“The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” – Jack Kerouac
I don’t want to compete with you. I don’t want to beat you at anything. I don’t want a nicer car, a better job and a nicer house in a nicer neighborhood so I can look down on you. I don’t want to go on luxurious vacations and then tell you about them.
I don’t want to be smarter than you, bigger, stronger, faster or funnier. Least of all richer.
I don’t want to save for the future. I want to live now.
I don’t want to work so much, or so hard. I’m lazy.
I don’t want to fight with you, or anyone, and when others fight it makes me sick.
My only conviction is that you are just like me.
I won’t surrender this, my only conviction. My work, my life depends on it.
If I’m wrong, I’m fucked. And, it seems to me, so are we all.
You tell me you are a capitalist, but I don’t know what you mean. In what sense are you a capitalist? Do you mean you are a follower of capital, an intentional participant in its endless reproduction? Or are you an enthusiastic spectator-fan, or something else?
Participants are a select few, zealous disciples, self-selected for the narrowness of their aims. They are akin to professional athletes in this way. Is that you?
Or perhaps you mean you are an ardent faithful fan. Eagerly watching and cheering those on the field, hoping a dopamine rush will reward your fervor for the contest when your favored participants achieve victory for themselves. Is that what you mean?
Or yet again, maybe you are an acolyte, one of those who keep the things tidy and running smoothly and thus take pride in being one of them whom you serve. Is that who you are?
Perhaps I’ve missed something, so tell me, in what sense are you a capitalist?
"What brought you here?" That's the question Paul Kingsnorth, the "recovering environmentalist" and founder of The Dark Mountain Project encourages participants to answer on a retreat to find a way forward within the ongoing collapse. Brian Calvert, writing about his experience on the retreat in a fine essay for High County News gives the same answer I would. Perhaps you too.
What brought you here? This culture, these takers. My life’s history is tied to their system of plunder and its superstructure: a culture of greed and power; locomotives, interstates and Manifest Destiny; pavement and parking lots; extirpation and extinction; genocide, slavery, racism; combustion, warheads, oligarchs. The takers’ mentality runs through the environmental debate, too, and now we face the prospect of their bright-green vision, a dying world where humans have mastered, godlike, the technologies of dominion: massive solar arrays, geo-engineered shade, gleaming hydroponic cities and sweeping fields of mono-cultured soy — the output of a cultural algorithm that has been running thousands of years, a system of consumption and motion that will do anything to keep its wheels turning. Brain Calvert (HCN July 24, 2017)
We need a new epistemology.
Nothing has to happen and anything is possible.
"Lights", image by Dylar Adddict
After the Future, Franco Birardi (AK Press 2011)
Here is the beginning of an interview with Franco Birardi, from the Vimeo clip below, the entirety of which has been transcribed on the Situationist blog, 10,000 little hammers...
AFTER THE FUTURE
"You know, all along the modern times the myth of the future has been connected to the myth of energy; think about Faust, for instance. This idea that the future is energy: more and more and more. More speed, more strength, more consumption, more things, more violence. Futurism is the point of passage, the final step to full modernity, and futurism is the exaltation of violence, of despising the woman, for instance. The woman is weakness, is senselessness, is feebleness. Everything the modern energy wants to forget about: forget the woman, despise the woman, exalt war, exalt violence, exalt acceleration. This is futurism.
The end of the future
Now futurism has brought the world to this point of total despair. Futurism without future. This is the present reality we are facing and we have to invent something beyond this obsession of the future because the future is over. And saying that the future is over does not mean that tomorrow we will not get up—we will get up—but please, don’t be obsessed about the idea that want more things, more violence, more speed. We want more time to live."
Interview on Vimeo here
about 20 minustes.
Please watch and learn. See if what he says resonates with you. Then get his book and poor through it. The book is certainly dense and theoretical, so do the best you can if you're not used to this type of reading. Perhaps he'll soon put out a more accessible version. I hope so. His message is so important.
"Stop working now. Start living, please." Birardi
A repost from Yonatan Zunger
Science. Politics. Economics. Ethics. Things blowing up. Forgotten history. We’ve got it all!
2 days ago
Trial Balloon for a Coup?
Analyzing the news of the past 24 hours
The theme of this morning’s news updates from Washington is additional clarity emerging, rather than meaningful changes in the field. But this clarity is enough to give us a sense of what we just saw happen, and why it happened the way it did.
I’ll separate what’s below into the raw news reports and analysis; you may also find these two pieces from yesterday (heavily referenced below) to be useful.
(1) Priebus made two public statements today. One is that the ban on Muslims will no longer be applied to green card holders. Notably absent from his statement was anything about people with other types of visa (including long-term ones), or anything about the DHS’ power to unilaterally revoke green cards in bulk.
The other was that the omission of Jews from the statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day was deliberate and is not regretted.
A point of note here is that Priebus is the one making these statements, which is not normally the Chief of Staff’s job. I’ll come back to that below.
(2) Rudy Giuliani told Fox News that the intent of yesterday’s order was very much a ban on Muslims, described in those words, and he was among the people Trump asked how they could find a way to do this legally.
(3) CNN has a detailed story (heavily sourced) about the process by which this ban was created and announced. Notable in this is that the DHS’ lawyers objected to the order, specifically its exclusion of green card holders, as illegal, and also pressed for there to be a grace period so that people currently out of the country wouldn’t be stranded — and they were personally overruled by Bannon and Stephen Miller. Also notable is that career DHS staff, up to and including the head of Customs & Border Patrol, were kept entirely out of the loop until the order was signed.
(4) The Guardian is reporting (heavily sourced) that the “mass resignations”of nearly all senior staff at the State Department on Thursday were not, in fact, resignations, but a purge ordered by the White House. As the diagram below (by Emily Roslin v Praze) shows, this leaves almost nobody in the entire senior staff of the State Department at this point.
The seniormost staff of the Department of State. Blue X’s are unfilled positions; red X’s are positions which were purged. Note that the “filled” positions are not actually confirmed yet. [see graphic on link]
As the Guardian points out, this has an important and likely not accidental effect: it leaves the State Department entirely unstaffed during these critical first weeks, when orders like the Muslim ban (which they would normally resist) are coming down.
The article points out another point worth highlighting: “In the past, the state department has been asked to set up early foreign contacts for an incoming administration. This time however it has been bypassed, and Trump’s immediate circle of Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn, son-in-law Jared Kushner and Reince Priebus are making their own calls.”
(5) On Inauguration Day, Trump apparently filed his candidacy for 2020. Beyond being unusual, this opens up the ability for him to start accepting “campaign contributions” right away. Given that a sizable fraction of the campaign funds from the previous cycle were paid directly to the Trump organization in exchange for building leases, etc., at inflated rates, you can assume that those campaign coffers are a mechanism by which US nationals can easily give cash bribes directly to Trump. Non-US nationals can, of course, continue to use Trump’s hotels and other businesses as a way to funnel money to him.
(6) Finally, I want to highlight a story that many people haven’t noticed. On Wednesday, Reuters reported (in great detail) how 19.5% of Rosneft, Russia’s state oil company, has been sold to parties unknown. This was done through a dizzying array of shell companies, so that the most that can be said with certainty now is that the money “paying” for it was originally loaned out to the shell layers by VTB (the government’s official bank), even though it’s highly unclear who, if anyone, would be paying that loan back; and the recipients have been traced as far as some Cayman Islands shell companies.
Why is this interesting? Because the much-maligned Steele Dossier (the one with the golden showers in it) included the statement that Putin had offered Trump 19% of Rosneft if he became president and removed sanctions. The reason this is so interesting is that the dossier said this in July, and the sale didn’t happen until early December. And 19.5% sounds an awful lot like “19% plus a brokerage commission.”
Conclusive? No. But it raises some very interesting questions for journalists to investigate.
What does this all mean?
Continue reading here
Business Insider January 29, 2017