and then there’s a garden. The garden’s there before us, and it’s there after us. That never entered people’s minds substantially in the whole of human history before now – that we were the problem for the planet – I mean,not until very recently. In general, the story has only just begun to reach it’s end phase fulfillment – I’m not talking about stupid ‘rapture’ interpretations, just the Genesis narrative of the seven days of creation.

    Don’t consider it as something you have to ‘believe’, but simply as a poetical explanation for the way things are.

    • Sorry, comrade, but even your commandment to take it as poetry is not compelling. Stripped of the incorporation of “original sin”, the story of expulsion from paradise for the desire for knowledge is still burdened with elite agnotology. It’s a criminalization of consciousness.

      Surely humans already had an inkling of their collective destructive potential. Some precocious types thought they had the final answer to the dangers of the evolving human mind. Does the root of this danger lie with “the fruit of the tree of knowledge” or is the story more likely an early example of ideological manipulation? And, collectively, the precocious types had some fucked-up policies.

      Prophesying our modern denouement with their ancient mind-control is not only unimaginative, it is offensive.

  19. Thanks for your response, Comrade Rax (and apologies for my misspelling above) – and indeed, I realize I am far afield from the discussion that you and TD are having – don’t want to interfere with that. I suppose it was your comment about the USSR and ecology that prompted my divergence – I too wondered about it, especially as it is my understanding that the collectives really didn’t work, hence a return of a gradual nature to individual small farms which are much more productive than the communist version of agribusiness, whatever one might call that. Whether marxist based or capitalist based, are not large operations such as I understood communes to be, automatically adverse to what is optimal for the land?

    I will just add that my intention was not to foist the term ‘original sin’ upon you – it isn’t anywhere in the biblical narrative purely as it stands – that being merely a description of creative acts unfolding toward what I would myself prefer to describe as a ‘metabolic rift’ of major proportions. That term really appealed to me, although you are using it in a different way; I perfectly (or imperfectly) do understand that. It’s all in how we each interpret the symbolism, and we aren’t, or shouldn’t be, bound by convention. We are explorers, no?

    Never mind me. I’ll just finish by saying that we are here in wendye’s place, which to me represents paradise, or at least the hanging gardens of Babylon, and as one’s environment becomes incorporated into one’s metabolism, one’s very thought processes, so this place encourages us to converse sweetly. And I thank Mr. Wendye also for his labor to make it possible to continue.

    • you are always so appreciative of the café, juliania, and he’s glad to have some labor to help fund it. :-)

      @ comrade rax: we seem to be talking past one another; it was i who was trying not to be offended by your remark.

    • The introduction of the article wendye was referring to, “Late Soviet Ecology and the Planetary Crisis“, states:

      Beginning in the 1960s the Soviet Union increasingly instituted environmental reforms, and in the 1980s was the site of what has been called an “ecological revolution.” A growing recognition of this more complex reality has led scholars in recent years to criticize the “ecocide” description of Soviet environmental history as too simplistic.

      As to the “failure” of the collectives, I quote from this paper”Soviet Agriculture and Industrailization“:

      After Stalin the collective farm remained a basic unit of agricultural organisation, but nonetheless the agrarian sector experienced important reorganisations. Table 2 shows that the private sector declined steadily in importance; this reflected more a closing of the gap between private and collective rewards than direct repression of private economic activity, though the latter was reported from time to time. Another aspect of restructuring was the rise of the sovkhoz
      (nationalised farm). In Stalinist ideology the sovkhoz was a higher form of organisation than the kolkhoz which was “only” a cooperative, and there were periods both under and after Stalin when policy encouraged absorption of existing kolkhozy into the public sector. However, the major vehicle for expansion of sovkhoz activity was the extension of the
      margin of cultivation into the “virgin lands” of the interior
      ; the new farms created there were normally sovkhozy.

      That is, the nationalized farms were primarily used to extend agriculture; the state was absorbing more of the risk of these ventures. From “Collective Agriculture in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union“:

      With the passage of time, the performance of the collectives improved in the Soviet Union as well, so that even in the successor states the case for decollectivization is far weaker than it was at the time that Western thinking on this issue solidified. It is especially important to take note of this performance at a time when dissolution of the entire system is regularly treated as obviously desirable by both foreign and indigenous reform advocates. Popular resistance to decollectivization turns out to be grounded in simple but not easily seen facts about the collective system of organizing rural life and production. Whether, or in whatever modified form, these institutions survive the new political and economic conditions of the 1990s, it is important to understand how they came to function acceptably in the eyes of the directly affected populations.

      […] In Eastern Europe formal nationalization of land ownership per se was usually avoided. Following a period of disruption associated with the collectivization process itself and skepticism about the durability of the transformation, the system began to function coherently. The resulting rapid rise in agricultural productivity reversed traditional rural-urban income differentials and produced a new type of rural settlement structure and culture.

      Hence I think your thesis is entirely mistaken. Perhaps you have conflated the progress of collectivization with that research that shows that small, manually cultivated farms have greater yields.

      Yes, I was aware that “original sin” is a kwistian invention. It does, however, capture the implication of the genesis mythology. I would like to say that Marx’s “metabolic rift” is poetic as well; chacun à son goût.

  20. Key compradors find they don’t like their optimized whomanity:

    • i gave him nine minutes. did he get to the part where he suggests they all get medals of freedom for their pain? didn’t one get created for drone operator pain: above and beyond the call of duty (or: moar bug splat the bettah?) guess this is the same dude; a priest? no listing for CIA, just hacker stuff… phooey, i just looked at the screen: the skull and crossbones emoticon? ewwwwww.

      • For probably half the presentation he’s stuck on his fellowship’s pain. He later does say that the pain they deal outside the hegemon comes back to haunt them. On the other hand, he later says that meditation helps them with their trauma. For sure his revolutionary potential is lacking (even though he says he’s achieved some guaranteed retirement HA HA HA).

        Pity the comprador! HA HA HA HA HA.

        • ooopsie; i’d missed ‘nsa’:

          “While still in the priesthood, he began writing about technology and culture, including the spiritual dimension of technology, for example in his essay “Computer applications for spirituality, the transformation of religious experience. In 1993 Thieme left the priesthood to pursue a full-time career of professional speaking and writing,[5] founding his own company, LifeWorks (changed in 1996 to ThiemeWorks),[18] and working with clients such as Arthur Andersen, Allstate Insurance, General Electric, the National Security Agency, Microsoft, and the United States Department of the Treasury.”

          wrong kind of green had done a post on ‘spiritual capitalism’ some time ago, arrrgh. related in a way, i reckon.

          • Yeah, God-playing. Here’s an excerpt of his writing:

            It seems important to me as I continue to try to understand humans from within their own frame. A frame I try at the same time to build out into dimensions they cannot comprehend as we interact in a casual manner, spylike so they don’t suspect they are being played, like pulling a single point on the screen slowly with my mouse and watching the rhombus on the monitor change how it defines … everything.

            Everything. I am saying. Everything that is.

            Fucking priesthoods.

            • i’m not masochistic enuff to even read a transcript, but thanks anyway. i’m prolly gonna take most of the night off, so i put some extras on the podesta emails thread and a football vignette up and big sigh: haiti. 26 died in NC during matthew,, too, may they rest in power.

              yes, priests of the golden bull in so many directions:

      • No transcript I can find; I have the CC as text but that has no punctuation …

  21. compare:

    doggonnit; poor haitians.

  22. Greece is an experiment, according to which, a country belonging to the first world is being violently downgraded to a third world country. We believe that this is a treatment that all European district countries are about to undergo, except of the metropolitan ones. It is possible that countries such as Italy, due to its strong weight, as well as Portugal and Spain are to be exempted from this procedure due to economical, historical and political reasons. […] These countries are about to be divided into special economic zones exempted from state laws of any kind, such as labour, administrative, fiscal, or infrastructural, which leads to the destruction of the state both as an entity as well as a rule of law.

    An interesting comparison: When the Soviets collectivized the kulaks, they intended to use their surplus to industrialize. It appears that the hegemonsters are demoting these districts in order to maintain core centers. In other words, in crapitalist decline, the core is held together by compradors who feed off districts accustomed to deprivation.

    Clearly a bad “investment” for compradors and “peasants”.

  23. Report via Sacred Stone Camp from Red Warrior Camp this 10pm 10/21

    ND Law Enforcement set up a new operations center @ Ft.Rice, a military fort established by Gen. Sully in 1864 after he executed the WhiteStone Hill massacre. This fort is also the site where Chief Gall (SittingBull’s lieutenant) signed the 1868 treaty where the Lakota reserved to the Seven Council Fires the lands that are now being destroyed by DAPL north of the Cannonball river and south of the Heart river. These are serious times with an energy coming back around again. We need help out here relatives. Send word. Come if you can. They are posturing for a showdown. Send a voice to Creation. Action is our prayer. Peace is power.

    Fort Rice is the first non-Indian settlement north of the Cannon Ball river, the boundary with Standing Rock Sioux land.

    Could the pipeline company be considering acquiring non-reservation land to put the pipelne through just north of the Cannon Ball River to avoid the “ban” that the Obama administration has put in place forbidding them to cross reservation land?

    It is the kind of “half loaf” that the Obama administration has worked in the past.

    Watch and see.

    What is needed there is as many experienced solidly disciplined non-violent direct action people as can be mustered IMO.

    My guess is that for some folks an “Indian War” is a good as a “race war” for their purposes. Keeping it cool and forceful at the same time is a delicate balance. Numbers help.

    This part of the movement is still moving.

  24. John Michael Greer has a post on the Pentagon Joint Operating Environment context for the year 2035 (JOE-35). He then critques it’s sense of the future. It is helpful to skim the JOE-35 before reading his critique.

    One thing that caught my attention was this.

    The emergence of new partnerships.
    Many nations, including the United States, may turn to “nontraditional” partnerships with a wide array of actors to include self-governing ethnic groups, non-governmental organizations, multinational corporations, and perhaps even friendly local militia groups. The search for unanticipated and atypical partners will likely be a common theme, particularly
    in the early phases of future conflicts

    • ta for all the detailed cliffs notes, amigo. can’t imagine i could ever read so much material, but here’s j m greer’s link. even the 2035 time horizon seems hard to imagine just now. my stars, how humans have fouled up this beautiful planet w/ lust for power and greed. if it all goes back the dolphins and cockroaches for a better round of evolution, i’m good w/ it myownself. ;-)

  25. I’m having difficulty linking to John Michael Greer’s article. His site is the Archdruid Report. You can read it there.

    Here is a Rosetta Stone to one of the cutesy terms in the JOE-35.

    Revisionist state is a term from Power Transition Theory within the wider field of international relations. It is used to describe states.

    The term assumes a direct correlation between a state’s hegemony, both political and economic, and its standing as either a status quo state or a revisionist state. Powerful and influential nations in international relations such as the United States, United Kingdom, France and other nations like Japan that are better placed in the world order, are likely to fall under the category of status quo states while North Korea, Iran, Russia and other nations dissatisfied with their place in the international system are termed revisionist states.

    I would take this as a sense of the future as seen by those advising Hillary Clinton. How much looks like projection of intentions to you?

    • If you read the footnote citations in the JOE-35, you will see the explicit origins of the US March of Folly from Spykman (1942) to Churchill to Raymond Aron to Robert Kagan. This is very much the current national security establishment view that is supporting Hillary Clinton. The difference between the candidates is Clinton understands the arguments in this view inside out and Trump improvises without listening to advisors. That is a Hobson’s choice. No wonder the outcome is likely to be so one-sided.

      The peace movement needed at the moment is broad-scale and not just focused on US hegemony (which is disappearing as the anxiety in this document shows). Broader than the nuclear disarmament movement of the 1960s, broader than the anti-Vietnam movement that could turn out a quarter of a million in DC, have people like Kerry protest by tossing their medals over a fence, and still not end the war even by one day. Broader than the nuclear winter movement or the Beyond War movement of the Reagan era and the anti-Iraq movement in 2002-2003. And it must focus on reduction of reduction of the military institutions in all of the major powers.

      In terms of manpower those countries are in order:
      North Korea 7,679.000
      South Korea 6.604,500
      Vietnam 5,522,000
      India 4,768,407
      China 3,503,000
      Russian Federation 3,364,000
      USA 2,349,950
      Brazil 2,053,480
      Taiwan 1,964,000
      Pakistan 1,480,800
      Egypt 1,314,500
      Ukraine 1.234,900
      Cuba 1,234,500
      Indonesia 1,076,500

      There are some significant power with less than 1 million under arms. Israel for example and the UK.

      The question with manpower statistics is how many are needed for internal security, how many are needed for defense from external aggression, and how many are just a part of a jobs program?

      There are two expenditure rankings. The first is by total expenditures.
      USA $597.5 billion
      China $145.8 billion
      Saudi Arabia $81.9 billion
      Russia $65.6 billion
      UK $52.6 billion (only around 250K in manpower)
      India $48.0 billion
      France $46.8 billion
      Japan $41.0 bilion
      Germany $36.7 billion
      South Korea $33.5 billion

      The other measure is by percent of GDP.
      Saudi Arabia 13.7%
      United Arab Emirates 5.7%
      Russia 5.4%
      Turkey 5.4%
      Benchmark: World total – 2.3%
      India 2.3%
      UK 2.0%
      France 2.1%
      UK 2.0%
      China 1.9%

      One can see that a first round of negotiations might be to try to cap all nation’s military spending at the World total level of 2.3% and then try successive negotiation to walk that amount downward in a build-down like those successfully implemented for START between the US and Russia. At least the imagination would not be toward increasing military expenditures and an arms race in which military seek to enlarge themselves. Just one tactical object a peace movement might seek.

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