Three simultaneous issues may have exceeded human mental capacity to count. While human attention seems to be focused globally on a cocktail of racism and pandemic, no one seems to have noticed that the children’s crusade for the climate seems to have vanished into thin air. Is that because global warming was just another issue du jour? And, following close behind, will racism and its consequences become yet another issue du jour?
This week, ABC News published a surprising story, “Zombie Fires and Fire Thunderstorms hit arctic,” surprising certainly to someone who’s been following the science of global warming, including its feedback loops, trade wind patterns and ocean gyre changes. It spoke of an entirely unreported and apparently new phenomenon. You may ask, what are “zombie fires” exactly, and why haven’t Scientists been at work legitimizing yet another feedback loop with a more dry-as-dust terminology? Maybe because few could anticipate that a Zombie fire might take place, let alone what it might be.
|Infrared image shows Arctic wildfire June 8|
A zombie fire very simply is a peat fire, one that winters under arctic snow, to re-emerge after it has continued burning underground through the winter. It follows upon an Arctic heat wave lasting for the past six months, and its year-round release of CO2 assures a permanent feedback loop.
Why counting to three matters
During BLM and COVID time, Greta Thunberg has not exactly been idle (according to the Guardian, she has begun producing a radio program.) Asked to reflect on the worldwide racial justice issue, she stated that humans have shown they are no longer willing to tolerate injustice and that “the climate and ecological crisis cannot be solved within today’s political and economic systems.” She neglected to add that the latter observation applies to the Movement for Black Lives as well.
But although Greta as the citizen of an intelligent country—more than this one at any rate—is still under lockdown, aside from the Guardian, the media seems to want to forget her. Why?
Could it be because her campaign was co-opted almost from the beginning by the elite establishment?
And what can we learn from such co-option about the durability of the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) as the hot button issue it’s presently showing itself to be?
Here, I want to draw on an impressive article, “Syria in Seattle Commune,” by Pepe Escobar, a Brazilian journalist, which highlights the deep contrast between today’s plantation mentality M4BL, which highlights the deep contrast between today’s plantation mentality M4BL, which so far carries on without an articulated program, and the deep analysis which characterized the movement in the 60s as articulated by the Black Panthers, and by theoreticians like Malcolm X. Escobar points out that movements without deeply articulated analysis, like Occupy, tend to lack legs. And that movements backed by elitist elements which have no profit to gain from them, such as the Youth Climate Movement headed by Greta Thunberg, may be one of them. And that the Movement for Black Lives, bankrolled by a $100 million grant from the Ford Foundation and by Morgan Chase among others, may become yet another.
Without articulating a deeply revolutionary program, how much shelf life will the M4BL show?
Most noticeable still is the tendency of white do-gooders to decide what’s best for folks other than white folks. (I have always considered that the phrase, “Ve know vots best for you” to be the distinguishing mark of fascism.)
Structurally, what ought a program focused on racial justice look like?
The planet is where we live (at least for the moment). Living with the understanding that all its man-made ugliness and pollution needs to be in someone else backyard has to change to share and share alike.
Environmental degradation would suggest to some that as a species, none of us would be willing to share such a legacy of a dying system. If we followed that newly recognized aversion, we would have to abandon the system that created the nightmare to begin with: the oil and gas and fracking and nuclear industries would become things of the past. As would the chemical industry (no more chemistry for better living, no more energy “cheap enough to meter”).
Human recovery does not even begin to address species recovery.
But assuming human recovery could imagine itself beyond its present economic arrangements, to ease people over such a radical transition, they would need a guaranteed minimal income capable of caring for their basic needs: health, housing, nutrition and education. If such a development is hard to imagine, let us point out that Spain, a capitalist country-in-transition has already implemented it. Spain benefits from still being able to bind a relatively homogenous Catholic population together—more or less.
Human recovery implies some kind of economically equalizing recognition that the willed legal structures that allow certain population sectors barely to survive after hundreds of years imposed on them of wage theft and slavery, must be abandoned at once. To replace it, policing structures, incarceration structures, prison-plantation structures, below life sustaining wages, must all be abandoned. Yet the economies that exist now, many of them, depend on exactly that outworn system. A guaranteed minimum wage would make such a transition possible although inacceptable to many.
One of the biggest all-time mistakes in the history of attempted U. S. worldwide dominance was Bremer’s discharge of the Iraqi army. You can abolish an army, but you cannot abolish the people who once occupied those existential slots. And those people are trained to respond exactly to those controlling stimuli, and no others. Calls to retrain police, or to defund police lose sight of the fact that all of those so trained to their oppressive roles, once discharged, still occupy the same planet as the rest of humanity. Not only are they trained, they are acculturated, A one year “course” of retraining, can’t begin to change an oppressive culture that has been inculcated over a period that is now almost 20 years old—a whole generation.
The language presently used, words like “defund” for example, overlook the very existence of a number of people, some of whom (like Berkeley’s captain of police for example) expect to continue receiving a half million dollars a year for the rest of their active careers. Rather, the emphasis needs to be on community control of budgets, of priority re-allocation. The revolution can be lost with the thoughtless use of its very first word.
That is why careful analysis must be the benchmark of any change which hopes to be successful, successful in the sense it does not lead to utter chaos from which absolutely no one can hope to benefit.
The third leg
Lest we overlook it, there must be a third leg to this discussion. Ideally it has no name. So-called “religion” as it is popularly understood, is mythology, the McDonald’s of the unnamed thing at best. For discussion’s sake, let us give it a place holder. Call it how a people explains itself from the beginning. It is a way of viewing the world.
And for that some ritual is required by Existence’s very nature. Even wolves know that when they circle up and howl before embarking on the hunt. Humans must find their equivalence of that circle. They must find their way to howl. They must howl for the centuries upon centuries of pain they have inflicted on one another. They must learn how to forgive. And how to forgive with grace, as black folk have learned. They must learn again how to laugh and sing and dance, and celebrate. But before celebration can occur, they must learn to forgive themselves.
None of this can begin to happen until #45 is cashiered: Click to sign up to volunteer with Daily Kos and Vote Forward to write personalized letters to voters in swing states who lean Democratic, but need that extra “noodge” to encourage them to vote.
Think. Stay safe and locked down, no matter how many uninformed people holler “open now!” Use the gift of slow time to think.
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