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Protest, violence, class

Protest, violence, class

Another month, another Extinction Rebellion protest, another crop of articles excoriating XR for being too disruptive and anti-capitalist, or not disruptive and anti-capitalist enough, or for not laying the blame on China, or whatever. I don’t particularly feel the need to appoint myself to the defence, but I was interested in this ROAR article by Peter Gelderloos, which raises some points of wider interest to me that I hope to develop further in my next post where I’ll attempt to relate them more directly to my micro-niche of small scale farming. In this one, I’ll restrict myself to a few remarks about his article.

The piece mostly isn’t about XR, but involves a critique of a paper that influenced its strategies and that claims to show that nonviolent forms of activism are more effective than violent alternatives. So far as I can tell, Gelderloos’s criticisms are plausible. He argues instead for a diversity of tactics – including violence – to achieve political goals.

Although embracing political violence scares some liberal hares, I find myself in Gelderloos’s camp here as a matter of overarching principle. Yes, in some circumstances I think political violence is justified – a position that surely can’t be too controversial across the political spectrum given the various insurgencies and counterinsurgencies fostered by governments in Britain, the USA and other countries in recent times, with minimal public opposition. Hell, there are even distinguished Stanford history professors writing books enthusing about the benefits of war.

But the context in which one chooses violence surely matters. If indigenous people organize against an oil industry construction project on their land and meet the violence of the project operatives with their own resistant violence, then I find it easy to endorse their activism.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Rob Hopkins reviews ‘Human Kind: A Hopeful History’ by Rutger Bregman

Rob Hopkins reviews ‘Human Kind: A Hopeful History’ by Rutger Bregman

So many times, in conversations with friends reflecting on things we see happening in the world, someone will say “well, basically we’re all shit aren’t we?” Or “human beings are basically vile aren’t they?” Or words to that effect. This belief in a selfish, destructive, greedy, violent core to our being is deeply pervasive and underpins so many of the systems that are proving so damaging to the world. Rutger Bregman’s new book, ‘Human Kind’, turns that toxic nonsense on its head and argues that, in essence, “most people, deep down, are decent”, and that the world would be a very different place if we were to recognise that. It may be one of the most important books you will ever read.

Bregman writes, “if we believe most people can’t be trusted, that’s how we’ll treat each other, to everyone’s detriment. Few ideas have as much power to shape the world as our view of other people. Because, ultimately, you get what you expect to get. If we want to tackle the greatest challenges of our times – from the climate crisis to our growing distrust of one another – then I think the place we need to start is our view of human nature”.

Bregman begins by revisiting all of the ‘scientific’ research and works of fiction that we have been continually told shows that we are, essentially, selfish and horrible, and looks at it with fresh eyes. ‘Lord of the Flies’? Most UK-based readers of this will have studied this book in school, a book that shows how, when left to their own devices, kids turn on each other and act out the worst impulses of adult society.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Twitter Censors Trump For “Threat Of Harm”, Has No Problem With Threats To Bomb Foreigners

Twitter Censors Trump For “Threat Of Harm”, Has No Problem With Threats To Bomb Foreigners

Twitter has censored a post by the president of the United States, this time for “a threat of harm against an identifiable group.” This despite the fact that this president routinely uses the popular social media platform to threaten to drop explosives on people in other countries without interference.

“We’ve placed a public interest notice on this Tweet for violating our policy against abusive behavior, specifically, the presence of a threat of harm against an identifiable group,” Twitter stated on the platform. “Per our policies, this Tweet will remain on the service given its relevance to ongoing public conversation. Engagements with the Tweet will be limited. People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but not Like, Reply, or Retweet it.”

“There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President,” Trump’s censored tweet reads. “If they try they will be met with serious force!”

The post now shows up on the president’s timeline like this:

I’ve been writing all month about the brutal authoritarian crackdown America’s militarized police state has been inflicting upon US protesters who’ve been demonstrating against police brutality these last few weeks, so obviously I object to the threat of further force upon these same protesters by this same armed goon patrol. But Twitter did not censor Trump’s tweet because of any “threat of harm against an identifiable group.”

Know how I know? Because Twitter has been allowing Trump to make far more deadly threats throughout his entire administration.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Police Infiltrating Protests

Police Infiltrating Protests

Video Player00:0001:18

In the Hague protests, here is a video showing that the police are pretending to be protesters and aggravating the protest to increase its violence. This clearly shows that the police are not there for the people, but still to protect the state against the people. Here, they dragged a boy; the crowd began to chase them, and they ran back to their police van. Some believe they are doing this to justify further lockdowns using police to make things appear more violent.

Increased Violence Reflects an Energy Problem

Increased Violence Reflects an Energy Problem

Why are we seeing so much violence recently? One explanation is that people are sympathizing with those in the Minneapolis area who are upset at the death of George Floyd. They believe that a white cop used excessive force in subduing Floyd, leading to his death.

I believe that there is a much deeper story involved. As I wrote in my recent post, Understanding Our Pandemic – Economy Predicamentthe problem we are facing is too many people relative to resources, particularly energy resources. This leads to a condition sometimes referred to as “overshoot and collapse.” The economy grows for a while, may stabilize for a time, and then heads in a downward direction, essentially because energy consumption per capita falls too low.

Strangely enough, this energy crisis looks like a crisis of affordability. The young and the poor, especially, cannot afford to buy goods and services that they need, such as a home in which to raise their children and a vehicle to drive. Trying to do so leaves them with excessive debt. If the affordability problem changes for the worse, the young and the poor are likely to protest. In fact, these protests may become violent. 

The pandemic tends to make the affordability problem worse for minorities and young people because they are disproportionately affected by job losses associated with lockdowns. In many cases, the poor catch COVID-19 more frequently because they live and/or work in crowded conditions where the disease spreads easily. In the US, blacks seem to be especially hard hit, both by COVID-19 and through the loss of jobs. These issues, plus the availability of guns, makes the situation particularly explosive in the US.

Let me explain these issues further.

[1] Energy is required for all aspects of the economy.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Social Contract Between Government and People Is Unraveling – Quicktake

The Social Contract Between Government and People Is Unraveling – Quicktake

Numbers, budgets, charts and graphs about government finances. That’s what we do here. We try to understand where public money should be spent and what it accomplishes.

Through that lens, it’s difficult to know where to begin on what has befallen the Chicago area and most of the country.

For now, this simple observation seems paramount: The most fundamental element of the social contract between government and the people is cracking. That’s the obligation of government to keep its citizens safe. For that, we surrender a portion of of our freedom and wealth to government for the collective good.

Thomas Hobbes

That arrangement has been recognized as a foundational philosophy of civil society since Thomas Hobbes articulated it over 300 years ago.

Citizens expect government to protect them from rioting and looting just as they expect it to protect their lives and adhere to to a civil process when being arrested. Both expectations are now broken.

“The sight of looters and arsonists pillaging stores at will has shaken the confidence of many that law enforcement is capable of maintaining the peace. It has also tainted the very real grief felt over the tragic loss of life.” That’s not from a source that’s unsympathetic to George Floyd or protesters. It’s from an editorial in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

What will be the consequences breaking the social contract? Speculate if you want, but know that it may extend far beyond George Floyd’s murder and the resulting violence.

The Crisis in Catalonia & What I Saw in Our Neighborhood in Barcelona

The Crisis in Catalonia & What I Saw in Our Neighborhood in Barcelona

As separatist region is rocked by violence, businesses sound alarm.

Two of Catalonia’s biggest business associations, Foment de Treball and Pimec, have called for calm and dialogue after ten days of non-stop political and civil unrest in the separatist region of Spain. At a gathering of almost 450 Catalan business people and executives on Wednesday, the two associations called for a political solution to what they described as “the grave conflict we are living through in Catalonia,” a region that is riven down the middle by the question of independence.

A key passage in the event’s joint manifesto hinted at why the crisis shows no sign of abating: “It is the responsibility of politicians, and not the justice system,” to find an “effective and decisive” solution to this conflict. Unfortunately, political dialogue and negotiation have been sorely lacking in relations between Barcelona and Madrid for a number of years. And there’s little sign of that changing. 

As general elections approach, Spain’s main political parties, with the notable exception of the left-wing Podemos, are hardening their stance toward the Catalan separatists. For its part, the separatist government in Barcelona is doubling down on its calls for independence. If the elections on November 10 deliver enough votes for the triumvirate of Spain’s right-wing parties (the People’s Party, Cuidadanos and the far-right Vox, whose support appears to be growing) to form a coalition, they will crack down even harder on Catalan nationalism, which is likely to fuel even stronger pro-independence sentiment in the region.

A little more than two years have passed since more than two million people in Catalonia voted in a banned referendum to leave Spain. On that day, the separatists were given a harsh lesson in the raw power of state violence.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

America Is Not Going To Be A Free And Open Society Any Longer

America Is Not Going To Be A Free And Open Society Any Longer

Whenever a tragic act of violence makes national headlines, the calls to give up more of our freedoms and liberties in exchange for the promise of increased security become deafening.  But if we take another step toward becoming an authoritarian society every time something horrible happens, eventually we won’t have any of the basic liberties and freedoms that previous generations of Americans fought so hard to secure for us.  Unfortunately, voices like mine are becoming increasingly rare, and the American people seem to want a society that will shelter them from anything that could possibly go wrong.  Of course there has never been such a society in all of human history, and we won’t be able to create one either.  No governmental system can eliminate the problem of evil, and bad things sometimes happen to good people.  And without a doubt, the mass shootings that we witnessed over the weekend were absolutely horrific.  In less than 24 hours, 29 American lives were lost between these two mass shootings, and this has greatly shaken the entire nation

On Sunday, Americans woke up to news of a shooting rampage in an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio, where a man wearing body armor shot and killed nine people, including his own sister. Hours earlier, a 21-year-old with a rifle entered a Walmart in El Paso and killed 20 people.

In a country that has become nearly numb to men with guns opening fire in schools, at concerts and in churches, the back-to-back bursts of gun violence in less than 24 hours were enough to leave the public stunned and shaken.

Sadly, these are not isolated incidents.  As our society has become less moral, we have seen an escalation of violence all over the country.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests

Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

Violence is a spectacular weapon deployed by the ruling class to discredit movements from below and justify their repression. It is spectacular in the sense of being a great and powerful political tool for governing the masses, and keeping them in their place. In order to do this, however, the weapon of violence is spectacularin a second sense: it creates a carefully orchestrated mise en scène that seeks to render ruling class violence invisible, while simultaneously transforming acts of resistance into prodigious spectacles of criminal violence.

This is how Act 18 of the Yellow Vests is currently being presented by the mass media: at the precise moment at which the government was concluding its democratic consultation of the people via Emmanuel Macron’s “Grand Débat,” the Yellow Vests have unleashed an inordinate amount of violence that now needs to be repressed in the strongest possible terms. The president of the Champs-Elysées Committee, Jean-Noël Reinhardt, declared in an interview in which he is surrounded by the microphones of many of the major press outlets, that the movement is no longer one of the Yellow Vests, but rather of Black Vests that simply “express hatred and the will to destroy.” Proclaiming that this situation cannot be allowed to continue because of its impact on commercial and tourist activity, as well as its defamation of the global symbol of the Champs-Élysées, his statement bleeds seamlessly into the declaration made by the Prime Minster, Édouard Philippe: new measures will be put in place to prohibit protests in certain locations and allow for even more aggressive police crackdowns.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Chaos Breaks Out As Yellow Vests Clash With French Police

Chaos Breaks Out As Yellow Vests Clash With French Police

Update: Saturday’s Yellow Vest protests have escalated in intensity as clashes with the police grew increasingly violent. Take a look:

Embedded video

Ready for a bit of the old ultraviolence?

***

After weeks of more moderate protests, France’s Yellow Vests are back in full swing following the end of President Macron’s unsuccessful ‘great debate’ – during which thousands of town halls were conducted over a two-month period in the hopes of solving national issues through citizen debates. 

Up to half-a-million people participated in 10,000 meetings across the country to discuss social issues ranging from taxes – which the French pay the most of any OECD country in the world, to democracy and climate change. 

“We have been patient but now we want results,” Yellow Vest Laurent Casanova told AFP.

And with no meaningful changes after nationwide cathartic venting, the Yellow Vests are back to angry demonstrations as the protests kick off their 18th week with an ‘ultimatum’ rally – marked by lootings, fires, and mayhem that organizers maintain are due to a radical minority.

LIVE FEED:

Violence broke out on the Champs-Elysees Paris, where Paris riot police clashed with protesters, using tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate change stokes mayhem in several ways

Climate change stokes mayhem in several ways

Syria: Glimpse of the future as rapid climate change continues? Image: By Ahmed Abu Hameeda on Unsplash

Three outcomes could follow if climate change stokes mayhem, conflict and violence. It might be helpful to think about the strains to come.

LONDON, 22 February, 2019 − Stand by for long hot summers marked by riot and racial tension. As climate change stokes mayhem, global warming is likely to see a direct rise in human irritability.

Climate change accompanied by natural disaster such as flood or drought could lead to harvest failure and food and water shortages for which people must compete.

And the same natural disasters could lead to a generation of babies, children and adolescents more likely, because of disadvantage and deprivation, to become more prone to violence in adulthood.

Researchers in the US have been thinking carefully about the links between climate change and conflict. This, they write in Current Climate Change Reports, has a long history, and a huge range of studies have addressed the hazard.

And they see more civic strife and conflict on the way. Some of it is likely to involve climate refugees, or ecological migrants: persons driven from their homes by climate change. The steady rise in global temperatures could also help incubate the conditions for global terrorism.

“Syria offers us a glimpse of what the future might look like as the climate continues to change rapidly”

“This is a global issue with very serious consequences. We need to plan for ways to reduce the negative consequences,” said Craig Anderson, a psychologist at Iowa State University in the US.

“An inadequate food supply and economic disparity make it difficult to raise healthy and productive citizens, which is one way to reduce long-term violence. We also need to plan for and devote resources to aid eco-migrants in their relocation to new lands and countries.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Rising Tide of Civil Unrest Globally

COMMENT: Hello Martin,
thanks a lot for your awesome work. I am from Germany and just wanted to let you know that the political situation here is more and more becoming like 1933. Last week, there was a bombing of an AFD office in Döbeln (Saxon). Luckily nobody got injured. Yesterday one AFD Politician, Frank Magnitz was brutally attacked by 3 masked men and severely injured. He is only alive because a workman saw the attack and prevented worse. If you see the pics of him, it is pure luck he is still alive. They hit his head with a log and kicked it with their boots! This was a clear murder attempt! Still, the other political parties find it hard to condemn the deed. Some even claim it is deserved and the ‘evil fascists’ need to be stopped – even by killing them! This is getting extremely worrying and a lot of people are scared that we will head into a civil war, caused by murderous leftists.

Greetings, P

REPLY: Unfortunately, this is exactly what the computer is forecasting. We are in a rising cycle of civil unrest. The political divide is growing everywhere even in the United States. This will ONLY lead to outright violence and in many cases civil war. The left is ALWAYS the most violent. They are not tolerant of opposition. I did not vote to for President Carter back in the 70s. Nevertheless, I made a fortune due to his inflationary policies and I never protested against him or claimed he was not my president.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Will the 2020 Presidential Election be the Most Violent in American History?

QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong; Thanks to you I am paying closer attention to what people are saying in politics these days. It seems to be that this was not a Blue Wave they were waging but a Blue War. It is very disturbing to see the hatred is still brewing against anyone who just wants to be left alone. Is this the foundation for the rising civil unrest that turns to a civil war?

HU

ANSWER: Unfortunately, YES! It is really very bad. The CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers actually said that all white women who voted for Donald Trump are racist! She then added that there were those who felt they had to select Trump because Hillary Clinton was simply a terrible candidate whom they could never support. We have three girls all under thirty in the office and they do not identify with Hillary’s ’60s Bra-Burning attitude. The one thing they did not like was Hillary said women were equal and should be drafted into the army as well.

The Clintons have been touring Canada with their usual exploitation to raise a never-ending pot of money. The attendance has been at best 50%. They are drawing fewer and fewer audiences.

It will only get much worse over the next two years and by the time we get to 2020, it is not going to look very civil out there. We have crossed the line. Violence and hate speech is not the norma. There is no tolerance for people to accept an opposing view.

U.S. Supreme Court decided on March 6th, 1857 (1857.178), ruled (7–2) that a slave (Dred Scott) who had resided in a free state and territory (where slavery was prohibited) was not thereby entitled to his freedom because African Americans were not and could never be citizens of the United States.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Does Society Turn More Violent During its End Times?

QUESTION: Is MMA the new Roman Colosseum? I’m a layman in history but didn’t blood sports rise in popularity during Rome’s decline? Now everyone and their mother is talking about MMA, and random celebrities e.g. Logan Paul or now Trump Jr. are jumping in the octagon or being challenged.

JR
ANSWER: Yes. For some reason, society begins to turn more violent toward its end times. Mixed martial arts is a full-contact combat sport that allows striking and grappling, both standing and on the ground, using techniques from other combat sports and martial arts. It is an interesting pattern. The Christian Persecutions really came into full swing only as the Empire was collapsing during the 3rd century.

Food, Justice, Violence and Capitalism

Food, Justice, Violence and Capitalism

In 2015, India’s internal intelligence agency wrote a report that depicted various campaigners and groups as working against the national interest. The report singled out environmental activists and NGOs that had been protesting against state-corporate policies. Those largely undemocratic and unconstitutional policies were endangering rivers, forests and local ecologies, destroying and oppressing marginalised communities, entrenching the corporatisation of agriculture and usurping land rights.

These issues are not unique to India. Resistance against similar practices and injustices is happening across the world. And for their efforts, campaigners are being abused, incarcerated and murdered. Whether people are campaigning for the land rights of tribal communities in India or for the rights of peasant farmers in Latin America or are campaigning against the fracking industry in the UK or against pipelines in the US, there is a common thread: non-violent protest to help bring about a more just and environmentally sustainable world.

What is ultimately fuelling the push towards the relentless plunder of land, peoples and the environment is a strident globalised capitalism, euphemistically termed ‘globalisation’, which is underpinned by increasing state surveillance, paramilitary-type law enforcement and a US-backed push towards militarism.

The deregulation of international capital movement (financial liberalisation) effectively turned the world into a free-for-all for global capital. The ramping up of this militarism comes at the back end of a deregulating/pro-privatising neoliberal agenda that has sacked public budgets, depressed wages, expanded credit to consumers and to governments (to sustain spending and consumption) and unbridled financial speculation. In effect, spending on war is in part a desperate attempt to boost a stagnant US economy.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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