(sligtly edited post on certain email list)
The world is a teamwork. While I fully agree and share your frustration about people who do not really address core problems (humanity’s extractionst attitude towards nature), they are still doing pretty good job, addressing technicalities. What I learned while working with hackers is that if you are able to filter out one’s simplistic political concepts and focus on technical solutions, you are rewarded with a wealth of resources and ideas that still can be used or adopted.
Challenging basic social and political paradigms we were raised within is probably the hardest thing in one’s life. People who are bright and empathetic enough to see certain wrongness around them, but too involved to trash their comfort zone and turn street warriors are still closer to us than to our enemies. And they contribute.
I hope we share the opinion that climate change has political roots and the solution has to be political as well.
We have all technologies already in place. We know that the cost of implementing them is mainly political — lowering the standard of living for those already privileged. We know that the accounting system, showing immense costs and losses associated with the civilization change is using imaginary money and is rigged from the very beginning — so there is no problem to re-rig it for our purpose.
We know that people who own power (in every meaning of this verb) do not really care about the world, as long as they have technocrats to provide safe enclaves for them and their minions.
No amount of technology, no amount of reasoning may change — en masse — the minds of rulers. Only a real threat, a threat they cannot remove by ways of social engineering nor by sheer force — privately or through the state structures — may change their behavior.
In popular thinking such challenge is depicted as a massive riot — something Baltimore-like, only at a scale impossible to manage. That is certainly a way. But not my favourite one.
If we really want to challenge our rulers in a peaceful way, we have some very good examples to follow. From the Diggers (English and Californian ones), through Czechoslovakian idea of Parallel Polis, to contemporary praxis of EZLN and Rojava. By creating vernacular political spaces, by linking them to get synergy and self-defence capability, by proving that the change of civilisation course is possible, we can falsify the fundamental lie of our rulers: “There is no alternative”. And then we may trigger wide movement to put pressure on them. No riots are needed (at least until the adversaries resolve to use the violence).
This is the real challenge for the people who keep pondering over imminent doom of THE civilisation: to accept the fact it is the doom of A civilisation — and we are able to make another. So, re-civ, not un-civ; re-growth, not de-growth.
During the Hamburg conference, Havin Guneser, telling us about Rojava ideology, said:
We need to return the moral and political aspects back to the
society. Intellectualism has been restricted mostly to the
universities; it needs to be returned to all of us. Morals has been
replaced by positive law. Politics on the other hand has been brought
to an almost stand-still under the administration of nation-state
bureaucracy underneath the disguise of parliamentarism.
Thus, in order to be able to stop the perpetuation of capital and
power accumulation as well as the reproduction of hierarchy there is
a need to create structures of democratic confederalism―that is a
democratic, ecological and gender-liberated society.
And the best part of it is: we have all tools at hand. It is just the political will what we need to do it. It is just a contribution from alternative technology freaks. It is just what Buckminster Fuller recommended:
You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model
This is what all our ideological ancestors tried to do. And if we want to leave anything for generations to come (yes, I know, we shall be extinct in 30 years, thank you for cheering me up), we shall follow their path. Led only by hope, as John Holloway said in Hamburg:
We do not know. We know that the first approach (the apparently
realistic one) does not work, but that does not mean that the second
approach does work. We know too that the second approach is
inevitably contradictory, that there is no purity here. We fight by
weaving a different world, in many different ways. These are weavings
that are taking place in all the world, weavings that are constantly
threatened by capital, frequently crushed by capital, constantly
taken up again by us. The weaving in this AudiMax [auditorium] over
the last three days is one small, but I hope significant example.
There is no model, there are no rules as to how it should be done.
But there are outstanding examples, examples that light up the dark,
depressing sky, examples that inspire us with their strength and
beauty. The Zapatista struggle is one glorious example of this. The
Kurdish struggle, with all its creative beauty that we have been
hearing about, is another.
The world is a teamwork. Let’s get to it.
San Francisco Diggers:
Parallel Polis – a peculiar case of virtual resurrection
Hamburg Conference speeches:
Amargi.PL forum — volunteers to reconstruct Rojava:
25 years ago, when I was still pretty young, Poland joined “international family of democratic nations”, officially quitting “real socialism” aka “communism”.
The world looked simple these days. Our enemies were those, who tried to stop us from making this transition; our friends — those who were supporting it. While we all expected to become free, beautiful and wealthy in no time at all, frankly, almost ANY change would be a change for better.
Besides, from our friends (see definition above) we have heard so many words of appreciation, so many oaths of friendship and so many promises, that no one in his wits would doubt it was the greatest idea of the century.
25 years later we are not quite sure about it. Nice words are still sometimes spoken, especially when big friends want something from us. More often we are reminded of obligations — financial and other. And always a mantra is repeated: “there is no alternative” — which, by the way, also seems to be less and less true (watch Greece).
One thing I learned about politics during these 25 years is: if you look for friends, look among real people. No state, no government, no international organization CAN be one’s friend. They simply are not “wired” for it. Ordinary people, unless they pretend to speak for the whole nation, may be friends, and a good ones. But then, their power is highly limited (yes, we are working on that).
States, governments and international bodies MAY be allies, but it is always temporary and conditional. The permanent goal of every state is to survive and to keep their population under control. Everything else is secondary. 25 years ago, bringing Poland and other countries into the sphere of influence of the West was vital for the global powers. Today, priorities are somewhere else — perhaps more related to China.
Now, to my Kurdish friends who — like I was 25 years ago — are so full of hope and so ready to accept nice words at their face value, I dedicate two very important movies, directed by Adam Curtis, that I saw recently. Both movies are available online, with English subtitles for better understanding.
“The Century of the Self” (available on torrents) is a story about the science of “engineered democratic consensus” aka “social engineering”, aka public relation. How and why it emerged, how it is used by the business and how by the state. If you want to learn more, you just look on YouTube for anything by Noam Chomsky.
Specifically on the history of relationship between USA and Saudi Arabia, including history of the project “to transform Afghanistan into a democratic, Western style state” — and of the origins of ISIS, tells us another movie, “Bitter Lake“, also available online.
Seeing these two pieces will bring you more understanding of Western societies, their past and present and of certain things that sometimes seem like they make no sense…
My freegan Sony Vaio started dying already in Hamburg. New power supply helped for a while, but then situaton deteriorated rapidly. The machine stopped “seeing” power supply and — after depleting the battery — went finally cold dead. Just after a very interesting discussion in Maastricht.
Yesterday I was at the Chaos Computer Club in Cologne. Friendly hackers hepled me to make initial diagnosis. It seems the the reason is a power control circuit in the laptop. If this is the case, it is beyond repair. Continue reading The death of the laptop
Applied History looks at the past not as a curiosity to be admired behind the glass of museum cases, nor as a way of showing the gradual evolution towards the present. It regards the past as a source of key indicators of how we should progress towards the future. George Santayana’s iconic quote holds true: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’
This is the blog you should all read and understand. This gentleman (and a scholar!) is better historian and better writer than I will ever be. His only drawback is that he is not an anarchopositivist – but this may cure with time.
Meanwhile – enjoy!
There is a new project, that sprouted from one FB group.
people who showed interest in setting up a series of co-op owned communities in Portugal, within a cycle-able distance of each other. This movement would be a concentrated effort to inhabit a country with a dwindling population,as opposed to various isolated attempts in random parts of the country where isolation seems to be a major problem.Rougly aimed at a 2 year timeframe to plan and save about 2k per person for land and tools.
July 24, 2014 at 11:58 pm
I am a travelling storyteller of sorts and, as such, I often utilise existing myths to convey certain messages to my audience. My favourite source of inspiration is the vault of Speculative Fiction, which I consider a living think tank for the myths. I have just started reading your articles here and I am far from joining the discussion yet. But I really agree with the general notion that we need a new “myth ecosystem”. If you ever have any appearance in Europe, I will be happy to attend.
Contempt and hatred, when directed towards other beings, are unacceptable. This is the only single thing I am willing to request from anybody who would like to join FreeLab, that — by default — one respects and likes other sentient (and non-sentient, if we are at that) creatures.
It does not mean blind acceptance of everyone. It doesn’t mean indifference in the face of evil. It doesn’t mean passivity in the face of wrongdoers.
It means that one values every other person as an unique, precious and equal gem of life. And takes it into account in every decision, every action.
Such is my hope. Such is my request to myself and to all my friends. Let’s try.
For years I’ve been learning about Israelis/Palestinians fighting each other. About mutual atrocities. About pain, grief and revenge thirst.
I had no words, no ideas, no sensible opinion to present. I only knew that I do not want to join ANY side of this insane pit fight.
Now, after recent developments in Gaza; after watching the disaster in Ukraine; after some more readings and discussions; after finding out that there are people like Gideon Levy or Gaza Youth Breaks Out (GYBO) – I got to the firm opinion about that all bloody mess. And I think it applies not just to the Israeli/Palestinian clash. The very same I can say about the “civil” war in Ukraine; about Afghanistan; about Latin America suffering from US-driven “war on drugs”; about Egypt, Libya, Western Sahara…
Continue reading WAR ON WAR!