So we walked every day and we took a yoga mat – yoga outdoors. The views were exhilarating and always different depending on the weather – especially when the sun goes down which was the same time the moon was rising. The thunderstorms this year came at the end of the day. I love them – being so high you’re in the middle of the clouds with the lightening and thunder all around you and once we had buckets full of hail the size of peas bouncing back up as high as a meter– the force was so strong. It was so cozy in the chalet – you have to light the stove even when you just want a cup of tea. And this time the weather at night was always too hazy so we didn’t see the zillions of stars as you often can. Indeed, the name of the chalet, “Sternboden”, means star platform.
The people there are so sweet. Apart from Andreas’ family, one day we met a man from the neighbouring farm – just a chalet and a barn for his cows. He lived alone though his son came to visit because they had another farm and shared the work. His name was Thomas and he was in his 80’s. He invited us in for a schnapps and we noticed the toys of his grandchildren. He was so pleased. He and Andreas at the table in his rustic home and check shirt. I noticed he had a proper handkerchief to blow his nose – a check one like my father used to have years ago. I was so happy sitting there listening to them talk and laugh, though not understanding, specially at the same time I was working out posters for the revolution (see below). The scene was so iconic, like something van Gogh would paint. I’m sorry we didn’t have the phone with us to take a photo.
Before I left, Theo gave me a copy of an article by Bill McKibben which was published in Rolling Stone. Cynthia tells me it is all over the internet but, in case you’ve missed it, you can read the full article in ‘The Latest’: The Reckoning, posted 25 July). It is the best political thing I’ve read since when, around five years ago, an interview with James Lovelock shocked me into understanding the scale of the danger we face from climate change.
You must read it and if you have already read it, then read it again! This guy is amazing. What a Freedom Fighter (The pen is mightier than the sword!) Every word hits the target. His target is the Fossil Fuel Industry: Public Enemy No. 1.
I shall tear out the pages from “Rolling Stone” and frame this article as an important document (John Milton framed his copy of the death certificate of Charles I. I felt sorry for Charles – he acted according to his beliefs.)
McKibben starts like this:
If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven’t convinced you, or the size of your AC bill this summer, here are some hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.
Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever recorded for our nation – in fact, it crushed the old record by so much that it represented the “largest temperature departure from average of any season on record.” The same week, Saudi authorities reported that it had rained in Mecca despite a temperature of 109 degrees, the hottest downpour in the planet’s history.
If we want to understand how much our leaders pay attention to this we just need to do a little maths. To nail the madness: The factors by which the Fossil Fuel Industry bases its assets are beyond belief. The assets are the proven coal, oil and gas reserves which are still in the ground (don’t forget tar sands and shale gas.) – the amount they’re planning to burn. The amount of carbon this would release into the air is 2,795 gigatons – five times higher than the figure of 565 gigatons which scientists say is the point of runaway climate change. (In reality, the figure is much lower – he explains.) So, once everything is out of control and we have runaway extinction of the whole earth community, including humans, the Industry will still be drilling away (Drill Baby, Drill!). And making a profit…! Joined-up thinking? No wonder we have a financial crisis when the Corporate Industries are running the world.
[Bill McKibben is also the founder of www.350.org, a global grassroots campaign to solve the climate crisis – a campaign for Freedom Fighters!]
This blog is in the form of a Diary – I find it easier to communicate my ideas by referring to them as they crop up or occur to me in my daily life. I’ve just had a week’s holiday and I’d like to take this opportunity to think over what the site is about. The site is for Freedom Fighters and it is called “Active Resistance to Propaganda” (AR).
The first thing necessary is to know the meaning of words or you will always be manipulated by propaganda. Your dictionary is your weapon but you must look at the root of the word (usually in Greek or Latin). We might start with democracy: demos = people, cracy = rule (Latin), therefore democracy means rule by the people and a democrat is someone who wants power for the people; plutocracy: pluto = rich; aristocracy: aristo = best (rule by the best was the original meaning but we think of it today as rule by privilege inherited, not deserved – words change their meaning according to changing circumstances); meritocracy: rule by merit was the system in China for 1,000 years, the governors (mandarins) were scholars who had to pass an exam; kleptocracy: a word coined to describe African regimes ruled by American puppets, e.g. ex-president Mobutu of Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo). He had to flee when he lost American support – no longer politically useful. Klepto: the adjective of kleptes = thief. Mobutu when once asked by a journalist if he might consider giving some of his (incredible stolen) wealth to help the starving population, was puzzled by the question. “Of course not”, he replied, “How could they ever pay me back?”
Thus we can state: We are ruled by a Plutocracy masquerading as a Democracy. Who are the Plutocrats? The corporations who have until now easily convinced us that they are working in our best interest. They are our enemy.
Corporations. During the 1880’s and 1890’s occurred the transition from an organic economy to an extractive economy. An extractive economy is a terminal one because once you have dug something up you can’t put it back; it has to end at some point. There had been so many discoveries since the start of the Industrial Revolution – mechanical, electrical, chemical technologies. At this time, the barons of industry and business joined forces and, financed by an abundance of capital which had accumulated in the banks, mobilized themselves into corporations capable and powerful enough to use these technologies in a coordinated assault on the earth’s non-renewable riches.
We all aspired to a life filled with an abundance of Earth’s delights.
Corporations control the human community economically and politically; they are global and exempt from control by any government and accountable only to themselves. Because corporations are the only entities capable of organizing costly and difficult extractions, governments rely on them for the economy; they subsidize them with public funds (annual subsidy through tax exemption to e.g. the Oil Industry is $460 billion) and allow them to ignore health problems and leave waste disposal to public responsibility. Thus corporations maintain constant pressure on governments through finance (e.g. support of the election of the future President) and by lobbying for their “corporate welfare”.
They control Education: All Education is directed to a role in a world run by the corporate establishment – getting a job; research is determined by corporate endowments.
They control the Law: From the mid-19th century, the law has supported commerce and industry at the expense of all less powerful groups.
They control our minds:- through their ownership of or influence over the public media. (The reason climate change is treated as a side issue. And how boring it is to hear all these young people who want to do “media studies” where they will learn nothing important about the world.)
Through the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF, they pretend to work for the good of all people but, in fact, with themselves as the main beneficiaries. The poor are getting poorer, the rich richer.
I have been thinking about Corporations due to reading during my holiday, “The Great Work” by Thomas Berry. He adds:
Whereas until now – quoting Thomas Berry :
“The good of the corporation became associated with the well-being of the community since it provides the jobs, pays the salaries and produces the goods that people buy with their salaries. A kind of global village came into being.” (The Company Store) “The political order becomes a subsidiary function of the corporation.”
Corporations have not been looking after us at all. What do we do now?
The most vital assessment in “The Great Work” is:
Liberal v. Conservative
Left v. Right
Survival v. Climate Change
Let’s go – the quicker the better! We have No Choice.
Fight the Plutocrats. Join the Eco-Warriors.What’s good for Gaia is good for us. What’s good for Corporations is bad for US.
I mentioned the article I wrote for the New Statesman in last week’s blog – for those of you who haven’t read it, you can read it here.
On Saturday we left to visit Iris at Lake Constance, but I’ll tell you about that in next week’s Diary.