22 April 2006


See here... Arnove is right on -- the only way to promote the antiwar movement is through an antiwar movement, not by replacing sellout Republicans with sellout Democrats...
The establishment media went out on the third anniversary looking for protests. They've got to have a story that lets them off the hook. They had a story: Where are the protesters? People don't care, people aren't paying attention and that story's not the real story. So we gave a gift to our opponents and to the media.

Instead, a number of the organizations that might have been organizing that protest are focused on the midterm congressional elections. Now, I'm not saying that they have bad intentions. I just think they are making tactical, strategic mistakes. I may be in a minority position with the antiwar movement but I want to argue that position to as many people as I can because I think the antiwar movement would be stronger if it weren't oriented on the midterm elections and if it were oriented on a different set of political priorities.
I guess this is as polite as you can say it... "the antiwar movement is SOLD OUT to a prowar Democratic Party while American drags the world down into the coming Dark Age" is the rude version...

21 April 2006


The bin Laden piece is here; maybe he can use them in retaliation for Bush's coming attack on Iran. Neil's blog is here.

Send this to your "antigovernment" right-wing libertarian friends.


Subsidy is love.

Every day I wake up and the air subsidizes my lungs. Nature subsidizes my body by providing it with what I call "food" and "water." Flowers subsidize the bees, so they can make sweet honey to subsidize my tongue. I turn on my stereo, plop a CD in, press "play," and music subsidizes my ears. Children grow through subsidy -- we feed and clothe and educate them for free.

Anarchism is pure subsidy -- an anarchist society could only survive if it promoted the notion of mutual aid, the subsidy of others with the expectation that you will be subsidized by others in return.

Government is an agency of love. In representative government, however, we delegate government's acts of love to representatives, so we can get on with our hateful lives. These representatives then, in their turn, dole out their exclusive love to corporations and weapons-makers and police forces and armies, with maybe a little left over for educators and firemen and doctors and ordinary folk.

A society based on love would therefore not be governed by representatives. In a society based on love, everyone would participate in government in one way or another, and thus all can be agencies of love. In this way, anarchism conceives of every individual as a government unto herself. If you want a depiction of this, read Ursula K. LeGuin's novel The Dispossessed.

Money is the means of subsidy for a representative government. When things have to be bought with money, they can subsdize us only if we "pay for them." Money, then, accomplishes the representative function -- it represents the love that things would otherwise subsidize us with for free. Representative government prints money so that the love it represents can be hoarded by its owners.

Property is the means by which nature is represented by an owning class. When slavery was the law for slaves, the slaveowning classes defended it by saying that slaves were really only part of nature, and had no right to represent themselves. Through the principle of property, nature is made to subsidize only those who own.

Work is the force we use to subsidize nature ourselves, as human beings. To tell the truth, nature doesn't need our subsidy -- nature has worked for billions of years without human beings subsidizing it. But with human work, nature can subsidize human beings much more effectively than without human work.

With work, human beings produce ecologies -- relationships between forces in the natural world. Most of humanity doesn't recognize this, however, and so the production of ecologies has so far resulted in ever more stunted ecologies, with plant and animal species going out of business right and left. Most human beings think they are producing products -- but products do not leave nature merely because they are no longer regarded as "raw materials" or "natural resources." Trash is a problem for our civilization because human beings are composting large quantites of products without any conscious recognition of their relationship to forces in the natural world. Natural devastation is caused by forms of "product production" that ignores its ecological content.

20 April 2006


See Peter LaVenia's article here, in which he compares the immigrant protests in the US with the protests against labor law in France. The main differences between here and France are that 1. the French labor law revision affected people who already had French citizenship, whereas HR 4437 affects only "illegal" immigrants, and 2. The American public is foolishly in favor of keeping the illegals out.". This poll, as it turns out, bears greater scrutiny:
Among whites, an underlying class division ran through several of the questions. The GOP enforcement provisions drew much more support from whites without a college degree than those with advanced education.

Conversely, a guest-worker program was notably more popular among college-educated whites than among those without college degrees, who could face more direct economic competition from the importation of such workers.

"They say [illegal immigrants] want to do a job Americans don't want to do," said Erner, the Democratic factory worker. "I think [employers] don't want to pay a wage Americans can live on."

Those class fissures help explain a surprising result: that Democrats are less enthusiastic than Republicans about proposals to create a guest-worker program or to legalize illegal immigrants ideas supported much more in Washington by Democratic than Republican leaders.

Support for the legalization of illegal immigrants is notably higher among independents (71 percent) and Republicans (67 percent) than Democrats (59 percent). The guest-worker program also drew more support among independents (60 percent) and Republicans (56 percent) than Democrats (48 percent)
First of all, this poll blows apart the folk assumption that Democrats are always more liberal on everything than Republicans. But secondly, and more importantly, it highlights the extent to which the international working class is divided against itself and thus points to the work that needs to be done. Internationalizing the working class will be essential to Peter LaVenia's goal of a meaningful class struggle. We need to resist the political division of the working class into privileged citizens and immigrants "who will do jobs Americans won't do."

The idea of "competition for jobs" is the brainchild of a capitalist system which allocates jobs according to the priorities of profit, not for the promotion of life. The result is an artificial scarcity of "good jobs," and a system where the things that really need doing (like, say, saving the world from the greenhouse effect, or ending world hunger, or living in harmony with nature, or making prisons obsolete) don't get done because not enough "good jobs" are created by the capitalist economy to do them effectively. Immigrants are merely after what they think of as "good jobs," within a capitalist system that made their countries irrelevant to the production of said "good jobs."

Whether they stay or go, or whether the US builds a wall to keep them out, are irrelevances. The important thing to realize is that everyone can have a "good job." Only international solidarity will make that so.

19 April 2006


Append this review of Neil's album to my entry (below) on Neil. It further clarifies what I said.

See here. Do read Mark Lynas' blog for the results of the general trend, as helped along by the BBC:

According to my upcoming book Six Degrees (where I set out the likely impacts of each degree of warming with one degree per chapter), here's what three degrees could bring.

- Permanent El Nino, with worldwide weather shifts
- Collapse of Amazon rainforest
- Eventual total disappearance of Greenland ice sheet
- Near-extinction of tropical coral reefs
- New spreading deserts in western United States and southern Africa
- Stronger hurricanes across the tropics
- Global net food deficit with grain prices soaring
- Crippling water shortages in western South America and Australia
- Extinction for between a third and half of all life on Earth
People are already asking "where should I move?" among other questions.

Frankly, I don't think scientists urging governments to do X is going to save the world. Governments won't do X, because the stability of each government's leadership is dependent upon economic factors, and capitalist economics depends upon growth. Christina Larson asks: "how do we know wily conservatives won't be able to dance their way out of ambitious and necessary reforms with toothless rhetoric, more industry subsidies, and 'fake solutions'?" The answer is that the toothless rhetoric will continue as long as the leadership has a capitalist system (with its necessary corollary, "economic growth,") to defend. Until you come up with an answer to that defense, your rhetoric is toothless as well.

The most alarming attribute of the rhetoric of the "stop global warming" chorus is that it fails to address the arguments of the Bush Administration against global-warming curbs. Take a look at the end of the BBC article:

President Bush's chief climate adviser, James Connaughton, said he did not believe anyone could forecast a safe level and cutting greenhouse gas emissions could harm the world economy.
Well? If cutting greenhouse gas emissions is bad for the world economy, and if a healthy world economy keeps these people in power, then how are you going to motivate them to cut greenhouse gas emissions?

Look, if two of the main culprits are India and China, and if they've already signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol, then what good does it do to have a Kyoto Protocol? Symbolism is cheap; only action will count.

Instead, apparently, what we have is environmentalisms such as "renewUS," which suggest that all we have to do is convert to clean energy and the problem will be solved. See the movie. My response to the movie:

Not likely under the current economic structure.

The main physical force driving continued fossil fuel use in the global economy is what the energy specialists call EROEI: energy return on energy investment. If it costs too much energy per unit of "alternative" energy, if the EROEI of "alternative energy" is low, then there's no profit in switching to relatively "cheap" energies to "alternative" energies. And by "cheap" energies I mean energy sources with a high energy return on energy investment. The "cheapest" of these energies is oil; second-place is tar sands/ coal.

Basically, the "renewUS" film is suggesting that we can save the Earth by switching to energy sources with a significantly lower EROEI. The problem is that this suggestion is being made from within a capitalist economy that consumes 83 million barrels of oil each day, in order to support the economic hegemony of a McDonalds, the candidacies of a McCain and an Obama, a thousand urban transportation networks, and so on. Now, lots of solar panels and windmills might create a lot of energy for a lot of people; but 83 million bbls./day worth? Indefinitely? At what energy cost? At what cost to the individual capitalist businesses which must stay in business by lowering energy costs while at the same time consuming a hefty portion of those 83 million daily barrels?

(And, by the way, people, "hydrogen" is not an energy source, but rather an energy transfer device -- you still need an energy source to produce the hydrogen.)

There's no way out of the reality that, to save civilization, we will simply have to move off of the "cost-benefit analysis" that makes oil the world's cheapest energy source, ever. Otherwise the economy will perpetually privilege those who use oil, because oil has the highest EROEI of all the fuels. In other words, to change the energy-use pattern, you must change the economy, and move away from capitalism.

Therefore, until capitalism is stopped, global warming won't just continue; it will accelerate.

17 April 2006

The Shanghai Cooperation Association has decided to admit Iran, with which the US is already at war. So much for Condi Rice's call for international sanctions against Iran. And Gallup discovers that America contains an antiwar constituency in search of political representation. Should we question the patriotism of 57 percent of the American public? Meanwhile, Raw Story highlights a WSJ piece about Rumsfeld being undermined by his own military. Something's clearly falling apart here; perhaps the "security" theme can be made into a public issue (at some point) to get the world to start thinking about real futures...


This is amusing. "Appearing on Fox News this weekend, Steve Forbes said the way to lower gas prices is to 'have the confrontation with Iran.' Forbes warned Fox viewers that 'the longer we let it fester, the higher the price of oil will stay.'" We really are partyin' now. Could TV be more unreal?

16 April 2006


"The Pentagon Preps for Iran" is the Arkin piece... Arkin imagines his article reaching Iran, affecting this stern tone:
Iran needs to understand that the United States isn't hamstrung by a lack of options. It needs to realize that it can't just stonewall and evade its international obligations, that it can't burrow further underground in hopes that it will "win" merely because war is messy.
Expect nasty, nasty blowback. Just because the Iranians can be guaranteed a lost war doesn't mean the US will win anything in the bargain. "So how close is a showdown over Iraq?" is the Observer piece...This piece shows the US government imagining Iran as having a weak government:
The real US policy, enunciated by a senior State Department official close to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, revolves around a belief that Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is weaker than his bellicose attitude might suggest and is vulnerable to the pressure of international sanctions.
Ahmadinejad may be weak without US pressure -- expect US pressure to strengthen his hand. Meanwhile, the experts issue a warning -- which only makes it to al Jazeera.

Okay, what do we know?

  1. We know that Bush has plans to use nuclear "bunker busters" against Iran.
  2. The weapons Bush plans to use might send fallout more than 1,000 miles downwind
  3. The Iranians are threatening the US with suicide squads if anything bad happens to the nuclear facilities, but that's not credible -- they will all be killed in the general holocaust.
So there it is -- the quickest route to ending the world's dependency on Mideast oil. The US nukes Iran, fallout spreads throughout the Middle East, and nobody can reach the oil without getting radiation poisoning. That'll work. Thanks to Disco Destroyer for citing the first source...

"(The Australians) celebrate Easter the exact same way we do: commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus by telling our children a giant bunny rabbit left chocolate eggs in the night."

happy Easter!


from the BBC's webpage

You should all read the interview of Wendell Berry on Counterpunch, even though it is a bit short on detail... Berry is one of the few individuals to think, seriously, about our civilization's dependency upon cheap fossil fuel... I really do wish the interviewer had pressed Berry for hard data on the biofuels questions, since I too doubt that some kind of large-scale industrial crop-program is going to save the Machine. Hopefully it's not just David Pimentel.

And Berry does bring up the question of "How do we create an economy that makes love an economic practice?" Sure, the answer is probably not going to be in anti-industrialism, as some kind of industrial effort may in fact be necessary to clean up the mess the industrial world has gotten itself into. But it does seem to point to the sort of thing advocated by Maria Mies:
Commodity production is the goal of capitalist production, in other words, a general production of goods, everything that there is, has to be transformed into a commodity. It is possible to observe that today, especially in the course of globalization. Subsistence production has an entirely different goal, namely, the direct satisfaction of human needs. This isn't accomplished through money and the production of goods. For us, quite essential is that it is a direct production and reproduction of life. That's why we talk of "life production" rather than "commodity production."