The uprising has begun!

acorn 2019bSpecial report

Aug 29 photo 8
Trafalgar Square, London, August 29, 2020

These last six months have been lonely and often desperate ones for those of us who have not swallowed the Covid agenda.

Not only have we seen our basic freedoms come under attack, but we have done so in the full and bitter knowledge that these draconian measures are not in the least bit necessary and not at all about “protecting” ourselves and our fellow citizens.

We have been assuaged with unrelenting fear-mongering propaganda that we know to be just that: even if we steer clear of corporate-state media, this is blasted out at us in the form of endless announcements, posters and notices and also mirrored grotesquely in the muzzled and cowed submission of those around us.

newnorrmalist grey world

We have had to be braced for constant conflict with the state’s officials and eager vigilantes out to impose compliance with the humiliating collective punishments of “lockdown”, “social distancing” and masks.

We have had to think twice about voicing our opinions, for fear of inviting not just disagreement, but outright hostility, abuse, insult, contempt and rejection, even from those to whom we imagined we were personally or politically closest.

And we haven’t been able to look forward to any happier years ahead of us, because all that we once hoped for has been swept aside by a chilling nightmare vision of faceless robotic slavery under the ruthless jackboot of the Fourth Industrial Repression.

But now, at the end of the 2020 summer, something has changed.

The massive demonstrations that took place in several European cities on Saturday August 29, notably London and Berlin, have broken us out of our solitary confinement.

We can see plainly now that there are others out there thinking the same way as us. Thousands upon thousands of others!

Trafalgar Square in London was packed full of protesters, with estimates of as many as 35,000 or 40,000 people, who later moved on to fill Whitehall.

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They managed to turn up through their own initiative, without party political, trade union or NGO organising, without fleets of hired coaches, promoted hashtags or XR-style media hype.

Of course, where the protest wasn’t simply ignored, it was always going to be smeared.

The “conspiracy theory” tag wasn’t hard to attach, given that David Icke was making a guest appearance, but that wasn’t enough of an insult for some.

So-called “leftists” and “anarchists” scrambled to share the same photo of a couple of men on the outer fringes of the square displaying (momentarily perhaps) a flag which apparently relates to the late and unlamented British Union of Fascists (disbanded 1940).

For these critics this single image was somehow triumphant proof that all the tens of thousands of people present were either “fascists” or being manipulated by fascists.

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These clowns are unwilling or (more charitably) unable to grasp that we are witnessing  a historic reshaping of the essential political divide, as foreshadowed in France by the Gilets Jaunes since 2018.

This is now, quite simply, about ordinary people standing up to the exploitative dictatorship of the global capitalist technocratic elite.

At this moment of enormous existential crisis for the freedom and well-being of humankind, all certainties around previous political classifications have been thrown out of the window.

As one participant put it: “We are left, we are right, we are young, old, black, white, we are the working class. And our eyes are open. Don’t believe the hype. The Unite For Freedom march was very diverse. We cannot afford to be divided any longer”.

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This new 2020s wave of revolt is all about resisting the power of both big business and the state, with an understanding that these forces have now effectively merged.

Combined with its instinctive defence of freedom and real democracy, this makes it eminently compatible with common-sense anarchism of the old-fashioned variety, to which we subscribe.

If contemporary anarchists want to turn this potential into something more solid, then they are going to have to take off their protective mind-blinkers, brave the risk of political contamination from the Great Ideologically Unwashed, and get involved with the broad front.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr, JFK’s nephew, addressed the same issue in Berlin, where the authorities (both of state and of ideological correctness) have slapped a “far right” label on the whole broad-based protest movement on the basis of minority nationalist involvement.

Robert F Kennedy Jr BerlinHe told a massive freedom rally that the US media would accuse him of having come to Germany to address thousands of “Nazis”, but declared that what he was seeing before him was “the opposite of Nazism”.

“I see people who love democracy, people who want open government, people who want leaders who are not going to lie to them. People who want leaders who will not make up arbitrary rules and regulations to orchestrate obedience of the population.

“We want health officials who don’t want financial entanglements with the pharmaceutical industry, who are working for us and not Big Pharma.

“We want officials who care about our children’s health and not about pharmaceutical profits or government control”.

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It felt clear to us, when we wrote in advance about this weekend (see Acorn 59), that it was going to be huge and important. And so it has proved.

But what next? Various local demos are planned across England (for the latest info see the StandUpX website) and, north of the border, there will be a ‘Saving Scotland’ March on Holyrood.

The meet-up is near the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh at 1pm on Saturday September 5.

Saturday September 26 is being mentioned as the date of the next big protest in London.

As our comrades at the South Essex Heckler point out, though, large-scale set-piece demonstrations are not the be-all-and-end-all.

They write: “Sure, there’s a place for intelligently organised street protests and actions but more than that, there’s always a place for dispersed, sustained action that aims to sabotage and eventually bring down the existing order.

“We favour long term, dispersed action that will eventually crash the new (ab)normal. We’ve frequently posted about building the new world we want inside the shell of the increasingly dystopian one we’re forced to endure – now is the time to grab the opportunity to do just that”.

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Delighted though we are at the numbers now expressing their opposition to the totalitarian New World Normal, we don’t want to create any false sense of complacency.

What we are witnessing is just the start of a worldwide uprising.

aug291371The totalitarian capitalist elite have been planning this coup for years, probably even decades, and they are not going to cave in at the drop of a hat, tinfoil or otherwise.

If ignoring and smearing the protest movement does not successfully quell resistance, then we can expect other forms of repression to be deployed.

Outright police-state brutality is a real possibility, as the people of Melbourne, Australia, have been experiencing.

But this will always be a double-edged sword for the authorities, which is why they haven’t immediately leapt into that mode everywhere.

If it becomes blatantly obvious that opposition to their “Great Reset” is being crushed by force, they will start to lose the majority consent which they have been so careful to build up with their propaganda.

The cat will be out of the bag and they will risk stirring up the anger of huge swathes of the population, particularly if the resistance can remain untainted by “right” or “left” labels.

So we can probably expect lots more propaganda, divide-and-rule and other classic British “counter-insurgency” tactics to be deployed, and fail, before the state feels it needs to play its final violent card.

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There is a tough struggle ahead of us, that’s for sure, with no guarantee that we will succeed in seeing off and bringing down the dark forces of corporate transhumanist dictatorship.

But at least we have those images of the August 29 protest in our heads, images of people, all kinds of people, united by their capacity to grasp what is going on and their courage to stand up and oppose it.

People with different worldviews, from various backgrounds and all with their personal faults and failings, no doubt.

But also people with faces. People with minds of their own. People with principles.

Real people. Living people. People like us.

Now we all know that we are not alone!

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Photos  by Max Hogster

(except top and Robert. F. Kennedy Jr)

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The Acorn – 59

acorn 2019bNumber 59

In this issue:

  1. Stand up to tyranny!
  2. The Great Battle for the Future
  3. Smart means dead
  4. Tracksuits, traumas and class traitors
  5. Henry David Thoreau: an orgrad inspiration
  6. Acorninfo

1.  Stand up to tyranny!

AUG 29 POSTER

Hope is rising that people are finally seeing through the neoliberal corona-lies and are ready to stand up to the 21st century tyranny of newnormalism.

With so many sold-out phoney rebels on the “left” openly backing the new totalitarianism, other people, from a wide range of backgrounds, have had to step forward and urge resistance to the nightmarish global dictatorship.

Many of these are rallying behind the banner of StandUpX (see Resistance Update and Acorn 58) which, as this article explains, has seen numbers on its protests shoot up from dozens to thousands. “The numbers are continuing to increase rapidly – hence why more events are taking place all across the UK”.

StandUPX logo StandUpX say on their website: “We are living in a state of authoritarian control. We do not consent to Government social distancing measures infringing upon public and private life. We do not accept enforced masks. We do not accept a dictatorship of lockdowns, threats of lockdowns, and Covid Ghettos.

“Forced, coerced and mandated vaccinations violate the principles of the Nuremberg Code which states ‘any preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical intervention is only to be carried out with the prior, free and informed consent of the person concerned.’

“Humanity will be a mass science experiment profiting billions for pharmaceutical companies and their partners including Bill Gates.

“Tracking & Tracing is a total violation of personal privacy and freedom to associate. It is a digital Gestapo.

“To add to this oppression, the government is proposing a Health Passport, which is designed to track your health records, purchases and public activities including travel. It will not be temporary. It is the preliminary step to 24/7 tracking via an implantable chip.

“5G is necessary for the infrastructure of 24/7 Surveillance Tracking & Implantable Microchips. This is why our roads are currently being dug up to install the fibre cable network necessary for 5G. This is why trees, which block 5G signals (and help us breathe) are being chopped all over our cities. 5G is lethal to privacy as well as to health. We have no reason to believe 5G is safe”.

The imposition of mask wearing, at a time when the virus has all but disappeared, has already opened a lot of folk’s eyes to the fact that they are being conned.

The fact that masks seem to be intended as a permanent “new normal”, plus the threat of compulsory vaccination and further lockdowns, may prove enough to push thousands of others over the edge and into rebellion.

aug 29 poster2

A big bank holiday weekend of protest is coming up in London.

On Saturday August 29, 12 noon at Trafalgar Square, a huge protest and march is planned by a broad coalition of freedom lovers.

The event is due to be addressed by a number of high-profile doctors who have courageously challenged the official propaganda narrative, including Dr Adil, Professor Dolores Cahill, Dr Andrew Kaufman (live video link) and Dr Kevin Corbet.

Natural nurse Kate Shemirani and Jeremey Corbyn’s brother Piers Corbyn are also lined up to speak.

There will be a video link with the latest mass protest in Germany, where earlier this month as many as a million people took to the streets of Berlin to defy newnormalism.

The very next day, Sunday August 30, a protest has been called for Notting Hill during the famous carnival – 12 noon at Portobello Road.

aug 30 protest

Sunday August 30 will also see a Stop New Normal protest in Bristol, in Castle Park from 12 noon. 

Before then, there will be a ‘Protest to Protect our Children’ in Manchester on Saturday August 22, 1pm at Piccadilly Gardens and a Picnic in the Park n Leeds on Sunday August 23, 2pm in Hyde Park.

leeds protest aug 23

A week after the big weekend in the UK capital, on Saturday September 5, there will be a ‘Stand Up for the Children’ protest starting in Hyde Park, London, at 1pm and marching to the BBC studios.

Smaller weekly StandUpX events are currently being held in Bedford (every Saturday, 3pm, Russell Park), Bournemouth (every Saturday, 2-5pm, Bournemouth Town Hall), Norwich (every Saturday, 1pm, Eaton Park, Chapperfield Gardens) and Sheffield (every Saturday, 12pm, Town Hall Peace Gardens).

For latest info see the StandUpX website at https://www.standupx.info/

North of the border, there will be a ‘Saving Scotland’ March on Holyrood: meet-up near the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh at 1pm on Saturday September 5.

Say organisers: “Deliberate media-managed panic, fear and propaganda made the ‘virus’ seem like it could kill us all. It was a lie!

“End the illegal Coronavirus Act 2020 Tyranny. Scotland is being destroyed! Return our civil liberties”.

march on holyrood

Germany remains the epicentre of the revolt against dictatorship (perhaps because historical memories are still relatively fresh), with even a chief inspector of police speaking out against the global big business coup.

But there have also been reports of signficant protests in Madrid (3,000), the Canary Islands (several hundred) Warsaw (25,000) and Montreal (“thousands”).

madrid protest

A ‘Mask Se Azaadi’ campaign now also seems to be underway in India, with one protester declaring: “We are burning the masks. We will not wear any masks and neither will pay any fines. Because wearing masks leads to the spread of diseases. We are being made to wear masks to shut us up”.

We urge Acorn readers, wherever they are, to cast aside their fears and their ideological insecurities, take the plunge and get involved in the resistance to the newnormalist dictatorship.

As C.J. Hopkins says in an excellent piece on the Off_Guardian site: “It is your responsibility to speak up, and to do whatever else you can, to stop the New Normal future from becoming a reality.

“You will not be rewarded for it. You will be ridiculed and castigated for it. Your New Normal friends will hate you for it. Your New Normal family will forsake you for it. The New Normal police might arrest you for it. It is your responsibility to do it anyway”.

Berlin protest
Every day should be freedom day

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2.  The Great Battle for the Future

peasant revolt

In the Middle Ages, with the outright slavery of the Roman Empire left behind, medieval rebels saw ahead of them a better future, one based on social justice, freedom and local autonomy.

They were on the path leading towards the light, towards genuine social progress rather than to the fake “progress” of technological sophistication and profusion.

But this didn’t go down well with the ruling class, who feared that their power and privilege would be lost for ever.

Instead of escaping from slavery into freedom, our ancestors therefore found themselves engaged in a Great Battle for the Future with the dark forces of tyranny.

Capitalism – the new form taken by malevolent ruling class domination – subjugated our ancestors by cutting them off from their sources of subsistence and autonomy.

Common land was confiscated – enclosed – making self-sufficiency impossible. Food could no longer be freely gathered or hunted, rivers could no longer be fished, wood for fuel could no longer be picked up in the privatised forests.

People were forced into the money system, forced to earn “wages” just to live, forced into factories and workhouses, reduced to craven dependency on the capitalist system.

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Silvia Federici

In her book Caliban and the Witch, Silvia Federici describes the period as one of “relentless class struggle” in which “the medieval village was the theater of daily warfare”.

“Everywhere masses of people resisted the destruction of their former ways of existence, fighting against land privatization, the abolition of customary rights, the imposition of new taxes, wage-dependence, and the continuous presence of armies in their neighbourhoods, which was so hated that people rushed to close the gates of their towns to prevent soldiers from settling among them”.

In order to impose the New Normal of capitalism on the unwilling people, the power elite used what Federici terms “social enclosure”, a precursor of today’s “social distancing”.

Pubs-closedShe writes: “In pursuit of social discipline, an attack was launched against all forms of collective sociality and sexuality including sports, games, dances, ale-wakes, festivals, and other group-rituals that had been a source of bonding and solidarity among workers”.

“Taverns were closed, along with public baths. Nakedness was penalized, as were many other ‘unproductive’ forms of sexuality and sociality. It was forbidden to drink, swear, curse”.

In another striking parallel with the 2020s (and indeed the 1920s/1930s) the elite tried to create “a new type of individual” – a servile, malleable and thus profitable type.

The primary tool used by the ultra-rich minority to oppress the majority was, of course, the state.

Far from representing some kind of benign collective self-interest, as some absurdly persist in maintaining, the modern state emerged in the 14th century “as the only agency capable of confronting a working class that was regionally unified, armed and no longer confined in its demands to the political economy of the manor”.

Inquisition

Whether claiming to be fighting “heresy”, “witchcraft” or disorder, the ruling elite deployed all the violence and propaganda of its inquisitions, wars and laws to bring the population to heel. And, as we all know to our cost, it won that Great Battle for the Future.

But because its socipathic greed knows no end, because its “growth” is based on ever-increasing profit for the ultra-rich, it can never stop treading us further and further into the toxic industrial dust of its total control.

Today we have reached another key moment in history, when the ruling elite – under the feeble pretext of combatting a flu virus – hopes to essentially return us to the slave status we escaped a thousand years ago.

All its liberal pretence at “democracy” is going out of the window as the brutal reality of elite power becomes clear to those who have eyes to see.

There will be resistance, you can be sure of that, even if the advance disabling of certain potential sources of dissent means it may take a while for rebels to regroup and find their common voice.

Those of us who do resist will be embarking on another Great Battle for the Future.

(The full article can be read here)

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3. Smart means dead

This is our DIY translation of an article which appears in the July/August 2020 edition of the French-language print journal anarchie! under the title ‘Qui a peur de la mort?

5G mast

The radiant and gleaming future presented to us by the promoters of 5G, ‘a world of infinite possibilities’, has finally revealed itself for what it is: while everyone was locked up in their homes and all dissent was set aside in the name of biopolitics, masts went up all over the place to deliver a new infrastructure with which the powers-that-be aim to do nothing less than transform the whole of society.

5G’s forced entry into our lives cruelly illustrates the fact that neither in conception nor design is it meant to contribute to the well-being of the vast majority who consume it, but that it is instead intended to increase the power of the tiny minority who produce it.

Moreover, if we look back over our shoulders; hasn’t it been the same thing with every new technological advance? From the first weaving looms to motor cars and nuclear energy, how many of these would never have happened if their indisputable necessity for our lives hadn’t been forced on us?

4IR

Considering the enormous means at the disposal of the telecommunicatios industry, which in recent years has come to dominate the political narrative in every corner of the world, you get the impression that every day a war is taking place on the stage of our refusal. Precisely because 5G logically comes across as a negative thing in the eyes of the exploited, since the future it is there to build is that of the dominant class, the system tries to resolve the contradiction by using propaganda, so that people welcome the decisions made for them. But they can’t make people feel satisfied with their lot unless they reduce them to the status of insignficant cogs in a phenomenon over which they have no say.

We are already aware (even if only intuitively) of the effects on our lives of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ invoked by the most enthusiastic experts: they are with us every day in latent form, bursting into reality each time that we catch a glimpse of another, still bigger, slice of nature eaten up by bulldozers. Each time that we realise that we have got used to the sight of a pylon or a nuclear power station. Each time that we notice to what extent the environment in which we live in is artificial and planned.

Awareness is spreading wider and wider of the fact that a technological future cannot halt the ongoing disaster, but is instead aimed at prolonging it.

masked shoppersInstead of opening up the horizon, it closes it down, trapping us in the eternal present. Instead of pointing to the possibility of living something completely different, it offers at the very most the certainty of surviving by managing the catastrophe.

You’d imagine the myth of ‘progress’ would today be riddled with cutting doubts… but no amount of televisual good faith can now stop people seeing the pile of corpses spat out every day on the other side of the world by the capitalist machine. And in the great cities of the ‘advanced’ (sic) world, the end result of two centuries of unquestionable progress has been an existence which is more locked-down, artificial and desperate than we have ever known before.

Only those who have totally surrendered to misery could contemplate without a feeling of dread the technological cages known as ‘smart homes’, the multiplication of ‘sensing systems’ to watch and record every detail of our movements or the alienation of lives directed by the algorithms of ‘virtual assistants’.

At the end of the day it is not just about 5G or the umpteenth new threat from technology. It is about totally refusing a world based on dominating others, that’s to say on war, on environmental destruction, on paid labour and other abominations, of which technology has become one of the cornerstones.

In truth, all of that – the bombarding of cities and spirits, the extinction both of the wild outdoors and of surges of spontaneity in our domestic lives, the state’s administration of its subjects, or the biopolitical lockdown of an entire population – all of that will only be possible if the internet is available everywhere.

5G connect

That is why their emphasis on ‘connectivity’, both between individuals and between individuals and their environment, can only be understood as reinforcement of domination in every domain.

When they tell us to get closer together online, it is really business and the state that are coming closer to human experience: each interraction that takes place on their network is owned by their economy and power. We are obliged to live our everyday lives as if remotely, via more and more technological intermediaries, which put up a sort of screen between us and reality, dictating to us a certain rhythm, a certain behaviour and above all a certain pre-determined relationship with the world.

What is really at stake here, with the way we are being pushed in the direction in which things are going, even more so with the current acceleration of this process by 5G, is our very capacity to think and act autonomously.

Even as technology imposes itself as universal mediation, it paradoxically distances us from the world, in the sense that it derpives us of the moral and material means to understand it, reinvent it and affect it with our own direct, conscious action.

Indeed, the ‘smart’ concept is nothing other than the paradigm of a city, or dwelling-place, where human beings simply follow the directions provided by algorithms, without feeling the need to interrupt this with their own ideas or spontaneous actions born of their own free will… in other words a completely dead intelligence. An intelligence with no conscience.

robot skull

See also: Resist the Fourth Industrial Repression

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4. Tracksuits, traumas and class traitors

Jan Goodey reviews D. Hunter’s new book, Tracksuits, Traumas and Class Traitors, published by the Classwork Project (2020)

tracksuits

On the back of D. Hunter’s first book, Chav Solidarity (Active 2019), which looked at life on the margins of working class Britain, this latest goes further and adds an additional layer of academic analysis into the, at times harrowing, bargain.

The series of ten essays with academic framing, plus a main narrative section, offer insights into queer methodologies; carceral abolition; class analysis; and auto-ethnography which as a terrain is a good fit for this work: “evocative, emotional, dialoguing and engaging writing…[which is]…closer to literature and art than to science”.

At times there is the temptation to rush the analysis which is interspersed and then rush back to the narrative, don’t, the two are integral.

Hunter’s early years could come straight out of an Alan Clarke drama and bear comparison to books like Alexander Masters’ biography, Stuart a Life Backwards; visceral, tortuous, no-holds barred, real life staring you squarely in the face. Muggings, ultra-violence, rape, robbery, incest, are laid bare and borne in occasionally beautiful, positive and counter-intuitive ways.

In this book, one of Hunter’s aims is to do more justice to the lives he dealt with in the first, which honed in on ‘marginalised’ communities. “I focus on the blood and bone of poor and working class people, and the ways in which the social and cultural context reproduces forms of class power… My writing is in a small way a form of activism.”

This honing down is to a ‘poverty class’ as something “distinctly less than the working class; something made of a group of people who should be stripped of their humanity, undeserving of basic dignity. The people who raised me, the people who I grew up around, the imprisoned, the sectioned, the house-less, the traumatised, those who worked in the illegal economies of sex and drugs, the white trash, and the black and brown inner-city youth”.

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The often shocking acts of violence that are documented throughout Tracksuits, Traumas and Class Traitors – acts which are carried out by the author, against him and he as witness – are viewed with recognition of the political, economic and social systems in which they occur – a vital sequitur.

That he’s been given “the space, care and time to focus on recovering, that my behaviours have been anything close to the result of conscious decisions. But it’s this experience that leads me to feel compassion towards the person who has caused me the greatest harm, the legacy of which it’s doubtful I’ll ever recover”.

Here he refers to the patriarch of the family, his grandfather. And it is here we look to the restorative powers of transformative justice (TJ) and its liberatory approach to violence; seeking safety and accountability within families and communities and not alienation, punishment, state violence of prison and policing without. The bitter fruits of industrial capitalism.

Bay Area TJ

We are brought to The Bay Area TJ collective in Oakland California where a pod approach is practised within the community while seeking safety and accountability front, left and centre.

These anarchistic, positive, grassroots, small scale initiatives are all about “entering into dialogues that engage with the inequity in our networks. [It] is vital in our attempts to end the reproduction of carceral and capitalist logics. If we do this, we will be able to create spaces which encourage openness and intimacy, from which we can build deep solidarity with one another”.

A deep solidarity he had rarely with his own father and more often with neighbours: the one rare moment of filial connection, playing football…”he was playing with a desperation to connect with me, to find that paternal bond; instead I imagine he was beating people, he was beating other men in a socially approved way, in a manner that those watching could not take away from him easily. I was playing for that bond, the desperation that coursed through my veins then, that wanted the world and its dog to see us together playing, moving in synchronicity with one another. I wanted that synchronicity, that connection, to last forever. It did not make it past the afternoon”.

And then we get to hear of extraordinary acts of kindness towards D and his family from neighbours– “the man who ran the Jamaican takeaway that gave me the fried chicken… For over four years, he supplied us with fried chicken, hot, rice ‘n’ peas, and many, many dumplings. I could go over there at any point during their opening times and he would supply me with a bag of food to take back to the flat”.

The book’s final segment looks at social work: “As Loïc Wacquant has pointed out,
government programmes, which set out to address poverty or more accurately address the poor, working class, have as their primary function the marking of the poor as pathological, enabling the state to criminalise poverty and the bodies of the poor. This process plays a key role in the stigmatisation of poor and working class people”.

This stigmatisation breeds new exploitation with new forms of media-manufactured class differentiation and antagonism.

Through all of this Hunter’s heart stays embedded in his working class roots and he selflessly seeks “to connect some dots and ensure that everyone who had asked for some cash [from the fruits of his first book] received some, and in some cases, set up regular payments for the duration of the social shutdown. I don’t say this to big myself up, I was in a fortunate position to have enough social capital to connect those with plenty to those with not enough”.

(Jan Goodey is a regular contributor to the Ecologist online)

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5. Henry David Thoreau: an orgrad inspiration

The latest in our serious of profiles from the orgrad website.

Thoreau

“We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us”

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was a writer and philosopher who sought and recommended a simple natural life and who spoke out against modern civilization and the violence of the state.

He influenced many political thinkers, including Henry SaltEdward CarpenterLeo Tolstoy and Mohandas Gandhi.

Thoreau’s best-known work is Walden, a description of his attempt to put his thinking into practice by living for more than two years in the woods of his native Massachusetts, USA.

thoreau signHe explained: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived”. (1)

Part of the appeal for him was undoubtedly to be alone, to escape the crowds and babble of the modern world, for which a certain loss of comfort was a price well worth paying: “I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion”. (2)

Thoreau frequently stressed the importance of living unencumbered by the trappings of the modern world – “Simplify, simplify”, (3) he urged. “Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life?” (4)

It was not just that we did not need these trappings of wealth, but that they were actually bad for us.

He wrote in Walden that most of the luxuries and so-called comforts of life were not at all necessary, but were in fact “positive hinderances to the elevation of mankind” (5) and he added in ‘Civil Disobedience’: “Absolutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue”. (6)

Adi_ShankaraThoreau noted that the wisest of people had historically often lived in the simplest of ways and was convinced that this was all part of their wisdom.

“To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically”. (7)

On the other hand, the rich had “accumulated dross”, did not know how to get rid of it and had thus “forged their own golden or silver fetters”. (8)

Thoreau was interested in Hindu philosophy and also, in Walden, cites the Taoist wisdom of Chuang Tzu.

He pre-empted René Guénon in his view that the modern world represented a reign of quantity where quality, particularly inner quality, was completely neglected. He noted: “While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them”. (9)

Contemporary America “lives too fast” (10) he said. Commerce, communication and transport were all regarded as essential issues, but people were less interested in “whether we should live like baboons or like men”. (11)

railroadThoreau was more than sceptical about the point of industrial progress and all the so-called “modern improvements” it brought with it, writing that “there is an illusion about them; there is not always a positive advance”. (12)

He added: “Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end, an end which it was already but too easy to arrive at; as railroads lead to Boston or New York. We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate”. (13)

The much-heralded cable under the Atlantic would, he suggested, only succeed in bringing Americans worthless gossip such as news of the latest illnesses affecting the British Royal Family.

“As if the main object were to talk fast and not to talk sensibly… the man whose horse trots a mile in a minute does not carry the most important messages”. (14)

Twenty years later, John Ruskin was to make the same point when he described the new railway allowing the people of Buxton and Bakewell to rush from one town to the other and back in record time and for no apparent purpose.

railroad workers2

Thoreau was also acutely aware of the human cost of industrialism, including the thousands of human lives lost in the building of the railways, the first major infrastructure of American capitalism.

He wrote: “We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us. Did you ever think what those sleepers are that underlie the railroad? Each one is a man, an Irishman or a Yankee man. The rails are laid on them, and they are covered with sand, and the cars run smoothly over them”. (15)

An outspoken opponent of the American institution of slavery, which was not formally abolished until after his death, Thoreau also turned his fire on the “factory system” that had been imported across the Atlantic.

He wrote: “The condition of the operatives is becoming every day more like that of the English, and it cannot be wondered at since, as far as I have heard or observed, the principal object is, not that mankind may be well and honestly clad, but, unquestionably, that the corporations may be enriched”. (16)

Against this world of money-greed and exploitation, Thoreau proposed a modest and inward-looking life in the bosom of nature.

The dust that accumulates on any object inside a house symbolised for him the choking effect of modern life on human beings and he declared: “I would rather sit in the open air, for no dust gathers on the grass, unless where man has broken ground”. (17)

Thoreau’s belief in the importance of being close to nature implied that our very thinking should emerge from that nature and effectively amount to a continuation of its unspoken wisdom.

He wrote in ‘A Natural History of Massachusetts’: “To him who contemplates a trait of natural beauty no harm or disappointment can come. The doctrines of despair, of spiritual or political tyranny or servitude, were never taught by such as shared the serenity of nature”. (18)

hoar frost crystalsIn this essay he described the “ghost leaves” produced by hoar frost and was prompted to reflect on the inherent form within the natural world.

He wrote: “It struck me that these ghost leaves, and the green ones whose forms they assume, were the creatures of but one law; that in obedience to the same law the vegetable juices swell gradually into the perfect leaf, on the one hand, and the crystalline particles troop to their standard in the same order, on the other.

“As if the material were indifferent, but the law one and invariable, and every plant in the spring but pushed up into and filled a permanent and eternal mould, which, summer and winter forever, is waiting to be filled”. (19)

He added: “Vegetation has been made the type of all growth; but as in crystals the law is more obvious, their material being more simple, and for the most part more transient and fleeting, would it not be as philosophical as convenient to consider all growth, all filling up within the limits of nature, but a crystallisation more or less rapid?” (20)

Here he raises one of the key elements of organic radical thinking: that there is an implicit order within nature as a whole and all its parts, including humans, which emerges from within and steers our development.

Thoreau wrote: “I perceive that, when an acorn and a chestnut fall side by side, the one does not remain inert to make way for the other, but both obey their own laws, and spring and grow and flourish as best they can till one, perchance, overshadows and destroys the other. If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man”. (21)

thoreau bookThis realisation, drawn from his observation of plants and frost, formed a nature-sourced philosophical basis for his libertarian political views.

If people were not able to live according to their nature in the contemporary world, it was because of the state and its laws.

Thoreau wrote, in ‘Civil Disobedience’: “I heartily accept the motto, ‘That government is best which governs least’; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically.

“Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also I believe – ‘That government is best which governs not at all’; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have”. (22)

He observed: “Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice”. (23)

Thoreau had direct experience of the power of the state, which jailed him for refusing to pay his poll tax for six years, and was struck by the “foolishness” of the thick walls and doors with which it countered his principled stance.

pilloryHe wrote: “The State never intentionally confronts a man’s sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest”. (24)

When Thoreau insisted that “the only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think is right”, (25) this may sound simply like rugged individualism.

But the use of the term ‘right’ indicated that he was in fact referencing a collective sense of right and wrong, one sourced from his inner human nature.

Like the anarchist psychoanalyst Otto Gross, Thoreau saw how a person who tried to live according to that nature, who remained true to their innate moral compass, was bound to come into conflict with an outside civilization founded on power, money and lies.

Our duty was to allow the sense of rightness that swelled within us to overcome the demands and expectations of a world become corrupt and not to find cowardly excuses to avoid doing so.

He wrote: “All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But almost all say that such is not the case now”. (26)

He urged us to follow the obligation deep within us to be true to ourselves and the natural world of which we are part: “Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine”. (27)

Video link: Talking with Thoreau (31 mins)

thoreau art

1. Henry David Thoreau, Walden, with an introduction by Richard Whiteing (London: The Gresham Publishing Company, n/d), p. 109.
2. Thoreau, Walden, p. 42.
3. Thoreau, Walden, p. 110.
4. Thoreau, Walden, p. 111.
5. Thoreau, Walden, p. 15.
6. Henry David Thoreau, ‘Civil Disobedience’, The Portable Thoreau: Revised Edition, ed. Carl Bode (London: Penguin, 1975), p. 123.
7. Thoreau, Walden, pp. 15-16.
8. Thoreau, Walden, p. 17.
9. Thoreau, Walden, p. 39.
10. Thoreau, Walden, pp. 110-11.
11. Ibid.
12. Thoreau, Walden, p. 61.
13. Ibid.
14. Thoreau, Walden, pp. 61-62.
15. Thoreau, Walden, p. 111.
16. Thoreau, Walden, p. 30.
17. Thoreau, Walden, p. 42.
18. Henry David Thoreau, ‘A Natural History of Massachusetts’, The Portable Thoreau, p. 33.
19. Henry David Thoreau, ‘A Natural History of Massachusetts’, The Portable Thoreau, pp. 52-53.
20. Thoreau, ‘A Natural History of Massachusetts’, The Portable Thoreau, pp. 53-54.
21. Thoreau, ‘Civil Disobedience’, The Portable Thoreau, p. 127.
22. Thoreau, ‘Civil Disobedience’, The Portable Thoreau, p. 109.
23. Thoreau, ‘Civil Disobedience’, The Portable Thoreau, p. 111.
24. Thoreau, ‘Civil Disobedience’, The Portable Thoreau, p. 127.
25. Thoreau, ‘Civil Disobedience’, The Portable Thoreau, p. 111.
26. Thoreau, ‘Civil Disobedience’, The Portable Thoreau, p. 113.
27. Thoreau, ‘Civil Disobedience’, The Portable Thoreau, p. 120.

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6. Acorninfo

Resistance continues against the disastrous HS2 rail line between London and Birmingham. Says the HS2 Rebellion website: “HS2 is one of the largest and most damaging infrastructure projects our country has ever seen and is representative of everything we are seeking to change within this toxic system”. For info on protest camp locations and how to help go to https://hs2rebellion.earth/camp-locations/

HS2 protest

* * *

Wangan and Jagalingou Tribal Warriors in Australia have served mining giant Adani with an eviction notice for illegally trespassing on their land with its Carmichael Coal Mine. They say: “This eviction notice marks the start of a new phase of our resistance to Adani’s destruction of land, water and culture”.

WJWarriors

* * *

This Spanish TV interview with a doctor went horribly wrong for the corporate propagandists, as the interviewee tore holes into the official smearmongering and its blatant vaccine-profiteering agenda. A real breath of fresh air!

Spanish doctor on TV

* * *

“It will be done in a barbaric fashion using draconian methods and this global holocaust will probably come out from under the flag of the UN… Wake up now!” So says a character in One By One, the last ever film to feature the late Rik Mayall.  Meanwhile the latest Plandemic film has been getting a lot of attention. Note that one of these is labelled fiction and the other not, but we will let readers decide for themselves how that works out!

Rik Mayall in One by One

* * *

“This is the essence of the biosecurity state, in which the citizen no longer has the right to life (familial, social, economic, political), but in which the state has absolute power over the biopolitical body of the subject”. Another hugely impressive article by Simon Elmer
of Architects for Social Housing can be read here.

police state masks

* * *

A warning against the Big Pharma vaccine agenda has been issued in Cyprus. Says the author: “The so-called ‘cases’ of healthy people are exactly what each community needs to cope with the crisis. But the ‘scientific team’ is trying to reduce this natural immunity that the community is now building, because – they have made it very clear – they prefer to pursue mass vaccination”.

DIY.Masks.3.cropped

* * *

The dystopia of the Fourth Industrial Repression is arriving faster than any of us could imagine. In Basildon, Essex, for instance, the council has announced it will be starting a six-month trial of the use of drones to help with planning enforcement. Local activists’ fears of “mission creep” are supported by news from Melbourne, Australia, where the increasingly fascistic cops are already using drones to spy on citizens to make sure they don’t break “lockdown” rules. Will people start developing DIY anti-drone devices in response? Jamming the frequencies? Using catapults even?

drone surveillance

* * *

Canadian constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati is taking out a lawsuit against his government, describing the COVID measures as “the biggest example of misinformation and lies on a global scale that we’ve seen”.

Rocco Galati

* * *

Another glorious triumph for technological Progress has been announced, with scientists apparently having discovered a “ground-breaking” bio-synthetic material that they claim can be used to merge artificial intelligence with the human brain. This “breakthrough” is described as “a major step towards integrating electronics with the body to create part human, part robotic ‘cyborg’ beings”. Marvellous news for life haters everywhere.

cyborg nightmare

* * *

The next phase in  the global techno-fascist coup, particularly if resistance picks some momentum, is likely to be full-out censorship of dissident views. We are still very much present on Twitter, but with some anti-establishment groups already being expelled from social media, we have created a back-up account on Mastodon,  which can be found here.

* * *

Acorn quote: “The great ability of those who are in control in the modern world lies in making the people believe that they are governing themselves”.

René Guénon

vote poster

(For many more like this, see the Winter Oak quotes for the day blog)

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The Acorn – 58

acorn 2019bNumber 58

In this issue:

  1. Where do we go from here?
  2. Protection racket
  3. Exposing the lies
  4. The Outsider: an interview with Colin Wilson
  5. Aldous Huxley: an orgrad inspiration
  6. Acorninfo

1.  Where do we go from here?

anti-mask protest

These are not easy times in which to be alive if, like us, you cherish freedom and truth.

The last few months have seen us dragged into a nightmarish totalitarian world.

No sooner had “lockdown” been lifted, than masks were imposed. The spectre of a compulsory “vaccine” hovers darkly on the horizon.

All this symbolism of submission, of craven conformism and dehumanised obedience, would be hard to take at the best of times.

But when all of this naked authoritarianism is justified by blatant lies, the situation becomes still more outlandlish.

The “science” behind this medical strategy of tension is so flimsy that one would imagine that all but the dullest of TV-addicted sofa spuds would see right through it.

But, for many, believing the official version seems to have become an article of faith, a central part of their initiation into the sinister “new normal”.

In order for this psychological surrender to authority to be effective, maybe the message had to be obviously false, in the same way that Winston Smith’s torturer in Nineteen Eighty-Four is obviously holding up four fingers rather than five.

What is important for our rulers is that obedient goodthinking citizens believe anything they are told, no matter how absurd.

A further twist of the knife has come from the way that people we assumed we knew, people we imagined shared our basic ideals, have turned out to be something else.

Liberty-loving rebels, long-term opponents of the capitalist system, have suddenly become authoritarian robots, mindlessly repeating the lies and demands of the system.

Worse still, they turn on those of us who have remained consistent in our principles and accuse us of having somehow drifted into unacceptable political territory!

It comes as no comfort to have seen much of this coming, whether in the shape of the increasing authoritarianism of the neoliberal system or the dangerous narrowing of political thinking on the left.

mask citizen
Political correctness 2020

In truth, the scale and speed of what has happened has left us gasping for breath.

Where do we go from here?

We can all, of course, keep on resisting the dictatorship in hundreds of small ways, most importantly by sharing our views and analysis with others in the virtual and real worlds.

But we can also start thinking about what our long-term resistance is going to look like, what kind of movement might emerge to fight the new white-coated fascism and the Fourth Industrial Repression it has unleashed on us.

In thinking about this future movement, we can all help to create and shape it.

To this effect, we invite Acorn readers to share their thoughts with us, not so much in the form of articles for publication (though we also welcome those!), as in an informal way.

Our email address is winteroak(at)greenmail.net and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

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2.  Protection racket

WWF-funded guards

Protecting the environment has surely got to be A Good Thing.

Creating “protected areas” for nature in various parts of the world might therefore seem to be a positive move.

However, when these areas are being promoted by the same capitalist system which brought nature to her knees in the first place, the alarm lights start flashing!

“Protected Areas” are in fact one aspect of the global capitalist scam being sold to us under the label of the ‘New Deal for Nature’.

Because, in typical capitalist style, this scam has been wrapped up in shiny green packaging and promoted by the well-known WWF, the New Deal for Nature initially attracted little opposition.

But in recent weeks, thanks to the truth-spreading efforts of the No Deal for Nature campaign and its supporters, support has been slipping away.

The human rights charity Survival International has been doing a great job of blowing the whistle on what is nothing other than a new phase of industrial capitalist imperialism, aiming to displace indigenous peoples and further exploit Mother Nature for the profit of the usual tiny and greedy elite.

Warns Survival director Stephen Corry: “The latest idea to be heavily promoted by big conservation NGOs is doubling the world’s so-called ‘Protected Areas’ (PAs) so that they cover thirty percent of the globe’s lands and oceans.

View at Medium.com

“This is now their main rallying cry and response to two of the world’s biggest problems — climate chaos and loss of biodiversity.

“It’s a marketing gimmick designed to funnel even more money to those who have for decades demonstrated their failure to mitigate either climate change or biodiversity loss.

“Many PAs aren’t really protected at all. They include industrial exploitation — mining, logging, plantations, trophy hunting concessions, or extensive, usually high-end, tourist infrastructure.

“The locals are thrown out as the land is grabbed by one or other industry, partnering with one or other big conservation NGO.

“It’s a new colonialism, the world’s biggest land grab, supposedly ‘green’ and supposedly to save the world — a really big lie. As Odette, a Baka woman from Congo, says of such imposed conservation projects which don’t work, ‘We’ve had enough of this talk of ‘boundaries’ in the forest. The forest is ours’.”

The alert is also being sounded via the World Rainforest Movement, notably in a statement entitled “Protected Areas feed corporate profiting and destruction”.

Click to access Boletin-249_ENG.pdf

This explains: “PAs are heavily promoted by conservation NGOs, governments and corporations. The NGOs want as much money as possible to maintain their dominance over more and more of the world’s surface, which they see as threatened by locals.

“Governments hate self-sufficient people who are difficult to tax and control and who tend to be sceptical about the state’s claim to override the community. Corporations look for more consumers, and to extract more raw materials, often from ‘wilderness’. They need places where they can claim to ‘offset’ carbon, to greenwash their image as much as possible.

“The result is that billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money are funnelled into conservation areas that ignore all checks about upholding human rights, which are routinely violated there. Most such projects are run by NGOs, profit-making private companies, or both. They are established in collaboration with logging, extractive industries, trophy hunting, tourism concessions, and agribusiness.

“They take the land which has long sustained a way of life for local people and refashioned it to churn out profit for a few outsiders. In some areas, there is a clear overlap of, for example, mining concessions with protected areas.

“Conservation NGOs are, at least in part, controlled by the corporate bosses who sit on their boards, partner with, and fund them, why expect anything different?”

We urge readers to support the No Deal for Nature campaign in any way they can.

Their site is here and they are on Twitter here, where they work closely with Boycott WWF.

The New Deal For Nature was due to be finalised as part of the post-2020 biodiversity framework at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conference to be held China in October 2020.

Thanks to the resistance, however, this event has now been postponed to May 17-30, 2021, according to a press release from the Convention on Biological Diversity on July 15.

An international day of action against the New Deal for Nature is being mooted for this autumn – we are happy to help put people and groups in touch with each other to ensure this happens.

WWF corporate links

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3. Exposing the lies

germanarticles1

As English speakers, we have access to a wide range of material to inform our analysis of the Coronavirus situation.

But this privilege sometimes allows us to forget the important contributions to the discussion made in other languages.

We are grateful to the friends who have shared with us their translations of several German-language articles, which we have made available via this site.

The first document calls for an immediate end to all Corona measures and a committee of inquiry to uncover all errors and deception.

It looks at why masks are harmful, useless and degrading and why all “protective measures” were – and are – senseless from the outset.

“The lockdown has more dead people on its conscience than Covid-19!”, it adds.

corona tvIt cites the famous 80-page evaluation of the Corona measures by Oberregierungsrat K., deputy head of the department for crisis management (critical infrastructure protection) in the Federal Ministry of the Interior: “The observable effects and impacts of Covid19 do not provide sufficient evidence (solid evidence) that it is more than a false alarm in terms of health effects on society as a whole”.

And it includes this nice line: “This killer virus is very special and is mainly transmitted by television, radio and newspapers”.

The Science Fraud by Prof. Christian Drosten‘ focuses on the high-profile German virologist and also assesses his UK counterpart: “Neil Ferguson is the ghost in the machine. The machine is the World Health Organization and the CDC. The man behind the ghost is Bill Gates”.

This analysis by Dr. Stefan Lanka also takes Prof Dorsten to task. “Neither he, nor the virologists of the CCDC, nor others have demonstrably carried out these necessary control experiments to date and if they have, they have not published them… The moment this attempt is carried out and published, the Corona crisis is immediately over”.

Finally, this July 4 article, originally from Diamenten  magazine (“for freedom and a self-determined life”), says that leading Corona researchers admit that they have no scientific proof of the existence of a specific virus. “Rumours and lies have created a pandemic, although there was no evidence!”

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4. The Outsider: an interview with Colin Wilson

“For the Outsider, the world into which he has been born is always a world without values. Compared to his own appetite for a purpose and a direction, the way most men live is not living at all; it is drifting. This is the Outsider’s wretchedness, for all men have a herd instinct that leads them to believe that what the majority does must be right. Unless he can evolve a set of values that will correspond to his own higher intensity of purpose, he may as well throw himself under a bus, for he will always be an outcast and a misfit”. So wrote Colin Wilson in his important and best-selling 1956 book The Outsider. Wilson died seven years ago, but not until Acorn contributor Jan Goodey had secured an interview with him, which we are pleased to feature here.

Colin_Wilson

When interviewed in 2001, original angry young man and all-round iconoclast Colin Wilson had lost none of the bite that made his name back in the Fifties and Sixties.

A simple throwaway comment on Aleister Crowley was seized upon with acerbic relish, “He was a shit and one of the only people I wrote about who I would not have wanted to meet.”

In his seventies then, Wilson was happily ensconced in Cornwall which became his haven when the media glare became all too much back in the days when the papers would call him ‘a genius’ and run a story on him being spotted outside a cinema, all in the same day. “Well who the fuck cares” his comment relating to the latter.

On a day in 1956 Wilson woke up and found himself lauded and a best-seller. His book The Outsider had come out in the same week as John Osbourne’s play Look Back In Anger. The book featured chapters on various writers, including Herman Hesse, outside the mainstream and influenced by great, arcane Eastern mysticism.

colin wilson the outsiderIt was counter-cultural to the prevailing philosophies of the time: linguistic analysis, logical positivism and Marxism. For a few weeks they weren’t sure whether to call this new generation of writers Angry Young Men or Outsiders and Wilson was feted by his contemporaries, including Kingsley Amis and Francis Bacon.

It was a break for a working class lad who’d never been to university, always been broke, worked in factories and coffee houses and even slept out on Hampstead Heath to save rent. “My ‘success’ itself was an absurd paradox;” he later wrote, “I was being rewarded for telling society how much I detested it.”

The English press’s long-held reputation of building people up to knock ’em down again was something Wilson soon found out about – close quarters. The feeling of destestation could be more than reciprocated.

One of the first to wield the knife was fellow philosopher AJ Ayer who did “a filthy stinking review of The Outsider,” said Wilson. Others followed suit, taken aback that a provincial hick could turn the London literary scene upside down with his first book.

With the Beats espousing stream of consciousness bacchanalia and the Existentialists, alienation, Wilson was neither one nor the other, and eventually sought sanctuary, first in France then Cornwall: “I suppose it’s like this girl Anne Robinson (UK celeb/news journalist) who was initially very highly regarded, but now is attacked by a lot of people maybe because she’s too famous. I went to Paris to meet Camus. He was going to do an introduction to my second book but was then killed in a car crash.”

albert camus
Albert Camus

Wilson saw himself following in the tradition of Sartre and Camus, and took up a position he described as New Existentialism, proceeding from many of their assumptions but rejecting alienation in favour of a life-affirming view: the individual free to forge meaning for him/herself: “Someone once called me our only home grown existentialist. At the time when people like Ayer were saying that questions about the meaning of life were meaningless I was feeling that they’re the only questions worth answering. What the hell are we doing here?”

The answer wasn’t Christianity, although he was tempted by Catholicism until he took instruction and discovered it to be “a lot of shit”. Wilson on Jesus is interesting in itself: “I don’t believe that Jesus died on the Cross for the sin of Adam. We know pretty certainly that Jesus himself didn’t think so, that he was a member of a reformist group. and this was so hated a group by Jews and Romans that he got crucified. He would have been shocked by the notion that he was the Son of God.”

No, the answer for Wilson lay partly in the occult – he believes we are on the verge of an evolutionary leap to a higher stage,- about to come something more than man/woman. In essence a positive outlook and it was in keeping with his view of himself as the first genuine optomistic philosopher in the Western tradition.

And if you ever catch yourself asking from where the New Age interest in all things mystical, springs: “In a word me, I started it all,” said Wilson, ever so slightly mischievious.

Colin Wilson2

Colin Wilson (1931-2013)

(Jan Goodey is a regular contributor to the Ecologist online)

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5. Aldous Huxley: an orgrad inspiration

The latest in our serious of profiles from the orgrad website.

Aldous Huxley smoking, circa 1946

“Modern technology has led to the concentration of economic and political power”

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) was a philosopher and writer who consistently opposed the industrial and commercial thinking of Western capitalism.

He is best known for his 1931 novel Brave New World, which depicts a dystopic future society built on American-style consumerism.Writing to his brother Julian in August 1918, Huxley predicted that one of the most deplorable consequences of the First World War would be “the inevitable acceleration of American world domination” and warned repeatedly in the 1920s that “the future of America is the future of the world”. (1)

David Bradshaw writes that the “World State” of Brave New World was clearly conceived “as a satire on the global diffusion of the American way of life”. (2)

Huxley’s future hell does not need the machineries of a violent police state to keep its population under control, because its domination reaches deep inside people’s heads.

As he remarked: “A really efficient totalitarian state would be the one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.

“To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and school teachers”. (3)

In Huxley’s dystopia, as in our own industrial capitalist world, everything is judged according to its contribution to “economic growth”.

He explains in the novel that at a previous stage of the Brave New World the lower castes of society had been conditioned to like wild flowers and nature – for a very specific reason: “The idea was to make them want to be going out into the country at every available opportunity, and to compel them to consume transport”. (4)

But this conditioning had been dropped because landscapes and flowers lay outside the all-important economy: “A love of nature keeps no factories busy. It was decided to abolish the love of nature, at any rate among the lower classes”. (5)huxley brave new world

The same productivist mentality inspires the imaginary society’s love of games and sports involving lots of complicated equipment.

Reflects one character: “Strange to think that even in Our Ford’s day most games were played without more apparatus than a ball or two and a few sticks and perhaps a bit of netting. Imagine the folly of allowing people to play elaborate games which do nothing whatever to increase consumption. It’s madness”. (6)

The consumer impulse is etched into each new generation’s minds by recorded voices played over and over again to children in their nurseries: “The voices were adapting future demands to future industrial supply. ‘I do love flying,’ they whispered. ‘ I do love flying. I do love having new clothes’… ‘But old clothes are beastly,’ continued the untiring whisper. ‘We always throw away old clothes. Ending is better than mending, ending is better than mending, ending is better…’” (7)

This brainwashing takes on a more obviously ideological shape for teenagers, as revealed when the character Lenina insists that “progress is lovely, isn’t it?” and Bernard remarks wearliy: “Five hundred repetitions once a week from thirteen to seventeen”. (8)

For most people in contemporary Western capitalist society, even those who consider themselves dissidents, it seems likewise to be a deeply conditioned self-evident truth that “progress is lovely”.

Those same people often share another of the basic convictions of the Brave New World: that there is no underlying human nature which could allow us to develop freely without the lifelong tight control of authority.

The character Mustapha Mond declares: “As if one believed anything by instinct! One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them”. (9)

Although Huxley’s dystopia is often contrasted with the one put forward by George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four, deep-down they are not as different as all that – and a hatred of “oldthink” is common to both nightmare regimes.

Huxley imagines a “campaign against the Past” that had involved “the closing of museums, the blowing up of historical monuments (luckily most of them had already been destroyed during the Nine Years’ War); by the suppression of all books published before AF. 150”. (10) The Brave New World, like the Western industrial-capitalist society which it mocks, is generally opposed to too much thinking and reading. After all: “You can’t consume much if you sit still and read books”. (11)

Books and ideas are regarded as particularly dangerous if they are “old” – that is to say, if they come from an intellectual world beyond the narrow bubble of its own cretinous consumer-conformism.

At one point in the novel, a leader of this society is asked why the work of William Shakespeare has been banned.“The Controller shrugged his shoulders. ‘Because it’s old; that’s the chief reason. We haven’t any use for old things here’. ‘Even when they’re beautiful?’. ‘Particularly when they’re beautiful. Beauty’s attractive, and we don’t want people to be attracted by old things. We want them to like the new ones’”. (12)

Huxley went on to deepen his anti-Western, anti-capitalist philosophy by exploring the “old” philosophies cast aside by the modern world. At the end of the Second World War he explicitly identified himself with the Perennialist movement which had been formed by René GuénonAnanda CoomaraswamyFrithjof Schuon and others.

The title of his 1945 work The Perennial Philosophy made this clear enough, and Huxley listed no fewer than three books by Guénon in his bibliography.huxley perennial

As well as exploring the roots of this philosophy, particularly in the East, Huxley applied its ethos to the modern world around him and, unsurprisingly, found that contemporary “wisdom” represented pretty much the opposite of all that is considered of value by the inherited wisdom of humankind.

The cult of technology came under specific attack: “Technological idolatry is the religion whose doctrines are promulgated, explicitly or by implication, in the advertisement pages of our newspapers and magazines – the source, we may add parenthetically, from which millions of men, women and children in the capitalist countries derive their working philosophy of life…

“So whole-hearted is the modern faith in technological idols that (despite all the lessons of mechanized warfare) it is impossible to discover in the popular thinking of our time any trace of the ancient and profoundly realistic doctrine of hubris and inevitable nemesis.

“There is a very general belief that, where gadgets are concerned, we can get something for nothing – can enjoy all the advantages of an elaborate, top-heavy and constantly advancing technology without having to pay for them by any compensating disadvantages”. (13)

For Huxley, as for the tradition he espoused, there was no essential difference between the everyday life of the human being and the cultural or spiritual atmosphere in which he or she lives. He could see the lack of spirituality in the contemporary world not simply in terms of an abstract over-view, but on an individual level: “The industrial worker at his fool-proof and grace-proof machine does his job in a man-made universe of punctual automata – a universe that lies entirely beyond the pale of Tao on any level, brutal, human or spiritual”. (14)

Huxley urged his readers to turn their backs on the empty folly of modern life and reconnect with a tradition that would be our natural birthright, were it not hidden away from us by those who fear its force: “The reign of violence will never come to an end until, first, most human beings accept the same, true, philosophy of life; until, second, this Perennial Philosophy is recognized as the highest factor common to all the world religions”. (15)

Huxley continued his philosophical assault on industrial civilization in a follow-up commentary on Brave New World published in 1959.In Brave New World Revisited, he highlighted the dire consequences of continuing on our current course of endless multiplication and economic “growth”, with the spiralling levels of population required to make this possible.

He warned that “this fantastically rapid doubling of our numbers will be taking place on a planet whose most desirable and productive areas are already densely populated, whose soils are being eroded by the frantic efforts of bad farmers to raise more food, and whose easily available mineral capital is being squandered with the reckless extravagance of a drunken sailor getting rid of his accumulated pay”. (16)Huxley Brave New World Revisited

Huxley pointed out that our apparently democratic societies were in fact ruled by a “Power Elite” (17) – “modern technology has led to the concentration of economic and political power”. (18)

He also explained how the apparent physical liberty of the individual in contemporary society could be an illusion. Not only were people fooled into accepting their enslavement, but the meaning of the word “freedom” was twisted so far that it came to mean that same enslavement.

Huxley wrote: “It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison, and yet not free – to be under no physical constraint and yet to be a psychological captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the national state, or of some private interest within the nation, wants him to think, feel and act… The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him, the walls of his prison are invisible, and he believes himself to be free”. (19)

He warned of a possible future in which “democracy” and “freedom” would remain the catchwords of the status quo, but in which at the same time “the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained élite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit”. (20)

To prevent this happening, Huxley suggested we should “break up modern society’s vast, machine-like collectives into self-governing, voluntarily co-operating groups, capable of functioning outside the bureaucratic systems of Big Business and Big Government”. (21)

Looking back, in 1946, on his best-known novel, he said if he were to write it again he would provide the protagonists with another choice of society: “In this community economics would be decentralist and Henry-Georgian, politics Kropotkinesque and co-operative.

“Science and technology would be used as though, like the Sabbath, they had been made for man, not (as at present and still more in the Brave New World) as though man were to be adapted and enslaved to them”. (22)

Video link: Illustrated summary of Huxley’s Brave New World.

aldous-huxley2

1. David Bradshaw, ‘Introduction’, Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (London: Flamingo, 1994).
2. Ibid.
3. Aldous Huxley, 1946 Foreword, Brave New World.
4. Huxley, Brave New World, p. 19.
5. Ibid.
6. Huxley, Brave New World, p. 26.
7. Huxley, Brave New World, p. 43.
8. Huxley, Brave New World, p. 50.
9. Huxley, Brave New World, p. 214.
10. Huxley, Brave New World, p. 45.
11. Huxley, Brave New World, p. 44.
12. Huxley, Brave New World, pp. 199-200.
13. Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy (London: Chatto & Windus, 1980), p. 288.
14. Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy, p. 197.
15. Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy, p. 229.
16. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited (London: Chatto & Windus, 1959), p. 17.
17. Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, p. 34.
18. Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, p. 35.
19. Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, p. 154.
20. Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, p. 156.
21. Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, p. 159.
22. Huxley, 1946 Foreword, Brave New World.

orgrad logo

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6. Acorninfo

“Confronted with the accelerated totalitarianisation of the UK being implemented under a de facto State of Emergency, we have chosen to listen to the lies of the Government and its media telling us exactly what to do and for how long, rather than hear a truth on which we will have to think and act for ourselves”. So writes Simon Elmer of Architects for Social Housing in a recent article in his excellent series on the Coronavirus situation. He warns that we are entering “a Britain of fully privatised public services and even greater economic and social inequality in a population ruled by emergency legislation, managed by the surveillance state and governed under a permanent state of exception”.

elmer art

* * *

Issue 10 of UK anarcho-zine DIY Culture is now online, with the theme of ‘the anarchist revolution – then and now’. Articles include ‘A Study of the Revolution in Spain, 1936-1937’ by Stuart Christie, ‘Anarchy From The Ruins’ by Paul Cudenec and ‘This Is Anarchy – Eight Ways the Black Lives Matter and Justice for George Floyd Uprisings Reflect Anarchist Ideas in Action’.

DIY 10

* * *

Journalist Peter Hitchens continues to put most liberals and leftists to shame with his defiance of Covid-1984 totalitarianism. In an article in Standpoint mag, he insists: “The freedom to leave your house when you wish to and go where you will is not a civil liberty or a political liberty. It is part of being a free man or woman”. And writing about masks, he adds: “The truth is that the muzzle policy is all about power and fear. The Government began its wild, disproportionate shutdown of the country by spreading fear of a devastating plague that would destroy the NHS and kill untold thousands. Now, as many people find that Covid-19 is, in fact, nothing of the kind, new ways have to be found to keep up the alarm levels”.

masks on tube

* * *

“It is a fact that techniques of manipulation are part and parcel of contemporary liberal democracies,” writes Dr Piers Robinson. “Although such persuasion activities can involve consensual techniques, they also frequently include less consensual techniques, involving forms of deception, incentivization and coercion”.

BBC corona

* * *

The call has gone out to physically oppose the EU-China Summit being held in Leipzig in September. Says an online statement: “More than anything else, the EU-China Summit means a further escalation of the top-down struggle. Poverty and prosperity are to be further redistributed in favour of the economy and ruling elites. We will not stand idly by and we will attack and fight the summit to the best of our ability. Despite short preparation time, despite the Corona pandemic and all the narrowness it brings with it: We call on all of you to come to Leipzig from September 13th to 15th and attack the summit with us! No rest for the rulers – not here in Leipzig and not elsewhere! No to the EU-China Summit!”

Leipzig poster

* * *

A rally against the World Health Organisation is being held in London on Wednesday July 22. Meet 12.30pm at St James park tube for a protest at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s London office in Victoria Street from 1pm. StandUpX is also staging a protest in the UK capital on Saturday August 1, at 2pm, with a rally at Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park, followed by a march to Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square. For info on these and their regional protests see https://www.standupx.info/

StandUPX logo

* * *

A useful list of articles about the Covid crisis has been published by our comrades at The South Essex Heckler. Some of them will already be familiar to Acorn readers, but the resource is well worth checking out.

South Essex Heckler

* * *

“The idea that society should suddenly be ‘reimagined’ by a handful of billionaires simply due to a pandemic is the opposite of freedom and self-determination”. This timely warning against the threat of “smart” cities – designed to form a key part of the totalitarian “new normal” – comes from the Liberty Blitzkrieg site in the USA.

smart city toronto

* * *

The Gilets Jaunes have been back in the news, after their longstanding uprising against neoliberalism was derailed by the Covid clampdown. A group of them who had been demonstrating in Paris on July 14 bumped into their arch-enemy Emmanuel Macron in the garden of the Tuileries (see video). There followed a heated exchange in which the French president was treated to a rendition of the Yellow Vest anthem On est là (Here we are, here we are, even if Macron doesn’t want it, here we are). Meanwhile, an excellent collection of English-language articles on this historically significant movement can be found here.

macron tuileries

* * *

Acorn quote: “The worker’s liberty, so much exalted by the economists, jurists, and bourgeois republicans, is only a theoretical freedom, lacking any means for its possible realization, and consequently it is only a fictitious liberty, an utter falsehood. The truth is that the whole life of the worker is simply a continuous and dismaying succession of terms of serfdom – voluntary from the juridical point of view but compulsory in the economic sense – broken up by momentarily brief interludes of freedom accompanied by starvation; in other words, it is real slavery”.

Mikhail Bakunin

factory-worker

(For many more like this, see the Winter Oak quotes for the day blog)

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The Acorn – 57

acorn 2019bNumber 57

In this issue:

  1. Join the resistance!
  2. Imagine a world where we seek to destroy what destroys us
  3. Between life and death
  4. Humble but fiery reflections
  5. A sort of a warning…
  6. The rebels will return
  7. The Gates of hell
  8. Gustav Landauer: an orgrad inspiration
  9. Acorninfo

1.  Join the resistance!

émeutes2020

There had already been signs, before the coronavirus panic, that neoliberalism was shedding its fake-democratic mask and was preparing to switch to fascist mode.

And now we are well on the way. The global ruling elite have declared war on our freedom.

So what are we going to do about it? We reported in Acorn 56 that even last month there were signs of resistance.

Since then, despite the concerted efforts of the fake left to encourage supine obedience, there have been more outbreaks of anti-authoritarian revolt.

In Brussels, for instance, an anti-police uprising took place from April 10 to 12, unfortunately resulting in 100 arrests. There has also been spirited resistance on the streets of Santiago, Chile.

In France, the biggest reaction against the confinement has come from the poorest housing estates on the fringes of Paris and other cities.

The ongoing war between brutal, often racist, cops and local youth has intensified under the new police-state atmosphere and riots kicked off all over the place after Mouldi, a young man on a moped, was “accidentally” killed by police at Villeneuve la Garenne on April 18.

émeutes2020bFor night after night, in various parts of France, police were pelted with stones and fireworks and their vehicles and at least one local police station set on fire. “Mort aux porcs!”, “Death to the pigs!” was the slogan of choice.

A statement supporting the revolts has been published by a number of anti-capitalists and Gilets Jaunes.

This declares: “We haven’t forgotten that at the end of 2018 the violence of the Gilets Jaunes had become its last remaining option for seeking dignity and social justice.

“Some denied that this was the case and today there is another battle for the general interest that many would rather not see.

“This is the battle of the working-class areas who are fighting back with violence because violence is the only option the authorities have left open to them if they are to defend themselves against a police force which has granted itself power over life and death in these areas.

émeutes2020c“As ever, and as was frequently the case with the Gilets Jaunes, the political and media class will condemn these popular revolts and explain to us that nothing can justify such violence. That people can be angry and have legitimate complaints, but that they can’t be expressed in this fashion.

“This class will try to empty these eminently political acts of all their substance. It will tell us that this violence is just gratuitous barbarity. But the real barbarity here is injustice.

“This is a people’s revolt and we must get behind it!”

Meanwhile, at least one call for protests in France on Friday May 1 has gone out.

“Because we are being trampled on. Because we can’t let the State dictate our lives. Because ending the lockdown has got to be an integral part of our struggle”.

The post on Nantes Indymedia adds: “Small-scale or individual actions are fine, but it is also important to take back the streets, to re-open a space that the authorities would like to close down”.

In the UK, radicals are calling for Mayday action short of mass protest.

mayday2020

Say the Green Anticapitalist Front: “This Mayday is unlike any previous Maydays. There will be no marches in the streets and no public speeches. Yet, now more than ever, we need to show that we are still here, still angry and still fighting.

“GAF is calling for an autonomous day of action on the 1st of May. We can’t demonstrate, but that doesn’t mean we can’t revolt. Take action alone or in a small crew. Mutual aid, solidarity, and direct action, all are valid. Keep it serious, keep it quiet. But above all stay safe.

“If you want us to share your action (after the event) on our social media, send us photos and details to greenanticapitalistfront@riseup.net”

In the USA, there have been sizeable protests against the shutdown. The flag-waving and pro-business elements in this libertarian wave are a little offputting for us, to be honest!

But the determination of large numbers of Americans to stand up to tyranny is heartening.

Could it be that, from now on, the only political fault line that really matters is between those who support and bow down to the new life-crushing global techno-dictatorship and those who rise up to resist it?

We will watch with interest how things evolve on the other side of the Atlantic.

Perhaps the most interesting developments have been coming in Germany, where a collective memory of the reality of totalitarianism remains strong.

German protest Orwell

Up to 1,000 people have been turning up for what are now weekly Saturday rallies in Berlin, with other protests elsewhere.

There are conflicting reports as to who is involved in these events, with some dismissing them as essentially far-right.

But it is clear that, as with the Gilets Jaunes in France, the wave of angry opposition is flooding across the usual political divides.

This report made it clear that the latest Berlin protest “attracted mainly far-left activists”.

It added: “Some of the demonstrators wore T-shirts accusing Chancellor Angela Merkel of ‘banning life’ while others simply called for ‘freedom’. Others brandished placards bearing slogans such as ‘Stop the pharmaceutical lobby'”.

germany protest

Coverage was notably more hostile from other sources, such as Vice, with its dubious sources including “extremism experts monitoring the protests”.

It conceded that the rallies were “organized by a fringe group that considers themselves left-wing anticapitalists”, while still suggesting that they were contaminated by the right.

In another piece, Vice wrote dismissively of “conspiracy theorists” and “the paranoid belief that elites are imposing an oppressive ‘corona dictatorship’ on the public”.

Anyone detect a hint of panicky state propaganda?

One of these dangerous subversives, Anselm Lenz, gives an interview in English here.

Lenz is a journalist who was thrown out of his job for questioning the official virus narrative.

He and others have now formed a Demokatrischer Widerstand (Democratic Resistance) movement, with a printed rebel newspaper.

He explains that this is being distributed all over the country. There are now more than 100 local DW groups up and running, he says.

On Friday May 1 and Saturday May 2, the dissidents will be distributing their paper in Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin, from 3.30pm, with simultaneous events far and wide.

We look forward to hearing news of the resistance kicking off everywhere!

fuck the system

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2.  Imagine a world where we seek to destroy what destroys us

Pachamama

by @frackfree_eu

For all those who have yet to decolonise their hearts and minds from the dominant system, and are to eager to run into the arms of those offering “solutions” to what are complex societal issues.

Imagine a world where we opposed the entire system, rather than parts of it. [1] [2]

Imagine a world where we ignored the mass media. [3]

Imagine a world where we spent our time fighting the latest corporate scam instead of being distracted by whatever the mass media is trying to distract us with.

Imagine a world free of advertising.

Imagine a world where we only consume what is absolutely necessary, reducing the need for exploitation of people and planet.

Imagine a world where communities lived off-grid.

Imagine a world free of factories producing stuff we don’t need.

Another-World-Is-PossibleImagine a world where corporations didn’t exist because we produce what we need for ourselves.

Imagine a world where we all have access to land to grow enough food to be self-sufficient.

Imagine a world free of religion, where instead we hold in reverence Mother Earth and all her wonders. [4]

Imagine a world where people stopped placing their trust in NGOs and civil society organisations, and instead formed strong, organic communities to fight state and corporate greed. [5]

Imagine a world with minimum need for conventional medicine because Mother Earth offers us everything we need to stay healthy.

Imagine a world where we spent most of our days outdoors close to nature, strengthening our immune systems and building up resistance to any viruses that may come our way.

nature5Imagine a world where we cared for each other without having to rely on governments, institutions or corporations.

Imagine a world where children are taught the importance of living in harmony with the natural world rather than removed from it by spending their days learning online between four walls.

Imagine a world where children are allowed to develop their imagination and creativity without having material forced down their throats.

Imagine a world where we exchanged our skills, and did away with the need for money. [6]

Imagine a world where we stopped arguing with each other over petty things, and instead focused on what unites us rather than on what divides.

Imagine a world where we took the time to genuinely listen to each other and understand each other, rather than making rash judgements, sticking labels on each other, putting each other in boxes, positioning each other on the left-right spectrum.

Indian forest dwellersImagine a world where we stood in solidarity with indigenous and tribal peoples instead of supporting the climate capitalists hell bent on plundering more of their lands. [7]

Imagine a world where we didn’t feel obliged to get married, settle down, or have children.

Imagine a world where we didn’t have to do work that we don’t enjoy.

Imagine a world where we didn’t live by the tyranny of the clock. [8]

To learn more:

[1] Read and watch: Crimethinc — To change everything
[2] Read: The Anarchist Revelation, Paul Cudenec
[3] Herbert Marcuse: ‘The non-functioning of television and the allied media might thus begin to achieve what the inherent contradictions of capitalism did not achieve — the disintegration of the system’.
[4] Read: The Green One, Paul Cudenec
[5] ‘[Ferdinand Tönnies] explicitly equated Gesellschaft, the opposite of his organic Gemeinschaft, with capitalism. “The merchants or capitalists”, he wrote, “are the natural masters and rulers of the Gesellschaft. The Gesellschaft exists for their sake. It is their tool”.’
[6] Read: The Moneyless Man, Mark Boyle
[7] Read, watch and listen to the resources at https://winteroak.org.uk/climate-capitalists/
[8] Read: The Tyranny of the Clock, George Woodcock

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3. Between life and death

machine world

by @ludicluddite

Western Despotism can now unload the liberal baggage of bourgeois democratic institutions, having ruined the planet and enslaved humanity to its poisonous techno/industrial economy.

The capitalist disaster returns to its despotic origins, as the grave it is digging for itself threatens to take the rest of us and all living things that populate the planet.

The digital nightmare that will make domination inescapable is being foisted on a population terrorised by the very products it consumes and the mode of production that creates them.

The machine man and machine world that is domination’s dream of total control requires a level of servitude that can only be realized through the coercive apparatus of the state and the techno industrial Hydra that has colonized daily life with increasing speed in the last 20 years.

The choices that we humans face boil down to one: the living death of servitude, as machines in a machine world or liberty, or put in a more clear way, between life and death.

robot skull

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4. Humble but fiery reflections

325

The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions: COVID-19, Corbyn and ‘Crisis’ is a new 44-page brochure on the 325 website which reflects that the UK anarchist movement has been badly led astray by the Jeremy Corbyn phenomenon and now in its reaction to the virus clamp-down. It states: “Relationships that were built on shared ideas and experiences have become damaged. This isn’t some teenage angst ridden over dramatisation, it is a genuine reflection, a question about what remains”. The full text is available here, but below are few choice segments:

325

We planned to get this text together and then publish and distribute it when stuff “returned to normal”. But, the reality is: there is no going back to what was “normal,” so even though some may read this text as an unsympathetic distraction from a global “crisis”, and an unhelpful poke in some festering wounds (when we should be focusing on “unity”), we hope our humble but fiery reflections will spark some much needed discourse. We are living in a hostile environment, but it was important to us not to shy away from our beliefs in these dark times, and to respond accordingly.

325

Already many mutual aid groups have become channels for gossip (who knows where this will go in the next few weeks… comrades in Italy warn us of neighbourhood snitching and people using these channels to do the work of the police). Already over half the police forces in England are co-opting the mutual aid groups and using them as an extension of their surveillance mechanisms. The divisive mentality that emerged with the growth of social media (the idea that you are inherently dodgy if you don’t engage; as you must have something to hide) has spiked, and like the virus, it seems unclear when it will “peak”.

325

To those who say that now is not the time for “civil unrest,” that division is unhelpful, that we must keep going… we say: now is the time for it all. Mutual aid and solidarity can be no more than acts of charity if they are not combined with resistance in this current context. Carefully, whilst being safe and thinking of others… rebel, resist, and plan. Find
the gaps, use the skills and networks you have. Keep yourself sane and your rebellious heart burning, because when the virus eases, the police state will continue, and food parcels and lending books are not going to dismantle it. Stay sharp.

COVID-19 is in many ways a global gift to all leaders and politicians seeking to ramp up social control. After the virus eases, we will see unprecedented changes on a global scale as legislation that was rushed through hangs over us like a spectre and people obediently go about their business, terrified of Covid-20. We hope that we will never be too scared to resist. Corona shows us that the system is fucked. Will you kick it while it’s down?

325

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5. A sort of warning

by The South Essex Heckler

We’ve had week after week of wall to wall coverage of the COVID-19 crisis in the media. The question is, how many people are still paying attention to it and how many, for the sake of their sanity, are choosing to switch off from it? If this ever ends, it would be an interesting exercise to conduct research on what effect this barrage of coverage has had on people’s mental health. It would also be interesting to see how much this relentless coverage has further undermined people’s already shrinking faith in the media.

We’ve been doing what we can to try and keep up with developments but to be honest, we have days when the stress of trying to discern any meaningful signal from the cacophony of noise is so overwhelming, we simply switch off and try to re-focus the following day. Having said this, a still somewhat scratchy picture is starting to emerge of what we face in the coming months and years as the COVID-19 crisis evolves and morphs into something that will quite possibly be sinister and dystopian.

Fault lines are emerging. On the one hand, there are those who by and large accept the lockdown and the need for it to go on for some considerable time and also, are largely supportive of whatever tracking and monitoring measures have been mooted to ostensibly limit and eventually eliminate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

South Essex HecklerOn the other hand, there are those who have taken a look at the relentless coverage of the crisis, smelt a rat and are starting to question the narrative we’re being fed, particularly when that is being used to justify measures which will restrict our freedom and subject us to more surveillance.

As regular readers of the Heckler may have gathered, we tend towards the latter. We’re anarchists and as we’re supposed to accept no higher authority than ourselves and those we collectively organise with, it would be downright negligent of us to not question the narrative we’re being fed!

Coming right in over the top of this is the threat of more austerity to ‘pay’ for the money the government has spent in ‘dealing’ with the COVID-19 crisis. The impact of the last round of austerity is still being felt and has decimated the lives of millions of working class people. Another round of austerity will leave millions with nothing left to lose. That will have consequences as Dr Lisa Mckenzie clearly sets out in this piece: If the UK government brings in a new round of austerity to pay for Covid-19, it’ll spark civil unrest that will see cities burn.

So, all of the extra powers the government has conferred upon itself and all of the surveillance and tracking that’s coming our way, ostensibly to deal with COVID-19, will certainly come in handy when the shit hits the fan as the next wave of austerity is sent to crush us. Just one example are the powers that could see restrictions or bans on large gatherings for the rest of the year and quite possibly, into 2021. As we’ve mentioned previously, large gatherings will take in demonstrations and radical/anarchist bookfairs.

Which leaves us with mutual aid work and online propagandising. If you keep your mutual aid work away from digital networks as far as possible, avoid any hierarchy, keep it grassroots and face to face, you’ll get by. Those of us who are basically propagandists and because of the dearth of opportunities to physically distribute our material, pretty much have to rely on being online, will be facing a very uncertain future as we slide towards more authoritarianism.

Pubs-closed

On the subject of restrictions, there are strong rumours that many cafes, pubs and restaurants will not open again until close to Christmas. Bear in mind, many of these establishments face the prospect of going to the wall: Pubs in the UK Might be Closed Until Christmas – If They Survive at All. As we’ve written before, that’s a massive loss of opportunities to meet up with friends for company, drink and/or food.

While those of us whose jobs have survived this massive economic shock will be gradually returning to work, there will be little or no socialising because there won’t be anywhere to go. Life will be reduced to work, commute, eat, sleep, commute, work…repeat on loop, ad infinitum. Entertainment will not be the company of friends but whatever is being piped down to our TVs. A diet of fear-mongering so called ‘news’ designed to keep us frightened and reliant on the authorities to look after us. Sprinkled with a toxic dose of divide and rule to keep us divided, atomised and easier to manipulate and control.

That’s for those ‘lucky’ enough to still be in ‘steady’ work. For the millions more who’ll be on precarious zero hours contracts or unemployed, struggling to find work in an economy that’s been gutted and reliant on Universal Credit, life will be grim. For those who are disabled and rely on Universal Credit and a gutted public sector for the support they need, life is already horrendous as they find themselves increasingly thrown to the margins. As it is for the elderly in care homes pretty much unable to access hospital treatment and finding that they’re subject to ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ notices.

We’re in a society where some lives are seen as worth considerably less than others – based on how much people can or can’t contribute to the ‘bottom line’. When that narrative starts to become widely accepted, what is essentially a cull by a combination of neglect and malice starts to become normalised.

The lockdown is tearing us apart from each other. If a loved one has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 before they passed away, not only were you not allowed to be with them in their final hours if they were in hospital, you’re not allowed to see their body before cremation. Numbers are strictly limited at the funeral with physical distancing enforced and no wake afterwards. At a point in life where you need to emotional and physical support of family and friends, it’s denied to you. People are going to be mentally scarred by experiencing the passing of a loved one in this way for the rest of their lives.

playground closedWe live opposite a park with play equipment, now taped off. It’s been silent since March when the lockdown was brought in. Along with the closure of nurseries and schools, kids have been denied the opportunity to play with each other. Play is not a frivolous activity. From toddlers onwards, play is how kids learn to interact with each other. It’s how they learn to negotiate, compromise and co-operate with each other. It’s how they learn from mistakes and go on to become fully rounded human beings. Denying kids the opportunity to play for any significant length of time is going to cause long term developmental and mental health issues down the line.

Adolescence is when kids really start to work out who they are. It’s when kids quite rightly want to assert their independence and get out into the world. It’s when long term friendships are formed. It’s when they develop a support network of their peers. Can you imagine what an adolescent will be feeling when all of this is denied to them as they face what is to all intents and purposes, indefinite house arrest? A ‘normal’ adolescent will find this hard enough. Anyone with mental health issues will find this agonising. Tragically, this has already led to adolescents feeling they have no option but to take their lives.

Lockdown with an abusive partner or parent is a nightmare that doesn’t even bear thinking about. It’s a potential death sentence. Anyone advocating the continuation of the lockdown really needs to have some thought as to what urgently has to happen to prevent any more tragedies where an individual has been killed by an abusive partner or parent.

lockdown gate

As we’ve written previously, it really does feel like we’re being subjected to a massive psychological experiment: A few readings and thoughts on the psychological impact of COVID-19 anxiety and the lockdown. One in which we’re simultaneously being subjected to an unprecedented level of fear-mongering and being torn apart from each other. One in which we’re being made to feel that the only option of being able to move forwards is to subject ourselves to a loss of autonomy through increased tracking and surveillance, ostensibly for our own good. One in which our hopes and plans for the future have been trashed. One in which we’re being atomised and made ever more dependent on the whims of our rulers for our survival. One which has already turned into a fucking nightmare for a lot of people and will do for many more of us.

It seems that when a commentator uses the word ‘reset’ to describe the social and economic turmoil that’s coming our way, the accusations of ‘conspiracy theory’ start flying around. The last few weeks have been quite revealing in terms of where those accusations have been coming from because a fair number of them have come from people who consider themselves to be ‘radical’ and a few from so called ‘anarchists’. The point is that the global lockdown has caused an economic shock of historic proportions that like previous shocks, will end up seeing more wealth concentrated in fewer hands. As has already been seen in the years since the banking crash of 2008.

police checksSo, people who may think they’re doing the right thing by supporting restrictions on movement and gatherings, as well as increased tracking and surveillance are actually supporting the creation and enhancement of an apparatus that will completely screw our lives and freedoms. All we ask is that you take a deep breath, take a few steps back, do your best to get some perspective and start to ask some hard questions about what’s being done to us. If those questions aren’t asked and we continue on the trajectory we’re on, for many of us, life will become mere existence as we’re effectively plugged into a dystopian matrix. Many may not even survive to experience this.

You may find this hard to believe but we’d really love it if we were wrong on everything we’ve written above and ended up with a copious amount of egg on our faces. Trust us, we want to wake up and find this has all been a bad dream. The thing is, we wake up every morning, check our news feed, see the deserted playground opposite us, feel that tightening, sickening feeling in our guts and realise this is reality. We’ve got an all too narrow window of opportunity to act and start to resist what’s happening to us. If we don’t, not only are we screwed, generations to come will be as well…

anarchy is freedom

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6. The rebels will return

June 18 1999b

by Paul Cudenec

I have always been proud to be an anarchist.

I am proud to have found my way to anarchism some 30 years ago, proud to have learned all I could about anarchism, to have put anarchism into practice, to have met existing anarchists, to have led others towards anarchism, to have written and talked so much about anarchism.

I have lived anarchism and I know that I will die an anarchist.

That is why it pains me to have had to say that there are today some fundamental problems at the very heart of the anarchist movement, problems which reach deep into the very way it thinks and feels.

It saddens me to have had to point out that what presents itself to the outside world as anarchism is often nothing but the empty shell of anarchism, a zombie anarchism, still stumbling ahead with black flag held aloft, but cruelly robbed of its soul.

Needless to say there are plenty of anarchists around the world who are true to the essence of the idea, some of whom have let me know that they share my concerns.

But I have got a horrible feeling that these authentic anarchists are, these days, very much in the minority.

My first inkling that all was not well with anarchism, and indeed the wider social movement to which it belongs, came nearly 19 years ago.

Up until that moment, everything had been going swimmingly well for me. I was inspired and delighted by the seemingly unstoppable tide of the global anti-capitalist revolt of which I formed a tiny part.

I should say here that I wasn’t at the great battles of Seattle, Prague or Genoa, although I was in the City of London on June 18, 1999 and at the subsequent Mayday events.

But missing out on all the “summit hopping” didn’t make me any less enthusiastic about the great revolution that seemed to be approaching.

My comrades and I made sure the inhabitants of our home town were well aware of what was happening across the world, via leaflets, bulletins, posters, meetings, protests and squatted infoshops.

I am sure I was still feeling as motivated as ever on September 11 2001, as a group of us travelled to London Docklands to protest against the DSEI arms fair.

The demo ground to halt when news started coming in of the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and people rushed to the pub to watch the news on TV.

We didn’t, of course, understand the implications of what had happened and initially welcomed it as another sign of the impending collapse of the evil empire.

The actual effect of 9/11 on our struggle only became clear to me a few weeks later when I was attending a meeting in the nearby city whose thriving anarchist scene was, to me and my friends, a constant source of inspiration.

Someone who had been very much part of the pink-and-silver-samba-bloc Zeitgeist of the uprising told me that she wouldn’t be doing that any more. It didn’t seem right, after the terrorist attack, to continue our carnival-cum-war against the USA and its world of capitalism.

I was completely taken aback by this comment. I simply couldn’t imagine how anyone – anyone on my side! – could have come to that decision.

Stop fighting against everything that was bad in the world because something else bad had happened, something that wasn’t our fault, that was nothing to do with us, that had no bearing on the reasons or the aims of our struggle?

My disappointment resonates now across the years, vibrating with the brave new world of 2020…

Fortunately, this wasn’t the end of the movement to which I had attached myself. It morphed seamlessly into the radical wing of the anti-war movement in 2002 and 2003.

The demos were less fun-based now, maybe, but the energy was very much still in evidence, together with a firmness of ethical conviction that was well able to withstand the weapons of mass deception unleashed by Blair, Campbell and Bush.

It wasn’t just anarchists who didn’t believe their lies, of course. Millions of people rejected their message of fear and took to the streets to say so.

The authorities hadn’t quite perfected their narrative projection in those days. They hadn’t properly closed down all the possibilities of dissent. But that still didn’t stop them from going ahead with the invasion of Iraq!

Another moment of disappointment for me came in the summer of 2005 during the anti-G8 moblisation in Scotland, one which was strangely similiar to that of 2001.

Once again our protests came to a halt, this time because of the 7/7 carnage down in London.

Once again something bad had happened somewhere else, something that wasn’t our fault, that was nothing to do with us, that had no bearing on the reasons or the aims of our protest.

Some people were saying we should call off the planned demos. Why? Why would we want to do that?

I recall that we broke down into bario meetings to discuss what to do. Our group was certainly in favour of carrying on the mobilisation and I heard later that the same was true of others.

But, somehow or other, the non-leaders at the Stirling convergence space deemed that the democratic decision had been taken to throw in the towel. Their de-escalation team went into action to defuse all that inconvenient anarchist rage.

They must have diligently continued their work everywhere afterwards, because from that point on, there seemed to be decreasing levels of anger, and indeed, energy, in the UK movement.

The very idea of physically opposing global capitalist summits, which had so inspired me in the past, was now considered hopelessly old hat.

The 2013 Stop The G8 campaign was largely snubbed by what was left of the anarchist movement in the country and the London mobilisation would have been a total flop without the enthusiastic participation of European comrades.

Since then, the movement and its attitudes seem to have become progressively drained of the coherent and powerful worldview which drew me to anarchism as a young man in search of political and philosophical truth.

Every couple of years, a new fashionable obsession seems to have taken a grip, speaking a language I do not know in order to express views which are completely alien to me.

Noam Chomsky has spoken about the “incomprehensible gibberish that comes out of left-wing intellectual movements”, which he described as “just impossible to understand”. (1)

There are two obvious consequences to this relentless advance of the anarchist scene into an intellectual and political dead-end.

Firstly, the people it recruits will be those who are prepared to uncritically conform to its one-dimensional newthink, who are willing to surrender their own independence of thought and swallow what Chomsky called “the latest version of post-modern this and that”.

It now turns out, at this historical moment, that these are exactly the kind of people who are eager to accept whatever version of the truth is presented to them by authority figures.

They are also the kind of people who are eager to condemn and ostracise any old-fashioned anarchists who have the audacity to think for themselves.

I have noticed that, inevitably I suppose, they do so using the same reflexes and language with which they try to impose their dogma on their comrades.

The whole world becomes a “safer space” when they insist that you should not question martial-law lockdown because you could put others at risk.

When you point out that the virus is mainly killing those who are already sick or old, they declare that you are “ablist” and use their familiar shaming and accusatory tone in order to imply that drawing attention to the relatively low mortality rate is the same thing as welcoming the deaths of those who have sadly succumbed.

Someone saw fit to slip into his argument against my condemnation of the clampdown the fact that I am “white”, which apparently means my views on absolutely everything are hopelessly polluted by privilege and can happily be ignored by all left-thinking citizens. (He is also “white”, by the way).

The guilt-by-association smearing is pushed to the extreme. Whatever view you share which is critical of the panic and the global police state it has spawned turns out to be illegitimate because the person who expressed it is a believer in the wrong kind of freedom (see my previous post), or is an “anti-vaxxer”, or uses language or arguments that sound suspiciously alt-right, or has otherwise not earned the blue tick of ideological purity.

Their greatest magical weapon is, of course, the term “conspiracy theorist”. No sooner is it brandished, than all need to refute fact or engage logically is dispelled in a great puff of newthink smoke.

The argument has been won without even the need to address it!

The other side of the coin, the corollary to the take-over of the movement by zombie-anarchists, is the question of what has happened to all the born anarchists.

Chomsky’s comments came in the context of his concern that young people would be turned away from anarchism by the cult-like ideological fixations that are today so dominant.

It’s not even just the young. There are people of all ages who learn a little bit about anarchism, would like to find out more with a view to getting involved and so dip their toes into the water by turning up at an anarchist venue or event.

If they run a mile and never come back, what happens to them? And what happens to those who never even get that far, who get one faint whiff of the stifling intellectual claustrophobia via the internet and realise there is no place for them in that self-righteous and puritan little world?

I think they are still out there. They may or may not think of themselves as anarchists. They may use other labels or none at all. We don’t have to give ourselves labels.

But they are still anarchists, natural anarchists, the rebels who would have formed a strong and healthy anti-capitalist movement if it had not been sabotaged from within by the zombies.

They are the anarchists who would have stood up, in anger and en masse, against the coronavirus coup d’état.

These natural anarchists will keep emerging in each generation, because a love of freedom and truth is part of what it means to be human.

They may emerge and rise up now, straight away, in the face of this unprecedented global power grab.

Or it may happen later, when they have had a chance to reorientate themselves and find each other.

But we can be sure that sooner or later they will cast off their muzzles, unplug their chains and try to smash to pieces the slave-system which has stolen everything from them.

Because, after all, as Gustav Landauer (2) put it, anarchy is life. Where there’s life there’s anarchy. Where there’s anarchy there’s hope.

1. Noam Chomsky, ‘Anarchism, Intellectuals and the State’, Chomsky on Anarchism, ed. by Barry Pateman (Edinburgh, Oakland and West Virginia: AK Press, 2005), p.217.

2. Gustav Landauer, Revolution and Other Writings: A Political Reader, ed. and trans. by Gabriel Kuhn, (Oakland: PM Press, 2010), p. 74.

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7. The Gates of hell

vaccine imperialism

One name which keeps coming up again and again in the context of the Covid-19 coup is that of billionaire Bill Gates.

Indeed, he himself announced on April 27 that as from that day, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would be focusing its “total attention” on the pandemic.

His allies and apologists are complaining that poor Bill is the victim of “misinformation” and “conspiracy theories” regarding his involvement and influence.

So horribly unfair when he has “donated $250 million toward the crisis, espoused the importance of developing a safe and effective vaccine, and supported the creation of a government-funded manufacturing infrastructure”.

But it is undeniable that the Microsoft founder has got his fingers in many a pie.

Researcher Jacob Levich has described Gates’ activities as part of a new “global health imperialism”.

He says: “Interlocking networks of foundations, foundation-sponsored NGOs, and US government institutions like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) — notorious as a “pass-through” for CIA funds — work hand-in-hand in support of imperialism, subverting people-friendly states and social movements by co-opting institutions deemed helpful to US global strategy”.

Bill and Belinda Gates
Bill and Belinda

Levich adds: “The Gates Foundation exercises power not only via its own spending, but more broadly through an elaborate network of ‘partner organizations’ including non-profits, government agencies, and private corporations.

“It orchestrates vast elaborate public-private partnerships – charitable salmagundis that tend to blur distinctions between states, which are at least theoretically accountable to citizens, and profit-seeking businesses that are accountable only to their shareholders”.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation dishes out phenomenal amounts of funding every year across the global health sector. In the words of one NGO official quoted by Levich: “You can’t cough, scratch your head or sneeze in health without coming to the Gates Foundation”.

Some salient facts:

WHO logo* The Gates Foundation is the World Health Organization’s second biggest donor. “This largesse gives him outsized influence over its agenda” notes the Politico website. “Gates’ priorities have become the WHO’s”.

* Gates Foundation cash has been pouring into Imperial College, London, which came up with the scaremongering death toll projections – £63 million in 2020 alone!

* Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, the US equivalent of Imperial, received at least $2,876,472 from the Gates Foundation in 2019.

* The UK’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty declared himself “delighted” in 2008 when the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded £31 million for his consortium’s malaria research in Africa. One good turn deservers another.

* The BBC, whose shock-and-awe propaganda has been keeping the UK public paralysed by fear, is funded by the Gates Foundation to the tune of many millions of pounds.

* The Guardian’s “Global Development” section declares: “This website is funded by support provided, in part, by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation”.

guardian gates

* Gavi, the “Vaccine Alliance”, received $2,498,750 from the Gates Foundation in 2019. On its website it lists its first partner as the Bill and Gates Foundation, followed by Unicef, the WHO and The World Bank.

* Gates has been described as “a major player in trying to get the world to go digital and ditch cash, especially relevant given his role in the COVID-19 issue”.

* The Gates Foundation is a heavy pusher of agrochemicals and patented seeds. Environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason, questioning why pesticides did not feature in a WHO-UNICEF-Lancet report, discovered that many of the 42 listed authors had received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, attends a news conference as the foundation teams up with the Japan Sports Agency and Tokyo 2020 to promote the Sustainable Development Goals in conjunction with the Olympics, in Tokyo

* Gates wants to create global health “governance” which would “work closely with Western military forces, specifically NATO, in operations targeting the developing world”. It would have the power to bypass national safety regulations, suspend constitutional rights and impose surveillance networks.

It is not as if nobody had noticed the evolving Gates global power grab. It has been building up for some time.

In 2016, Global Justice Now warned that it was likely that “Bill Gates, who has regular access to world leaders and is in effect personally bankrolling hundreds of universities, international organisations, NGOs and media outlets, has become the single most
influential voice in international development”.

It drew attention to the Gates Foundation’s “aggressive corporate strategy and extraordinary influence across governments, academics and the media” and the astonishing absence of voices criticising its influence.

“Global Justice Now is concerned that the foundation’s influence is so pervasive that many actors in international development, which would otherwise critique the policy and practice of the foundation, are unable to speak out independently as a result of its funding and patronage”.

But now, as events accelerate rapidly, lots more critical attention is finally being turned to the Gates empire.

bill-and-boris

Investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley, for instance, warns that behind the COVID-19 drama is “an entire pharmaceutical complex potentially protecting its own interests over any genuine concerns for the health and welfare of global populations”. This involves The Gates Foundation, the World Bank and the British Government.

Gates’ key role in advocating for a global vaccination programme is also probed by Eric Wagner in Multipolar Magazin. He examines “ID 2020”, which wants to roll out a global “digital identity” system of control and says: “The founding partners of the project are Gates’ company Microsoft, the Gates-sponsored vaccination alliance GAVI, the management consultancy Accenture and the Rockefeller Foundation, one of the oldest and wealthiest foundations in the USA”.

And a useful report on the Children’s Health Defense site adds: “Globally, roughly 70 COVID-19 vaccines are in various stages of development — a veritable gold rush that will be all the more lucrative since Gates has made sure that the vaccines will be indemnified against lawsuits”.

covid paranoia

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8. Gustav Landauer: an orgrad inspiration

Gustav Landauer died 101 years ago on May 2, beaten and kicked to death by proto-fascists after taking part in the defeated Bavarian Revolution of 1919. Here we share the profile of this important anarchist thinker from the orgrad website.

Gustav Landauer

“Anarchy is life; the life that awaits us after we have freed ourselves from the yoke”

Gustav Landauer (1870-1919) was an important anarchist theorist and key precursor of organic radicalism.

He took part in the Bavarian Revolution at the end of the First World War but, with its collapse, he was arrested and murdered by proto-Nazi Freikorps soldiers in Stadelheim Prison, Munich.

Strongly influenced by Meister Eckhart, NovalisFriedrich Hölderlin and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Landauer was very much part of the Romantic anti-capitalist tradition identified by Michael Löwy and has been described as representing “a left-wing form of the völkisch current in thought”. (1)

Like his friend Martin Buber, he saw a close link between human interrelationships and the rebirth of community which was needed to put society right.

Landauer also echoed the likes of William Morris and John Ruskin in condemning the “unculture” of industrial capitalist society.

bahnhofmunchen

He wrote in 1911: “Progress, what you call progress, this incessant hustle-bustle, this rapid tiring and neurasthenic, short-breathed chase after novelty, after anything new as long as it is new, this progress and the crazy ideas of the practitioners of development associated with it… this progress, this unsteady, restless haste; this inability to remain still and this perpetual desire to be on the move, this so-called progress is a symptom of our abnormal condition, our unculture”. (2)

His vision was based on living human communities, social organisms with their own guiding collective spirit or Geist, arising from below and from within. This is very much the idea of the authentic human community, the Gemeinschaft, described by Ferdinand Tönnies.

Landauer was inspired by organic medieval society, which he contrasted with contemporary top-down artificiality.

medieval town2He wrote: “The state, with its police and all its laws and its contrivances for property rights, exists for the people as a miserable replacement for Geist and for organizations with specific purposes; and now the people are supposed to exist for the sake of the state, which pretends to be some sort of ideal structure and a purpose in itself, to be Geist

“Earlier there were corporate groups, clans, gilds, fraternities, communities, and they all interrelated to form society. Today there is coercion, the letter of the law, the state”. (3)

The state combined with industrial society to destroy all authentic collective spirit, argued Landauer.

Writes Charles Maurer: “The most obvious sign of the absence of Geist was for Landauer the plight of the industrial workers.

“Separated from the earth and its products and spiritually isolated from each other despite the closeness of their living conditions, they become victims of alcohol, disease, and poverty.

“The relationship between worker and employer becomes completely dehumanized through capitalism, technology, and the state”. (4)

germanfactory

Landauer bitterly opposed Marxists for remaining trapped in this mechanistic mindset and for failing to lead a deep and effective resistance to industrial capitalism.

Russell Berman and Tim Luke explain that, for Landauer, Marxism was itself “part of the problem posed by industrialization”. (5)

They add: “Marxism, despite its revolutionary appearance, functions in fact as an impediment to socialism. In the light of Landauer’s critique, nineteenth century scientific socialism ceases to appear as a radical critique of the status quo. Rather, behind its revolutionary pretenses, it buttresses the development of capitalist structures”. (6)

In his booklet For Socialism, Landauer was vehemently outspoken against the Marxists who had taken control of the socialist movement of which he considered himself a part.

He described their dogma as “the plague of our times and the curse of the socialist movement” (7) and bemoaned “the grotesque wrongness of their materialist conception of history” (8) in which they reduced everything to “what they call economic and social reality”. (9)

Soviet factory

Landauer also hinted at his disquiet over the growing influence of Marxism, and its modes of thinking, on the anarchist movement.

He refered disparagingly to “the syndicalists and the anarcho-socialists, recently so-called by a pitiful misuse of two noble names” as the Marxists’ “brothers” (10) and specifically extended his condemnation to all Marxists “whether they call themselves Social Democrats or anarchists”. (11)

Still today, Landauer’s rich and powerful brand of anarchism is sometimes dismissed as “mystical” and therefore unacceptable to the shallow modern industrial world view adopted by too many so-called anarchists.

Like Constantin von Monakow, Landauer extended his concept of the organic to a cosmic level, regarding the universe as a living creature with a collective soul and writing that “the psyche [das Seelenhafte] in the human being is a function or manifestation of the infinite universe”. (12)

Landauer’s use of terms like Geist and Seelenhafte forms an inherent part of his anarchism, flowing naturally from the rest of his philosophy.

He was opposed to all private land ownership, declaring: “All ownership of things, all land-ownership is in reality ownership of men. Whoever withholds the earth from others, from the masses, forces these others to work for him. Private ownership is theft and slave-holding”. (13)

He was equally opposed to the power of the state favoured by his Marxist rivals, which destroyed authentic and organic society inspired by the collective Geist.

The idea of Geist also fed into Landauer’s ideas regarding revolution, along with his related concept of Wahn, a kind of motivating resonance which could bring about sudden radical change.

munich1919

He explained: “Wahn is not only every goal, every ideal, every belief in a sense of purpose of life and the world: Wahn is every banner followed by mankind; every drumbeat leading mankind into danger; every alliance that unites mankind and creates from a sum of individuals a new structure, an organism”. (14)

Landauer said the spark for revolution was always the stupidity, brutality or weakness of rulers, but that “the people, the thinkers, the poets are a powder keg, loaded with spirit and the power of creative destruction”. (15)

The energy of Wahn would ensure that this powder keg ignited: “There is no need to fear a lack of revolutionaries: they actually arise by a sort of spontaneous generation – namely when the revolution comes.

“The voice of the spirit is the trumpet that will sound again and again and again, as long as men are together. Injustice will always seek to perpetuate itself; and always as long as men are truly alive, revolt against it will break out”. (16)

Anarchism, said Landauer, was “a collective name for transformative ambitions” (17) and its role was to encourage Wahn and help create the resonance of revolution.

In this way it could rid the human social organism of the stifling restrictions imposed by property, the state and industrialism and allow it to breathe and flourish in a free and natural way.

As Landauer famously declared: “Anarchy is life; the life that awaits us after we have freed ourselves from the yoke”. (18)

Video link: Soviet Republic of Bavaria (2 mins)

LandauerAufruf.jpg

1. Russell Berman & Tim Luke, ‘Introduction’, Gustav Landauer, For Socialism, trans. by David J Parent, (St Louis: Telos Press, 1978), p. 8.
2. Gustav Landauer, For Socialism, pp. 35-36.
3. Gustav Landauer, Aufruf zum Sozialismus (Berlin: 2nd ed, 1919), pp. 19-20, cit. Charles B. Maurer, Call to Revolution: The Mystical Anarchism of Gustav Landauer (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1971), p. 93.
4. Maurer, pp. 108-109.
5. Berman & Luke, ‘Introduction’, For Socialism, p. 10.
6. Berman & Luke, Introduction, For Socialism, p. 11.
7. Landauer, For Socialism, p. 32.
8. Landauer, For Socialism, p. 123.
9. Landauer, For Socialism, p. 56.
10. Landauer, For Socialism, p. 57.
11. Landauer, For Socialism, p. 82.
12. Gustav Landauer, Skepsis und Mystik: Versuche im Anschluss an Mauthners Sprachkritik (Cologne: 2d ed, 1923) p. 7, cit. Maurer, p. 69.
13. Landauer, For Socialism, p. 128.
14. Landauer, Beginnen: Aufsätze über Sozialismus, ed. by Martin Buber, Cologne, 1924, p. 16, cit. Maurer, p. 92.
15. Gustav Landauer, Revolution and Other Writings: A Political Reader, ed. and trans. by Gabriel Kuhn, (Oakland: PM Press, 2010) p. 170.
16. Landauer, For Socialism, p. 82 & p. 130.
17. Landauer, Revolution and Other Writings, p. 304.
18. Landauer, Revolution and Other Writings, p. 74.

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9. Acorninfo

A wave of direct action has broken out against 5G, the central infrastructure of what some are calling the Fourth Industrial Repression. Masts have been torched in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands, with “conspiracy theories” inevitably being blamed by corporate media. Meanwhile, a study has emerged from Spain pointing to a very clear geographical relationship between “coronavirus outbreaks” and the presence of 5G networks. English version here.

5G-masts-set-on-fire

* * *

An international day of action against mobile phones has been called for June 2O-21 2020. A new organization called End Cellphones Here on Earth (ECHOEarth) announces that its mission is “to end the root cause of the wireless web that is punching holes in our atmosphere and bathing us all in radiation”.

5G mast

* * *

Three Days Against Techno-Sciences is the title of an event to be staged in Italy in July. This is described as “an informal, convivial and international opportunity for discussion and reflection among individuals and organisations engaged in building an analysis and a critique of what we may call the technoworld”. Contact info@resistenzealnanomondo.org

resistenze

* * *

Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has spoken out against the new covid-fascism. He wrote: “The disproportionate reaction to what according to the CNR is something not too different from the normal flus that affect us every year is quite blatant. It is almost as if with terrorism exhausted as a cause for exceptional measures, the invention of an epidemic offered the ideal pretext for scaling them up beyond any limitation”.

Giorgio-Agamben

* * *

“The truth is that all that is living, all living organisms, the cells that comprise them and the ecosystems they exist within, are the sum total of our individual life”. Beyond the Dark Horizon is a green anarchist review from so-called Australia and can be found here.

beyond the dark horizon

* * *

“Between the SDGs, the WEF’s calls for a ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, and the rise of carbon-markets and ‘natural capital’, it’s clear that ecomodernism is not just a buzzword for naive ex-hippies and dodgy PR agents; it is the ideological framework for an emerging green technocracy. A conservation-industrial complex, if you will”. Android Wolves, Electric Sheep: Ecomodernism and The Rise of the Green Technocracy is the first article on a brand new blog, Symbiotic Culture.

androidwolves

* * *

Planet of the Humans is a new film by Jeff Gibbs, in collaboration with Michael Moore, and it is currently free to view. Like the Wrong Kind of Green website, we have reservations over its emphasis on population, rather than consumption, as a key issue, but this remains a splendid demolition of the climate capitalists’ scam of selling us their industrial solutions to an industrial problem.

Planet_of_the_Humans_01

* * *

A very thorough analysis by Iain Davis on the Off-Guardian site presents evidence “which strongly suggests the State and the MSM, adhering to a globalist agenda, have colluded to mislead the public into believing the COVID 19 threat is far greater than it actually is”. A must-read.

lockdown sign

* * *

“This is a war. Not a war on a pandemic but a war on the people. This is corporate authoritarianism. This is fascism. We are nothing more than torture victims at the hands of these emotional terrorists”. Quarantyranny is a remarkable 30-minute video from the Book of Ours team in the USA.

emotional terrorists

* * *

“Perhaps we’ve decided that freedom no longer has value. It would seem that safety has taken primacy in the left’s discourse in recent years”. So writes Lorenzo Raymond in a April 23 article on the Diversity of Tactics website.

monitoring anklet

* * *

“We must recognize we live in a capitalist economic system that serves capital first and foremost”, warns investigative journalist Cory Morningstar. The World Economic Forum is using “influencers” such as David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg and Jane Goodall to push us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the monetization of nature, in lockstep with the deployment of central bank digital currency.  She adds: “Covid19 is the conduit to the #4IR now in full motion. As people come to terms with what is being forced upon humanity, we will soon regret that we did not unite to oppose to draconian lockdowns and expanding surveillance that will serve to protect/insulate ruling classes from revolt”.

WEF new global architecture

* * *

We were all set to share with readers a clear, level-headed and professional exposure of the reality behind the virus scare by doctors Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi of Bakersfield, California. But then we learned that, having notched up 4.3 million views, it had been removed by YouTube for violating its “community standards”. Now why would that be? The original link was here, someone put it up again here, and it should still be available here and here

Erickson video censored

* * *

A fake-left infiltrator of the socialist scene, spreading smears against anyone standing up to neoliberalism and imperialism… What has been recently unveiled in Germany very much chimes with the Labour Leaks scandal in the UK. Unmasking a Wikipedia propagandist is a fascinating interview with Dirk Pohlmann (pictured) of Wikihausen.de by US journalist Helen of desTroy.

Dirk Pohlmann

* * *

Modern Medicine, the New World Religion is a book by Olivier Clerc which argues that the medical establishment has become the government’s ally, as the Catholic Church was in the past. ‘Charlatans’ are prosecuted today, as ‘heretics’ once were, and dogmatism rules out promising medical theories.

Modern Medicine book

* * *

Smartphones are so out of date these days. Imagine, some people might not actually carry them around with them every minute of the day! How would the authorities know where you are so as to keep you safe from terrorists, viruses and disinformation? But don’t worry, you can get yourself microchipped! Apparently this is already catching on in Sweden, as this video report (and this) explain. This is the “new normal” they want us to swallow.

microchipping video

* * *

Acorn quote: “Mechanization and industrialization have rapidly transformed the planet, exploding ecosystems and human communities with monoculture, industrial degradation, and mass markets. The world now corresponds more closely to the prophetic warnings of primal peoples than to the hollow advertising claims of the industrial system: the plants disappearing and the animals dying, the soils denuded along with the human spirit, vast oceans poisoned, the very rain turned corrosive and deadly, human communities at war with one another over diminishing spoils – and all poised on the brink of an even greater annihilation at the push of a few buttons within reach of stunted, half-dead head-zeks in fortified bunkers. Civilization’s railroad leads not only to ecocide, but to evolutionary suicide”.

David Watson

david-watson-against-the-megamachine

(For many more like this, see the Winter Oak quotes for the day blog)

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The Acorn – 52

acorn 2019b

Number 52

In this issue:

  1. Skin-deep solutions
  2. Greta and the story-tellers
  3. Regulation is a gas, for the oil industry
  4. Bristol celebrates radical history
  5. Poetry of the rebellious seed
  6. Mohandas Gandhi: an orgrad inspiration
  7. Acorninfo

1.  Skin-deep solutions

Imagine that somebody in your family falls ill, with a whole range of symptoms including breathing problems, extreme fatigue, stomach cramps, mental confusion and rashes on their skin.

Medical advice is initially unclear, until one doctor turns up who confidently announces that the skin issues are the core problem.

He produces loads of information of skin disease, refers you to all sorts of scientific studies and even starts referring to your family member’s illness as “the skin crisis”.

Others in the family pick up on this habit and soon all the other symptoms, some more troubling in fact, are half-forgotten.

One day this doctor phones up in great excitement declaring that he has found the solution to the skin crisis.

A new wonderdrug has been developed in the USA which, he says, will sort it out once and for all. The only trouble is that it is, as yet, only available privately.

When he tells you the price of a course of treatment with this new product, your heart falls. There is no way your family can afford that.

Don’t worry, he says. You could always remortgage your house, cut down on your living expenses, take out a loan. After all, this is an emergency.

The rest of your family are convinced by the doctor and start preparing to break open the piggy bank to pay for this miracle cure.

But you are not so sure. A friend puts you in touch with an alternative healer, who says the underlying problem is a general poisoning of the body.

What is needed is fresh air, plenty of water to drink, lots of exercise, a healthy non-industrial diet.

You try and persuade the rest of the family but they are scornful.

Next, your suspicions aroused, you do some online research into this new wonderdrug and the big pharmaceutical company which is selling it.

To your horror, you discover that your doctor is a paid adviser to a charity which is heavily lobbying for the new drug and lists among its “partners” the pharma company in question.

You alert the rest of your family but they say you’re being paranoid, that the doctor is a lovely fellow, totally trustworthy, and his advice must be followed.

You keep arguing the point. You point out that the new wonderdrug does not even pretend to address the other important symptoms and if the real issue is toxic overload, then it will only make the situation worse.

The family will be bankrupt and the patient still sick, probably even sicker. The only beneficiaries will be the pharma company and the doctor who is essentially on their payroll.

The whole thing is a scam, you tell them.

They are furious. They accuse you of claiming that the family member is only pretending to be ill, of being a disgusting and uncaring human being, a conspiracy theorist and “denier” whose selfish and “purist” stance can only delay or scupper the long-awaited skin cure.

This, as our quicker readers will have spotted, is pretty much the situation with the climate movement and those of us who dare to question the direction it is taking us.

The key, as we have said before, is the term “climate”. Why build a whole, supposedly environmental, movement around this single symptom of the industrial disease?

Could it be because, like the dodgy doctor above, the capitalists manipulating the movement have a “cure” on hand to sell to to us?

But this cure – this “Green Industrial Revolution” of electric cars and solar panels and wind turbines and carbon capture and “smart” everything – is not a cure at all.

It is a continuation of the industrial destruction, exploitation and pollution which has brought us to this terrible point.

It is not “purist” to point this out. It is essential, if we really want to defend the natural organism of which we are part, rather than just help kick-start a new and trendy branch of industrial capitalism.

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2. Greta and the story-tellers

Greta Thunberg’s first solo “school strike” back on August 20 2018 has become iconic in some circles.

Adoring fans insist that the lonely youngster’s charisma and determination, sitting on the pavement with her placards, forced the whole world to sit up and take notice.

If rich and powerful capitalists and politicians have since paid homage to her, they argue, it is only because they are running scared of the tidal wave of moral outrage the plucky Swede has unleashed.

But investigative journalist Cory Morningstar has highlighted some very interesting facts about that first Greta moment and the extraordinary way that some rather dubious people were already on board her climate bandwagon before it even left the pavement in Stockholm.

One of these was a certain Callum Grieve, who, on August 20 2018 itself, sent Greta a Twitter message declaring: “We’re right behind you. Stay strong”.

Callum Grieve

And who is Callum Grieve? His Linkedin profile says he is currently a “communications specialist” based in New York.

Grieve worked for five years for The Climate Group, which in 2014 launched We Mean Business in order to “catalyze action around climate change and bring it back to the top of the global agenda”.

Cory reports: “The founding partners of We Mean Business are Business for Social Responsibility, the B Team, Carbon Disclosure Project, Ceres, The Climate Group, the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Together, these entities represent the world’s most powerful corporations and investors”.

We Mean Business has made great use of Greta Thunberg’s name to promote “economic opportunity through bold climate action” and something it terms “new power”.

Grieve was communications director of We Mean Business from 2014 to 2016. At the same time he was director of This Is Counter Culture, sometimes described as being based in Edinburgh, although Companies House last had it listed in London.

On Linkedin, Grieve describes his role at This Is Counter Culture as selling “brand development, campaigns, storytelling” and the business’s Twitter account also boasts of its “good stories”.

A document on Changemakers.com reveals that its customers included “international corporations, small businesses, social enterprises, NGOs and government”.

This Is Counter Culture was voluntarily dissolved in the UK in December 2017 and its Twitter account last tweeted in May 2018.

Cory Morningstar has much more to say about Grieve – not least his connection to Christiana Figueres, the very powerful daughter of right-wing CIA-backed Costa Rican president “Don Pepe”. (See our own exposé ).

But let’s turn to another Day 1 Greta Thunberg fan, in fact the man who spoke to her on the pavement on that fateful day in August 2018 and tweeted the world about it.

This was Ingmar Rentzhog (above), CEO of the climate campaign network We Don’t Have Time. He also happens to be a PR professional, like Grieve.

Rentzhog founded Laika, a prominent Swedish communications consultancy firm providing services to the financial industry.

According to the Greta myth, he happened to come across her protest while walking to work and it was this piece of luck which ensured her voice was heard so widely.

Notes journalist Frank Chung: “Despite its name, We Don’t Have Time did have time to produce a short film about Ms Thunberg, which it posted to Facebook the next day”.

Remarkable!

It also turns out not to be entirely coincidental that Rentzhog came across Greta’s little protest. He later admitted had already done PR work for her mother and was “tipped off” about the event in advance.

So the bottom line is this: from the very first day of her “rebellion”, Greta Thunberg was being promoted by two corporate PR professionals paid for their skills in “brand development” and “storytelling”.

Since then, of course, she has addressed the UN, the WEF,  the European Parliament, featured on the cover of Time magazine, which named her a “next generation leader”, met Barack Obama and Emmanuel Macron and been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

This is all rather strange in a world where the usual reward for environmental activism is a criminal record.

To fully explore Greta’s miraculous rise to global fame we strongly suggest a thorough reading of The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg for Consent, which now has a second crucial volume.

We also recommend Kim Hill’s two-part analysis Unpacking Extinction Rebellion in which she also warns how climate campaigning is being exploited for capitalist profiteering – at the expense of the natural world it pretends to be protecting.

She writes: “This is the future that Extinction Rebellion is envisioning. These are the solutions that millions of people around the world have been marching in the streets to demand of their governments.

“Not to cut back on fossil fuel use. Not to protect wild nature. Not to repair and regenerate the land. Not to do anything at all to address the causes of climate change and extinction.

“Instead to save the very system that continues to wreak havoc on the land, sea, and air, and kill us off at a rate of 200 species a day.

“You might want to take a moment to let that sink in. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling the need to go outside, and scream”.

solar panels2
The green fields of renewable capitalism

See also: our page of links on the climate capitalists.

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3. Regulation is a gas, for the oil industry

Oil-and-Gas-Authority

The Oil and Gas Authority, which is supposed to regulate the controversial industry on behalf of the UK public, is nothing but a joke, a new article has confirmed.

Will Cottrell, chairman of the Brighton Energy Coop, takes a close look at the OGA in the run-up to the recent planning verdict on plans for five new wells at Horse Hill, Surrey.

He writes: “The OGA oversees drilling permissions around the country. Its self-professed mission is to ‘maximise the economic recovery of UK oil and gas’.

“Indeed, the OGA receives £5m of funding to do just that from the UK Treasury.

Tim-Eggar
Tim Eggar

“High at the helm of the OGA is Chairman Tim Eggar. Eggar is an oil industry executive with various positions in government.

“An oil banker, Eggar’s history is a backstory of board positions for the likes of Monument Oil and Gas, Indago Petroleum, and 3legs Resources, Expro & Braemar and Energy venutures.

“Meanwhile, Eggar’s number two is chief exectutive Andy Samuel who has 20 years’ experience at BG Group, an oil services conglomerate.

“Non-executive Frances Morris-Jones spent 30 years in oil and gas. The director of operations – Gunther Newcombe – spent most of his career in the same industry. It goes on”.

The article reveals a similar saturation of industry stooges in the objective-sounding British Geological Survey.

It adds: “Back in 2012 (the last time financial figures were produced) the BGS’s annual report showed 29% of the organisation’s funds came from companies involved in the hydraulic fracturing industry, including Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon, BG Group and Schlumberger”.

imperial college

The industry connections of “experts” at Imperial College London and Bristol University are also examined.

The article concludes: “The purpose of the regulator and its stooges is to construct a seemingly-consensual smokescreen.

“The parallels to climate change denial are striking – the creation of a body of ‘opinion’ that looks like it comes from a cross-section of venerable institutions, but that in reality is thoroughly penetrated by the oil and gas industry. Plausible denial is always the objective.

“And while a smog of earthquake denial has been wafted over Surrey planners, what has not been shown is who pays for these firestarters.

“Now that Cuadrilla have been put on a temporary hold, the focus can switch to who are those that support the industry, and the vested interests that lie behind them. These denial industries and their financial ties – just as their dirty frontmen like Cuadrilla – need to be held to account”.

And the Surrey County Council planning decision for Horse Hill? The drilling was approved of course, with planning development manager Caroline Smith even citing the reputation of the OGA to reassure councillors worried about earth tremors.

As we said, a total joke.

horse hill

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4. Bristol celebrates radical history

BRH poster

The Bristol Radical History Festival 2019 is being held on Saturday October 12.

There are two themes this year: “1919 – Year of Revolutions” and “Green History: from 18th Century roots to Extinction Rebellion”.

Explains the website: “Following the success of the 2017 and 2018 events, this year’s Bristol Radical History Festival is again hosted by M Shed, Bristol’s social history museum located on the historic harbourside”.

Highlights include a talk on Green Romanticism by Stephen Hunt (10.30am), Leonard Baker on Ecology from Below (12.30pm), A People’s History of Poetry by Peter Bearder (1pm), Back to the Land by Kath Holden (3pm), Roots of Resistance: Earth First! (3pm) and a talk on the massive wave of discontent which swept through the British armed forces at the end of World War One (3.30pm).

Say the organisers: “It’s not just talks! Expect walks, films, singing, a performance space with a puppet show, storytelling and poetry, and an exhibition space, as well as stalls with books and merchandise from local and national groups.

“Not to be missed – go up to Level 2 to see the Regional Radical Press exhibition, with highlights from UWE Bristol Regional History Centre’s current project All the events are free with no booking required!”

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5. Poetry of the rebellious seed

zapatistas-2

The Zapatistas, those rebel anti-capitalists in Chiapas, continue to inspire with their communiqués.

A message from the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee — General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (featured on the excellent Enough is Enough site) reveals some wonderful names for new caracoles and autonomous municipalities.

There is, for instance, Esperanza de La Humanidad, which means Hope for Humanity.

Others are Floreciendo la semilla rebelde (The Flowering of the Rebellious Seed) and Sembrando conciencia para cosechar revoluciones por la vida (Cultivating Conscience in order to Harvest Revolutions for Life).

But our favourite is Espiral digno tejiendo los colores de la humanidad en memoria de l@s caídos, which translates as Spiral of Dignity Weaving the Colours of Humanity in Memory of the Fallen.

zapatistas3

6. Mohandas Gandhi: an orgrad inspiration

Wednesday October 2 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mohandas Gandhi, in 1869. Although Gandhi is mainly remembered in the West for his strategy of non-violent direct action, which proved ideal for the Indian independence movement, there was much more to his thinking, as this article from the orgrad website explains. The Gandhi Haiku posters are by Gabriel Rosenstock and available via etsy.com.

gandhi3

“Machinery is the chief symbol of modern civilization; it represents a great sin”

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) was a political activist who played a key role in the successful Indian struggle for independence.

His involvement in the resistance to British imperialism went hand in hand with a deep opposition to the life-crushing industrial capitalism which it imposed on the sub-continent.

Ranchor Prime notes: “Gandhi was opposed to industrialization. It wasted resources and took people’s work from them. What was the point of labor-saving devices when they created unemployment?” (1)

Gandhi himself wrote in 1909: “Machinery has begun to desolate Europe. Ruination is now knocking at the English gates. Machinery is the chief symbol of modern civilization; it represents a great sin… Railways accentuate the evil nature of man. Bad men fulfil their designs with greater rapidity”. (2)

Later he added: ” The incessant search for material comforts and their multiplication is an evil. I make bold to say that the Europeans will have to remodel their outlook, if they are not to perish under the weight of the comforts to which they are becoming slaves”. (3)

gandhi poster 3

In opposition to industrial capitalism and its insane frenzy to exploit, produce and consume, Gandhi proposed a future in which humankind lived in organic harmony with the rest of the planet.

indian villageHe wrote: “It is a fundamental law of nature that nature produces enough for our wants from day to day; and if only everyone took enough for their own needs and nothing more, there would be no poverty in this world”. (4)

Gandhi’s vision for India, betrayed by his capitalist successors, was a return to the simple village life his land had known for thousands of years.

Writes Prime: “Mohandas Gandhi, called by his people Mahatma, which means ‘great soul’, loved India’s villages. He believed that they were the key to its happiness and prosperity. In the face of powerful political and economic forces, he tried courageously to preserve their simple way of life.

“Economic behavior determines the way a society treats the earth, therefore any discussion of environmental values has to include economics. The village economics of India give a practical example of an environmental way of living”. (5)

gandhi poster 1

Gandhi argued: “Given the demand, there is no doubt that most of our wants can be supplied by the villages. When we become village-minded we shall not want imitations from the West or machine-made products”. (6)

He saw that this decentralised village economics was the only sustainable long-term way forward for humankind as a whole.

He wrote in a letter to fellow independence campaigner Jawaharlal Nehru in 1945: “I believe that if India, and through India the world, is to achieve real freedom, then sooner or later we shall have to go and live in the villages – in huts, not in palaces. Millions of people can never live in cities and palaces in comfort and peace”. (7)

Gandhi referred to himself on several occasions as a kind of anarchist and always opposed the centralised state and its inherent use of violence. (8)

gandhi poster 4

He was greatly influenced by John Ruskin and translated the title of the Englishman’s Unto This Last as Sarvodaya, or welfare for all. He was also influenced by Leo Tolstoy and Peter Kropotkin, notably by the latter’s vision of a decentralized society of autonomous village communes.

However, Gandhi’s organic radicalism arose primarily from Indian metaphysics and its belief in the cosmic unity of all beings.

shiva

Prime writes: “A way of life does not exist in a vacuum. It is based on a way of thinking, a philosophy of life. Gandhi recognized this truth. He believed that it would not be possible to bring about change in society without a corresponding change in the way people behaved.

“To change the way people behaved meant to change the way that they thought. Therefore Gandhi’s primary objective was to influence people’s philosophy of life”. (9)

Central to the Gandhian world-view were the principles of satya (truth), karmayoga (self-realization through disinterested action), varnasramdharma (the Hindu law of right conduct), and ahimsa (non-violence).

Peter Marshall adds: “The most revolutionary aspect of Gandhi’s teaching was undoubtedly his social and political interpretation of ahimsa in which he turned the principle of individual self-realization into a principle of social ethics.

“He also drew on the traditional Indian values of village life and the joint family and the practice of making decisions by consensus”. (10)

gandhi poster 2

Gandhi promoted the idea of swaraj, or self-government, which was the first step towards his ideal of an enlightened anarchy in which social life is self-regulated and “there is no political power because there is no state”. (11)

For him, swaraj had a far deeper meaning than mere political independence. He wrote: “Swaraj is a sacred word meaning self-rule and self-restraint, not freedom from all restraint which ‘independence’ often means”. (12)

At the end of his life, Gandhi was disappointed that India, which gained independence in 1947, was not fundamentally different from India under British rule, except that whereas previously Englishmen had lived in the imperial palace, now Indians did. He feared for the direction India was taking.

Prime comments: “He had always said that real independence for India was not just to become free from British rule. It was also to become free of British culture and industrial way of life and to reestablish the traditional Indian village-based culture for which he had always struggled”. (13)

Video link: Gandhi’s arrival in the UK in 1931 as seen by Pathé News.

Gandhi spinning

1. Ranchor Prime, Vedic Ecology: Practical Wisdom for Surviving the 21st Century (Novato, California: Mandala, 2002), p. 84.
2. Mohandas Gandhi, Hind Swaraj, 1909, cit. Prime, p. 86.
3. Mohandas Gandhi, Young India, cit. Prime p. 78.
4. G.A. Nateson, Speeches and Writings of Mahatma Gandhi (Madras: 1935), p. 384, cit. Prime pp. 84-85.
5. Prime, pp. 78-79.
6. Gandhi, ‘Constructive Programme’, cit. Prime, p. 87.
7. Gandhi, letter to Nehru, October 5, 1945, cit. Prime p. 91.
8. Peter Marshall, Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism (London: Fontana, 1993), p. 422.
9. Prime, p. 81.
10. Marshall, pp. 422-23.
11. Gandhi, Young India, July 2, 1931.
12. Gandhi, Young India, 1931, cit. Prime pp 83-83.
13. Prime, p. 90.

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7. Acorninfo

If governments and corporations get their way, the bright blue seas of western Greece will be turned into oil fields. The Greek government is selling vast areas of sea and land for oil and gas drilling, report Corporate Watch. The businesses involved include Energean, a fast-growing oil company with close ties to the Israeli government and Israeli corporations. “But it’s not a done deal yet,” add Corporate Watch. “Greece has strong traditions of resistance to capitalist devastation – and now, across the threatened areas, people are coming together to fight the oil plans”. See the Save Greek Seas site.

Greek no oil

* * *

Ignored by the corporate media in the UK, the Gilets Jaunes’ revolt against neoliberalism is still going strong after more than ten months, with the weekly round of protests now up to Act 46. Levels of police violence are insane and the cops increasingly coming across as a politicised fascist militia. After left-wing opposition politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon condemned them as “barbarians”, not only did authoritarian Interior Minister Christophe Castaner say he would be prosecuted for this opinion, but a police trade union staged a show of force outside Mélenchon’s party HQ in Paris on September 26. Gilets Jaunes turned up as well, to oppose the police… More about the Gilets Jaunes here.

GJ police protest

* * *

“The black bloc more or less destroyed the global justice protests at the beginning of this century. We must do everything we can to exclude them from the climate protests”. These were the words of self-styled radical George Monbiot of The Guardian, surely spelling the end of any remaining credibility for this arrogant, warmongering, pro-nuclear upper-class gatekeeper of the system, who pretends via his corporate media platform to be “one of us” in order to impose limits on our resistance.

monbiot

* * *

Degrowth is the only responsible way forward, argues an interesting article by Joël Foramitti, Marula Tsagkari and Christos Zografos. They write: “If we free our imagination from the liberal idea that well-being is best measured by the amount of stuff that we consume, we may discover that a good life could also be materially light. This is the idea of voluntary sufficiency. If we manage to decide collectively and democratically what is necessary and enough for a good life, then we could have plenty”.

degrowthpainted

* * *

Some upcoming radical events in the UK: Saturday November 2, Nottingham Radical Bookfair, 10.30am-5.30pm, Mechanics Institute, South Sherwood Street; Saturday December 7, Manchester & Salford Anarchist Bookfair, central Manchester; Friday May 1 to Monday May 4 2020, UK-wide Anarchist Festival.

afest2020

* * *

Global resistance to the nightmarish 5G network (see Acorn 51) is picking up speed. Plans to roll out 5G in Australia were ditched “due to community fears regarding the health impact of the technology”. And thousands have protested outside the Swiss parliament in Bern to call for a halt to the threatened countrywide 5G imposition. Meanwhile the International Society of Doctors for the Environment has called for a halt to 5G in Europe on a precautionary basis. In the UK, the Royal Society of Medicine’s Alan Cooke is speaking on 5G in Eastbourne, East Sussex, at the Friends Meeting House in Wish Street at 7.30pm on Friday October 25. And Dr Karl Cox of Sussex University is speaking at a day’s symposium on 5G at Fairwarp Village Hall, Fairwarp, East Sussex at 10am on Saturday October 26.

5G protest switz

* * *

Acorn quote: “Organism is spontaneous self-regulation, the mystery of formed growth, the inarticulate wisdom of the instincts”.

Theodore Roszak

tangle

(For many more like this, see the Winter Oak quotes for the day blog)

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The Acorn – 51

acorn 2019b

Number 51

In this issue:

  1. Basque rebels prepare hot reception for G7 leaders
  2. Capitalist vultures target Jamaican sunshine
  3. Smart-fascists are massacring our trees
  4. Israeli oppression: support the resistance!
  5. Vandana Shiva: an orgrad inspiration
  6. Acorninfo

1.  Basque rebels prepare hot reception for G7 leaders

G7juillet

The welcome awaiting Macron, Trump and the other G7 world leaders in Biarritz later this month promises to be not so much warm as hot.

The Basques already have a proud tradition of anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist struggle.

But from August 24 to 26 the opposition to the summit will be bolstered by the mass participation of the Gilets Jaunes, or Yellow Vests, who have been protesting every week non-stop since November 2018.

Not only is the G7 being hosted by their primary hate-figure in President Macron, but it will also receive – in the words of the Bayonne group of Gilets Jaunes – ‘world leaders who defend an ultra-liberal economy which offers us nothing’.

G7biarritz
Gilets Jaunes protest against the G7 in Biarritz back in December

Gilets Jaunes were already active in Biarritz in December, when protests against a preliminary G7 meeting were met with tear gas and rubber bullets.

In April L’Express newspaper reported that the French authorities were preparing for “an explosive G7”.

And in July, more than a month before the actual summit, there were already a thousand people taking to the streets to voice their opposition.

The summit comes at a time when repression is reaching dizzy levels in France.

The first six months of the Gilets Jaunes uprising alone saw 2,448 protesters injured. Of these, 24 lost an eye and five had a hand blown off by police grenades, according to Le Journal Du Dimanche.

GJ blessés

Protests are being banned all over the country each weekend and Gilets Jaunes regularly arrested on “suspicion” of being about to commit an offence, before they have had the chance to do anything.

This has filtered down to a local level, empowering one right-wing mayor in the Gard department, stung by criticism from local campaigners, to ban all leafleting in the town centre for an entire year!

And the mood of brutal police violence has spilled over beyond directly political issues, such as with the cops’ attack on party-goers in Nantes which involved the “accidental” death of Steve Maia Caniço.

Campaign group G7 EZ (“No to the G7, for another world”) warn that the summit will inevitably involve significant restrictions on people’s freedom of movement and the right to protest.

They say: “It imposes a real state of siege and a choking police occupation (a number of 15,000 soldiers and policemen has been announced)”.

G7EZ poster1

But the protesters are determined not to let this stop them.

They add: “Why should we accept all this without reacting? As for the usefulness of the G7, no one believes in it any more, no one wants it any more. It is a waste of public money and the best solution is a pure and simple disbanding of the G7.

“We will join forces against the G7 in August 2019 in the Basque Country because the world it embodies must change deeply and urgently.

“Building another world is possible and urgent. And from the Basque country, we must also take part in it.

“Here too joining forces and sharing projects so as to change our model have multiplied: to stop climatic changes, in favour of freedom of movement, for the protection of the interests of workers against gender domination, for the cultural and linguistic diversity, against war and in favour of peace.

“That’s why while we refuse this G7 summit, we intend to reinforce our struggle for a social change”.

G7 EZ site: g7ez.eus
Follow G7 EZ on Twitter here.

G7EZ poster2

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2. Capitalist vultures target Jamaican sunshine

jamaicasolar

A Jamaican-British man has encountered shocking first-hand proof of the way that the global capitalist elite is profiteering from climate concerns.

John Lennon contacted The Acorn to explain how he had proposed a scheme to allow state schools in Jamaica to generate their own electricity.

There is plenty of free sunshine in the Caribbean and a payback period of under four years means solar-powered schools would be economically viable and installation would not end up costing taxpayers a dollar.

Said John: “Simply apply prudence: instead of using taxpayers’ money to indefinitely pay electricity bills, schools should service fixed-term loan agreements – with repayments lower than bills – to pay for their own electricity-generating facilities”.

solar panel payback
Payback times are even shorter in sunny Jamaica

Although nobody could point to any flaws in John’s plan, he has met with a complete rebuff from the Jamaican government and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

John Lennon
John Lennon

Mainstream journalists have also given him a polite brush-off and he has come to appreciate the extent of the UN’s involvement in the “climate capitalism” scam which has hoodwinked too many environmentalists into cheerleading for an industrial capitalist agenda.

John told us: “One has to question the purpose of the UN and its Sustainable Development Goals. The whole thing is a joke”.

The UN’s sheer hypocrisy is breathtaking. On one hand it pumps out a load of pious spin using hashstags like #MoreEqualWorld, pointing out that “26 people own the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion people combined”.

On the other hand, as this recent post on the Wrong Kind of Green website explores, it plays a central role in maintaining the global capitalist dictatorship.

Earlier this summer a statement from the UNDP confirmed the 100% capitalist agenda behind its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It referred to the Business Commission on Sustainable Development at Davos, which reckoned achieving the SDGs could “open up an estimated US$12 trillion in market opportunities”.

“The SDGs are the business plan for people and the planet,” boasted Anna Ryott, a Steering Group member and Board Chair of Stockholm-based Summa Equity. “Investments can be both profitable and sustainable”.

It is no surprise to note the presence on the UNDP’s Global Steering Group for Impact Investment of Sir Ronald Cohen.

Blair and Cohen
Blair and Cohen

Cohen is a leading venture capitalist who is notorious in the UK for bankrolling Tony Blair’s neoliberal “New Labour” government.

Alongside him sit the likes of John Denton, who “serves on the Board of leading global infrastructure group IFM Investors” and Anna Ryott of Summa Equity, with her proud record of “investing in impact tech entrepreneurs”.

There is also leading Chinese banker Ma Weihua and “veteran economist and business leader” Rajiv Lall, whose expertise spans international and macro-economics, banking, capital markets, infrastructure finance and private equity/venture capital.

A strange line-up for an organisation supposedly acting in the interests of the world’s poor!

UN GSGII

The macrocosm of the UN’s profit-based corporate agenda is reflected in the microcosm of the UNDP Jamaica website.

Articles are packed with corporate clichés of “entrepreneurship” and “stakeholders”, alongside the usual babble about “youth engagement” and building a “better world”.

Dr Elsie Laurence-Chounoune, UNDP representative in Jamaica, writes that the “UNDP remains committed to advancing sustainable human development and working collaboratively to mainstream Climate Change mitigation and adaptation into development processes”.

Not a hint here that it is this capitalist “development” which has caused the environmental crisis, just a desire to ensure that attempts to combat that crisis do not threaten the ongoing profiteering of the ruling elite and can be safely absorbed into “development processes”.

In the light of all this, it is clear that the UN, and other representatives of the corporate system, have no interest at all in renewable energy schemes like the one proposed by John, which would benefit local schools and communities without offering massive profit opportunities for big business.

They will never enable renewable energy for its own sake, but only as yet another lucrative means for the extremely rich to get extremely richer.

And that, as Cory Morningstar and others never tire of pointing out, is what this whole climate capitalist scam – with its “sustainable” growth, “green” industrial revolution and “smart” living – is really all about.

As John says: “Greed is the driving force and this needs to be exposed”.

john lennon cartoon

See also: our page of links on the climate capitalists.

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3. Smart-fascists are massacring our trees

tree felled

Trees are getting in the way of the sinister new techno-future lined up for us all.

Corporate engineers are complaining that the roll-out of 5G is being held up by these inconvenient remnants of the natural world.

They are trying to work out how to ensure nobody is beyond the reach of the smart-fascist system.

And it increasingly looks as if this is what has provoked the massacre of thousands of healthy trees in cities like Newcastle, Edinburgh and Sheffield, all 5G trial areas.

5G uses “millimeter waves”, broadcast at frequencies between 30 and 300 GHz, previously only used for communication between satellites and radar systems.

But millimeter waves can’t easily travel through buildings or other solid objects, so 5G will take advantage of “small cells” — smaller miniature based stations that can be placed about every 250 meters throughout dense urban areas. These provide much better coverage in such locations. Unless they are blocked by trees.

5G tree

Damning evidence on this issue comes in a report from the 5G Innovation Centre at the Institute for Communication Systems at the University of Surrey.

This states: “In the past the priority for planning authorities has been to reduce mobile mast heights so that masts are visually screened by buildings and/or trees – with trees being the highest and more likely obstruction.

“However this also screens the RF signals and has defeated the objective of reliable coverage… it is necessary for the tree height to be at least 3m less than the base station height.

“Having adjacent trees and or building at comparable heights to the mast can reduce coverage by as much as 70% in that direction, which is not in the interests of the operator, the local planning authorities and more importantly the mobile phone user.

“This is the source of many of today’s mobile coverage issues for consumers in many rural locations”.

sheffield_treesA Sunday Times report in 2018 revealed that more than 110,000 trees had been chopped down in three years by councils across the UK — equivalent to a sixth of the size of Sherwood Forest.

The vigiliae.org campaign site warns that it looks as if “millions of trees” face being felled in the UK alone to ensure continuous signalling for self-driving buses, cars and trains and all the rest of the smart nightmare.

Trees are essential for life in this world and it is not by chance that they have been revered by human beings since the origin of our species.

The unending war against trees being waged by this industrial civilization shows once again that is nothing but a malevolent death cult, which must be destroyed in order that living things can survive and flourish.

greenanarchy2

See also: Guerrilla war against “smart” fascism

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4. Israeli oppression: support the resistance!

Elbit19

On July 1 2019 activists across the UK took part in a national day of action against Israeli-owned weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems.

In Kent, protesters gained access to the new site of Elbit subsidary Instro Precision. The action shut the factory down for the day.

This is the 5th time since 2014 the Kent-based factory has been forced to shut. Elbit is the largest Israeli owned arms manufacturer, and produces many of the weapons used by Israel in its oppression of Palestinians.

They produce 85% of the armoured drones used by Israel, along with a range of other military equipment, such as artillery cannons and tank parts.

These weapons are then used directly on Palestinians. For example, drones have been used to drop tear gas on protesters on the Great Return March.

Elbit19b

Along with this, Elbit’s Hermes 450 drone, which can carry up to two medium range missiles, was used in the 2014 Gaza Massacre, in which Israel killed over 2100 Palestinians.

A crowdfunder has been set up to help pay for transport, banners, leaflets, accommodation, communications and other equipment used on the day.

All money donated will go towards the collectively agreed costs of the protest. Any extra will go towards future actions.

Elbit19c

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5. Vandana Shiva: an orgrad inspiration

vandana-shiva

“Indian cosmology has never separated the human from the non-human – we are a continuum”

Vandana Shiva (1952-) is a Gandhian eco-activist and agro-ecologist, who has dedicated her life to resisting global capitalist destruction of nature and communities in India and beyond.

She is particularly known for her involvement in the international sustainable food movement and her battle with the former agrochemical company Monsanto.

Shiva declared in a 2003 interview with Sarah Ruth van Gelder: “Our system of food security is being destroyed in the name of economic growth and economic liberalization, and people don’t have enough food to eat.

“Our farmers are being ravished by seed companies, being pushed into debt, and committing suicide”. (1)

Vandana Shive Earth DemocracyIn combatting the capitalist dogma of economic growth in her book Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace, Shiva proposed the alternative of an economy in which people worked to directly provide the conditions necessary to maintain their lives.

This “sustenance economy” includes all spheres in which humans produce in balance with nature and reproduce society through partnerships, mutuality, and reciprocity.

She has highlighted separation as being at the heart of our contemporary malaise, referring in a 2012 interview to “an eco-apartheid based on the illusion of separateness of humans from nature in our minds and lives”.

She added: “The war against the Earth began with this idea of separateness. Its contemporary seeds were sown when the living Earth was transformed into dead matter to facilitate the industrial revolution.

“Monocultures replaced diversity. ‘Raw materials’ and ‘dead matter’ replaced a vibrant Earth. Terra Nullius (the empty land, ready for occupation regardless of the presence of indigenous peoples) replaced Terra Madre (Mother Earth)”. (3)

Holistic Vedic metaphysics fuels Shiva’s philosophy and activism. In an interview with Ranchor Prime she described how she met many people during her years fighting the construction of dams “and I found that they were all inspired by the idea that the river is divine, a sacred mother, and that trying to appropriate her water is like annihilating the very source of your sustenance.

“In fact I’ve learned that there is not one environmental movement in India that is not informed by the ecological roots of Vedic culture”. (4)

Vasudhaiva KutumbakamTalking about the concept of Earth Democracy, she said: “The notion comes from a very ancient category in Indian thought… In India we talk about vasudhaiva kutumbakam, which means the earth family. Indian cosmology has never separated the human from the non-human – we are a continuum”. (5)

This radical organic understanding was helping to fuel resistance to global industrial capitalism, she said, in the form of “a spontaneous resurgence of thinking that centers on protection of life, celebrating life, enjoying life as both our highest duty and our most powerful form of resistance against a violent and brutal system that globalizes not just trade, but fascism, and denies civil liberties and freedoms”. (6)

Hindu wisdom also helped her keep up her strength in the struggle, she explained. “I do not allow myself to be overcome by hopelessness, no matter how tough the situation. I’ve learned from the Bhagavad Gita and other teachings of our culture to detach myself from the results of what I do, because those are not in my hands.

“I do not allow myself to be overcome by hopelessness, no matter how tough the situation… I think what we owe each other is a celebration of life and to replace fear and hopelessness with fearlessness and joy”. (7)

Video link: Beyond development – an evening with Vandana Shiva (58 mins)

vandana shiva2

1. Earth Democracy – an interview with Vandana Shiva by Sarah Ruth van Gelder, Yes!magazine, Winter 2003.
https://www.lanecc.edu/sites/default/files/sustainability/shiva_interview.pdf 2. Vandana Shiva, Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace (Boston: South End Press, 2005).
3. Vandana Shiva: Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Forest, Yes! magazine, December 2O12.
https://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/what-would-nature-do/vandana-shiva-everything-i-need-to-know-i-learned-in-the-forest 
4. Vandana Shiva, cit. Ranchor Prime, Vedic Ecology: Practical Wisdom for Surviving the 21st Century (Novato, California: Mandala, 2002), pp. 130-31.
5. Earth Democracy – an interview with Vandana Shiva.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.

orgrad logo

From the orgrad website.

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6. Acorninfo

Under the worsening mood of neoliberal McCarthyism, the UK state is defining those who are left-wing and oppose war as potential sympathisers with “violent extremism”, warns an article by David Miller in Tribune magazine. The government’s so-called Commission for Countering Extremism decrees that opposing the US/UK global empire amounts to “occupying a position of solidarity with terrorist organisations and violently repressive regimes”.

CCE

* * *

Limiting CO2 emissions is a false solution to the environmental crisis, argues Paul Kingsnorth in a thought-provoking video. He argues that the contemporary “green” movement has lost interest in wild nature in exchange for an obsession with wind or solar panel “farms” – power stations, in fact, which only prolong the industrial nightmare.

kingsnorth

* * *

“Along with military invasions and missionaries, NGOs help crack countries open like ripe nuts, paving the way for intensifying waves of exploitation and extraction such as agribusiness for export, sweatshops, resource mines, and tourist playgrounds”. So wrote Stephanie Macmillan in an excellent 2015 article Why NGOs and Leftish Nonprofits Suck which we have, admittedly, only just discovered.

StephanieMacmillan

* * *

A new deep sea mining process could devastate fragile ecosystems that are slow to recover in the highly pressurized darkness of the deep sea, experts have warned. It could also have knock-on effects on the wider ocean environment. And the aim? To “diversify the sources currently supplying metals needed for electronics and evolving green technologies, such as electric vehicles and solar panels”. The firm behind all this even calls itself “DeepGreen Metals”. So that’s all OK then. It’s environmentally-friendly environmental destruction!

seabed mining

* * *

What a vision of the future from Boris Johnson, the new lunatic-right Prime Minister of the UK. He declared on August 11: “Today we’re announcing another 10,000 places in our prisons; a big building program for prisons.” The phrase “big building program” is notable, not least because of the American spelling of what would normally be “programme”. Will US contractors and private prison businesses be the big winners from Boris’s war on the UK population?

Boris-Johnson-prison

* * *

Acorn quote: “For Bakunin, Sorel, Proudhon and Landauer the revolutionary utopia always goes hand in hand with a profound nostalgia for forms of the pre-capitalist past, for traditional rural communities or craftsmanship; with Landauer, that even extends to an explicit defence of the Middle Ages… In truth, at the core of the approach of most of the great anarchist thinkers lies a Romantic attitude towards the past”.

Michael Löwy

peasant life

(For many more like this, see the Winter Oak quotes for the day blog)

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The Acorn – 46

 

Number 46

In this issue:

  1. Yellow is the new bloc
  2. The system must be destroyed!
  3. Controlling the narrative
  4. Climate of manipulation
  5. Against their world of artifice
  6. Acorninfo

1. Yellow is the new bloc

x-yellow

January 19, 2019: week 10 of history-forging French uprising

For the tenth weekend running, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets all across France in the Gilets Jaunes or Yellow Vests revolt against neoliberal capitalism – and this in the face of unprecedented state violence and oppression.

President’s Macron pathetic attempt to take back the initiative with his “Grand National Debate” has been exposed as a sham, with his regional roadshows protected by armies of riot police – deployed to keep at bay the people he is supposed to be listening to!

In Paris, for Act 10 of the uprising, the latest in a series of massive marches was estimated by observers to stretch for 4km and was met with the usual hostility and teargas from the “forces of order”.

x-paris crowds

x-paris2

Gilets Jaunes in Lille set up a burning barricade to keep the cops at bay.

Down south, protesters in Avignon forced open the gate to the police station and tried to set the town hall on fire.

x-avignon
Avignon

A protester was seriously injured in Rennes.

x-rennes
Rennes: Yellow, determined and revolutionary

In Toulouse, even the city authorities admitted that 10,000 people turned out and their protest was received with the usual politeness by the police.

One Gilet Jaune was the victim of a particularly nasty attack: “At least five or six cops descended on him, he was literally smashed to the ground. There were baton blows. He started to convulse”.

This is how Macron’s neoliberal democracy defends itself against dissent.

There were reports from Bourg-en-Bresse of protesters being injured by rubber bullets, grenades and the firing of teargas.

Some Gilets Jaunes in Clermont-Ferrand invaded the city’s shopping centre, chanting “Macron resign!” and blocking the escalators.

Everywhere there were thousands and thousands of people demanding an end to the neoliberal misery being imposed on France by Macron’s regime and the whole corrupt political system.

Caen, Rouen, Nîmes, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Toulon, Dijon, Beziers, Perpignan, Montpellier, Lyons, Angers, Poitiers, Marseilles, Bergerac, Brest, Longeville-lès-Saint-Avold, the little town of Foix in rural Ariège…

And from everywhere the same images and reports came flooding in: big crowds, police provocation, teargas, grenades, batons, water cannon, blood and defiance.

Ten weeks on, this is still only the start!

x-saintavold

x-general2

x-general3

x-sign
“12 dead, 2000 injured. Social movement or social war?”
x-poitiers2
Poitiers
x-brest
Brest: “The Gilets Jaunes are carrying on! We won’t give up. Support us – support YOURSELVES!”

See also:

Yellow fever: long live the revolutionary mob!

Gilets Jaunes: unfiltered anti-capitalism

“Police everywhere, justice nowhere!” – Gilets Jaunes on the streets of Nîmes

The heartbeat of the yellow jacket revolt is rural

Christmas with the gilets jaunes

May our yellow sparks of revolt set the world ablaze in 2019!

France on the brink: either we topple the system or it will crush us

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2. The system must be destroyed!

system

Let’s be clear about this: the system exists.

You can call it what you like – The Establishment, The Thing, The Matrix or the Industrial-Military-Prison-Propaganda-Complex – but it exists.

It has become trendy in recent years to pretend that this is not so, that what we are seeing is merely a collection of economic or interpersonal relationships.

But it is the system that promotes, protects and imposes all the layers of domination and exploitation that mark our everyday lives.

It is the system that tells us we have to spend our best life energy working for it, just for the right to eat and exist in the world it claims it owns.

It is the system that pays its hired thugs to beat us up, intimidate us, lock us up for years if we refuse to play by its rules.

It is the system that maims and murders human beings on an unimagineable scale across the world, all in the interests of its profit and power, and still always claims the moral high ground.

It is the system that lies through its teeth, with a slick smile on its face, and is always quick to accuse anyone who challenges its lies of being a liar.

It is the system that devours, poisons and destroys our air, our water, our land and our bodies.

It is the system that brings death and extinction while claiming to bring growth.

It is the system that is always looking at new ways to monitor us, to control us, to infiltrate our lives, to direct our thoughts, to crush the tiniest possibilities of our freedom and resistance.

It is also the system, of course, that insists that the system does not exist, that we should not confuse the many trees of its oppression and control with an overall wood that could be termed an entity.

It says that anyone who talks of the system is necessarily a simple-minded fool who imagines the world is all controlled in every detail by half a dozen James Bond villains sitting around a conference table in an underground bunker.

It says that anyone who talks of the system is a conspiracy theorist liable to start spouting all kinds of deranged, maybe anti-semitic, nonsense.

The system says this because it knows full well that the rest of us – the powerless nobodies it so despises – will never be able to effectively challenge the system if we don’t even know that it exists.

On this point, and this point alone, we agree with the system. Identifying the existence of the system is the necessary first step to clearing the way for a worthwhile future for humankind and our planetary home.

The second necessary step is to destroy the system in its entirety.

 

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3. Controlling the narrative

 

propaganda2

The system has always depended on being able to control the narrative of the societies it controls, ensuring that its own existence remains invisible and that all its lies are accepted as self-evident truths.

It knows that it is in big trouble if serious numbers of people start ripping the propaganda drip-feeds from their brains and sourcing their information from elsewhere, if people stop parroting the sermons of the system’s priests and start thinking for themselves.

It has been interesting to see the system in panic mode in France, being forced to work through every step of the emergency disinformation procedures as the Gilets Jaunes revolt gathers more and more momentum.

To start with, the Gilets Jaunes were just a passing nuisance. Then they were right-wing extremists, or left-wing extremists if the message was being aimed at a right-wing audience. After that, they were violent thugs and village idiots. Then it was all a flop and dying out. Then they were suddenly threatening armed revolution. They subsequently switched back to being fascists again, maybe of the elusive “red-brown” variety evoked by neoliberals everywhere in their desperate attempts to equate far left with far right and present themselves as the only safeguard against the horrors of so-called “populism”.

Again and again, the well-groomed and arrogant faces of the Parisian elite appeared to inform the French people that they were nothing but uneducated riff-raff who deserved to be shot and telling them to pack it all in. But nobody was watching TV on the roundabouts.

The media even wheeled out the tired old spectre of the Le Pen family once again, with inflated reports of how they were poised to come to power. It’s a great double-act for the capitalists, the old nice-nasty routine: support capitalism or you get fascism.

While there have been howls of media outrage over every flower-pot thrown towards the serried ranks of armour-plated riot cops, the huge levels of brutal violence inflicted by the police themselves have been sidelined or even ignored.

Individual cops have complained publicly that the instructions for this violence – by means of tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannon, grenades or just good old-fashioned beating and kicking – are political and have come straight from the state.

The system has given orders for the Gilets Jaunes to be left bloodied in the road, handless or eyeless in several cases. The system has given orders for its media to pretend this just isn’t happening.

And people have seen that. Millions of people have seen it and seen through it. The system has played its hand and it cannot keep playing it again and again with the results that it expects.

This is the scenario it fears most. The scenario in which the hologram illusion of democracy projected by its vast range of propaganda techniques flickers and disappears from the minds of the people.

Instead they see reality as it, as it has been for a long time: a criminal gang of professional liars, manipulators and thieves successfully holding millions of people in a state of thralldom, and being prepared to use unlimited violence to hold on to their power.

capitalist exploitation

It is not just in France that the system is afraid of losing control, although the population there seem to be several steps ahead of others in their awareness of what is going on and their courage in actually trying to do something about it.

That is why for years the system has been infiltrating radical political movements – and often sabotaging them from within so they can never successfully mobilise against its domination.

That is why it runs outfits like the Institute for Statecraft and its Integrity Initiative to push its propaganda and try to head off even the risk of a reformist social-democrat like Jeremy Corbyn getting a piece of power.

That is why it is rolling out products like NewsGuard to filter internet intervention and try and make sure only the system’s version of reality, the system’s views, can reach the public.

That is why it is constantly removing pages and accounts from social media, policing the internet to try to ensure that small voices of dissent can no longer be heard, while claiming that this insidious censorship is all about countering “fake news”.

That is why journalists who help whistleblowers expose the system’s crimes and manipulations are not only targeted by the system’s police but mercilessly smeared by the system’s faithful media lackeys.

But can the system ever really regain full-spectrum narrative domination and get all that information toothpaste neatly back into the mind-control tube?

We suspect not.

 

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4. Climate of manipulation

greta thunberg

Greta Thunberg: darling of the climate change reformists

Needless to say, we at The Acorn are fully behind environmental campaigns like Extinction Rebellion (see Issue 45) which warn that we face planetary disaster unless our society makes radical changes.

But we have to admit that we are often puzzled as to why there is quite so much emphasis on climate change as the primary evidence of something going badly wrong.

Why less talk of the plastic that is choking our oceans, the chemicals polluting our water sources, the nanoparticles absorbed by our bodies, the noxious fumes poisoning our air, the microwaves causing cancers in our brains?

Why so little mention that there is a name for all of this – industrial capitalism?

Why so few calls for the dismantling of this productivist profit-based insanity and the instigation of degrowth to restore a society which produces solely according to its real needs?

Surely it couldn’t be because the climate change movement is being insidiously manipulated by elements of industrial capitalism itself?

Surely it couldn’t be because the issue is being hijacked by powerful private interests as a way of getting rich on the new technologies that will supposedly solve the crisis?

Could it really be the case that genuine environmental activists, arrested and locked up for their courageous actions, are being used as human cannon fodder for a global marketing campaign?

corymorningstar
Cory Morningstar is asking some awkward questions of the climate change movement

Anyone tempted to dismiss these questions out of hand might like to take a look at the new work published online by radical ecologist researcher and writer Cory Morningstar.

This concerns the “non-profit industrial complex”, which she describes as “the most powerful army in the world”.

She writes that we are currently witnessing “the launch of a global campaign to usher in a required consensus for the Paris Agreement, the New Green Deal and all climate related policies and legislation written by the power elite – for the power elite”.

The policies this campaign is trying to push through include carbon capture storage (CCS), enhanced oil recovery (EOR), bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), rapid total decarbonisation, payments for ecosystem services (referred to as “natural capital”), nuclear energy and fission, and “a host of other ‘solutions’ that are hostile to an already devastated planet”.

The overall aim is the opposite of the degrowth we so badly need and would involve the “rebooting” of the capitalist economy by creating new markets and new growth.

renewable industry

Morningstar warns: “What is being created is a mechanism to unlock approx. 90 trillion dollars for new investments and infrastructure”.

The first part of her in-depth report focuses on “the manufacturing of Greta Thunberg” and the We Don’t Have Time organisation.

Future sections promise to investigate the role of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, 350.org, Avaaz, the World Wildlife Fund, the Green New Deal and, yes, Extinction Rebellion.

We look forward to reading them.

In the meantime, it is important that all of us who want to head off environmental catastrophe make it quite clear that this is not going to happen so long as we remain trapped inside the capitalist system.

green capitalism2

See also:

Degrowth and the death of capitalism

Envisioning a Post-Western World

End industrialism or humankind dies

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5. Against their world of artifice

luddites3

The artificiality and abstraction of life under contemporary capitalism is dragging us further and further way from a real sense of being alive – in our bodies, in our daily lives, in our environment.

That is the crucial message from anti-capitalist philosopher and writer Renaud Garcia in his latest book, Le Sens des limites: contre l’abstraction capitaliste (Paris: L’Échappée, 2018).

He describes our Western world as “a civilization with money as its universal mediation” in which capitalism “encloses” and privatises all aspects of life.

It cannot tolerate the idea of anyone living outside of its enclosure, hence its need to stamp out the practice of “subsistence” farming, where communities have the cheek to simply produce enough food for their own requirements, rather than for the requirements of the capitalist profit-machine.

It forces people into its system by giving them no choice, he explains: “Declaring war on subsistence means dissolving the autonomous ways of life of thousands of people and thereby enslaving them to commercial needs which they can only fulfil by going out to earn a wage”.

The idea of defending a natural world, which includes human communities’ relationships with the environment, has been neglected by Western anti-capitalism, he says, particularly under the influence of mainstream Marxism.

Uprooted from our previous rural existences, we today often find ourselves living in a sterile and life-denying suburban sprawl, a space created “for the demands of capital”, where people are trapped in a dependence on their cars and thus on the oil industry.

william morris
William Morris

Garcia draws much on William Morris and echoes his critique of the artificiality of industrial capitalism: “In this world of artifice, going beyond the surface to a deeper level, that of the sheer essence of things, is no longer conceivable”.

Garcia dedicates another section of the book to examining, and condemning, transhumanism, which he terms “the official ideology of technological capitalism”.

This ideology “reduces the human brain to a simple processer of information, a mere calculating machine” and is built on the “basic negation of the reality of living organisms”.

Behind it lurks a “brutal dualism” which regards mind and body as completely separate, and thus imagines the possibility of a “posthuman” self with no fleshly existence.

Worryingly, this ultra-capitalist creed is also embraced by some who term themselves left-wing and have swallowed the lie that technological and social progress amount to the same thing.

le-sens-des-limites

You can read the full version of this book review by Paul Cudenec on his blog.

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6. Acorninfo

“The Wet’suwet’en and Unist’ot’en remain steadfast in the determination that we will be successful in halting the toxic Coastal GasLink pipeline”. This was the defiant message issued on January 17 after the Canadian branch of the industrial-capitalist-military complex used shocking force against the indigenous peoples to try and clear the way for its polluting infrastructures, prompting an international wave of solidarity actions.

unistoten_camp_canada

* * *

Hundreds of people marched in Bern, Switzerland, on Saturday January 19 against the World Economic Forum being held at Davos, and against capitalism in general. They declared: “The infinite greed for profit and power that is seen at the Forum in Davos has no limits. Let the ruling class feel our anger”.

bernwef

* * *

Protests are to be held in Berlin on February 16 against the European Police Congress being hosted in the city. Says the call-out: “Let us use the police congress as an opportunity to take to the streets together against the police, the security authorities and their laws. Against state violence and repression. Against a world in which it is okay to let thousands of people drown on the borders of Europe, a world in which people are persecuted, imprisoned and killed because of their aspirations for liberation, a world that wants to destroy all forms of a life based on solidarity and collectivity”.

feb16berlin

* * *

A new book on squatting has been published by Squatting everywhere kollective (SqEK) and is available to read online. ‘Fighting for spaces, Fighting for our lives: Squatting Movements today‘ provides glimpses into a diverse and multi-faceted movement, with accounts from local struggles, experiences of repression and stories of collective forms of life which have grown out of squatted spaces in various cities and countries throughout the world, including accounts from Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, Seattle and Australia.

squatting book2

* * *

“Stop 5G on Earth and in Space!” is the message from a new international appeal. It calls for a halt to the deployment of the 5G (fifth generation) wireless network, including 5G from space satellites, explaining: “5G will massively increase exposure to radio frequency (RF) radiation on top of the 2G, 3G and 4G networks for telecommunications already in place. RF radiation has been proven harmful for humans and the environment. The deployment of 5G constitutes an experiment on humanity and the environment that is defined as a crime under international law”.

stop5g

* * *

In India’s densely populated megacities, residents are rallying against the widespread destruction of trees to make way for capitalist development, reports Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar. She highlights grassroots resistance in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi which are keeping alive the Indian tradition of tree-hugging and passionate defence of nature.

india tree

* * *

Brazil’s new far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has already set out his vile agenda, reducing the minimum wage and unveiling plans to step up privatization, toughen prison sentencing guidelines, and hand control over Indigenous land to the Agriculture Ministry. The pro-US, pro-Israel Bolsonaro could well be the first in a new line of authoritarian neoliberals ready to impose industrial capitalism on the world without worrying too much about the facade of “democracy”.

bolsonaro2

* * *

An eye-opening account of life for workers in China has been provided by Dissent Magazine. Uprooted from the land, peasant-workers have to take jobs in the electronic, garment, construction, or service industries whose low wages force them to work punishing hours of overtime. They live in crowded dormitories, under CCTV surveillance and the constant threat of eviction if they protest. “This is the true ‘miracle’ of Chinese industrialization: a highly vulnerable, precarious, and exploited working class”.

china workers
 

* * *

A very interesting article has been published by our US comrades at It’s Going Down, addressing the thorny issue of alleged ideological similarities between deep-green anarchism and fascists, who often used nature-based rhetoric in their propaganda. The author finds that even the way the two traditions talk about nature reveals the apparent resemblance to be superficial: “The philosophies of the fascists came to largely revolve around concepts of domestication, husbandry, design, and surgical intervention; those of the primitivists revolve around wildness, biodiversity, voluntary association, and self-determination”. ‘Fascism, Ecology, and the Tangled Roots of Anti-Modernism‘ sits nicely alongside our own 2018 article, ‘Organic radicalism: bringing down the fascist machine‘ as a step towards clearing up this area of painful ideological misunderstanding.

green anarchy tree-fist

* * *

Acorn quote: “What is the point of economic progress, a so-called higher standard of living, when the earth, the only earth we have, is being contaminated by substances which may cause malformations in our children or grandchildren?”

E.F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful

 

pollution

(For many more like this, see the Winter Oak quotes for the day blog)

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