We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Monday, January 9, 2017
WATCH: Salmon Confidential [or capitalists versus the environment]
(On a personal note, I was particularly interested in this film because of one experience I had in 2005 while riding my bike with a cycling club across northern British Columbia from Prince Rupert to Prince George. At one place where we stopped to rest I noticed some people who were taking samples in a nearby stream and recording data. While talking to them, I learned, based on their data, that almost all of the salmon where pink salmon and very little consisted of Chinook, socket, and coho salmon. I was shocked. I never learned why there were such an abundance of pink salmon.)
The film reports on the struggle of scientists to warn the Canadian government about the disastrous impacts of corporate salmon farms on wild salmon. This struggle illustrates so much about the attack on truth when truth affects the profits of the ruling capitalist class far beyond merely fish wildlife.
The scientific method of obtaining truth was a gift from many persecuted individuals in search of truth during what became known as the Age of Enlightenment. Science as a disciplined method of obtaining truth used evidence and reason. Ruling classes hate truth whenever it clashes with their interests, and science indeed challenged the authority of the Catholic church which was a major ideological support for the rule of feudal authorities consisting of monarchs, aristocracies, as well as the Catholic church.
The early capitalist classes used their discoveries about the world of nature to increase their profits in enterprises. They then challenged the feudal authorities and eventually took control from them to establish new political forms of states and top-down bureaucratic governments. These new capitalist controlled governments gave capitalists exclusive control over productive enterprises in the form of "ownership" rights which included such rights as exclusive control over management, ownership of all inventions and patentable ideas created by workers on the premises of their enterprises, control of all profits, and exclusive rights to sell such properties and benefit from the sales. This inevitably evolved into what we have today: transnational corporations who command more resources and political power than most states of the world, and have taken control of nearly all governments including Canada and the US.
Nowadays we are again witnessing the clash of scientific and other truths reported by scientists, journalists, and other keen observers who are being suppressed (and again being persecuted, but in modern ways such as taking away their employment opportunities) by ruling capitalist authorities whose operations are increasingly being threatened by the truth. Thus we see almost daily reports of government authorities trying to avoid the truth from reports by independent scientists that indicate that the relatively cheap fossil fuels that capitalist use in their profitable enterprises are creating many disastrous effects on the Earth's ecosystem. We see daily reports in major media that lie and cover up reports by independent journalists and other honest observers about how major capitalist governments are promoting wars to capture resources and markets from other countries to benefit their corporations.
This film, which is about the disease-spreading factory fish farms that capitalists find so profitable, provides a perfect illustration of how governments and other capitalist authorities, in general, go to such great lengths to suppress truthful information. (If you don't have time to watch the entire film, I recommend watching the segment from 27:12m to about 35:00m.)