Extinction Rebellion (October 2019)

20/12/19:

Belgium, Brussels: XR – spectacle of sound and neither enlightenment nor fury, but signifiying nothing

12/10/19:

Protests throughout world, though totally lacking in any perspective other than trying to influence the destroyers of the planet not to destroy it  The “Midas Touch” which capitalism has long seen as something positive, in its over 3000-year-old myth was considered as a warning to those who would turn everything into gold, as the king even turned food into inedible gold and eventually turned his son into gold, finally dying of starvation. This is  something that capital is increasingly realising for an increasing majority of people – it’s in the nature of political economy, the power to transform everything into a commodity (already 22,000 kids worldwide die each day because of malnutrition and easily curable diseases, because of  their need for money which they don’t have). Without a vision of destroying commodified social relations, of destroying the need for money through the expropriation of the expropriators, extermination rebellion will break on the rocks of its contradictions. See  below.

3/10/19:

UK, London: Extinction Rebellion  try to cover Treasury with fake blood but bloody themselves (video)

Better targeted spraypaint: graffiti  on cinema mid- 1970s

Re. Extinction Rebellion, see this (from 15/4/19) interesting initiative – an alternative to Extinction Rebellion’s jail-fodder actions Our main route consisted of visiting and blockading various locations with functional significance for capital and resource transactions in London – the Stock Exchange, the Bank of England and the Metal Exchange. Along the tour we also stopped off at other points of interest – banks, courts, the church of Scientology – either chosen by particular comrades in the moment, or by the police who, due to not having any idea of our plans, kept running to protect buildings we hadn’t previously considered trying to get into. The flyer they produced for their march-cum-blockade, however, is a typical lowest common denominator of correct line anti-capitalism, coming from the eclectic  mix of its members,  which doesn’t even begin to try to confront the contradictions of ecological ideologies and movements – perhaps for fear of being unpopular. More about them here. Meawhile, this shows clearly the capitalist nature of the leadership of Extinction Rebellion.  And this shows how their phoney legal advisers are a danger to anybody getting arrested on their arrest-fodder demos. And this is a good critique of the Green New Deal. See also “Extinction Rebellion: Not the Struggle we Need”.

Should also be pointed out that claiming some historical lineage with the Suffragettes’ apparent non-violence is a lie. The Suffragettes were often  “violent ” in society’s terms (ie against things; from the point of view of capital people are mere profane commodities, whilst  property is sacred), and took some very daring initiatives against mainstream culture: “What’s largely forgotten is the excellent violence of the women against private property and against aspects of culture and religion in this movement: Mary Richardson herself was imprisoned in October 1913 for burning down an unoccupied house, and was, with another woman, the first woman forcibly fed under the Cat and Mouse Act against hunger strikers. In 1914, in the seven months before the outbreak of a very convenient war: 3 Scottish castles were destroyed by fire on a single night; the Carnegie Library in Birmingham was burnt; Romney’s “Master Thornhill” in the Birmingham Art Gallery was slashed by Bertha Ryland, daughter of an early suffragist; Carlyle’s portrait of Millais in the National Gallery and a number of other pictures were attacked, a Bartolozzi drawing in the Doré Gallery completely ruined; many large empty houses in all parts of the country were set on fire, including Redlynch House, where the damage was estimated at £40,000 – no precise calculations here – but certainly well over a million quid in today’s money, possibly over £3m. Railway stations, piers, sports pavilions, haystacks were set on fire. A bomb exploded in Westminster Abbey and in St George’s church where a famous stained-glass window was damaged. There were two explosions in St.John’s, Westminster and one in St Martin in the Fields, and one in Spurgeon’s Tabernacle. The ancient Breadsall Church and the ancient Wargrave Church were destroyed. As far as we know, nobody was hurt in these explosions and arson attacks. The Albert Hall organ was flooded, causing £2000 worth of damage….” (here).

suffragette burning of northfield

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

4 Responses to Extinction Rebellion (October 2019)
  1. This looks critique of XR interesting |(though I haven’t read it all): http://libcom.org/blog/xr-pt-2-31102019

  2. Early climate models successfully predicted global warming – https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00243-w

    But it was inconvenient for the “leaders” of the humans to pay attention when it would have been a billion times easier.

    We could at least have some final self-respect if, before we went down, we took good and proper revenge against the ones who have led us to this precipice (the combined elites of political economy and especially the ones – Trump, Bolsonaro, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and the others – who are pushing us over the edge now we are on it) and burnt to a crisp the lot of them and those close to them who would not denounce them along with everything they valued. The present rulers are unlikely to oblige us as Ashurbanipal II’s brother, Shamash-shum-ukin, in Babylon at the end of the “Brother’s War”, or the last Assyrian king to reign from Nineveh, Sin-shar-iskun, did. Burning does seem appropriate, since the rest of us are getting burnt both metaphorically, and soon literally. Bonfire of the human vanities! – to think they, part of nature themselves (admittedly the most alienated part), could dominate nature!

  3. According to this:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/12/these-three-post-brexit-bills-bulldoze-a-hole-through-environmental-protections
    Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s government is – surprise surprise – accelerating environmental destruction post-Brexit.

    But what’s interesting is that his Minister of State for the Environment is the racist bourgeois Zac Goldsmith, editor of The Ecologist from 1998 to 2007. Even as editor this guy was a high-up in the Tory party – he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Quality of Life Policy Group in 2005, whilst still editor of his uncle’s – Teddy Goldsmith’s – recuperative rag. Undoubtedly ecologists of the right or the left have some insights, but insights can easily be used to manipulate people and intensify their misery further. It remains to be seen how he’ll use the insights accumulated as editor of The Ecologist in order to portray what looks like an intensification of environmental catastrophe by the UK’s government as a genuine attempt to reform ecological horror (probably by making the poor pay even more, dressing it all up in nice solar energy panels and even greater increases on fuel taxes, expensive forced house insulation etc.).

    A few words about the UK’s Minister of the Environment’s deceased uncle, Teddy Goldsmith, the founder of The Ecologist:

    Teddy Goldsmith wrote positive things about, and associated with, obviously elitist right-wing scum like Alain de Benoist ( the leader of the ethno-nationalist think tank GRECE), part of the European New Right. He even accepted the French state’s Legion d’Honneur, not something given to anybody who even slightly threatens this society.

    He often referred to traditional tribal societies as his model. “The basic principle of government in a traditional society is that it requires no institutions, save perhaps an informal Council of Elders. Australian aboriginal societies have been referred to as gerontocracies, or government by the old men. In my opinion it
    would be more appropriate to refer to them as necrocracies, or government by the dead.”
    , he wrote. This infuses such societies with metaphysical paeans to well-intentioned and enlightened Elders who are supposed to interpret “natural “law. In other words, a banal justification for institutionalized hierarchy, regardless of how allegedly informal it’s supposed to be. Such a proposal for a simpler method of social stability(ie social control) tied to some religious veneration of “nature” is a gentler, kinder window dressing for a class-based culture, where everyone knows their proper place and doesn’t rock the boat. No amount of living well with the natural world or hyper-environmentalism can hide the fact that it’s greenwashed authoritarianism.

    A far-too-dominant take on history and the present is to use the past in an uncritical manner – as if we need or could go back to an idyllic past, cherry-picking the good bits, remaining blind to the bad. Tribal societies weren’t invariably the utopia that’s often convenient to paint them as. It largely depended on the part of the world you lived in, the climate, the soil, food availability etc., as well as choices – some tribes were very violent towards other tribes in the competition for scarce resources. The relation to nature almost invariably meant a very strict division of labour between men and women, for instance. And nature became a god because it seemed impossible for human beings to centre their lives on human relations and human consciousness – that is, nature was a genuine external authority ruling over people, but not something that – as Goldsmith does – should be accepted as positive and inevitable for a healthy relation to nature. It’s not of course that we have to submit to the commodified version of “controlling” nature (which, as we very obviously know through the current ecological horrors looming, is no control at all) – but transforming humanity’s relation to nature doesn’t necessarily involve the pseudo-rationality of science and the commodity form. There are constant methods of modifying our relation to nature that are based on recognising basic laws of nature, and ecological forms of agriculture are not necessarily the only ones.

    Whilst we can find out facts and even some insights from professional ecologists of all kinds, we should be highly vigilant of their miserable contribution to dominant recuperation which is no longer even superficially “benignly” reformist. How ruling ideology and the state aim to confuse those potentially opposing capitalist catastrophe by voicing ideas they already have and making them think that there are some bastards at the top who understand and support them is something we should all keep a very critical eye out for.

    For some left-liberal criticism of Goldsmith and his milieu, see this: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/...

    and this: books.google.fr/books?id=N5KoDQAAQBAJ&p…

  4. Some other aspects of ecological critique:

    Critiques of ecology originally developed from such people as the Romantics (Blake, Wordsworth, etc.), Thoreau in the US and the elitist intellectual Ruskin all the way through to Josef Weber and Bookchin – and some of them at least had a revolutionary notion of the practical overthrow of capitalism (however partly tarnished by traditional aspects of marxism).

    However, one could say that sometimes Marx himself was something of a “primitivist” . From Capital Vol. I:

    “Capitalist production collects the population together in great centres, and causes the urban population to achieve an ever-greater preponderance. This has two results. On the one hand it concentrates the historical motive force of society; on the other hand, it disturbs the metabolic interaction between man and the earth, i.e. it prevents the return to the soil of its constituent elements consumed by man in the form of food and clothing; hence it hinders the operation of the eternal natural condition for the lasting fertility of the soil…. But by destroying the circumstances surrounding this metabolism…it compels its systematic restoration as a regulative law of social production, and in a form adequate to the full development of the human race…. All progress in capitalist agriculture is a progress in the art, not only of robbing the worker, but of robbing the soil; all progress in increasing the fertility of the soil for a given time is progress towards ruining the more long-lasting sources of that fertility…. Capitalist production, therefore, only develops the technique and the degree of combination of the social process of production by simultaneously undermining the original sources of all wealth—the soil and the worker.”

    And this, written by a marxist involved in Movement for a Democracy of Content in 1950, precedes Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” by 12 years: “The higher the productive forces are developed and, under the domination of capital, increasingly put to the service of aims of destruction, the more rapidly are the natural sources of wealth exhausted. As long as the profit motive determines economy, the celebrated control of nature on the basis of science remains problematical in the highest degree and produces innumerable “unforeseen” effects. Reckless exhaustion of agricultural soil; despoliation of forests, altering watersheds, the courses of rivers, the water table and both the quantity and effect of precipitations; extermination of fauna on the one hand and overgrazing of pasture land by domestic herds on the other — all this denudes the land of its natural protection against being washed and blown away by floods and winds (so-called erosion or “land cancer”), the extent of which has of late evoked loud Cassandra cries on the part of “experts.”

    A further malignant effect of bad agricultural methods used for profit extraction is the predominant or exclusive use of artificial fertilizer which reduces the nutritional value of the foodstuffs produced (including fodder and the slaughter stock fed on it which is in addition often bred at an artificially rapid tempo). To this must be added the contamination, dangerous to life, of rivers and coasts through the excessive discharge of industrial refuse (including many chemicals), urban dirt and human excrement urgently needed on the land. It must be regarded as certain that all these factors, but especially the one-sided use of chemical fertilizers, are responsible for the appalling increase of heart maladies (disturbances of the circulation), of cancer and other modern plagues which must be considered in the strictest sense of the word as production diseases. Chemistry cannot replace Nature and the natural processes. In this way does violation of the law already expressed by Justus von Liebig as a warning — Man must return to Nature what he takes from her — avenge itself. “ – here: http://www.bopsecrets.org/CF/weber.htm

    And, lest anyone easily categorises these things as primitivist, I should point out that I co-wrote this about Zerzan and anarcho-primitivism about 20 years ago: “Zerzan provides, for those who don’t want to think for themselves, a semi-religious ‘answer’ to our present plight; but just as he has idealised, and lied about, pre-class societies dominated by an inhuman nature as some kind of Garden of Eden, so his Future Primitive built on the graveyard of half the world’s population is more likely to be some kind of Mad Max each-against-all scramble for survival than the wonderful wild world freed from the chains of technology that is his utopia. The hypocrisy of his position is blatant: technology has to be smashed but it’s fine to regularly broadcast his message on American radio and even sometimes TV. This is not the same kind of contradiction, forced on all of us, as, say, the desire to abolish money and yet having to use it in this society: a spectacular use of technology has to be opposed even by those who can recognise that there might be some use for TV and radio (as technology but not in its monologuing form and ideological content) as a mediation for genuine global communication in the possible post-revolutionary society.
    A pretty good dismantling of much of Zerzan’s “facts” is provided in the text by En Attendant, “John Zerzan and The Primitive Confusion” ( http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/alain-c-john-zerzan-and-the-primitive-confusion ) which is, nevertheless, over-rationalist and has a very French take on the American hippies…”
    http://dialectical-delinquents.com/war-politics/you-make-plans-we-make-history/

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