In Ireland, freedom campaigners (or “conspiracy theorists” in the language of the corporate media!) set up big LED roadside displays across the country declaring “Covid tests are fraudulent”, and “Take off your masks!”.
There was an impressive performance protest in Austria, with people masked and dressed in full Hazmat suits, like mesmerised zombies, wearing signs saying “our breath kills”.
In the USA, protesters burned face masks as they marched through Manhattan following similar demonstrations in California, upstate New York and Minnesota.
More protests are planned in coming days and weeks, not least the big New Year’s Eve Freedom Protest street party in central London from 9pm on Thursday December 31.
Most of this dissent goes unreported by corporate media, of course, as the system struggles to keep a lid on the rebellion.
As awareness of the Great Reset agenda spreads around the world, the likes of the BBC and Wikipedia are being used to insist that it is all just “conspiracy theory”, despite it having been set out very clearly by Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum.
Authorities are hurriedly drawing up new “online safety legislation” to eliminate what they define as “harmful content” from the web.
We badly need a new vocabulary to describe what is going on in the world today.
Under cover of Covid-19, a long-prepared and widely-orchestrated attempt is being made to enslave humankind in a hi-tech global police state.
But what do we call these people and their odious system?
Everybody seems to use a different term and bickering over which one is most appropriate distracts attention from the essential question of how we can get together and bring them down.
Many of us have been content to use the word “capitalism” to describe the combination of wealth and power behind this clique.
This term now seems increasingly inadequate, partly because not all of those who we would identify as capitalists are complicit in this coup, but mainly because some supporters of the “new normal” seem to be framing it as kind of post-capitalism.
A dictionary definition of capitalism: “An economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, characterized by the freedom of capitalists to operate or manage their property for profit in competitive conditions”.
As far as the first part of that sentence goes, we are entering deeper into capitalism, with private ownership and exploitation of everything and everyone a key aim of the Great Reset.
But the final reference to “competitive conditions” sounds less relevant when we are looking at a total monopoly imposed by global governance.
So what do we call the people behind the Covid Coup, the people laying claim to ownership of our lives, our land and our future, if we don’t call them “capitalists”?
There are some out there who think these dictators are “communists”, because of the strong element of state control involved.
This impression is reinforced by the deliberate use of “redwashing” and “wokewashing”, as well as the usual corporate greenwashing, to disguise the true nature of what is happening and thus sell it to a part of the population.
But are we really talking about what the same dictionary defines as “a classless society in which private ownership has been abolished and the means of production and subsistence belong to the community”?
No. Obviously not. We are not looking at a classless society at all, but a society divided between a tiny elite class of absolute rulers and a vast lower class of exploited serfs.
The means of production and subsistence will not even theoretically belong to us all, even via the intermediary of a state which is supposed to incarnate the interests of the community. They will remain firmly in private hands.
What we are seeing is a lot closer to the fascist model of pretending to be “socialist” in order to use the power and the resources of the state to prop up private industry.
But there are some problems in using the term “fascism”, as many people associate fascism and Nazism primarily with the specifically nationalist and racialist narrative of its original proponents, which does not apply to the new global version.
On the other hand, the rival term “globalist” is problematic because it is too vague about the nature of those it describes. We need to be clear that we are not just talking about people who think in terms of a global situation, or who have an internationalist approach, but about a class of billionaires who already own much of the world and want to stitch up the whole thing.
The term “technocrat” is pretty accurate, when you look at the history of that movement, but is often understood as meaning simply rule by experts, with the implication of some kind of political neturality.
The problem is that we have never been in this situation before, in which a conspiracy of the wealthiest people in the planet is so overtly using the lies and police-state tactics previously associated with authoritarian communist and fascist regimes.
And we have never before been in a situation where this sociopathic ultra-rich elite seems prepared to ditch the vehicle that brought them this far – capitalism – and switch into a dictatorship built on raw power.
We also have the added element of the twisted transhumanist ideology which seems to lurk behind these sinister neworks.
So what name can we agree to give to these powerful enemies of humanity, of freedom, of community, of nature, of friendship, of love, of everything that makes life worth living?
When we raised this question on Twitter recently, we were deluged with good suggestions.
The System Technofeudalism Globofascism The Mechanicus Mordor The covidian cult Techno-despotism Techno-tyranny Authoritarianism Feudal Eugenicists Autocrats The Predator Class Technocratic neo-feudalists Neofeudalism Neofeudalist biofascism Neofeudalist technoscientism, or absolute rule by the financial oligarchy through the tools of biofascism & greenwashing Virus spewing technofascists Self-appointed overlords Corporate Technocratic Fascism Technazis Panfeudalism AntiHumanists World Enslavement Forum Totalitarian managerialism War The Machine The Iron Heel
And what name will we give to ourselves as we come together to defeat them?
Wild Humans? “Los Liberados”? World Freedom Fighters? Or simply The People?
Contemporary society is pure spectacle, “the superficial reign of images” as Guy Debord put it.
“All that once was directly lived has become mere representation,” he said. “What is false creates taste, and reinforces itself by knowingly eliminating any possible reference to the authentic”.
He also wrote of efforts “to turn secret agents into revolutionaries, and revolutionaries into secret agents” and warned of the use of “provocation, infiltration, and various forms of elimination of authentic critique in favour of a false one which will have been created for this purpose”.
But this year has seen even more layers of deception peeled away.
The faux-green scam was brought to a much wider audience by the documentary Planet of the Humans, to the wrath of Bill McKibben of the group 350.org, who came under particular scrutiny.
And the launch of the Covid coup revealed that vast swathes of people who had appeared to be opponents of the system, even anarchists, were in fact staunch defenders of Authority and its Big Businesss sponsors.
It also transpired out that the same financial networks funding Extinction Rebellion have also been doling out money to a wide range of “activist” groups working for the Great Reset aim of ““systemic change”.
Rob Hopkins of the Transition Movement turns out to be heavily compromised by links to powerful corporate networks, adored by climate capitalist Bill McKibben and happy to regurgitate the “storytelling” slogans of the Great Reset.
Hollywood “radical” Sean Penn has been outed by UK investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley as receiving funding from Bill Gates and promoting the Great Reset.
Naomi Klein, erstwhile darling of the anti-capitalist movement, who once warned us about The Shock Doctrine often used to accelerate corporate control, has finally stopped pretending to be on our side.
With people increasingly clued up about the Great Reset, Klein was wheeled out on the once-interesting The Intercept site to declare that any such information was “a viral conspiracy theory” which “blends together legitimate critiques with truly dangerous anti-vaccination fantasies and outright coronavirus denialism”.
Yes, that’s right. She actually used the phrase “coronavirus denialism”!
It increasingly seems that all the “left-wing” and “radical” heroes that we have heard of – via the corporate media! – are not what we thought they were.
They appear instead to be gatekeeping puppets, promoted in order to place limits on our dissent and shunt it into directions that best serve corporate agendas.
One of the few exceptions to this betrayal seemed, until very recently, to be Vandana Shiva, whom we have often mentioned on this site.
She is, after all, a famous opponent of the bio-tech industry and critic of Bill Gates’ empire and even declared in a November 2020 interview: “The Great Reset is about maintaining and empowering a corporate extraction machine and the private ownership of life”.
Surely her heart is in the right place? Well, we would love to think so, but unfortunately the evidence is stacking up that there is something awry here.
Simply retweeting the ubiquitous Bill McKibben would not be a serious matter, on its own.
But we do wonder why Dr Shiva has chosen to sit on a body called the World Future Council (catchprase “Solutions for Our Common Future“).
She is pictured on their website, sitting alongside Anders Wijkman (to her right).
Wijkman is “an opinionmaker and author”, says the World Future Council. He is honorary president of the Club of Rome and has been assistant secretary-general of the United Nations and policy director of the United Nations Development Programme.
“As of March 2017 Anders is chairman of the Governing Board of Climate-KIC – the largest public-private partnership on innovation for low-carbon solutions in the EU”.
We were also alarmed to learn that Dr Shiva had writen a positive review of The Green New Deal by Jeremy Rifkin, a book published in 2019.
The other names lined up in praise of this dubious tome are in themselves cause for concern – there is Paul Polman, former Unilever boss and one of the shadowy Extinction Rebellion business backers, billionaire Richard Branson and Anne Pramaggiore of US nuclear energy giant Exelon.
As for the author himself, Rifkin is an enthusiast for the technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (which he confusingly prefers to term the Third Industrial Revolution!), in other words for AI, robots and “digital infrastructure”.
This video makes it clear that, despite all the usual lip service to the environmental crisis, his real passion is for industrialisation, economic growth and profit.
So why would a genuine environmental and anti-capitalist campaigner want to endorse his work?
Do you remember the Christmases we used to have when we were young, in the good old days, way back in the 2020s?
I used to get so excited about it all when I was a kid.
I remember one year waking up in the night to see a large figure looming in the doorway of my bedroom. I was amazed! I thought it was Father Christmas himself! But it turned out, of course, that it was only the Biosecurity Police checking up that I was socially distancing from my teddy bear.
In the morning we could hardly wait to unplug ourselves from our beds, fight our way out of our plastic anti-viral protection tents and rush to check the contents of our digital stockings.
If you’d done what you were told all year long, there would be all sorts of Citizen Credits in your account, for games, films, chat. Once I’d even earned 40% of the cost of the next year’s People’s Vaccine! I was the happiest kid in town, I can tell you!
After breakfast we liked to go out for a Christmas morning stroll, so out came the treadmills and virtual reality headsets.
My mum used to like v-walking on the beach in Portugal on a spring afternoon, my dad preferred the Alps on a bright winter morning, my brother usually went for the Australian outback at night and I loved to e-stroll through the Scottish highlands on a summer evening.
But I remember my grandad telling me that he always took his v-walk around the back streets of Coulsdon on a grey and drizzly winter day, because that was what December 25 had always meant to him. Sad old duffer!
By the time lunchtime arrived, all the extended family were there. In the chatroom.
We took off our masks, put on our plastic hats and tucked in. Mounds of protein-rich lab-grown meat substitute with genetically-modified fake-veg chunks and lashings of synthetic chemically-enhanced gravy, followed by freshly-printed Christmas pudding strips sprayed with post-custard dessert fluid! De-bloody-licious!
Later we would all be glued to our screens to watch the traditional Christmas Day address from the Global Supreme Ruler himself.
What kind of a world would we be living in today if Santa Klaus had not come down our collective digital chimney with his generous gift of technology-driven inclusive exploitation, ensuring secure and sustainable corporate control for one and all?
The latest in our serious of profiles from the orgrad website.
“In the old days it was forbidden to think freely; today we have gained the right but lost the ability”
Jaime Semprun (1947-2010) was an influential anti-industrialist writer, translator and publisher.
Estranged from the mainstream left because of his rejection of the modern mindset, he warned that we lived in “an era of acceleration and falsification” (1) controlled by a “mercantile tyranny”. (2)
Semprun echoed René Guénon in judging that so-called “progress” had in fact brought about severe cultural decline amounting to “the loss of all quality”. (3)
And he was scathing about those whose semi-radical thinking left the way clear for right-wingers and fascists to recruit those with a deep-seated aversion to the industrial capitalist world.
He warned in 1993: “We mustn’t neglect people’s need to attack existing society, or simply to counter it with a new conception of the world and of the life they could lead in it. We have already seen, with fascism, the high price of allowing our enemies to fulfil this need”. (4)
After being involved in the Situationist International, he was a key figure in the Post-Situationist movement and founded the journal Encyclopédie des Nuisances, which later became a book publisher.
Semprun translated and published writing by Orwell which had not previously been available in French, along with work by Theodore Kaczynski, Jean-Marc Mandosio, René Riesel and Chuang Tzu. (5)
He was also known as a leading opponent of nuclear power in France, publishing the essay La Nucléarisation du monde in 1980.
Semprun regarded industrial capitalist society as fake in both its whole and its parts. Reforming certain aspects of it would make little difference, he argued.
“Today, demanding to eat healthy food, for example, is in itself revolutionary”, he wrote, “because in order for that demand to be met it would be necessary to abolish the totality of the social relationships under capitalism”. (6)
Like John Ruskin, William Morris and Herbert Read, Semprun felt an overwhelming aesthetic distaste for the modern industrial world, arguing that its character was made quite clear by its sheer physical ugliness. (7)
He called out those who adopted pseudo-radical postures while actually defending the assumptions of this foul system. His 1976 pamphlet Précis de récuperation targeted postmodernists like Michel Foucault, Jean-François Lyotard and Gilles Deleuze on this account, but Semprun identified the problem as polluting much of the so-called left.
The root problem was the general acceptance of the notion of “progress” as a means of interpreting history.
For Semprun, explains Patrick Marcolini, this notion was merely “a product of the bourgeois industrial age”. (8) For him, contemporary technology and science carried no promise of liberation – “on the contrary they form part of the structures of domination which have to be brought down”. (9)
The bourgeois-industrial concept of progress was accepted uncritically among supposed dissidents because of a state of mind that was itself a by-product of the general lowering of quality in industrial times, said Semprun.
He condemned “amnesia, identification with modernity and the hatred of critical thinking”, (10) commenting: “In the old days it was forbidden to think freely; today we have gained the right but lost the ability”. (11)
In Dialogues sur l’achèvement des temps modernes he has his character Ziffel declare: “What we are most missing today is individuals. Marxism told us that man is only the product of the social conditions in which he lives and that his individual conscience is a mere illusion, his freedom a sleight-of-hand and so on. And voilà, just through writing such horrible stuff, it ends up coming true”. (12)
Semprun shared Orwell’s distaste for conformist groupthink, and condemned modern followers of so-called democracy with their “remote-controlled indignation, their way of expressing all together and to order their hatred of those denounced to them as totalitarians, fanatics, or as racists, terrorists, in short as lunatics putting progress itself in danger”. (13)
The left-wing identification with modernity had lent a strange meaninglessness to terms such as “reactionary”, used to attack anyone who opposed the contemporary industrial capitalist machine.
“Everyone is so caught up in what they call progress that you could go as far as to say that if there were today any consistent reactionaries, they would certainly be mistaken for revolutionaries”, (14) wrote Semprun, but not without stressing that “criticism of the modern world is something too important to be left to reactionaries and nostalgists”. (15)
In common with other organic radicals and the anti-capitalist romantics identified by Michael Löwy, Semprun saw nothing wrong with looking to the past for inspiration as to how we might imagine another, non-capitalist, world, referring in a posthumously-published essay to “a past which was still filled with a future that we can imagine could have been, which could still be”. (16)
He was one of the first to expose the emptiness of the now-dominant strand of “environmentalism” which remains firmly embedded within the modern mindset and seeks “solutions” to environmental crisis in the development and production of yet more industrial technology.
He warned, with Riesel, that “precisely the same intellectual and material means used to build this world threatened with ruin, this teetering edifice, are now being deployed to diagnose the problem and recommend a remedy” (17) – which did not augur well for a successful outcome.
Semprun died in 2010, before “climate capitalism” raised the art of greenwashing to new levels of duplicity, but had astutely predicted that “the illusion-merchants have happy days ahead of them. During the disaster, the selling goes on”. (18)
As a genuine revolutionary, he of course completely discounted any possibility of ever creating a better world by reforming or adapting the very industrial capitalism which got us into this mess in the first place.
In Dialogues, the two characters discuss the difficulties in fighting a dominant system whose processes of production, distribution and domination, whose economic and social relationships and whose ideologies are so tightly and inextricably intertwined. Remarks Kalle: “You know full well how to deal with Gordian knots”. (19)
For those not familiar with the legends surrounding Alexander the Great, he is said to have sliced the knot in two with one powerful stroke of his mighty sword.
1. Jaime Semprun, Dialogues sur l’achèvement des temps modernes (Paris: Éditions de l’Encyclopédie, 1993), p. 44.
2. Jaime Semprun, L’Abîme se repeuple (Paris: Éditions de l’Encyclopédie des Nuisances, 1997), p. 54.
3. Semprun, Dialogues, p. 46.
4. Semprun, Dialogues, p. 86.
6. Semprun, Dialogues, pp. 122-23.
7. Jaime Semprun et René Riesel, Catastrophisme, administration du désastre et soumission durable (Paris: Éditions de l’Encyclopédie, 2008), IX.
8. Patrick Marcolini, ‘Jaime Semprun’, Aux origines de la décroissance, co-ordonné par Cédric Bagini, David Murray, Pierre Thiesset (Paris: L’Échappée, 2017), p 279.
9. Marcolini, Aux origines de la décroissance, p. 278.
10. Semprun, L’Abîme se repeuple, p. 29.
11. Semprun, Dialogues, p. 133.
12. Semprun, Dialogues, p. 31.
13. Semprun, L’Abîme se repeuple, p. 14.
14. Semprun, Dialogues, p. 34.
15. Semprun, Dialogues, p 37.
16. Jaime Semprun, Andromaque, je pense à vous, suivi de fragments retrouvés (Paris: Éditions de l’Encyclopédie des Nuisances, 2011), p. 18.
17. Semprun et Riesel, Catastrophisme, administration du désastre et soumission durable, X.
18. Semprun, Dialogues, p. 59.
19. Semprun, Dialogues, p. 93.
The Great Reset (aka Build Back Better, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, the New Normal or the New Deal for Nature) is an attempted global capitalist coup on a scale never before imagined. The more that people are aware of what this vile billionaire elite are really up to, the less chance they have of getting away with it, so we have set up a Great Reset page, an ever-expanding collection of resources to help spread awareness and, therefore, resistance!
* * *
A timely bundle of in-depth reports and analysis on the anti-lockdown revolts spreading across Europe has been published by Crimethinc. In particular, it demolishes the divisive claim that the protests are “right-wing” and should therefore be snubbed by anarchists and the left, noting: “Like the Gilets Jaunes movement in France, most of the protests across southern Europe involve a contradictory mix of people”.
* * *
“They’re looking at an operating system for the world. It’s essentially as if the world were remade by the CIA to profit hedge funds. How does capital circulate if nobody is making any money and everyone’s in debt? You create a new game where the poor can be gambled on as investment commodities”. Crucial insights into the Great Reset agenda from Alison McDowell in this video talk.
* * *
“The truth is that your life and how you live it is over, unless you do something about it – now!”. In this important short video, the Books of Ours team warn about the merger of state and business to create 21st century global fascist feudalism.
* * *
“Can you see what’s happening? Anywhere people can meet up to be sociable and entertained is under threat. As things currently stand it feels like there will be no end to this. We face a more atomised, lonely and fearful future. One where an increasing amount of our interactions will be digital rather than face to face. A depressing future where many of us will be merely existing rather than truly living”. A powerful warning from South Essex Radical Media.
* * *
Make no mistake, for all the greenwashing around the 5G-enabled Fourth Industrial Revolution, it spells further disaster for the natural world, as a new report into 5G from the US state of New Hampshire concluded. Meanwhile, Plymouth Sound, a stretch of sea off southern England, is to be home to “the world’s first 5G ocean-based marine testbed”, according to reports. This “will enable ultrafast download speeds and low-latency 5G connectivity to support the development of new marine technology”. Did anyone consult the fish?
* * *
Did you know that there is an international campaign focused on stopping the so-called New Deal For Nature, the corporate coup of the commons under the guise of protecting and restoring nature? Check out the No Deal for Nature site here and its informative Twitter account here.
“A massive new social struggle is about to begin, in which the vast majority of humankind will resist the techno-slavery being imposed on it by the fascist 1% elite”.
We sent out this urgent message on October 14 and reality has not been slow to catch up, as the slumbering masses everywhere awake.
The new front line is Italy, where thousands upon thousands have been taking to the streets in anger at the new curfew and draconian rules being imposed under cover of fighting “the virus”.
“Libertà, libertà, libertà!” they have been shouting across the peninsula, from Lombardy down to Sicily. “Freedom, freedom, freedom!”
Molotov cocktails have been thrown at the cops who ruthlessly enforce the despised clamp-down, with burning barricades blocking streets choked with tear gas.
Media report that “luxury goods shops, including a Gucci fashion shop, were ransacked in the centre of Turin as crowds of youths took to the streets after nightfall, letting off firecrackers and lighting coloured flares”.
The Italian insurrection seems to have begun in Naples, the famously feisty city in the south of the country.
Angry crowds defied the new curfew to march through the city streets on Friday night, October 23, “attacking police vehicles, forcing the officers to leave the scene”.
In Berlin, thousands of demonstrators gathered at Alexanderplatz on Sunday October 26 to protest against the German capital’s “coronavirus” restrictions.
Some 600 cops were sent in to quash this latest sign of mass dissent, with police complaining that “neither minimum distance nor the obligation to cover one’s mouth and nose was observed”.
People shouted: “We are here and we are loud because we are being robbed of our freedom” and “we are the people!”
On the same day, bottles and petrol bombs were thrown at the front of a Berlin building belonging to the Robert Koch Institute, the government agency at the forefront of spreading Covid fear-propaganda in Germany.
One activist said police were out in force because “they smell revolution in Ireland,” adding “they are waiting for the country to rise, basically. They’re waiting for the country to rise up”.
Across the Atlantic, there was a big anti-lockdown protest in Toronto, Canada, and in New York, USA, members of the Orthodox Jewish community have been burning masks in the streets in protests against new restrictions.
Australia has been the victim of one of the most draconian lockdowns in the world and huge protests against the new global tyranny have been held in both Brisbane and Melbourne.
Meanwhile, the UK has seen plenty more pro-freedom demos since the one on Saturday September 26 which we featured in our special photo report We Are the 99%.
In case anyone is in any doubt as to what is at stake here, it was set out with admirable clarity by the economist and author Ernst Wolff at a protest in Stuttgart earlier this year.
He said: “Never before in the history of mankind have so few people owned so much as today. Since we live in a society ruled by money; this means that never before have so few people held as much power as today.
“And that power has played a historic role in the past few months, because never before has power been abused to such a large extent as during the corona pandemic”.
Our task, he said, is to break free from the control and exploitation of the 1% and find our way to “a future that looks different from the digital financial prison in which the current rulers want to lead us!”
@js100js100 has also put it very succinctly on Twitter: “Covid is being used to create a global economic crash to distribute wealth and resources upwards, and turn people into serfs under authoritarian control in a biosecurity state”.
This is, as James Corbett warns in a video on the Great Reset, about nothing less than the future of humankind.
A deep fog of ideological confusion surrounds the global Covid-1984 coup and the new order which it is trying to force on humankind via its Great Reset.
Not only do those going along with it often seem to have no idea as to what they are endorsing, but those standing up to the dictatorship are also sometimes in the dark as to what it actually represents!
This is hardly surprising, as the system’s deliberate dumbing-down of people’s minds does not stop short with its “news” and “current affairs” propaganda, but extends to the historical dimension, where it want to make sure that people have no bearings at all.
In the famous words of George Orwell’s fictional dictatorship: “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past”.
In truth, as explained at great length here, here and here, the newnormalist Schwabism of the Great Reset is nothing but a mutation of fascism, the dehumanising totalitarian creed of which the world supposedly rid itself some 80 years ago.
But this is difficult for some people to accept, because of the way in which “fascist” has been, and still is, bandied about as general insult to close down debate.
Furthermore, if you regard fascism as only applying to the national level of centralisation, as it did in the 1930s, then you will conclude that global fascism cannot be actual fascism simply because it is global.
But Schwabism takes fascism on to the global level. This 21st century Fourth Reich wants to control the whole world.
It is also crucial to understand that this new global fascism, like its historical predecessors, is entirely capitalist. Not free-market capitalist perhaps, but capitalist nevertheless.
Its whole raison d’être is the protection of the wealthy ruling elite from popular challenges and the increase of its power by means of new mechanisms of control and exploitation.
But here, too, the relentless mind-scrambling propaganda of the system has done its work. Capitalism is seen by some as being principally about “freedom”, so anything threatening freedom must come from what we have been taught is the “opposite” of capitalism.
The reality that the WEF is an international capitalist organisation engineering a Great Reset for the profit of the world’s richest billionaires does not deter some of its confused opponents from insisting that it is “communist”!
The fascist project of a merger between state and corporate power, in the interests of the latter, is, in fact, widely misunderstood by people of various political backgrounds.
Some right-wingers think that the problem with fascism was that it was basically “left-wing”, without understanding that fascism bails out big businesses under the mere pretext of acting for the general good, whether this is framed as “national” or “global”.
Some left-wingers, while obviously not endorsing historical fascism, find themselves cheering on its 21st century counterpart because they have fallen for its sleight of hand and (apparently, incredibly!) really imagine that great global capitalist institutions such as the WEF, the IMF and the World Bank have seen the light and converted to some new kind of socialism.
Too many of those who are proud to identify themselves as “antifascists”, are nowhere to be seen when a real struggle against real fascism is at hand.
By openly supporting the new world dictatorship and condemning those who challenge it as “far right” or “fascist”, these deluded leftists of course further reinforce the impression in other people’s minds that there is something “left-wing” about the new tyranny…
This absurd knot of misunderstanding and underinformed name-calling leaves those engineering the coup sitting pretty. We are unable to even name them properly, let alone resist them!
We urgently need to strip away all the confusion caused by this labelling and counter-labelling and see the truth for what it is.
The events of 2020 have made it quite plain that the old “left” versus “right” division is no longer fit for purpose.
What we are looking at is an ultra-rich, extremely powerful technocratic mafia which is trying to enslave humankind for its own profit.
It’s really very simple, once you cut out the noise from their distorting propaganda.
It is the people against the ruling elite, it is the 99.99% against the 0.01%, it is us against them!
Our international revolt against the would-be slavemasters will come neither from left nor from right, but from below!
Translation of Communiqué #80 – September 2020 from GARAP in France
To all those who are not paralyzed by fear but rather motivated,
To all those who have kept the memory, know the history, seek the truth,
To all those who are not exhausted, jaded, who are resourceful,
To all those who want to fight oppression, who want to live free and equal,
We address this appeal:
We do not believe the official lies – mapped out by the rogue “Scientific Council” – that present the Covid-19 as a pandemic so serious that it requires villainous measures installing a real dictatorship in France and elsewhere. The sole function of the propaganda bombing we are daily subjected to is to neutralize our revolt in the face of a merciless social war.
The sanitary pretext allows them to carry out a policy of general enslavement never seen in this part of the world since the Nazi occupation. This coercive and repressive mechanism comes alongside a provoked economic collapse because the crisis of capitalism had entered in 2019 into a dangerous dead end, the absence of global growth being combined with the outbreak of insurrections on all continents.
The goal of the Macronist State, in agreement with the governing bodies of the world’s major powers, is to try to give capitalism a few more years of survival. A good expression of this view is seen in Prime Minister Jean Castex’s speech at the MEDEF Summer University. It is about restructuring the economic system on the back of the workers, by forcing down wages, liquidating social and democratic rights, throwing millions of us into unemployment and misery.
This reformatting of society, which has no visible timeline, relies on the destruction of what constitutes the human bond in favour of an ultimate mercantile colonization of all spaces and activities. Every attitude, place, and moment that still escapes capitalist valorization must be erased or converted to the barbaric course of profitability. Capitalism wages war on what constitutes our humanity.
In these conditions of generalized lies, of sanitary dictatorship, of violent crisis of capitalism, the memory of our predecessors who were actively resisting oppression is revived. It summons us to rise up and strike at the tyranny of an unbearable world from which only the capitalist scoundrels take profit.
Resistance begins with individual action, the refusal to submit to discipline, the desire to show solidarity, to regroup. It continues with organizing the exploited, the oppressed, outside the bodies responsible for taming their forces, i.e. political parties, unions and other NGOs. It is carried out through counter-information, sabotage, strikes, demonstrations and insurrection.
Circulate this appeal and take action. If you don’t do it for yourself, at least think of future generations.
Most are happy to say they belong to a ‘nation’ or ‘country’ and feel a strong sense of pride in their connection to its land and shared ancestry. We think the times when monarchs and lords made claims on everything and everyone living on the land have long since gone and that these ‘nobles’ now ‘serve’ us and there are laws and safeguards to stop this kind of wicked exploitation happening again.
What if on the surface it only looks like this but, in reality, these old ruling elites have found more covert ways to exploit us, keeping us in a similar state to how we were back in the dark and middle ages only with a veneer of modern state crafted respectability?
Are modern day ‘nations’ no more than ‘mega brands’ that can be owned and managed for personal gain? Does state propaganda, and a corrupted mainstream media convince us that we have more freedoms than we in fact do, and that by voting once every 5 years, we have a say in who governs us when really we don’t?
You only have to look at current leaders like Boris Johnson and Donald Trump to wonder how they got to these important positions on which so many lives depend. Do these wily old families continue to benefit unfairly from the most constant and lucrative revenue stream available to a people? That is, its collective creative energy; namely the taxes we all pay on everything we earn, spend and own… For which we receive very little in return.
Where does all this money go? How is our country still in debt after all this time, and the hard work we all put in? To give recent and obvious examples of everyday corruption, we know that £12 billion has just been spent on a phone app and £103 million was spent on a ferry company with zero ferries and so on… This list is in fact endless! Is something still ‘Rotten in the State of Denmark?’ as Shakespeare said? It appears it most definitely is.
If it is the case, it means countries are more like fiefdoms and our common status that of chattels rather than a modern citizenry. In other words, 21st century slaveism.
Perhaps it’s time to ask ourselves some pertinent questions. Are we falling for a very clever marketing con trick that makes us feel free and empowered when the reality is that a few power-obsessed and stupidly rich groups are still running everything behind the scenes, while life for the rest remains a constant struggle on an increasingly damaged Earth? How far have we come as a society when the weak are still made to carry the strong? You have to ask – and keep asking.
“England is a prison; the subtleties in the Laws are the bolts, bars and doors of the prison; the Lawyers are the Jailers; and Poor Men are the prisoners”. Gerrard Winstanley. (19 October 1609 – 10 September 1676)
The latest in our serious of profiles from the orgrad website.
“Human Thought is crush’d beneath the iron hand of Power”
The poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827) is today held in high esteem in his native land.
His art is regarded as among the greatest of the period, his poems such as ‘The Tyger‘ are widely appreciated and the song ‘Jerusalem‘, which uses his words, has become a kind of unofficial English national anthem.
But in his lifetime Blake was an entirely marginal figure, a social, artistic and intellectual misfit who died in poverty and obscurity.
Indeed, he was an outright enemy of the dominant culture and until the end of his days did not “cease from mental fight”, nor did his metaphorical sword sleep in his hand, (1) as he challenged its deepest assumptions.
Blake was very much an opponent of the Industrial Revolution, which already had a firm grip on the England into which he was born.
This “poet of the soul”, as Max Plowman describes him, (2) was of course appalled by the “dark Satanic Mills” (3) which blighted “England’s green & pleasant land”. (4)
In the new cities, he saw:
turrets & towers & domes Whose smoke destroy’d the pleasant gardens, & whose running kennels Chok’d the bright rivers.
But his disgust extended beyond the merely physical into the whole way of thinking which underlay industrialism and which had made possible its emergence and its expansion.
Theodore Roszak judges that “Blake was among the first to link scientific sensibility to the killing pressure of the new industrial technology upon the landscape”. (6)
And Kathleen Raine writes: “For Blake, outward events and circumstances were the expressions of states of minds… Man has made his machines in the image of his ideology”. (7)
Blake used the term “single vision” to describe the mechanistic worldview – the “enemy of life” in Raine’s words (8) – which had been pieced together from the bone-dry philosophies of Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton and John Locke.
He saw this narrowing of the intellect as amounting to a spiritual enslavement of the people of Albion, an old name for England, making them fit for nothing more than lives of docile wage-slavery in the capitalist factories that were taking over the land.
This is beautifully expressed in his long poem ‘Jerusalem’:
… O Divine Spirit, sustain me on they wings! That I may awake Albion from his long & cold repose; For Bacon & Newton, sheath’d in dismal steel, their terrors hang Like iron scourges over Albion. Reasoning like vast Serpents Infold around my limbs, bruising my minute articulations. I turn my eyes to the Schools & Universities of Europe And there behold the Loom of Locke, whose Woof rages dire, Wash’d by the Water-wheels of Newton; black the cloth In heavy wreathes folds over every Nation; cruel Works Of many Wheels I view, wheel without wheel, with cogs tyrannic
For Blake, all the social evils that he saw around him were merely aspects of one vast problem, a civilization in which “Human Thought is crush’d beneath the iron hand of Power”. (10)
E.P. Thompson, in his fascinating study of Blake’s philosophy, examines the political meaning of the poem ‘London’:
I wander thro’ each charter’d street, Near where the charter’d Thames does flow. And mark in every face I meet Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
“Charter’d” clearly refers to commerce, says Thompson, and is perhaps a reference to the East India Company which was becoming increasingly powerful in the British capital city at that time. The mark seen in “every face”, he adds, “is the mark of the Beast, a mark explicitly associated with commercialism”. (12)
But the poem continues:
In every cry of every Man, In every Infant’s cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forg’d manacles I hear
These mind-forg’d manacles are the single vision imposed by Blake’s “tyrant-demon Urizen”, (14) the narrow materialistic mindset at the root of all the misery and poverty.
Undaunted by the enormity of the problem facing him and his beloved Albion, Blake leapt up on to his philosophical chariot of fire to embark on what Raine calls a “prophetic mission” (15) to “pull down a civilization”. (16)
To do so, he created a powerful alternative vision drawn from sources far removed from the arid calculating spirit of the Enlightenment and the commercial world it had spawned.
Blake’s worldview was holistic, emphasising the sacredness and interconnectedness of all life. “Every thing that lives, Lives not alone, nor for itself”, he wrote. (17) And: “Every thing that lives is Holy” (18).
This outlook shines through in his illustrations, which are full of tendrils, roots, skies, clouds and insects, and also in poems such as ‘Auguries of Innocence’.
To see a World in a Grain of Sand, And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour
In ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’, he describes the “Energy” which he feels behind all the various manifestations of glorious living.
1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that call’d Body is a portion of Soul discern’d by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age. 2. Energy is the only life, and is from the Body; and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy. 3. Energy is Eternal Delight.
Peter Marshall regards Blake’s metaphysics as “a kind of pantheistic idealism” (21) and also as dialectical in nature in that “he saw reality as a constant process of flux and believed that change occurs only through the dynamic interplay of opposing forces”. (22)
In all respects, Blake’s ideas were very much out of place in the society in which he lived and worked.
Like his compatriots John Ruskin and William Morris, those Victorian enemies of the modern commercial system, Blake was inspired by medieval civilisation, as reflected in his “lifelong love of Gothic art”. (23)
He wrote: “Grecian is Mathematical Form: Gothic is living form, Mathematic Form is external in the Reasoning Memory: Living Form is Eternal Existence”. (24)
Blake’s politics were defiantly radical. He was very much inspired by the American and French revolutions and instinctively opposed to authority, as witnessed by his famous ejection of a soldier from the grounds of his cottage while he was living in Felpham, West Sussex, during which he is alleged to have cursed the king.
He was also deeply offended by the blatant inequality he saw around him in London, as the poem ‘Holy Thursday’ illustrates.
Is this a holy thing to see In a rich and fruitful land, Babes reduc’d to misery, Fed with cold and usurous hand?
Furthermore, Marshall regards Blake’s awareness of his radical politics as being behind the somewhat obscure direction his work increasingly took.
He writes: “Blake witnessed the government repression of radicals, the censorship of the ‘Gagging Acts’, and the anger of the Church and King mobs who were ready to ransack libraries and throw the disaffected artist or poet in the mud. Blake was obliged to clothe his radical message with allegorical garments”. (26)
However, Blake’s radicalism was built on very different foundations to that of contemporaries such as Thomas Paine or William Godwin, as he himself well realised.
Thompson writes: “Blake had always been decisively alienated from the mechanical materialist epistemology and psychology which he saw as derived from Newton and Locke. And he did not for a moment shed his suspicion of radicalism’s indebtedness to this materialism”. (27)
In addition, unlike other contemporary radicals, Blake believed in innate qualities. In criticising the thinking of the artist Joshua Reynolds, Blake insisted: “Innate Ideas are in Every Man, Born with him; they are truly Himself”. (28)
“The Man who says that the Genius is not Born, but Taught – Is a Knave” (29) he insisted. “Man is Born Like a Garden ready Planted & Sown” (30)
One illustration, “What is Man!”, the frontispiece to The Gates of Paradise (1793) depicts a human baby as a caterpillar in the chrysalis of metamorphosis which will allow it to take wing and fulfil its innate potential.
Raine describes how, in Tiriel, Blake “denounced the current view of childhood – deriving in great measure from Locke, that early forerunner of behaviourism and brain-washing – as a passive state to be ‘formed’ by ‘instruction’. The poem describes with scathing indignation the consequences of ‘forming’ a child according to the laws of mechanistic rationalism, imposed all from outside and regardless of the mysterious formative laws of life itself”. (31)
Some of Blake’s aphorisms on this theme are very similar to those deployed by Chuang Tzu, the Taoist metaphysician.
“No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings”, (32) wrote Blake. “The apple tree never asks the beech how he shall grow, nor the lion the horse, how he shall take his prey”. (33)
Blake brushed aside other radicals’ fears that the notion of innate ideas could be used by conservatives to justify “innate” social inequality. He stressed that for all our differences every single one of us has a divine potential as part of Universal Humanity.
He also differed from many other modern radicals in his interest in archetypes and ideal forms.
“There Exist in that Eternal World the Permanent Realities of Every Thing which we see reflected in this Vegetable Glass of Nature”, wrote Blake in ‘The Last Judgement’. (34)
He anticipated the work of Carl Jung with his belief in a collective archetypal realm full of “ever Existent images” (35) behind the particularities of the physical world,
Responding to those who criticised the way he represented these abstract forces in bodily form, he commented that they “would do well to consider that the Venus, the Minerva, the Jupiter, the Apollo, which they admire in Greek statues are all of them representatives of spiritual existences, of Gods immortal, to the mortal perishing organ of sight; and yet they are embodied and organized in solid marble”. (36).
There has been much scholarly debate concerning the sources for Blake’s passionately-expressed personal philosophy.
Raine rightly points out that the concept of “ideal form” is very much part of “Neoplatonic – and specifically Plotinian – aesthetics”. (37)
She traces Blake’s thinking not just to Plato and Plotinus, but also to the Hermetica, to Paracelsus and Robert Fludd, to Jacob Boehme and Emanuel Swedenborg (38) and stresses “Blake’s knowledge of Christian Cabbala, Neoplatonism, and the mystical theology of the Western Esoteric tradition as a whole”. (39)
Marshall puts more emphasis on a radical heritage, seeing Blake as “looking back to the gnostic heresies of the Middle Ages and anticipating modern anarchism and social ecology”. (40)
He describes “an underground heretical tradition” which “finds its roots in the mystical anarchists of the millenarian sect of the Middle Ages; especially the Brethren of the Free Spirit”, then “re-emerged in the extreme Left among Anabaptists, Ranters and Diggers of the English Revolution” and lived on still in the London of Blake’s youth. (41)
This is also the conclusion reached by Thompson, whose detailed research suggests that Blake was not quite as isolated in his thinking as it may appear to us today.
His references and images belong very strongly to the dissenting antinomian tradition of Protestantism, which spurned the worldly power of authority and the law in favour of the inner light in every human being.
This tradition, forced to hide from repression since the heady days of the “quasi-pantheist” radicalism (42) which flourished during the 17th century English Revolution (see Gerrard Winstanley), had been notably kept alive by the Muggletonians.
Thompson says antinomianism’s “Londonish rhetoric” (43) was “consciously anti-hegemonic”, (44) which is to say that opposition to the ruling culture was absolutely central to its worldview.
The antinomianism given voice by Blake existed outside “polite” society with its universities, courts of law, sciences and classical learning and often expressed itself in tones of “class war”, (45) encouraging “a stubborn lack of deference, both social and intellectual”. (46)
Writes Thompson: “Everything in the age of ‘reason’ and ‘elegance’ served to emphasise the sharp distinctions between a polite and a demotic culture. Dress, style, gesture, proprieties of speech, grammar and even punctuation were resonant with the signs of class; the polite culture was an elaborated code of social inclusion and exclusion.
“Classical learning and an accomplishment in the law stood like difficult gates-of-entry into this culture… These accomplishments both legitimated and masked the actualities of brute property and power, interest and patronage”. (47)
Blake presented this conflict in a particular way which is not always easy to understand for a modern reader. His “Spectre” of tyranny, ego, empire, false reason and the Church was contrasted with the “Emanation” of creativity, imagination, forgiveness and inner divinity as personified by Jesus Christ.
But behind the biblical language he and the antinomian tradition as a whole were essentially challenging the power of wealth, the state and its official religious structures in the name of an egalitarian universalism.
Thompson says that when Blake or others declaimed against “Reason”, we might today interpret this as “Ideology” or as the compulsive constraints of the ruling “discourse”.
He adds: “Antinomian doctrine was expressive of a profound distrust of the ‘reasons’ of the genteel and comfortable, and of ecclesiastical and academic institutions, not so much because they produced false knowledges but because they offered specious apologetics (‘serpent reasonings’) for a rotten social order based, in the last resort, on violence and material self-interest”. (48)
In the place of this corrupted England they offered “the Everlasting Gospel”, a new Golden Age in which people would find spiritual freedom and be “liberated from the bondage of Morality and Legality”. (49)
Marshall explains that Blake, like other antinomian radicals, wanted to restore humanity to what he saw as its original state: “He assumed like them that in the Garden of Eden man and woman lived in a state of innocence and wholeness, without private property, class distinctions and human authority”. (50)
It was this “revolutionary anarchist” (51) vision of a possible future which Blake named ‘Jerusalem’ and which he longed to see built “in England’s green & pleasant land”. (52)
1. William Blake, ‘Milton: A Poem’, Blake’s Poems and Prophecies (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1954), p. 110.
2. Max Plowman, ‘Introduction’, Blake’s Poems and Prophecies, p. xi.
3. Blake, ‘Milton’, Blake’s Poems and Prophecies, p. 110.
5. William Blake, Complete Writings, ed by Geoffrey Keynes, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972), p. 361, cit. Peter Marshall, William Blake: Visionary Anarchist (London: Freedom Press, 2008), p. 39.
6. Theodore Roszak, The Voice of the Earth: An Exploration of Ecopsychology (New York: Touchstone, 1993), p. 42.
7. Kathleen Raine, William Blake (London: Thames & Hudson, 1977), pp. 73-74.
8. Raine, p. 50.
9. William Blake, ‘Jerusalem’, Blake’s Poems and Prophecies, p. 177.
10. Blake, ‘Milton’, Blake’s Poems and Prophecies, p. 137.
11. William Blake, ‘London’, Blake’s Poems and Prophecies, p 31.
12. E.P. Thompson, Witness Against the Beast: William Blake and the Moral Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 182.
13. Blake, ‘London’, Blake’s Poems and Prophecies, p 31.
14. Raine, p. 76.
15. Raine, p. 111.
16. Raine, p. 171.
17. William Blake, ‘The Book of Thel’, Blake’s Poems and Prophecies, p. 40.
18. William Blake, ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’, Blake’s Poems and Prophecies, p. 55.
19. William Blake, ‘Auguries of Innocence’, Blake’s Poems and Prophecies, p. 333.
20. Blake, ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’, Blake’s Poems and Prophecies, p. 43.
21. Marshall, p. 24.
22. Marshall, p. 23.
23. Raine, p. 17.
24. William Blake, cit. Raine, p. 17.
25. William Blake, ‘Holy Thursday’, Blake’s Poems and Prophecies, p. 23.
26. Marshall, pp. 16-17.
27. Thompson, p. 193.
28. Blake, Complete Works, p, 459, cit. Marshall p. 30.
29. Blake, Complete Works, p. 470, cit. Marshall, p. 30.
30. Blake, Complete Works, p. 471, cit. Marshall, p. 30.
31. Raine, p. 47.
32. Blake, ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’, Blake’s Poems and Prophecies, p. 45.
33. Blake, ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’, Blake’s Poems and Prophecies, p. 46.
34. William Blake, ‘The Last Judgment’, Blake’s Poems and Prophecies, p. 358.
35. William Blake, cit. Raine, p. 7.
36. William Blake, cit. Raine, p. 9.
37. Raine, p. 114.
38. Raine, p. 51.
39. Raine, p. 186.
40. Marshall, p. 13.
41. Marshall, p. 22.
42. Thompson, p. 26.
43. Thompson, p. 8.
44. Thompson, p. 109.
45. Thompson, p. xxii.
46. Thompson, p. 112.
47. Thompson, p. 110.
48. Thompson, p. 109.
49. Thompson, p. 6.
50. Marshall, p. 38.
51. Marshall, p. 13.
52. Blake, ‘Milton’, Blake’s Poems and Prophecies, p. 110.
“Before we walk through the door of digital identity, realize it opens onto a maze designed to disorient, confuse, and control us”. So warns Alison McDowell in a recent analysis of blockchain techno-slavery on her excellent Wrench in the Gears website. She can also be seen on this video showing up Naomi Klein as the apologist for the capitalist system that she unfortunately turned out to be.
* * *
Shocking facts about the new worldwide pollution threat caused by disposable masks are revealed by investigative journalist Cory Morningstar in an important new article. She writes: “Six months of face masks alone equates to seven hundred seventy-four billion while 12 months of consumption equates to stunning one trillion five hundred forty-eight billion face masks. What happened to all those who cared about our environmental crises? That of climate change, biodiversity and ocean pollution?” A new video interview with Cory can be seen here.
* * *
An insightful article on stopping Bill Gates’ insidious global agenda and defending humanity against the greed machine comes from Indian campaigner Vandana Shiva. She writes: “The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown have revealed even more clearly how we are being reduced to objects to be controlled, with our bodies and minds as the new colonies to be invaded”.
* * *
“The people are under attack by their own State. All the necessary components of a fascist technocracy are rapidly being assembled”. A great piece on the In This Together blog.
* * *
An open letter has been published by Belgian doctors and healthcare workers calling for an end to all ‘Covid’ measures and the immediate restoration of “our normal democratic governance and legal structures and of all our civil liberties”.
* * *
Veteran journalist John Pilger has condemned in the strongest terms the UK/US legal persecution of Wikileaks’ Julian Assange. He writes: “I have sat in many courts and seldom known such a corruption of due process; this is due revenge. Putting aside the ritual associated with ‘British justice’, at times it has been evocative of a Stalinist show trial”.
* * *
“To deprive a child’s or an adolescent’s brain from oxygen, or to restrict it in any way, is not only dangerous to their health, it is absolutely criminal. Oxygen deficiency inhibits the development of the brain, and the damage that has taken place as a result CANNOT be reversed”, says Dr Margarite Griesz-Brisson MD, PhD, a Consultant Neurologist and Neurophysiologist with a PhD in Pharmacology, with special interest in neurotoxicology, environmental medicine, neuroregeneration and neuroplasticity.
* * *
The Corona fraud scandal is “probably the greatest crime against humanity ever committed” says German lawyer Dr Reiner Fuellmich in this video. “Democracy is in great danger of being replaced by fascist totalitarian models”. Meanwhile an unofficial translation of the German Corona Inquiry’s short report (part 1) can be downloaded in pdf from here.
* * *
“A new government document lists anti-capitalist views alongside racism and the desire to overthrow democracy as ‘an extreme political stance'”, reports Sky News in the UK. Overthrow democracy? What democracy? It is the idea of restoring democracy, real democracy, that frightens those in power. Talking of which, the Million Mask March protest will be held in Trafalgar Square, London, on November 5 from 6pm. Remember, remember…
We are delighted to report that so many protests are breaking out, that we can hardly keep up any more, but here are a few highlights…
Huge crowds protested two weeks ago in Croatia against the Covid-based dictatorship.
Banners included: “Take off the mask, turn off the TV, live life to the fullest”, “Covid is a lie, we’re not all covidiots” and “Better the grave than to be a slave”.
On September 12 a crowd of at least 1,000 gathered outside the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, demanding the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.
Said one media report: “Protesters booed the World Health Organization (WHO), which has its headquarters in Geneva, and criticised the global health body for its efforts to find a Covid-19 vaccine. Some accused the WHO of being controlled by outside interests”.
Parents and schoolchildren in Utah, USA, have been making headlines for protesting against compulsory masks.
“Freedom is essential, rights are essential!” was the message at a massive anti-lockdown Freedom Rally in Vancouver, Canada, on September 13.
On September 14 a crowd of anti-mask protesters walked through a supermarket in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, shouting “take your masks off!” and “we’re not going to take it any more!”.
In the UK, there are signs that the government’s new “rule of six” restrictions could prove to be the final straw that broke the Covid camel’s back.
“We’re winning!” declared Brian Gerrish of stalwartly anti-lockdown UK Column on September 14.
Even previously unquestioning individuals are now noticing that there is an agenda behind all of this, which has absolutely nothing to do with protecting people from a virus.
Some well-known figures are also starting to speak up. Noel Gallagher of rock group Oasis said on September 14 that he refuses to wear a mask, adding: “The whole thing’s bollocks. You’re supposed to wear them in Selfridges, yet you can f*cking go down the pub and be surrounded by every fucking c*nt. Do you know what I mean? There’s too many fucking liberties being taken away… I just think it’s a piss take”.
Ian Brown, erstwhile lead singer with the Stone Roses, pointed out on the same day that “conspiracy theorist” is “a term invented by the lame stream media to discredit those who can smell and see through the government/media lies and propaganda”.
Alongside general flouting of the police-state rules and increasing contempt for the system which is imposing it, demonstrations are also being staged around the country. See the StandUpX site for latest details.
Two more big protests are coming up in London, with mass gatherings being advertised for 12 noon in Trafalgar Square on both Saturday September 19 and Saturday September 26.
We are again calling for Acorn readers to take an active part in these protests, not least in order to influence other rebels in a healthily radical political direction.
The freedom-loving anarchists at The South Essex Hecklerput it this way: “While we’ve made it pretty clear we have no brief for the organisers of these protests and some of the dubious speakers they invite, we would urge anarchists and radicals to leave their comfort zones and try to engage with those who choose to attend.
“There are two reasons for this. Firstly to offer an alternative pole of attraction to the alt right elements who are sniffing round the fringes and seeking to capitalise on people’s growing anger at the imposition of the ‘new normal’.
“Secondly, if these protests are broken up with some degree of force and followed up with numerous prosecutions, bear in mind that it could well be us next in line for this treatment”.
As another anarchist, Paul Cudenec, recently wrote on his blog: “Our resistance needs to come from our hearts. We need to shake off worries about the consequences of speaking up and fighting back – we need to go with what we feel is right.
“We need to tap into the energies of solidarity, belonging and togetherness that have always played a huge role in human society but which are being deliberately destroyed by those who would control us”.
We also echo the words of Alan Hamilton, in a September 16 piece on the Off-Guardian site: “My personal opinion is that the global program of lockdowns is a mechanism for reorganizing societies around the world along the lines of the World Economic Forum’s ‘Great Reset’ agenda and all that this entails”.
“The only way we will arrest and/or reverse this trend is if we all take direct, non-violent, physical (not digital) action to exercise our civic and democratic rights at every opportunity we can. The time to speak up and stand up is now. It will be too late tomorrow”.
France and England are only 21 miles apart at the closest point, but in the political realm the distance can feel a lot more substantial.
At a moment when people across the world are rebelling against the global Covid-coup dictatorship (see above), France has a bit of a head-start.
It already has an well-organised autonomous grassroots street movement opposed to authoritarian global neoliberalism, which knows full well that the mass media pump out pro-system propaganda, that the police are violent thugs sent out to crush dissent and that western “democracy” is a hollow illusion hiding a corrupt and murderous tyranny!
The Gilets Jaunes were back in action on Saturday September 12, with big turn-outs in Paris and all over the country reminding the Macronist regime that they are still a force to be reckoned with.
The regional protest in the southern city of Montpellier attracted an impressive crowd despite inevitably being banned by the authorities.
The march got under way in almost comic circumstances, after riot cops turned up in the Place de la Comédie and tried to encircle the hundreds who were gathering.
But the roles were quickly reversed and the police found themselves surrounded by a ring of protesters.
This obviously made them feel uncomfortable and they retreated to the edge of the square, leaving the way clear for the protest to head off up the road from which the cops had initially emerged, setting off a yellow flare in celebration.
The march was feisty, up-beat and of all ages, animated by the usual songs about Macron and the fight for “a better world” and by chants of “a-, anti-, anti-capitalista” and “révolution!”.
“We are not dupes!” declared one placard. “They are not corrupt, they are the corruption!” said another.
The protest wound through little alleys in the medieval city centre, occasionally breaking into smaller groups and largely succeeding in avoiding the cops, although some protesters were confronted with tear gas.
The Gilets Jaunes’ message remains the same as before the Covid crisis and the movement as a whole is not explicitly anti-mask or Covid-sceptic.
But leaflets were going around on the Montpellier demo with a specifically anti-mask message and voices challenging the Covid narrative were certainly not shouted down or confronted by fellow protesters. There is clearly, at the very least, an overlap.
The big difference with the UK is that there is no need in France for those rebelling against the New Normal to form a new movement, because the Gilets Jaunes are already there.
When the movement emerged in November 2018, it was regarded with suspicion by many on the left, because it included nationalist and far right elements.
But, because of its fundamental anti-state and anti-capitalist position, the new movement quickly found its identity as a broad anti-system alliance untainted either by the racism of the right or the more absurd ultraliberal dogma of the left.
In other words, it already has the strength and maturity to take on board criticism of newnormalist totalitarianism without running scared of ideological contamination from a fetishized “diametric opposite”.
3. ‘Anarchists’ join the Government in the fight against nature and the stripping of our rights
by Marion (anarchist since 1982)
I wonder when the left started being in favour of the (police?) state. I wonder when people stopped thinking for themselves and started blindly believing the media. I wonder when people who believed in natural remedies started believing the pharmaceutical giants instead. I’m sure they haven’t always done that.
I wonder when anarchism stopped meaning people taking charge of their life and started meaning submitting to whatever the authorities decide is right. In fact I remember a time when the majority (not even just anarchists and the left) started to realise the government and the media were telling porkies. Suddenly, because of a virus, all that seems to have changed with some people.
Yes, we were all saying at first (and still are saying) that wet markets should be abolished. Of course they do; but isn’t that difficult to campaign about from the UK (except for the UK ones)? While wet markets continue, there will be viruses and we need to be able to deal (naturally) with those viruses while they are around. Of course, the virus may have come from a laboratory instead, accidentally or deliberately, but either way viruses should not be manufactured whether for biological warfare or to develop strategies against pathogens; it’s dangerous! But for a lot of anarchists, lefties and animal rights people this hasn’t appeared to move on to questioning how a virus could be dealt with or to advocating living in more natural ways.
Authorities know that they can control people either through fear or by telling people they are saving lives. Because anarchists tend to protect the underdog, the vulnerable, the disabled etc, this has worked superbly with them. They believe that the extreme measures in this crazy new world is protecting those people. Yet lockdown, social distancing and cancelling everything that isn’t to do with Covid makes many vulnerable people’s lives more difficult – a shame that needs to be said as it is really so obvious; elderly people not allowed to see their families or sit with others, elderly and disabled having to queue and use stairs because lifts are not in use, people dying because of cancelled operations, the stress of not being able to get through to services and organisations. And ‘containing’ the virus means keeping it.
In early March people were carrying on with their activities as normal; these were not all reckless and selfish people; they included mindful types; martial arts enthusiasts, drama groups, yoga teachers and herbalists. We agreed that sick or vulnerable people should avoid public places wherever possible – so far fine. We were helping people with compromised immune systems by leaving shopping and remedies outside their houses. Then lockdown.
Some anarchists say they were locking down, masking up etc before actual lockdown began but I’m sure it was not long before; the first case of the virus in the UK was in January yet those anarchists were not distancing for a long time unless they were sick or vulnerable. Then the fear and the idea of ‘responsibility’ seeped in, fuelled by propaganda and media hysteria and, after advice and then orders from the Government, they stopped their activities. This was not just because they were furloughed or paid by the Government; some moved them online (as if we don’t already use computers more than is good for us).
Some, bizarrely, stopped talking about vitamins, herbs, good diet, exercise. Neal’s Yard closed its shop (apparently through lack of customers). After a while some thought any group activities to be dangerous and that ‘not hugging’ is a loving act (rather than hugging actually improving the immune system).
Nearly six months after the first case of Covid-19 in the UK, we are being told to wear masks and still to social distance, yet at the beginning of the crisis, pandemic or whatever you want to call it and even in the worst part of it, there were very few people wearing them. Masks only actually protect other people, not the person wearing it, for whom it’s quite bad for their health and uncomfortable, unless you’re just wearing a scarf around your face.
During every flu epidemic, Swineflu etc, have people even discussed social distancing, locking down, wearing masks, mass vaccination of the population? Certainly we should be careful during those times, look after our health, perhaps not go to places that are too crowded etc and being responsible is a good thing if it is well-thought-out with good reasoning. But we have never before gone to these extremes, shutting everything down, distancing etc, and if you look at the facts and the science, CV-19 is no worse than any other disease we have had.*
As for vaccination, which everything seems to be moving towards and some anarchists and even animal rights people are actually wanting, well, we have natural immune systems; vaccinations tamper with them and actually make us less immune to viruses in general, and sometimes worse (brain damage etc).
Is this compliance by anarchists also because of not wanting to be associated with the Alt Right? That right-wing libertarians (including Trump) believe in freedom (or say they do), therefore the left want absolutely nothing to do with freedom? Even though the Freedom organisation is still called that!
Of course, we know that Trump and Bolsanaro and Johnson and libertarian capitalists don’t really agree with freedom, or only for themselves, not for poor people. There is a hatred of ‘conspiracy theories’ among the left. This is despite most anarchists believing in at least some of them; the facts that GM crops are bad news and that vaccinations sometimes have detrimental effects are actually classed by some as conspiracy theories. Many of those theories have quickly become facts, such as there are no WMDs hidden in Iraq.
Now many anarchists seem to disbelieve and ridicule the fact that natural remedies and herbs can often cure diseases. They identify conspiracy theories with right wing (and I think aligning conspiracy theory with right wing ideology is a conspiracy itself, by those that control us). I’m sure the ‘alternative’ people didn’t use to believe everything the medical profession and Big Pharma told them. What is right wing about a belief in natural cures and preventions?!
It’s also because they have been caught up by the old Divide and Rule tactic. The rulers (governments, Deep State, multinationals, Bilderberg or whoever) do that to people all the time; anarchists should know that, yet many of them are being duped by it. They really should know better. I guess those in power must be clever. They did Divide and Rule very well with Brexit, they’ve always done it in condemning people, via the media, who are taking strike action, and with countless other issues. We need to be cleverer; that involves thinking for ourselves more, a lot more.
Some anarchists and lefties are doing that, the ones who don’t blindly follow the pack but have questioning minds and independent views. We need to stop complying with what the government says but instead do what we think is right; if enough people do that the state(s) will have no power.
So why can’t we reclaim the concept of freedom from the ‘alt right’? Instead, a lot of anarchists are renouncing everything about freedom and self-governance, saying that actually anarchism is about mutual aid. Yes of course mutual aid comes into the anarchist ideology but the actual definition of anarchism is ‘without government’. It does not allow for coercion in any way – either by laws, physical coercion or guilt-tripping (which I have heard a lot of).
Another thing that has been happening is that some anarchists are accusing the anti-lockdowners of being selfish. Yet in reality there is selfishness and selflessness on both sides. Many anti-lockdowners are empathic about people losing their jobs and possibly their homes, about other people living on their own, people who have no garden. And many who believe lockdown was/is the right thing to do are in a situation where they are not affected by it, being paid for not having to work (and so they should be, especially in this situation), taking the opportunity to do creative or educational things, so it seems to me that some of them like lockdown because it is personally good for them.
And of course some anti-lockdowners are that mainly for selfish reasons and some who are pro lockdown are not benefitting from it but believe in some way that it is saving others. There are also a lot of people (all of us?) who contradict ourselves, eg, one minute we say it’s tragic that the elderly are on their own at the end of their life and then say it has to be done.
Whether you are pro or anti lockdown is really not about selfish or unselfish; I believe it is about behaving sanely in an insane world. It is about working with nature rather than fighting against it (and with the government and the pharmaceutical industry). It is about thinking for yourself, rather than going along with what your friends or comrades are saying or what the WHO, NHS, media and government is saying.
Actually this new normal is not that new really; a lot of things have been leading up to this point, such as new regulations against alternative remedies being brought in, extreme health and safety rules, increasingly severe anti-union laws, the criminalisation of squatting and increased surveillance.
Apart from all of this, it is so obvious that what the authorities are doing has nothing to do with a virus, so either there was a conspiracy from the beginning or they are using the situation to control us and bring in new rules and systems. It may be governments doing it but I think more likely it is a group of world technocrats making governments do it (Johnson etc being puppets).
Here are just ten of the reasons for thinking there is a hidden agenda:
There are many more. Everyone knows about the multitude of contradictions in the information about the virus and in the rules; some recent ones are ferry companies saying passengers are now not allowed to stay in their vehicles and that medical prescriptions must now be ordered by coming to the health centre while the clinics are at the same time saying they are trying to minimise visits to those clinics.
If anyone thinks this is all just ignorance and incompetence on the part of the governments and big business, no it cannot be, they are not that stupid! The answer to all of this is that the agenda is not to control the virus; that is not why they are doing all these things. But I’m not going to tell you why they’re doing it because I’d be guessing (though it could be because the pharmaceutical industry and others want to make more money, because the authorities want to control us because they’re worried we’re questioning governments too much, because they’re doing all this as a step before doing something else bigger and even more controlling, because they want to ‘re-set’, because they want to bring in a new world order); that’s for everyone to find out.
Intoxicated by our technology
Some so smitten
They wish to merge it with their biology
Eyeing up parts of their anatomy
Being human is just
Not enough for me
I swear I was born to be a God
I feel so restricted by my human form
Once I’m done
I’ll stalk the earth like Magog
it’s all perfectly natural
It’s Darwinian progress see
It’s not that I don’t like being human
Or that I’m envious of machines
and what we can do with them
I just honestly think it’s a good idea
To change my natural frequency
So I can become a superman
and live in a permanent delinquency
After all, what has the Human form done for me
I want to be like those superheroes they have on the big screens
Transhumanism is the future human you see
Some geek guy said that on a curved TV
He must be right as he has a PhD
But wait a minute what about our friends the Military
Oh those guys are just 50 steps ahead
Always have our best interests
At the forefront of their intent
They’re slowly showing us what’s behind their curtain
A twisted form of humanity they envisage
Of this, you can be certain
A cyborg soldier will never disobey
Retreat or show combat dismay
Have we really exhausted all of our potential and capabilities
Tapped every brain cell explored every possibility
Obviously, this thing will never get abused
As they’ve got a computer program
To make sure I don’t get con”fused”
Oh it’s so lucky they’ve thought of everything
The fourth industrial age is aimed at us
Inside and outside
This technological economic bubble
Will never go bust
As a human being can be conditioned to want more
In this, you can trust.
Edward Bernays proved that without any fuss
Once we’re told we can upgrade ourselves
Then I’ll know we’ve turned paradise into hell
I’m suspicious as fuck about all of this
Technological implants ain’t for me
I’ll take my chances with my faults and flaws
As they’re an intrinsic part of who I’m meant to be
Overcoming these things is the path to real personal growth
understanding what you are and are not
Is probably more important than both
Are we really standing at a possible Cyborg future
If we are I might start shooting
I’ll tell them I thought it was a giant malfunctioning toaster
But no doubt the judge will be a robot
Humans can’t be trusted it seems
But I’m more worried about some of our ideas
Once that is they’re allowed to roam free
“Unless something radical is done to Capitalism, it would seem that through it humanity is likely to be wiped out”
Bharatan Kumarappa (1896-1957) was a scholar, writer and activist close to Mohandas Gandhi and, like him, strongly opposed to industrial-capitalist imperialism.
The younger brother of J. C. Kumarappa, he was the Indian editor of Gandhi’s collected works.
He wrote the book Capitalism, Socialism or Villagism, published in 1946, while a political prisoner of the British occupying regime.
Gandhi, in his foreword to this work, credits Kumarappa with coining the word “villagism” to describe their shared vision of a decentralised community-based way of living built on traditional crafts and culture.
Kumarappa aimed the book at Indian village workers, rather than at intellectuals and used it to convey a powerful anti-capitalist message.
He declared: “Unless something radical is done to Capitalism, it would seem that through it humanity is likely to be wiped out”. (1)
Kumarappa said that capitalism’s cult of uncontrolled selfishness was the worst possible basis for any civilization and had created societies “where men in their greed for gain become worse than brutes and compete with each other in fraud, deception, inhuman cruelties and world-wide exploitation and destruction”. (2)
In the religious language of the Bhagavad Gita, he said, capitalism had in fact led “to the establishment of a world of demons”. (3)
In common with Gandhi and other thinkers who inspire organic radicalism, Kumarappa insisted that complete rejection of capitalism must go deeper than the surface of its political presence and address the physical existence of its centralised industrial infrastructures.
He wrote: “The instinct of the anarchist is right when he wants to do away with the tyranny of organisation. But, as we have already pointed out, this can be no more than a dream so long as large-scale production and distribution are adopted”. (4)
An advocate of what would today be termed “degrowth”, Kumarappa challenged the dominant definition of progress, warning that it should not be taken as meaning “a multitude of goods”. (5)
He explained: “If it is realised that progress is not so much a matter of the material environment as a growth in the intelligence, character and artistic sense of the individual, it would seem that it is only under a decentralised economic order that true progress will be possible.
“On the other hand, today, under the centralised economic order, we appear to be descending below the level of the beast, hating, exploiting and destroying each other on a world scale, and reducing the average man to a standardised automaton incapable of thinking and acting for himself”. (6)
In putting forward the idea of barter as a healthy means of exchange, he questioned why modern societies insisted on “interposing this purely human device of money between food and starvation”.
He asked: “Why should not a man who is eager to give his labour or his produce have direct access to the commodities he wants without first having to change them into money?” (7)
Kumarappa said that however much an economic system might succeed in bringing riches, it would be unstable and prove a failure if in the process it caused human suffering, or in any way hindered people from a full life.
He added: “And, conversely, even if an economic system secures only a subsistence, it will prove stable and adequate if it tends to promote the well-being of all”. (8)
This alternative Gandhian system, villagism, was rooted in ancient pre-capitalist ways of living and was not directly drawn from the Western socialist tradition, he explained.
“The idea of social ownership of production and sharing of things in common was not original to Socialism. Such an arrangement existed in some form or other even in early times, when a whole community or village held land and other property in common and distributed wealth among its members”. (9)
Indeed, Kumarappa was highly critical of orthodox socialism for its dependence on a central state to manage its supposedly egalitarian society.
He warned: “As Capitalism took away wealth which rightly belonged to the people and accumulated it in the hands of the capitalist, Socialism takes away the power which rightly belongs to the people and concentrates it in the State.
“And concentration of power is not less dangerous than concentration of wealth; for men get intoxicated with power and can use it with disastrous effect against those who disagree with them”. (10)
A decentralised village-orientated way of life was a bulwark against all concentrations of power, on the national and international level: “We must not think of Villagism therefore as only a matter of economic arrangement but as a social order aiming at ridding the world of imperialism and war”. (11)
In his 1934 book The Hindu Conception of the Deity, Kumarappa set out to counter “critics who think that morality finds no place in the philosophical and religious thought of India”. (12)
To do this, he focused on the teaching of his Tamil predecessor, Ramanuja, the medieval Hindu theologian and philosopher of the Sri Vaishnavism tradition, as opposed to the earlier theology of Adis Shankara or Samkara
Kumarappa said some in the West seemed to imagine that Hinduism regarded the world of experience, the world of life and activity, as unreal.
He objected: “Even if such a criticism be true of Samkara’s philosophy, it certainly cannot claim to be true of all Hindu philosophy.
“Ramanuja, at any rate, repudiates at every turn the doctrine of the illusoriness of the material world and the finite self, and postulates that ultimate Reality is one in which the material world and finite self find a necessary place.
“Nay more, he claims that the ideals by which we live – the perfections of truth, goodness and love – are rooted in the very heart of the Eternal”. (13)
1. Bharatan Kumarappa, Capitalism, Socialism or Villagism (Madras: Shakti Press, 1946), p. 11.
4. Kumarappa, Capitalism, Socialism or Villagism, p. 104.
5. Kumarappa, Capitalism, Socialism or Villagism, p. 193.
6. Kumarappa, Capitalism, Socialism or Villagism, pp. 193-94.
7. Kumarappa, Capitalism, Socialism or Villagism, p. 153.
8. Kumarappa, Capitalism, Socialism or Villagism, p. 112.
9. Kumarappa, Capitalism, Socialism or Villagism, p. 58.
10. Kumarappa, Capitalism, Socialism or Villagism, p. 105.
11. Kumarappa, Capitalism, Socialism or Villagism, p. 192.
12. Bharatan Kumarappa, The Hindu Conception of the Deity: As Culminating in Ramanuja (Luzak & Co, 1934), p. xiv.
13. Kumarappa, The Hindu Conception of the Deity, p.xiii.
Hinduism is the world’s largest nature-based religion, recognising the sacred in the living world around us, writes Viva Kermani in this enlightening article. She continues: “It views the earth as our Mother, and hence, advocates that it should not be exploited. A loss of this understanding that earth is our mother, or rather a deliberate ignorance of this, has resulted in the abuse, and the exploitation of the earth and its resources”.
* * *
“Our country is being run by a real-life mafia, comprised of a small group who has assumed a powerful form of global authority. These mafia heads have many minions who populate the pharmaceutical industry and government leadership and regulatory positions. These mafia underlings then have their many minions which include elected officials, university and education system officials, the mainstream media, and public health officials. And as of late, this despotic mafia has succeeded in enlisting citizens to ‘police’ one another, both voluntarily and for pay, via snitch lines, social media shaming, contact tracers, informants who report violations, and non-police enforcers of mask wearing and physical distancing”. Powerful stuff from Laura Hayes in ‘The Catastrophic Costs of Complying‘.
Scientists have created a new type of robot which they claim is “literally alive”. Says this report: “Xenobots are a scientific and technological breakthrough — a living organism that is fully programmable, capable of changing form and function essentially on command”. Coincidentally, that also seems to be the preferred destiny for what were once free human beings…
* * *
“Foundations often collaborate closely with the CIA, but it would be incorrect to say that the foundations are controlled by the CIA. It is rather that same people who control the foundations, also control the government – including the CIA”, explains Gregory Sinaisky in ‘Fabricating a Pandemic – Who Could Organize It and Why‘. He adds: “The plutocrats have huge resources and many thousands of trained professionals to perform these tasks. Therefore, they are very likely to have the appropriate tools required to create a false pandemic”.
* * *
As the rhetoric of racial division increasingly eclipses the reality of a shared suffering under the rule of the global capitalist elite, a timely analysis of ‘Fascism and the Deadlock of Race‘ has been produced by Rhyd Wildermuth. He writes: “It benefits the capitalist class – and only truly the capitalist class – to reproduce and maintain race as a identity category”.
* * *
“This New Model robs children of their childhood. It will lead them to a life of debt and servitude”. ‘Lifelong Learning‘ is a superb video exposé created by the Book of Ours team, examining the chilling way in which the newnormalist elite regard other people’s children as nothing more than “human capital” to be controlled and exploited at their sociopathic leisure.
Acorn quote: “Capitalism can only function if the mass of the population have no choice but to be part of its pyramid of exploitation. It cannot tolerate anyone opting out of its system and is always prepared to use violence to bring people under its economic control”.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
He 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”.
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”.
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.
The 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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).
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”.
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.
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.
“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”.
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.
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”.
She 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”.
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.
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?‘
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?
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.
Instead 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.
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.
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”.
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.
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)
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.
He 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)
Thoreau 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)
Thoreau 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.
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)
In 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)
This 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.
He 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)
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.
12. Thoreau, Walden, p. 61.
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.
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/
* * *
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”.
* * *
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!
* * *
“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!
* * *
“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.
* * *
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”.
* * *
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?
* * *
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”.
* * *
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.
* * *
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”.
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.
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.
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.
“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”.
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.
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.
It 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!”
“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.
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.
It 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.”
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 Wilson (1931-2013)
(Jan Goodey is a regular contributor to the Ecologist online)
“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)
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 Guénon, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Frithjof 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.
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 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)
1. David Bradshaw, ‘Introduction’, Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (London: Flamingo, 1994).
3. Aldous Huxley, 1946 Foreword, Brave New World.
4. Huxley, Brave New World, p. 19.
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.
“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”.
* * *
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’.
* * *
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”.
* * *
“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”.
* * *
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!”
* * *
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/
* * *
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.
* * *
“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.
* * *
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.
* * *
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”.
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.
For 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.
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.
“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.
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 email@example.com”
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.
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'”.
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, Vicewrote 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!
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.  
Imagine a world where we ignored the mass media. 
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.
Imagine 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. 
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. 
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.
Imagine 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. 
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.
Imagine 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. 
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. 
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.
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:
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.
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”.
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?
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.
On 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!
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.
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.
We 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.
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.
So, 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…
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.
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”.
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:
* 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”.
* 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
* 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.
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”.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
He 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)
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)
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.
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)
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.
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.
* * *
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”.
* * *
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
* * *
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”.
* * *
“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.
* * *
“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.
* * *
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.
* * *
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.
* * *
“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.
* * *
“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.
* * *
“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”.
* * *
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…
* * *
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.
* * *
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.
* * *
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.
* * *
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”.
The Gilets Jaunes, or Yellow Vests, movement in France is the most important political phenomenon to emerge in Western Europe so far this century. It has smashed through the barriers of political stagnancy and sterility which so often disempower and stifle spontaneous expressions of popular discontent.
The yellow banner of revolt has rallied parts of the population previously unreached by political organising and the relentless determination of hundreds of thousands of men and women has shaken the citadels of neoliberal power to the core. As well as the rubber bullets, grenades, water cannon and tear gas deployed by the French state against the uprising, another major weapon against the Gilets Jaunes has been the corporate media.
Constant lies, smears and alarmism in France have been matched by almost total silence elsewhere, punctuated by small dribbles of largely inaccurate information. We at Winter Oak have been trying to help counter this information war against the rebellion by reporting their activities and opinions in English. Below we present five new translations which offer some useful insights into what is currently being spelled out in yellow in France.
The uprising is very much ongoing as we write this, with Act 18 of the protests on March 16 likely to be significant, particularly in Paris. For news updates about the movement follow us on Twitter.
i. Power to the people!
This declaration was agreed at the Yellow Vest assembly of assemblies in Commercy at the end of January, attended by delegates from across France. It was then “sent back” down to the local assemblies, who have gradually been endorsing it from the grassroots.
Ever since November 17, from the smallest village in the countryside to the biggest city, we have been rising up against this profoundly violent, unfair and unbearable society.
We are not going to be pushed around! We are revolting against the high cost of living, against precarity and misery. We want our loved ones, our families and our children to live in dignity.
26 billionaires own as much as half of the human species and that is unacceptable. Let’s share wealth and not misery!
Let’s do away with social inequality! We demand immediate increases in pay, in the minimum wage, in benefits and in pensions; the unconditional right to healthcare and education; free public services for everyone.
It’s for all these rights that every day we occupy roundabouts, that we organise actions and protests and hold discussions everywhere.
With our yellow vests on, we are having our say, which we have never had before.
And what’s the response from the government? Repression, contempt, denigration.
People killed and thousands injured, the massive use of weapons fired directly at us which mutilate, take out eyes, wound and traumatise.
More than 1,000 people have been arbitrarily prosecuted and jailed.
And now the new so-called “anti-vandal” law aims simply to stop us demonstrating.
We condemn all violence against protesters, whether it comes from police or violent factions. None of that is going to stop us!
The right to protest is fundamental. End the impunity for the government forces! Amnesty for all the victims of repression!
And what a con, this Grand National Debate which is nothing but a government PR exercise taking advantage of our desire to discuss and take decisions!
The real democracy is the one we practise in our assemblies and on our roundabouts. It is neither on the TV nor in the fake debates organised by Macron.
He insults us, says we’re less than nothing, then depicts us as hateful crowd, fascistic and xenophobic.
But in fact we are completely the opposite: neither racist, nor sexist, nor homophobic, we are proud to be together with our differences to build a society of solidarity.
The diversity of our discussions is our strength and even now hundreds of assemblies are drawing up and putting forward their own demands.
They involve real democracy, social and fiscal justice, environmental and climate justice, the ending of discrimination.
Among the most debated demands and strategic proposals we can find: the eradication of misery in all its forms; the transformation of institutions (citizen-initiated referenda, constituent assemblies, an ending to privileges for elected representatives); environmental transition (energy precarity, industrial pollution); equality and the valuing of all women and men regardless of their nationality (people with disabilities, gender equality, ending the neglect of working-class districts, rural areas and overseas territories).
We, Gilets Jaunes, invite everyone to join us, as and how they see fit. We call for a continuation of the series of “acts” of protests, of the occupation of roundabouts and the blockading of the economy and of the effort to build a huge national strike.
We call for the setting up of committees in the workplace, at places of study; and everywhere else so that this grave can be built on the basis of the strikers themselves.
Let’s take control of our own activities! Don’t stay on your own, join us! Let’s organise democratically, autonomously and independently!
This assembly of the assemblies is an important step which allows us to discuss our demands and our means of acting.
Let’s come together in federations to transform society!
We ask the whole of the Gilets Jaunes movement to circulate this call.
If, as a Gilets Jaunes group, you agree with it, then don’t hesitate to send your support to Commercy.
Please do discuss and draw up proposals for the next assembly of the assemblies, already under preparation.
Power to the people, for the people, by the people!
The “nothings” are on the streets
ii. The ghost of 1789
This is an extract from a leaflet issued by a group of Gilets Jaunes in southern France after a local bigwig, the Prefect, accused “anarchists” of inciting hate of the state and confrontations with the police.
Mr Prefect, there is no need for anarchists to sow hate as your government is managing to do that all on its own. Oh, nobody for the moment is talking about reaching for their rifle, but everyone can see what they earn and what the rich earn. Hate is on the rise. The Gilets Jaunes are simple people, generally workers at the bottom of the scale on low wages, or people living on modest pensions…
They say, when they talk about the rulers and the fat cats in this country: “They are like the kings and aristocrats used to be”. They are not talking about having a revolution here and now but they talk a lot about our great revolution: it is always coming up in conversation.
Macron has said repeatedly that he won’t change course: so we can expect nothing from him but scraps of charity. One day or the other the poor, like in 1789, will take action and a lot of others with them.
This won’t be a revolt, but a revolution!
It is clear that every government since 1983 has done all it can to ensure that the poor are in this state of mind.
In our assemblies there are, among the hundreds present, lots of workers and pensioners. There are also teachers and nurses.
Some anarchists work and earn roughly as much as the other Gilets Jaunes, others are unemployed, like many others.
Sorry to disappoint you, but there is nothing to differentiate them from other Gilets Jaunes except that, perhaps, some of them are more active than most: that’s their right and we don’t hold it against them!
iii. Our community is the struggle!
This analysis comes from issue 2 of an eight-page A3 street paper, Jaune: Le Journal Pour Gagner (Yellow: the Paper for Winning).
From the start of this movement, two symbols have been competing on the roundabouts. The yellow vest and the tricolour flag. Of course, many wouldn’t put it that way. They would say that the flag is the symbol of the French people, while the yellow vest is the symbol of the struggle, so the two are complementary. And it’s true that in each instance those who sport them regard them as signs of rallying around something in common. But there are different kinds of commonality.
The idea of a community founded on belonging to a territory, defined by a state and the defence of the borders of that state, is very old. We can see it in the founding myths of the Roman Empire.
Some will say that this is a hard reality. They will argue that every country has its share of misery and that at the end of the day defending your tribe, your territory, your compatriots, is a necessary part of being human. Their slogan is “our own before the others”.
But who are “our own”? Have you really got more interests, aspirations and sufferings in common with the rich of France than with someone who works on the same building site as you but hasn’t got the same passport? More in common with the Loréal family than with an Italian or Algerian delivering for an Amazon subcontractor? More in common with someone else on the minimum wage, regardless of nationality, or with someone who used to pay the highest rate of income tax until Macron scrapped it?
Nationalism will tell you that yes, French people, regardless of their social position, have more interests in common together than with any other form of solidarity, such as that based on a common situation. But where does that lead? Who profits from saying that? Who benefits from nationalism?
Everybody knows the line about divide and rule. It implies, of course, that it those who rule who divide the others. So, let’s put the question this way: who rules? Who owns the wealth and the means of producing more wealth? The rich, the bourgeoisie. And who is divided according to passport and nationality? The poor, the workers, the unemployed.
Anyway, do you really think the bourgeoisie practises what it preaches for us? Do you really think that the French rich feel closer to you than to their friends in such or such a country, with whom they go skiing in Switzerland or Dubai while you go to work? Let’s not be naive.
But there is another community: the community of struggle. Thus, in France, for a long time now, a revolutionary tradition welcomes all those who want to struggle. As far back as the French Revolution, lots of people from every corner of the world came to lend a hand. During the Paris Commune, as well, the organisation of the barricades was partly organised by Polish revolutionaries.
And we can see this solidarity in struggle and revolution at many other times of history and in many other parts of the world. That is the community which brings us together. Today, it has a rallying call: the yellow vest. This call is universal and as such it is closer to the spirit of past revolutions, including the French one.
So we are saying it loud and clear: we are on the side of the yellow vest, of what it says about common struggle and also about a shared refusal of our dire situation, about chilly early mornings blockading and about evenings around a pile of burning palettes, talking about our rock-bottom living conditions.
Yellow Vests of every country, unite!
iv. Poisoned by neoliberalism
From an interview with François Boulo, a lawyer and a Gilets Jaunes spokesman in the northern city of Rouen (source: Thinkerview).
How do you see the current situation with the Gilets Jaunes?
There is a fight to be won in terms of communication. The mainstream media are trying to criminalise the movement. But the real question of immorality lies with the distribution of wealth. To live in a country and pile up a personal fortune that is 10, 100, 1,000 times more than you need to live, while in France 9 million people teeter on the brink of poverty and 140,000 are homeless…
What kind of politics are you proposing?
For the last 40 to 45 years there has been an ideological drive to poison our minds with the dominant neoliberal thinking, which is presented as the only possibility. This is the framing for the way we think about politics today. This economic framing is imposed on us and they tell us that there is no alternative. This has generated a mood of resignation.
The economic debate has been closed down. They explain to us that we have to have permanent growth, even though we live in a finite world. We have a cake and they tell us we can’t change the rules for allocating the slices of the cake. I think citizens’ control is needed.
What do you think of the political and policing climate around the Gilets Jaunes movement?
Right from the start, everything was done to ramp up the climate of tension. On the second Saturday of protests in France, from 8.30 or 9am people were being “kettled”, caught in a trap, and teargassed! How do you expect them to feel that their right to protest is being respected?
What about Europe ?
We have got to stop following the demands of the banks and investors, because their financial games do not help the real economy. We should finally create the social Europe we were promised.
v. A breath of fresh air
Here is an abridged version of an in-depth article in issue 12 of Avis de Tempêtes: Bulletin anarchiste pour la guerre sociale (Storm Warning: Anarchist bulletin for social war), a 20-page A5 zine with a yellow and red cover. The piece takes a witty swipe at a certain kind of comrade who considers themself too ideologically pure to possibly be able to join in the diverse and mould-breaking Gilets Jaunes uprising.
For once, a movement has erupted in a self-organised way without political parties and trade unions, for once it immediately set its own agenda – an agenda which is often daily and not at the weekly or monthly rhythm of the big days out orchestrated by the troop masters and agreed in advance with the police – even deciding for itself its own places and routes of confrontation and blockage by obstinately refusing to beg for official authorisation.
In short, a breath of fresh air for all those activists who have been waiting for nothing other than a big collective movement before venturing out of their homes. However… While the meagre crumbs claimed by any number of reformist, trade-unionist or victimist organisations – backed up by a show of strength in the streets to help their representatives in their negotiations with authority – have never put too many people off taking part, now we see those marvellous anti-authoritarian activists diligently dissecting those who have lit the yellow-vest fuse.
The anti-authoritarian activist, well schooled in swallowing all kinds of reformist demands in order to join in various struggles, this time finds that there is not enough familiar common ground.
With the Gilets Jaunes movement, the activist has suddenly discovered the world around him. Having been in raptures over the Arab Spring without finding his enthusiasm impossibly deflated by the “interclassist” use of the term “the people” (“The people wants the fall of the regime” was a much-used popular slogan) and the abundance of national flags, he is now disgusted by the same limitations on his own side of the Mediterranean.
Having rioted against the Loi Travail labour reforms, or last May Day, without feeling his presence incompatible with that of massed hammer and sickle flags, or with the sometimes-dubious banners at the head of Parisian demos (emblazoned with the wise words of 100%-reactionary rappers), he is now mortified by the tricolour flags and populist slogans.
He had chosen to be blind to the hundreds of tricolour flags in the left-wing France Insoumise rallies at the last elections, as well as to those wielded by hundreds of thousands in the streets after the epic victory in the footballing spectacle of July 2018 (sported in unison by poor urban youth and old rich racists).
No, the activist is as simple as his organic-supermarket ideology. An unclean symbol equals a fascist. Full stop.
A radical anti-capitalist dimension to the Extinction Rebellion (XR) has emerged in the UK, with the creation of a new alliance.
The Green Anti-Capitalist Front is born of the realisation that if we want to defend nature we have to fight capitalism.
It says it wants to support the high-profile XR “with a parallel mobilisation that has a greater focus on the capitalist roots of climate catastrophe”.
GAF explains: “As we all know, capitalism is killing the Earth. We have been observing the rise of the Extinction Rebellion movement and, while we are glad to see a growing interest in fighting climate change, we do not think their critique goes far enough and believe a specifically anti-capitalist critique is needed.
“As such we are calling for the formation of an anti-capitalist block to tap into this rising interest in radical politics and to fill the vacuum of a green and anti-capitalist movement in London. We plan to loosely work alongside Extinction Rebellion’s actions, especially their week of actions planned from April 15th, while also developing our own unique
“The Green Anti-Capitalist Front is intended as a broad coalition of groups with varying ideologies, but with a common interest in tackling environmental problems at their social roots”.
In an open letter to XR, GAF praises it for having reinvigorated environmental activism at a time when this was most needed.
It says: “XR has been bold in its aims when much of the established movement has been cynical, and has managed to tap into a broader sense of alarm over environmental degradation, and mobilised many people not previously involved.
“XR has grown at a speed that many people would have thought impossible before we saw it happen.
“XR has also been far more radical in this broad appeal than many people would have thought, pursuing a strategy built around both local direct action while maintaining an international orientation.
“We cannot overstate the overwhelmingly positive effect that XR is having on environmental politics”.
However, GAF says it has “doubts about some of the tactics that XR has adopted” and thinks a conversation is needed about this.
GAF is inviting like-minded people and groups to get in touch via
email@example.com. It has a website, Twitter account and Facebook presence.
In the 21st century, the world is now veritably swamped with commodities. According to APLF ltd. American consumers purchase an average of 7.5 shoes per capita per year. The LA Times reports that “the average U.S. household has 300,000 things, from paper clips to ironing boards.”
I am not by any means claiming that everyone is an affluent borderline-hoarder. One of the fundamental problems of capitalism is the unequal access to this seeming abundance of goods.
With so much paraphernalia in the world, it is inevitable that significant portions will be wasted.
In an article for The Atlantic, Derek Thompson explains that in a year the world creates around 2.6 trillion pounds of garbage—“the weight of about 7,000 Empire State Buildings.”
Much of this is food waste, but many inorganic items are produced with cheap plastic and other materials that fall apart quickly. Some companies, such as Apple, even reportedly preprogram their products to stop functioning properly after a certain amount of time in order to force consumers to buy new wares at a much greater rate than they otherwise would.
All this waste, all this stuff tossed away, has to go somewhere. Such rubbish becomes part of the planet’s topography, enters into its ecological systems, and eventually returns to the human sphere of interaction – much to human detriment.
This is zombie archaeology; when the remnants of our past are not uncovered by human beings but return to us by themselves with a vengeance.
In this age of capitalism-induced ecological collapse, zombie archaeology is certain to become only increasingly suited for describing the world. Walter Benjamin, in his Theses on the Philosophy of History, writes of Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus, “This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But… …[t]he storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward.”
But what happens when the wreckage and debris – both literal and figurative – begin shambling towards the present? When the dead are, in a sense, awakened? Zombie archaeology poses these questions.
We have been drawing attention for some time now to the ideological smears being deliberately used by the neoliberal elite to stifle dissident voices.
Unlike Monty Python’s ridiculous “Spanish Inquisition”, this one has long been expected by everybody who has been paying attention.
The most important task, we feel, is to point out the essential dishonesty behind these attacks.
Neoliberals differ from the old-fashioned right in that they like to paint themselves as the Guardians (yep, quite!) of Progressive Thinking, as somehow vaguely left-wing despite their full-blooded backing for capitalism, militarism, imperialism and everything that goes with it.
So they cannot attack the left in the traditional way, by simply saying they do not like it because it is too left-wing and threatens the status quo which they support.
Instead, they pretend to be attacking their enemies from a progressive position, one which occupies the liberal moral high ground.
This is the case with the longstanding smears against deep green thinking which try to claim it is a continuation of Nazi ideology, even though Hitler’s regime was the epitome of industrialism (see our article Organic Radicalism: Bringing Down the Fascist Machine for a full analysis of this).
Neoliberals, including pseudo-leftists, aren’t honest enough to say that they oppose deep green politics because they support industrial capitalism – that would blow their ideological cover.
Instead, they have to pretend that it is because they have cleverly identified it as a sinister right-wing threat to democracy as we know it.
The same phenomenon is basically at work with the “anti-semitism” allegations cropping up everywhere at the moment.
This issue is slightly complicated by the fact that it is partly about Palestine and the need for the pro-Israel lobby to silence all criticism of the apartheid state by conflating anti-Zionism with anti-semitism.
A real witch-hunt atmosphere has been created here, which the original Spanish Inquisition would surely have been proud of.
Once accused of “anti-semitism”, the victim is faced with a dilemma similar to that of the famous ducking stool – if you drown you are not a witch and if you don’t then you are a witch and you have to be burned alive.
If the person accused of anti-semitism admits guilt and apologises, not only will they not be left alone, but they will also have surrendered important political ground and will have set a precedent for the next absurd denunciation.
If they deny having said anything wrong, this denial will be regarded as a further offence of perhaps even greater severity.
This is what has been happening to UK Labour Party figures such as Chris Williamson and to US lawmaker Ilhan Omar (see here and here).
The secondary smear technique has also been used against the Gilets Jaunes in France, particularly following an incident in which intellectual Alain Finkielkraut was called a “dirty Zionist”.
Comments, or lack of comments, on the much-hyped confrontation were used to attack prominent Yellow Vest supporters such as journalist Aude Lancelin and leftist politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
It is important to note that all these smear attacks have been targeted at the political left. Anti-semitism on the right is rarely even mentioned.
It is clear that the Palestine question, important though it is both for supporters and critics of the Israeli state, is not the only issue at stake here, as the likes of Jonathan Cook have been pointing out.
One of the great successes of the wave of global protests that took place in the 1990s and at the start of the 21st century was to put anti-capitalism on the public stage.
Previously, the mainstream had never even accepted that we lived in a capitalist society, let alone that people could be against that.
The word “capitalism” was regarded as a nonsensical one, used only by communists or other left-wing cranks.
Suddenly, they were talking about anti-capitalism on the BBC, examining who these troublesome anti-capitalists were and what exactly they wanted.
Twenty years on, the Establishment feels under threat, its system crumbling and its mind-control power over the population lifting like fog in the sunshine.
It therefore seems to have decided to try to push anti-capitalism back out of the public domain, beyond the perimeter fence of ideological validity.
We have commented previously on the peculiar political argument that there is something “anti-semitic” about opposing the “1%” who own most of the world’s wealth (it’s a lot fewer than that…) or about condemning bankers or international capitalist organisations like the IMF, the WTO or the Bilderberg group.
As we pointed out last July: “What appears to be happening, in some cases at least, is that the ‘Jewish banker’ figure is again being deliberately deployed to thwart opposition to capitalism.
“Previously, it was used to steer people away from anti-capitalism and into anti-semitism, but now the aim is rather to steer people away from anti-capitalism with the threat of being labelled anti-semitic”.
This twisted approach is now being presented as a common-sense view by mainstream media, in tandem with the other smear attacks on left-wingers.
Right-wing Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh spun this toxic propaganda on BBC Radio 4 on March 4, with presenter John Humphreys helpfully summing up: “In other words, to be anti-capitalist you have to be anti-semitic?”
Such are the desperate, dangerous lies of a system that senses its days are numbered…
In his new “extremist” novel, No Such Place as Asha, Paul Cudenec gives a fictional airing to the ideological smears often deployed by neoliberals against opponents of their ecocidal industrial capitalist system. This excerpt describes a speaker at a private conference of the “Transatlantic Alliance for Freedom” (TAF) in Edinburgh…
His special subject was environmentalism. He started off paying lip service to the importance of balancing economic growth with sustainable practices, of ensuring the well-being of human and animal communities, so on and so forth. Responsible environmental organisations acted as crucial watchdogs that reminded the authorities and industry of their responsibilities. While TAF did not always agree with their positions, they recognised the role they played, etcetera, etcetera.
Then he moved on to the substance of his talk. Unfortunately, there was always a fringe of green protesters who took things too far, who refused to play by the rules. He talked about “eco-terrorists” in the USA and “hardcore” environmentalists in Europe, such as 1990s road protesters in the UK, a mobilisation against a high-speed rail line in Italy, a protest camp against an airport in France, another against mining in Germany.
More recently, the “worst” instance of these campaigns was the anti-fracking movement in the UK. The dangers of these extremists’ illegal direct action were well known, he said, as was the “Luddite” ideology that inspired them.
But lately things had taken a turn for the worse. These groups were starting to develop a common ideology, aided by the exchange of news and views made possible by the internet. They were borrowing ideas from campaigners on the other side of the world and incorporating them into their own rhetoric. They were increasingly identifying the enemy not just as their local government, or business, but as something they termed “the industrial capitalist system”.
Up against this, they were piecing together their own counter-position. They had taken the idea of “sacred land” from indigenous struggles in North America, Australia and elsewhere and were applying it to their own sites. The use of direct action was turning into an ideology of direct action, an anarchist contempt for the rule of law and the due democratic process. French and German groups had fed into the mix the idea of “degrowth”, which rejected the very fundaments of our society – the idea of progress, economic growth and increased prosperity for humankind.
I wrote down a complete quote at this point. “Let’s be clear, these people are negationists. They are guilty of progress denial. And I would suggest that this brand of negationism should be treated as seriously as the other one of which we are all too well aware. Because that’s where it ends, ultimately. It all ends at the same place. The destruction of civilization. The deaths of millions of men, women and children in the name of fanaticism.”
There was a great burst of applause across the room at this point. Having established his moral high ground, Heath went on to spell out the particular form this Eco-Terrorist Apocalypse would take, which seemed to involve mainly a drop in the profits of “important wealth-creating institutions”, faced with increased grassroots resistance to their projects and falling levels of consumption as the “poison” of anti-growth views contaminated the population.
A top-notch new comic has been published by Corporate Watch in London. Worlds End uses words and pictures to help people understand climate change and capitalism and encourage a different approach, one that builds power to fight them. Read it online here.
* * *
“Just because the participants in the growing number of Extinction Rebellion actions may be predominantly middle class, it doesn’t mean to say that we as working class people aren’t concerned about environmental issues”. So says a useful article in The South Essex Heckler. It adds: “What we need to do is to start to own the narrative of the campaigns around those issues so that it’s our voices that are being heard. We’re the ones on the frontline from traffic induced air pollution through to being housed in flood risk areas”.
* * *
Disturbing evidence keeps emerging about the way the environmental movement, particularly the climate justice element, is being hijacked and manipulated by big business. For instance, a Daily Mail report in February revealed that Tory peer John Selwyn Gummer, who heads the UK government’s Climate Change Committee, has a private company which has been paid more than £600,000 from “green” businesses hoping to profit from government subsidies. And the full report from Cory Morningstar mentioned in Acorn 46 is now online and a must-read for any nature-defender who wants to avoid being used as a useful idiot by a bunch of lying industrial capitalists.
* * *
The threat of new industrial capitalist mega-projects in Mexico has been highlighted in a letter from Zapatista women to their sisters across the world. The authorities’ destructive schemes include the Mayan Train, the “development” of the Tehuantepec Isthmus and massive commercial tree farms. The letter declares: “We’re going to fight with all our strength and everything we’ve got against these mega-projects. If these lands are conquered, it will be upon the blood of Zapatista women”.
* * *
“Fracking is stoppable, another world is possible!” is the title of a highly informative and inspiring new online bulletin from the frack free movement. Issue 1 is available here but issue 2 should be out very soon – follow the excellent frackfree_eu on Twitter for updates.
* * *
The 2019 Liverpool Anarchist Bookfair will be held on Saturday April 13, 11am till 5pm at The Black-E, 1 Great George Street, L1 5EW. This will be a day of stalls and workshops, with a vegan cafe and kids’ space – free entry (donations towards event costs welcome). Says the website: “Books, zines & more to feed your brain let’s learn, organise, grow & create!”
* * *
If the neoliberal Establishment succeeds in totally destroying the (very mild!) threat presented to its domination by Corbyn’s Labour Party, there will no doubt be a few we-told-you-soes from us anarcho-cynics. But the anger sparked by such a collapse in people’s hopes could well lead to something more interesting happening in the UK. As Jonathan Cook notes: “If parliamentary politics returns to business as usual for the wealthy, taking to the streets looks increasingly like the only option. Maybe it’s time to dust off a Yellow Vest”.
* * *
Acorn quote: “The poorest man hath as true a title and just right to the land as the richest man. True freedom lies in the free enjoyment of the earth”.
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”.
🔴 URGENT – #Avignon : Des #casseurs ont tenté de mettre le feu à l'hôtel de ville. Ils ont incendié un container à poubelles devant la porte en bois du bâtiment situé place de l'Horloge avant de prendre la fuite en cassant tout ce qu'ils pouvaient sur leur passage." #giletjaunepic.twitter.com/EQo9qrVZw8
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.
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.
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.
RÉPRESSION CONTRE LES GILETS JAUNES : UN POLICIER MET EN CAUSE LE GOUVERNEMENT
"Le message envoyé par le gouvernement c'est : on veut aller à la confrontation, on ne veut plus éviter la répression, tout est mis en place pour que ça dégénère". Alexandre Langlois, @VIGI_MIpic.twitter.com/wpGlX7T0Je
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.
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 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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can read the full version of this book review by Paul Cudenec on his blog.
“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.
* * *
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”.
* * *
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”.
* * *
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.
* * *
“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”.
* * *
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.
* * *
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”.
* * *
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”.
* * *
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.
* * *
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?”
1. Rebelling against the industrial capitalist system
Is the human species finally waking up to the fact that industrial capitalism is murdering the planet and realising that we all have to take action to stop it?
The signs are currently looking good in England, where the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement has appeared out of nowhere and mobilised thousands of people to block streets and engage in civil disobedience.
The first big day of action was on Saturday November 17, when some 6,000 people took to the streets of London.
They blocked five London bridges and planted trees on Parliament Square. More than 80 people were arrested.
Said Gail Bradbrook of XR: “This is an act of mass civil disobedience. This is the start of an international rebellion protesting the lack of action on the ecological crisis”.
There were swarming road blocks across London in the run-up to Rebellion Day 2, announced for Saturday November 24, 10am to 5pm at Parliament Square.
The Rebellion has also started to take off elsewhere, such as Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland.
Some question marks have been raised in anti-capitalist circles about the XR approach. For a start, the enthusiastic participation of pseudo-radical Guardian columnist George Monbiot, who too often mirrors his employers’ anti-left neoliberalism (see the Media Lens archives), has set alarm bells ringing.
A strangely deferential attitude to the police has also worried many. In an article in The Canary, Emily Apple highlighted a failure in XR circles to critique the fundamental relationship between the police, the state and corporations, pointing out: “Ultimately, the police are there to protect the interests of the state”.
She added: “It is our duty to rebel. But effective rebellion will mean facing the full force and the full power of the state, and being prepared for the consequences.
“No amount of statements of non-violence will stop the police going in with full force if what you’re doing is a threat to the state or corporate profit. It won’t stop fundamental police tactics of harassment and disruption; tactics designed to deliberately deter people from protesting”.
However, most would applaud the way XR has achieved what seemed impossible and ignited a whole new wave of public protest against industrial capitalism.
If you believe in a full diversity of tactics, then you have to wish them well and hope that their misguided faith in the intentions of the UK’s police does not end with too many baton-bludgeoned limbs and skulls, when the corporate-owned state decides that XR’s disruptive tactics have gone far enough.
Another encouraging sign of a change in consciousness is the publication by the UK’s Anarchist Federation of a booklet (available online) called Capitalism Is Killing the Earth: An Anarchist Guide to Ecology.
The booklet rightly notes: “There has been wider understanding of environmental issues since mainstream publications such as Silent Spring, Gaia and An Inconvenient Truth; however, an anti-capitalist critique has been lacking”.
The aim of anarchists should therefore be to “make the link between capitalism and environmental degradation explicit in our politics and critique the role of the state in facilitating this”.
It tackles the issue of false solutions to the environmental meltdown, observing that most proposals for change do not question the overarching system of capitalism and the market economy: “The existence of private property, the appropriation of nature as a source of growth and production for profit instead of need are at the root of the problem, so they cannot be part of the solution”.
It was not clear to us, though, what is intended by the reference to a “primitivist” alternative society preventing people from “maintaining or increasing their standard of living”.
For the industrial capitalist mindset, “standard of living” is all about having a car and a dishwasher, flying abroad on holiday and fully participating in the capitalist economy. It is about buying and consuming.
Presumably the authors agree that a genuinely high “standard of living” would involve living freely in a community of equals, sharing the produce of the earth, breathing fresh air, eating uncontaminated food, waking each morning to the sound of birdsong or children’s laughter rather than of low-flying aircraft or the motorway at the end of the street.
The booklet says anarchists should “work more closely with groups such as Earth First!, Reclaim the Power and Rising Tide to further develop an activism which is both confrontational towards capitalism and is inclusive of local and global perspectives”.
We agree. A full convergence of anti-capitalism and anti-industrialism is long overdue. Industrialism and capitalism are not two separate phenomena but two aspects of the same thing.
Whether you first notice its existence from an environmental perspective or from a social one, industrial capitalism is readily identifiable as the enemy.
It is the enslaver of humanity, the stealer of land, the destroyer of community and, unless we can quickly drive a stake through its malignant heart, the murderer of our planet.
2. “At the heart of this problem lies our sense of separation from nature”
In-depth interview with campaigner Geraldine of frackfree_eu
Thanks for agreeing to this interview. Could you tell us a little bit about who you are and what sort of campaigning you are involved in?
I grew up in a rural area. In some respects, I guess I kind of grew up in a bubble, not necessarily privileged, far from it in financial terms, but certainly sheltered from any social or environmental problems.
From a young age, I cared deeply about the environment, but I’d never engaged in any activism as such. I used to receive newsletters from the World Wildlife Fund, and feel concerned about all the animals whose habitats were endangered by deforestation, orangutans and koalas especially.
I was so concerned about deforestation, in fact, that I once replied to exam questions in tiny writing in order to save paper, drawing attention to the fact that trees are chopped down to make the paper. The teacher was outraged by my act, insisted I apologise, but I refused, so she put me on detention.
I wasn’t too bothered. Standing up for what’s right is something to be proud of and I wasn’t going to obey authority whose demands conflicted with my values. I always had a bit of a rebellious streak.
How I got into campaigning… My academic background is in languages. Throughout my studies, I’d never been involved in anything remotely political. It was only when doing a Masters in European Studies that I had my eyes opened to injustices I’d previously been unaware of – such as racism, the Israel / Palestine conflict, austerity. None of these issues made me angry enough to drop everything, though.
Then, in early 2011, I first became aware of fracking while in France with my boyfriend on a business trip, watching politicians on French TV engaged in a fiery debate about how it could contaminate the water.
The French term ‘gaz de schiste’ sounded less scary than the English equivalent ‘fracking’, so after a cursory look in the dictionary which translated ‘gaz de schiste’ as ‘shale gas’ I thought no more of it and just carried on focusing on my studies.
Little did I know at the time that the same technique was being proposed all across Europe and that France was to become the first country to ban it. It actually took me about six months to revisit the issue, after hearing news of earthquakes in Blackpool and seeing a documentary with French MEP José Bové at a fracking site somewhere in Poland.
Once I began ‘googling’ the term ‘fracking’, I was horrified. Then I learned that parts of Ireland were under threat too. Never in my life have I felt so incensed.
My first thought was: How could our government even consider giving permission to an industry that industrialises vast swathes of countryside and that has left a toll of death and destruction in every community where it has gained a foothold?
I’d never held politicians in much esteem anyway, feeling the system was designed to serve the better-off and those of us at the bottom rungs of the social ladder just have to work hard for everything and not rely on the state for help. As for voting, I’d only voted at one election as I felt elections were a farce.
Despite all this, it still took me aback at how Government can allow policies to be dictated by the interests of big business. What stunned me in particular is how these corporations fabricate lies in order to get what they want, repeating this mantra of jobs and growth as if nothing else mattered.
That the truth, the facts, the science, could be obscured for the sake of profit and self-interest ignited a fire in me like never before.
It was time for me to move beyond my comfort zone, beyond my material world and devote myself wholeheartedly to the cause by attending events and speaking out at them, working with people I’d never have imagined working with before, mobilising others to take action, organising events, travelling to places I’d never been – but ultimately sharing the truth about what fracking involves and how much suffering and harm it causes to every living being. Nowhere deserves to become a sacrifice zone, least of all the country where I grew up and love.
Just focusing on fracking for the moment, what do you think there is about it in particular – compared to mining, for instance, or other forms of industrialisation – that has triggered such a strong response in you, and in so many others who were not previously engaged in this kind of struggle?
Excellent and thought-provoking question! I’d be equally outraged about mining, though it is nowhere near as dangerous as fracking, to be honest, and have replied to consultations objecting to mining projects proposed in my country.
At the moment, communities in Northern Ireland, some of whom were previously licensed for fracking, are having to fight several mining projects. And at the height of the Romanian anti-fracking campaign, I remember meeting Romanians who were also involved in the campaign to save Rosia Montana from gold mining.
Anyone who opposes the raping and plundering of the land through fracking should also oppose mining or any industrial practice. Not to do so would be inconsistent, as all these practices pollute the air and water we all need to survive.
To answer your question properly, firstly, I think the term ‘fracking’ itself makes you sit up, encouraging you to delve deeper into the issue.
‘Shale gas’ on the other hand – as I experienced myself when I looked it up in the dictionary – tends to sound harmless, leaving you thinking, “Well, we need gas to heat our homes, don’t we?!” This is why the term ‘shale gas’ is preferred by the fracking industry, I believe.
And although ‘fracking’ may not have the same resonance in other languages, the documentary ‘Gasland’ by US filmmaker Josh Fox did much to popularise the term in non-English speaking countries, with translations into French, Romanian and Polish, and other languages too perhaps.
Secondly, I think the scale of what was being proposed across vast swathes of land, merely because of the geology, impacts thousands of communities. No other industry, in recent history at least, has impacted this many rural communities and no other industry has prompted so many places to enact bans and moratoria as a result of fierce grassroots opposition either.
Biologist Dr Sandra Steingraber and report co-author of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (Unconventional Gas and Oil Extraction) has called fracking “the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”
Having spent countless hours exploring fracking, I also believe that the impacts are far more severe than those associated with any other industrial process.
We have been fortunate to have had many experts – including Dr Steingraber, toxins expert Dr Marianne Lloyd-Smith, lawyer Helen Slottje, former oil and gas employee Jessica Ernst, as well as others who have seen fracking up close – come to Europe, warning us to fight with all our might.
And for good reason, because this industry has killed and harmed so many, from workers who have lost their lives in well blowouts or contracted cancers because of exposure to the toxic chemicals fracking uses and the NORM radiation the fracking process brings up – so well detailed by the late Dr Theo Colborn – to residents, children included, living in the gasfields suffering from severe neurological diseases caused by the toxic air pollution.
You also have suicides. The late George Bender, an Australian farmer, who was bullied for years by the fracking industry, ended up taking his own life a couple of years ago.
Then you have all the fish that have died because of fracking waste dumped in waterways and livestock that have suffered stillbirths. As Queensland gasfield refugee Brian Monk says, “You don’t live in gasfield. You die in one.”
Thirdly, I think fracking has raised the ire of so many because there is absolutely no need for it. The industry loves to tout energy security as an argument, but this is a complete red herring.
The reality is that fracking requires more energy than it creates – about five times more – and removes enormous quantities of our most precious resource, water, from the hydrological cycle forever.
There is also a global glut of gas, and gas demand across the EU has been falling steadily in recent years. So there can be no justification whatsoever for fracking.
Mining for raw materials, on the other hand, may be seen as justified by some. I mean, how many of us are willing to radically change our lifestyles so all the stuff relying on mining doesn’t need to be produced in the first place?
Try suggesting to people that they can and should live without a mobile phone (those of us who grew up without one survived perfectly well!) and it tends to provoke angry reactions.
Fourthly, the anti-fracking movement – largely grassroots and volunteer-based in nature – has done quite a good job of communicating the issue. Communication is crucial in mobilising people to take action. So often I see other struggles, equally worthy, being poorly communicated.
I think what’s important is that the communication is driven by local communities as much as possible. The corporate media loves to marginalise anti-fracking campaigners, portraying us as ‘environmentalists’, ‘green campaigners’, or worse, as ‘hippies’ and ‘treehuggers’.
In doing so, they give the impression that fracking is a fringe issue not worthy of everyone’s concern, when the complete opposite is true. In reality, the movement is made up of people from every background imaginable, from farmers and small business people to doctors and engineers.
Having communications driven by locals means you are able to capture all the cultural sensitivities too.
Framing our campaign as a struggle against corporate power and corporate-captured governments with ordinary people rising up against the odds also gets more people on board, in my experience. Again, unsurprisingly, the corporate media rarely frames our story this way.
Lastly, you definitely have a wider movement which vilifies the fossil fuel industry, and rightly so, because it exerts so much power over our governments. Other extractivist struggles, on the other hand, tend not to spark as much outrage, I feel.
Perhaps this is because any questioning of the capitalist system, and industrial civilisation as a whole, threatens so many depending on the system, especially NGOs who have far greater resources than grassroots groups to communicate environmental issues.
Shortly after I began researching fracking, I came across a book called ‘The Moneyless Man’ by Mark Boyle. Reading it led me to question industrial civilisation as a whole so, for me, fracking has always been just one part of a systemic problem.
At the heart of this problem lies our sense of separation from nature, a sense that we humans are in control of the earth’s resources and that we have the right to exploit them how we wish, oblivious to the fact that in doing so we are also destroying our only life-support system.
Living with less and challenging the system fuelling this greed and separation from nature has now become the focus of my efforts as a result of learning about fracking and wider environmental struggles.
What do you see as the main obstacles between the human species and a healthier, nature-connected future?
So much to say, but for me three obstacles in particular stand out: materialism, trust in authority and hope. Apologies in advance for what is going to be a lengthy reply.
– Materialism vs spirituality
First and foremost, I believe we need to abandon our material selves. For too long, we have seen ourselves as separate from nature, rather than a part of it. How can we forge a deep connection with nature, realising that all life is sacred, unless we are willing to strip ourselves of material belongings?
In becoming less materially-focused and more spiritual beings, we become less willing to destroy our life-support system, in my experience, as we feel a deeper attachment to nature.
How much do we really need to survive anyway? When you think about it carefully, very little. The only things I need to survive are a roof over my head and enough food.
Since discovering how earth’s precious resources are being raped and plundered and reading Mark Boyle’s book, a must-read for anyone who cares about the environment, I rarely buy anything I don’t need.
Each time I look at things now, I feel a sense of disgust even, wondering where the resources came from to make an item, what environments were polluted, if any slave labour or oppression was involved in its production, and so on.
I’ve also developed a repulsion towards money, choosing to work just enough to ensure my survival. What I’ve learned now is what you need more than anything in life are strong relationships.
Too often I see those involved in environmental struggles – especially in anglophone countries – advocating renewable forms of energy which also involve destroying nature. I find this strange.
Perhaps it is this focus on reducing carbon emissions, rather than a focus on protecting the sacred, protecting all life? Perhaps many are still trapped in the materialist mindset?
The cosmovision shared by Indigenous communities tells us that we are interdependent with one another, that harming any natural resource is harming ourselves. This is the vision I share too, because on a planet of finite resources only a radical shift in our way of thinking, away from the disconnected view of humans as separate from (and often as dominant over) nature, can lead to the profound changes we need to see.
As Babe actor and anti-fracking activist James Cromwell put it succinctly in an interview : “It is time to name the disease. Capitalism is a cancer. And the only way to defeat this cancer is to completely transform our way of living and our way of thinking about ourselves.”
– Trust in authority vs trust in one another
Years of intense campaigning against fracking and free trade agreements has taught me how corrupted by corporate power the entire system has become.
I’ve learned now that genuine solutions to our problems can only ever come from below, not from any authority, and certainly not from any form of government, be it local, regional or national, nor from any multilateral institution, no matter how well-meaning and benevolent that institution may appear on the surface.
The system can also embody the NGO and non-profit sector who, I’ve experienced, will tell you what the problems are but seldom bother to call into question the very structures that create these problems in the first place.
And because the root cause of these problems is never properly addressed, the same problems of exploitation surface time and time again.
To learn just how corrupted our authorities have become by corporate power, I’d advise everyone to invest themselves wholeheartedly in an issue like fracking where the links between a corporate-controlled government, a corporate-controlled media and a corporate-controlled police force fast become apparent.
On learning how corrupt the system is, you should come to the inescapable conclusion that it deserves to be dismantled.
Unfortunately, not everyone does realise this, perhaps because they rely on the system in some way – I don’t know.
For example, I remember being at a conference on free trade in the EU Parliament nearly two years ago listening to an NGO campaigner making a case for reforming the World Trade Organisation. Why would you want to reform an institution that was set up to facilitate corporate power, power which destroys nature?
Calling for institutions to reform is akin to justifying their existence in the first place. Instead, we need to be challenging their very existence and calling for them to be dismantled altogether.
A bit utopian, I know. But as corporate power dictates political policy more and more as corporations pursue ‘the race for what’s left, the global scramble for the world’s last resources’ – to borrow Michael Klare’s book title – it would be illogical to envision a nature-connected future within the confines of the current system.
We have a responsibility right now to challenge the system itself, the structures of authority which hold themselves up as legitimate, which declare themselves as bastions of freedom, democracy and the rule of law, structures which are desperately seeking legitimacy at a time of crumbling empires and dwindling resources.
This obviously includes all multilateral institutions, but also the state. From my involvement in the campaign against EU free trade agreements, or corporate power grabs as I prefer to call them, I’ve seen how the state facilitates corporate power, while dismissing scientific evidence, expert advice and public opinion.
How can we possibly hope to protect nature under such an oppressive, undemocratic system whose servants bow so readily to the will of corporations?
As empires crumble and we veer towards what can only be described as a corporate dystopia, we simultaneously witness authority figures struggling to convince us of their narratives.
Hence the crackdown on alternative media and this ‘fake news’ phenomenon, a phenomenon used by those in power to control what information the awakening masses have the right to access.
As you’ve put it succinctly, all across the world the “’democratic’ gloves are coming off, the ‘news’ is revealing itself to be nothing but desperate propaganda, the ‘freedom’ capitalism claims to deliver is being exposed to one and all as a hollow lie.”
It is more urgent than ever that we stop looking to the system for solutions, stop legitimising all structures of authority and any ‘agreements’ concluded by their ‘leaders’ and, most importantly of all, stop falling for any propaganda trying to convince us that this system in its many guises – capitalism, multilateralism, liberalism, etc. – needs rescuing.
Instead, we need to trust each other and cooperate with each other, rather than compete as this capitalist system conditions us to do. I would recommend everyone read CrimetheInc’s ‘To Change Everything‘ for further inspiration.