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 LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, April 24, 2020

Posts that I especially recommend and a commentary for today: Friday, April 24, 2020

My commentary after viewing the film entitled Planet of the Humans last night: (Editing for greater clarification was made at 8:56 PM CT.)

Basically, Jeff Gibbs concludes that humans are doomed, and he cites three explanations to account for this: 1) We humans cannot and have not faced the fact that we are like all other creatures and life forms--we are only temporary. Although in an unequal fashion we have excelled in controlling the environment to serve the needs of certain humans, this led to the second problem. 2) Our population has skyrocketed during the past few centuries that has caused the contamination of the Earth's ecosystem. 3) The profit system or capitalism has driven us to produce all kinds of stuff that is overwhelming the Earth's ecosystem. In the final moments of the film he circles back to the first theme. 

What ties these themes together is the attack of the Green Movement and their outlandish promises of solving the obviously developing degradation of the environment and, most especially, global warming.

The attack on the obvious failings of the Green Movement provides a variety of thinkers (Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Rockefeller Foundation, liberals like Michael Moore, anti-capitalists, and followers of Cory Morningstar and Wrong Kind of Green website) reasons to support the film. The Green Movement has promoted fake solutions that have helped to convince people that solar power, wind power, and the burning of biomass could save us. In the film these are revealed as nothing less than foolhardy solutions. Gibbs exaggerates this argument in order to thoroughly demolish the Green's proposals. He makes them look ridiculous. This is not entirely the case, but the outlandish promises made by the Green Movement led to this attack. The problem was the ruling capitalist class.

Although Gibbs does not make this explicitly clear, the Green Movement was corrupted by capitalists who infiltrated this movement in order to integrate it with their primary interests of profit and power. He is right in his belief that other humans needed to sustain their false belief in their immortality and rather easily succumbed to the enticements offered by the capitalist ruling classes. But who continued supporting religions in spite of man-made science that was uncovering the secrets of nature? Capitalist ruling classes. Like all ruling classes they soon learned the benefits of co-opting and modified them so that the Greens didn't interfere in their quest for power--the domination of others who would serve their needs of material comforts.

The capitalist class has always put their faith in the accumulation of wealth after discovering that wealth gave them power to dominate others. This faith was strengthened after discovering that they could use science to accumulate even greater wealth. However, capitalists also were disturbed by this existential problem of their mortality, so they turned to the solution offered by the feudal ruling class that they replaced--inheritance laws in which the accumulation of wealth and power in their families could be reproduced indefinitely in their descendants. This gave them a sense of immortality which most humans crave. Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Britain, expressed this succinctly when she said that there was no such thing as society, only families.

As a critique of the Green Movement it succeeds, but it fails as an ultimate explanation for the growing recognition of our demise as humans. It satisfies capitalists in that it legitimatizes efforts to reduce global populations (but not theirs); it satisfies anti-capitalists as a critique of capitalism, and lastly the film satisfies those (mostly religious figures) who see human weakness (self-fulfilling argument) as the real cause of the extinction of humans. But could this failure be necessary in order to obtain the funding and support necessary to finance the film from such a variety of sources?
  • Capitalism and the Illusion of Democracy by Rob Urie from CounterPunch. (Note: Although the author makes some good points about "democratic" elections, he employs the term "state capitalism" to describe the present system in the USA and the Empire. What does this term mean? He doesn't define it. Might it mean by inference that the oligarchy controls the government? And further, could he by implication be arguing for small capitalism that existed 150 years ago? If so, this is a silly argument. Capitalism always develops by consolidating wealth and power in ever greater concentrations.)
  •  Earth Day, Live Hope Presentation 2020 featuring Guy McPherson (via YouTube) building his argument that we are on the edge of abrupt climate change and global dimming, he reviews many scientific studies. Along the way he also explains the concept of "global dimming" in which reduced industrial activity results in even more global warming. McPherson elucidates this topic in the context of an opportunity to fully appreciate life in the current moment.