– Josiah Warren, True Civilization
[updated October 5th, 2016]
by Colin Denny Donoghue
While it’s true many people are wrapped up in a consumer-corporate lifestyle and think trying to change the world is a naïve or impossible task not worth even trying, many other people are more actively compassionate and are giving a lot of time and effort to try and make this world a better place. Some of those engaged in this productive work, like The School of Living, have a better vision than others on how to achieve the goal of a healthier and more just society; from its founder Ralph Borsodi’s book Flight From the City, along with the later Decentralism by Mildred J. Loomis, to current vegan homesteading projects like Ahimsa Village, I find the ideas and praxis of philosophy toward achieving a sustainable society to be very on-target. Unfortunately many others do not yet see how crucial it is for people to be connected to the Earth in a more direct, natural and free way in order for there to be global social-justice, and in order to restore our environment, health, and sanity.
In “close-but-no-cigar” fashion (i.e. missing the crucial point), modern conservationists, scientists, sociologists and radical activists give key ideas for stopping and reversing the destructive ecological & health crisis we face, namely: we need much more decentralization of power, localization of organic food production, and we need much less environmental destruction, pollution, waste and radiation. As good as these ideas are, the critical problem with them is that their version of decentralization, localization and sustainability only go to a certain limited extent (limited within corporate/statist/monetary systemic restraints), and are alternatives accessible only to a relatively narrow segment of the world population. Here I will argue that the decentralist/localization/sustainability movement absolutely needs to go further, i.e. all the way to the universal individual level, in order for us to achieve the significant positive change the world needs. This “extreme” decentralization, localization and sustainable living would not only be more effective, but is in fact the only way to a globalization of equality and personal/environmental health. And it leads to a clear and specific destination: communities of sovereign zero-waste veganic homesteads. That way of life produces none of the environmental/health/life-destruction that is dominant now, and also fosters human equality, well-being and flourishing; more on why this is the real solution will be explained shortly.
The difference in perspective between what most people are offering as solutions and what’s offered here is fundamentally a difference between inside & outside-the-box thinking; the former is limited within the socioeconomic box (the box that is actually the main source of the problems), looking for within-the-system top-down solutions from State policies and programs (or the International Monetary Fund, etc.), rather than bottom-up solutions from autonomous individuals & the Earth’s ecology. This can also be looked at as a collectivist versus individualist way of thinking, though the former is often mistakenly equated with community, and the latter with a selfish isolationist perspective. In reality, collectivism means forced assimilation into a social-system while individualism has the ethical superiority of valuing individual sovereignty, self-responsibility, and voluntary relations.
So first let’s review some of the best inside-the-box/collectivist strategies for a more sustainable society, and see what their pluses and minuses are; they include:
- The United Nations, and their programs, like “The International Year of Family Farming”
- The Green Party (gp.org), other Political Parties & Organizations, & “Food Sovereignty” Organizations
- “Public” Banking
- “Micro-credit”/loans for Small Traditional Craft Business Start-ups & “Educating” the “undeveloped.”
- “Community Rights” & “The Rights of Nature” Legal Strategy, e.g. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (celdf.org)
- Ultra high-tech “Sustainable” social-systems/cities, e.g. The Zeitgeist Movement (thezeitgeistmovement.com) & The Venus Project (thevenusproject.com)
- Small-scale Organic Farms
- Intentional Communities & Eco-villages
- Urban Homesteading & Rural “Earthship” Communities
- Government Land Reform programs
- Land Trusts (like those of the School of Living, Oregon Sustainable Agriculture Land Trust, etc.)
- Large Community Gardens/Farms, e.g. the former South Central Farm (thegardenmovie.com), the Gill Tract Farm (occupythefarm.org) & Guerrilla Gardening, e.g. as in Los Angeles (canyoudigthisfilm.com, laguerrillagardening.org)
“At least in outline, it is already becoming clear what sort of society people seek once they have broken the spell of the urban-industrial Reality Principle. We can see the postindustrial alternative emerging in a thousand fragile experiments throughout America and Western Europe on the part of the young and the no longer young: communes rural and urban; voluntary primitivism; organic homesteading; extended families; free schools; free clinics; handicraft cooperatives; community development coops; Gandhian ashrams… Here is the new society piecing itself inventively together within the interstices of the old.” … “Their anarchism is the healthiest kind: a natural, rebelliously personal response to the distortions of urban-industrialism life and the technocracy, as spontaneous as the need to breathe free after airless captivity. … Anarchism has always been, uniquely, a politics swayed by organic sensibility; it is born of a concern for the health of cellular structure in society and a confidence in spontaneous self-regulation. … For those who embark on this inner journey, anarchism becomes a natural tendency; it is the political style most hospitable to the visionary quest. … They disaffiliate, decentralize, cultivate non-violent relationships, look after their own needs. … And wherever the community takes up its fight, it gives new life to those values of personal liberty and dignity which the artificial environment has all but obliterated.”
– Theodore Roszak, Where The Wasteland Ends
Most of these examples of people trying to live a more sustainable and satisfying life on this planet are admirable and inspirational, but they are also very limited in what they can accomplish, and that’s because they all ignore the root injustice: humans having to pay, work for or obey other humans just for a place to live & sleep on this planet. If people could simply have their own homestead gardens and orchards that they could care for full-time, and not need to take part in and pay for destructive corporate/industrial/political systems, we could have a halt to all this destruction, and see healthy and sustainable communities flourishing globally instead. But rather than recognize that, most people mentally gravitate toward false systemic solutions, thinking they are more “realistic.”
The U.N. Declared 2014 the “Year of the Family Farmer” in response to growing numbers of people wanting to live a more natural, sustainable self-sufficient lifestyle. Many people involved with this are undoubtedly good-intentioned, however this declaration is ultimately just a propaganda scheme; governments will never support everyone having the opportunity to establish independent/sovereign family farms, since that would end the funneling of wealth to themselves, and their corporate partners. This “Year of the Family Farmer” is just another example of politicians pretending to be on your side, pretending that they are really going to do something significant to aid the cause you are a part of, and of course it always turns out to be a lie, just like this will be. This is just like with the U.N. Climate Change Conference of 2012; Increasing numbers of people have become concerned about climate change/global warming, so the governments got together for a big climate change conference and invited people to join the discussion, and what came of it? Basically nothing. As an article stated even just soon after it began: “The United Nations Climate Change Conference beginning in Doha this week is turning into a farce.” But it served its purpose: for most people it reinforced the belief that government is on their side, that they’re “working on it.” So non-activists remain complacent, and activists keep pouring their time and energy into trying to make governing better, continuing the centuries-old quest for establishing “good government.” Some even think we should expand the United Nations to be a One World Government, saying that if there were no separate nations to fight against each other there would be world peace; never-mind that the whole world could become a totalitarian dystopia, never-mind that centralized power over others always leads to corruption, tyranny and destruction. A global government and global military/police would be the ultimate achievement for the control freaks; some say they would even engineer World War 3 in order to implement the “solution” of a global State. Maybe, just maybe, this quest for establishing good governance is ultimately futile?
I used to be a fairly active member of the Green Party (I would promote and vote for Green Party candidates, etc.) and I still find the work they do to be laudably good-intentioned. They don’t accept corporate funding, are for labeling all GMO food, are against the death penalty, and have “10 Key Values” which include: “Social-Justice & Equal Opportunity,” “Nonviolence,” & “Decentralism.” They are also for a living wage and universal healthcare, along with electoral reforms to increase the level of democracy. Yet what I’ve realized since my Green Party days is that all of these reforms mistakenly take the root injustice as a given. Advocating a living wage takes jobs/monetary-dependency as a given, universal healthcare takes taxation as a given, and reformed voting/elections takes forced citizenship as a given. Those givens are actually aspects of slavery being taken as inseparable to human existence; as if it was a part of Nature/Creation, which of course it is not. Slavery is not natural, nor is it a form of Nonviolence. Nor a form of Social-justice and Equal Opportunity. Nor a means for widespread Decentralism. The slavery of social-systems is actually diametrically opposed to each of these values, and that ethical contradiction is why the Green Party and like-minded activists have had limited to no success in world politics, and that’s why that impotence will always be the case.
We are dependent on money because we are denied our birthright (under threat of arrest) to a fair share of cost/tax-free sovereign land & water, that we could use for homestead self-sufficiency & gift-economy communities (which would be true equal opportunity and decentralism). Property tax, along with all taxation, despite propaganda on “representation” and “social fairness” is actually a form of theft, an act of tyranny and injustice/unfairness. Seeking to establish a truly good government is actually acting in ignorance of the fact that governance is a form of slavery, and slavery can never be made good (you can’t be a good slave-master!), it’s a total impossibility, as history has shown over and over, and as current reality continues to show. To overlook these acts of violence that are the foundation of social-systems as if they are inconsequential, as I used to, is really just ignorance in action, ignorance that doesn’t really help other people, other species, or the Earth.
Even more on-target activism like that working for food sovereignty (e.g. usfoodsovereigntyalliance.org) and community empowerment (e.g. beblackandgreen.com) still face inevitable limited success since it still accepts the fundamental injustice of denying individual sovereignty (and thereby individual empowerment). Trying to get more organic produce into inner cities is definitely a good thing (e.g. growingpower.org), but by taking land costs/control and taxation as a given they can never establish real community-sufficiency (not enough land access and free time to cultivate it), and are simultaneously supporting a system that is continuously destroying our health and the environment overall (which basically nullifies the work they are doing). They are seeking social-justice while at the same time accepting the root social-injustice. Protesting a war while paying for it through taxes at the same time doesn’t stop the war, and likewise wanting healthier communities with more local control while supporting social-systems that completely undermine that purpose is an exercise in futility.
The “public” bank idea, in theory, is going toward decentralization of power (namely away from the corporate “Federal” Reserve), but isn’t addressing the true foundation of centralized power: land control and taxation. So therefore its positive effect can only be minimal to none; most people would still be living their lives just as before, money-slaves working for corporations, government and banks, just so they can afford food and a roof over their head. Reforms like “public” banks also operate on the theory that the State = the public/community, i.e. that representation of the people/public is an actual reality, and so if money was controlled by government instead of corporate banks, then we could undo “our” debt and “our” funding of unethical ventures. Thinking that it’s just the corporate bankers that are the problem, and if we could just get the State in control of banking (whether national, state-level, or city officials) everything would be great, is just an expression of indoctrination; reality clearly shows true representation by government does not, can not, and never has existed. The same misconception is shown by activists that demand we “Tax the Rich” (e.g. the “Robin Hood Tax”), assuming that once more money is in the “public” treasury it’s going to be distributed to the needy in a fair and effective way, which again is clearly not the case. You’ve probably heard statistics like “The amount of money needed to eradicate world hunger (or convert completely to clean energy) is just a fraction of the money we spend on militarism” haven’t you? The hundreds of billions of tax dollars wasted going into building the latest fighter jet indeed could instead do a lot of good, but statistics like these are unfortunately usually coupled with the “common sense” that we simply need to redirect where our money goes, as if we were ever really in control of what government does with our money. This perspective is fundamentally flawed in using the term “we” when actually referring to government (e.g. “If we just spent more money on organic gardens rather than more military technology…”); this is false identification with the outer pain-body, and just like the inner pain-body (as described by author Ekhart Tolle), there is no reforming it, it is essentially destructive and the only way to deal with it effectively is to dis-identify with it and reject its lies, irrationality and immorality. This perspective also forgets the fact that government officials are guaranteed payment no matter whether they perform their duty well or not, and they notoriously use taxes for war-making and supporting destructive corporations in the form of subsidies, tax breaks, etc.. Because of this the public bank strategy, along with complaining about misused tax dollars and demanding more transparency and higher taxes for the rich, as if any of that can really be effective, is extremely erroneous; these ideas are actually based on delusion, the delusions that government is “us,” and at its core a good and necessary thing; the opposites are the truth. Perhaps it makes sense then that the real solution might actually be to completely end the abusive relationship with these so-called representatives and care-takers? In other words, maybe anarchism isn’t such a crazy idea after all?
Micro-credit loans for traditional craft small-businesses as a solution for those in the “Third World” is also fundamentally flawed. The lives and culture of “undeveloped” people are corrupted by monetary-dependency and debt when these loans are made commonplace, and their quality of life is tied to consumer-product sales, not the natural abundance offered by the Earth. Most people accept that indigenous peoples who have been living in a certain area freely for centuries shouldn’t have to suddenly start paying other humans money to live there, so why is this monetary-slavery “development” seen as a good thing? And related to this: why is it thought of as okay for everyone else “born into” a social-system to have to pay just to live on the Earth? We are all indigenous to the Earth; where you are born on the planet shouldn’t determine if you have to pay or how much you have to pay those deemed “officials” in that region. Another major problem with this micro-credit model is that it’s usually coupled with an invasive “education” program. Education is touted as key for a better world, and while that’s true to a large degree, it’s not true of the sort of education they’re pushing, which is more an indoctrination program into corporatist/industrial civilization than it is a teaching of natural skills and wisdom. The latter is what traditional cultures have been passing down to their children for countless generations on their own, the former is pushing assimilation to the money-slave paradigm (a debt culture made complete by the loans). Putting African (or Nepalese, etc.) children in uniforms, teaching them English and how to use computers is called progress, but it’s actually destroying traditional cultures and replacing them with a technocracy mono-culture of corporatist/statist control.
Community Land Rights is definitely going in the right direction, and sounds right on-target with mission statements like this one from the The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund: “Our mission is to build sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature.” The words are more radical than the actions however; starting with the mention of “self-government,” that’s not what they’re really advocating, real self-government would be individual autonomy. By ignoring the individual and framing the issue at the community level, it neglects the problems of defining a community, like what its borders are and which people exactly comprise the community and who do not (and how that defining and bordering is accomplished without aggression toward individuals). The main flaw is not recognizing individual sovereignty and instead going with a form of collectivism, which is the same framework that formed nation-states, the same framework that got us into this deplorable situation in the first place. The battle shouldn’t be between a small collective (a dubiously defined community) and a large one (a nation-state), the battle should be framed in the more fundamental issue of individuals vs. forced collectivism; otherwise one is taking part in the very evil that they are fighting against, which is an irrational, immoral and ineffective course of action. Naturally though individuals in most cases will want to (and for practical purposes should) voluntarily work and resist together, but the key word there is voluntarily, which signifies that each individual is respected and treated as a sovereign woman or man. Plus attempting a community-based legal strategy is obviously doomed to failure on a large-scale since living truly free will always be illegal, otherwise there would be no legal system, and the lawmakers aren’t likely to approve doing away with their jobs and “authority!”
Then the idea of the “Rights of Nature” was also mentioned in the above quote, and more and more mentioned elsewhere nowadays; this may sound good at first, but you must realize that these Rights are decided by the State/United Nations, and they override the Rights of the Individual; in other words this idea as it’s being promoted means more control of Nature by the State and possibly no land or water ownership whatsoever for the individual! (fitting the definition of Communism by the way!) This is the exact opposite direction we need to go in, the right direction being toward sovereign veganic homesteading land & water for all. What rational, moral or true reason is there to think that letting States, with their horrible track record on environmental conservation (colluding with and supporting destructive industries), would be the best people to decide what the “Rights of Nature” are? Natural and voluntary egalitarian communities, i.e. a society without slavery, would most definitely protect the environment better than those that have been destroying it the most! This “Rights of Nature” idea, if fully implemented and expanded in scope, would inevitably lead to some version of what some call “Eco-tyranny,” or the “Green Agenda/Agenda 21.” When will people learn that power always corrupts, and so we are better off respecting the rights of the individual, which includes their right to a fair share of land & water to utilize and conserve rightly (i.e. for veganic homesteading)? When will people learn to stop pointlessly looking to a form of slavery to be the means of liberation/salvation/harmonization?
Sustainability strategies that rely on advanced technology, like the Zeitgeist Movement, & the Venus Project, which “proposes a system in which automation and technology would be intelligently integrated into a overall holistic socioeconomic design” are severely flawed for a few reasons: a) they ignore or distort the environmental impact of the resource-extraction, production, distribution and waste of all that ultra advanced technology, along with the fact that cities are inherently unsustainable since they go beyond the carrying-capacity of the land, requiring the mass importation of resources and export of wastes b) they ignore or distort the problem of the masses being dependent on the few specialist wannabe philosopher kings who have the resources to manufacture technology like robots (specialists who also implement their design & programs), and the problem that these specialists will expect mandatory obedience and compensation by the masses c) they ignore or distort the negative human-health effects from radiation and toxin exposure from that technology and d) they promote a collectivist society (on floating cities at sea no less!) where individual sovereignty (which includes land & water as a birthright) is still not recognized. (Also the more things are controlled by automated robotic technology, obviously the less people have control over their daily lives.) Another critical problem of current technological offerings is that they don’t solve the major crisis we face known as Peak Oil, i.e. our modern society is completely dependent on petroleum oil to continue as is (and of course there is major industrial growth world-wide pushing energy demands even farther), and the oil is quickly running out. If everyone was living in self/community-sufficient veganic homestead communities (perhaps with home distillers producing ethanol/gas for modified vehicles), the suffering and chaos likely to come when cities no longer have food coming in (via petroleum-fueled trucks) and people living in the suburbs are no longer able to drive to work, could be avoided. (This model of sovereign veganic homesteads solves problem after problem, while technology and social-systems just create more and more problems!)
The Venus Project/Zeitgeist Movement advocates a moneyless resource-based society ruled by “natural law,” and that part sounds pretty good, but if those resources and people’s lives are actually managed by specialists and their robotic unsustainable technology, and the natural laws of freedom and non-aggression are ignored, not so much! They claim that the programs running all the robots and resource distribution will be “open-source,” run by “the people,” following purely principled and logical rules… Hmm, funny how that sounds exactly like what the founding of the USA and countless other States was supposed to be based on! This is just the same collectivist package with new deceptive/deluded intellectual wrapping; ignoring the fallacy of “representation” which actually violates the sovereignty of the individual, ignoring how social-systems are fundamentally forms of slavery (even when supposedly based on rational/ethical principles) and that slavery has never and can never produce social-justice/harmony/sustainability. Collectivist schemes like these in particular are a form of autocratic governance known as Technocracy; another version of this is being pushed through installation of “smart-meters” which are part of the “smart-grid,” wherein all of your home energy use is monitored, and can be controlled (e.g. heating & cooling operation), via unseen officials (and/or hackers) that connect to your home via the irradiating wireless communication installed with the new digital-meters. Signing up for totalitarianism is not so smart; reject this technology being installed on your house without your permission.
Back to other strategies for a sustainable society, most small farms face an uphill battle competing with huge subsidized farms; it has become increasingly difficult in recent decades for small-scale farmers to stay in operation within the current systemic framework, as highlighted in a recent Oregonian newspaper article, wherein a small-scale farmer said: “It’s very hard work, little sleep, but we can make it work.” Hardly sounds like Paradise, and also there is the not-so-minor problem with this model that it is not accessible to most people on the planet. Even for those that are willing to face the unnecessarily long hours of a corrupted natural lifestyle, most can’t afford the land costs and taxation that are demanded within this political-economic system to even try and make some profit as a small farm. Another problem with this model is exemplified by San Francisco’s Little City Farm (littlecitygardens.com), where “urban farmers… turned an empty ¾ acre plot of land into a thriving urban farm that sells produce to local restaurants throughout the city. [BUT…] Despite their success, they were constantly worried about what would happen if the owner decided to sell the land.” Five-year leases and unreliable restaurant arrangements do not foster a real long-term relationship with the land, which is needed for economic and ecological security, along with strong communities and spiritual connection with Nature; it leaves the growers in a constant state of worry about how long they will be able to do what they are doing. The same problem obviously holds true for work-exchanges on organic farms, gardens, nurseries and homesteads (e.g. wwoof.net). Although it is a good thing for people to have opportunities to do more natural work and disconnect more from cities and the monetary-system (I’ve done it several times myself), there is no long-term relationship with the land possible, since it is someone else’s land, and there are also the problems of being subservient to and dependent on that land-owner (who are often more mentally disturbed; moving up the pyramid actually necessitates that because of Karmic Law, being in an unnatural position of power is to be in alignment with the root injustice, which is an evil, and to be in alignment with evil one is necessarily disturbed). This is along with other problems I will now note that can be found with more natural living that’s still within the system, problems that can arise even more at an intentional community than at a brief work-exchange, since there is usually more time for the bad karmic root to mature with the former.
Intentional communities and eco-villages may be more accessible to some poor people (yet with no guarantee of acceptance, resonance, or availability), but one does not have complete individual freedom, they are subject to the collective; the lack of personal space and privacy, and choice of who to live near or with and how, is a common source of disharmony in intentional communities. Whether with extensive interviews and applications or with more of an open-door policy, oftentimes it turns out that people don’t get along in one way or another, whether it’s the “hard-worker vs. free-loader” dynamic, or changes in personal/sexual relationships, etc. Sovereign space, provided by sovereign homesteads, solves these problems, problems that are unavoidable, because as long as the root injustice is ignored, there must be problems. To make this karmic reality more clear, even when land-based intentional communities were made up of members who were mostly on the same page, united by a mutual moral framework, their projects have still been repeatedly undermined and destroyed by the economics they are told they are required to accommodate, namely land costs and taxation. In 1971 in Summertown, Tennessee “the twentieth century’s largest single cooperative utopian community” began, simply called “The Farm,” and did well maintaining their more free & natural way of life for about a decade, until the root injustice caught up with them in the form of a debt of over a million dollars. The debt coincided with the American farm crisis of the late 1980’s, which was basically a result of dependence on the larger political/economic system. Despite their hard work and excellent crops they had to start charging a membership fee to live there, but since there were little to no sources of monetary income for all the residents, hundreds had to leave, about 700 in 1983 alone, and The Farm became more a commercial operation than a demonstration of humanity’s highest potential. So again the root injustice completely undermined a more sustainable and ethical way of life for good-intentioned people, the monetary-slavery that comes with forced citizenship corrupting their righteous endeavor.
In 1851 Josiah Warren (the “First American Anarchist”) founded a community in New York called Modern Times that was very on-point philosophically; it was near fully anarchist, emphasizing the sovereignty of each individual in the community. The main reported problem in the community was constant undesirable/disruptive visitors, due to an overly tolerant open-door policy which neglected to make sure self-love was equal to love of others. That flaw is very minor compared to those of most other utopian projects however. And in fact the only reason Modern Times became an assimilated village after over a decade of operation was due to no fault of their own, it was, surprise surprise, due to economic restrictions placed on them from the outside (i.e. monetary-slavery). The economic crisis of 1857 put an end to the manufacturing business that was the main income source for the community, which was needed to pay the property taxes. Commentators on Modern Times just mention in passing “The main cause of the nonsuccess of the village was the scarcity of employment,” and “Modern Times moved away from Warren’s ideas mainly due to the scarcity of employment,” never questioning whether that needed employment was just or not in the first place. And then the Civil War immediately followed that economic crisis, undermining any possible recovery (and also stirred patriotism among some of the villagers, deceiving/misleading them into abandoning the original anarchist principles they lived by); so yet another State-derived cause to the end of the community, not something from the community themselves. From ic.org: “There were two main influences which lead to the eventual end of the community: The Civil War, and the growth in membership of people who did not share the individualistic and economic ideas of Warren and Andrews.” Again the crucial insight here, which for some reason (indoctrination) so many people miss entirely, is that it is the unjust restrictions placed on individuals and communities (namely land cost, control and taxation), and the propaganda that come with them, which completely undermine an ideal way of life on this planet. Humans keep trying to live the good life while they’re still funding an evil social-system that enslaves them, and guess what? It doesn’t work out! Lo’ and behold a good life and slavery are not compatible! One way or another, as long as slavery and violence are integral to a social project, the outcome won’t be success; this is Natural/Karmic Law, and just common-sense. Please don’t skim past this point; humanity desperately needs to get off this hamster-wheel of denial. Modern Times could have continued on into these 21st century modern times, if there was widespread rejection of the false premisses that statism is based on; hopefully their community name was prophetic of a future still to come.
Rainbow Gatherings are free of this corruption by being money-free, but they only last weeks because they don’t own the National Forest land they are using, and will be forcibly removed by the government if they don’t leave. (They are also regularly harassed by government officials and swaths of drunks, both manifestations of social-systems). The shortcomings of these two strategies for a just and sustainable society make the real way forward clear: If we combine the money and hierarchy-free aspect of Rainbow Gatherings, with the best of the lifestyle of places like The Farm (land-based living and veganic food production), and remove the despicable corrupting factor of social-systems, we come to something that keeps the good qualities of both but removes the bad: gift-economy communities of sovereign veganic homesteads. Sadly so many have not acknowledged the clear feedback coming from reality, decade after decade. We must completely remove the root injustice if we are ever going to have a utopian society flourish; trying to accommodate a social-system of slavery is clearly a lost cause! Instead of settling for temporary autonomous zones like Rainbow Gatherings, and small businesses-based homestead/ecovillage/intentional-community projects, why not go all the way to the ideal, no longer accepting defeat?
Failed utopias, one after the other, have the unnatural enterprise of their own collectivism while also accepting the collectivism of social-systems, this is the main reason for their downfall. Collectivism/slavery always causes disharmony, this basic understanding is unfortunately not commonplace as it should be, despite everyone’s own life experiences that verify this crucial truth, e.g. the karmic disturbances that arise at the corporate workplace or university setting, institutions which would for the most part not exist in the first place if it were not for social-systems (these institutions are part and parcel to the profit-seeking economic system, a system we wouldn’t need if we all had free access to land and water). These circumstances and structures of regular disturbance have karmically arisen from an unprincipled foundation, namely the lack of social equality with regards to land & water, and people being forced into a tax-collecting human farm “social-contract,” which they never signed. And so that faulty foundation will always keep producing disturbances in our lives (we can consider it a Law of Nature); until it is removed and replaced with something principled, namely equality and voluntarism, we will never achieve world peace.
Pretty much the same problems arise for the urban homesteading model, as demonstrated by the Dervaes family in Pasadena, California (urbanhomestead.org); countless people would also attempt to grow enough food for their families, and sell enough on the side to pay taxes and mortgage/rent, but they can’t even get the house or land to begin with because of lack of money. The same goes for utopian off-the-grid zero-waste recycled building-material Earthship homes & communities, which, as awesome as the homes are, remain unaffordable for most people to have under current socioeconomic restraints. To promote “solutions” that only the rich can afford is a skewed privileged mindset, neglecting the reality of billions of other people. Even if you can manage to pay for the start-up costs (mainly the cost of land), there is still no real security, since you never really own the land, having to pay the State taxes for the rest of your life (i.e. you’re really just renting the space from the State). If you’re rich enough to pay off the State mafia without having to earn money elsewhere, as a citizen you would still have the disturbance of having your taxes go toward things you disagree with (e.g. from the major like killing hundreds of thousands of innocent children, women and men in the Middle East, imprisoning hundreds of thousands of nonviolent drug-offenders while enforcing hemp/cannabis prohibition and building nuclear power plants here, to the more minor like having to have your home meet erroneous State code and inspection requirements, etc.). And you would still have to breathe the air polluted by government-supported industries, filter the toxified water, be exposed to the radiation, live in fear of the possibility of war in your region, etc., all of which would keep increasing over time as States continued to be funded by people like yourself. We can’t expect to live in the kingdom of heaven while paying off the devil; the security and well-being sold by the latter is ultimately a Big Lie.
Urban homesteading also has the major minus of being in a city setting; mirroring Ralph Borsodi’s comments in Flight from the City, again Theodore Roszak in his excellent book Where The Wasteland Ends reminds us:
“[W]e should undertake to repeal urban-industrialism as the world’s dominant style of life. We should do this, not in a spirit of grim sacrifice, but in the conviction that the reality we want most to reside in lies beyond the artificial environment. And so we should move freely and in delight toward the true postindustrialism: a world awakened from its sick infatuation with power, growth, efficiency, [and] progress as if from a nightmare. … What do cities mean to most people now living in them? Crime, dirt, congestion, expense, bustle, danger, noise, aggravation, high blood pressure, unwanted violations of privacy in the midst of terrifying isolation, trouble, trouble, trouble. Why then do people live there? Because it is where the work or the welfare are…” … “The city is their cage, not their home.” “We must find ways out of the city for those who want to leave. Well-developed rural and village life, autonomous small towns must become a live option, a necessary kind of variety.”
The answer isn’t just helping people escape surveillance-grid cities (with their myriad of disturbances) by just making land more affordable through some legislation (which will inevitably be problematic and inadequate); the answer is not needing to pay for the land in the first place, being an autonomous individual who has a free birthright to a fair share of land & water. This is made clear also by a study of Land Reform movements; from Brazil and Africa to China, when you look into these movements you find time and time again that it is the government involvement and land control by the rich that is the hindrance to progress in land equality, and that “land reform” becomes just another corrupted public policy that is used for the benefit of the powers that be. A recent headline from an article on land reform in Kenya sums it up: “Political meddling hindering land reforms.” Just land distribution must necessarily be independent of government involvement, and be at the homesteading scale (a couple acres per household). When everyone has sovereign acres of their own and are living rightly on them, all the common disturbances of modern industrial/domesticated society fall away, and we find Nature nurtures us with a peace and harmony we previously thought was impossible (out of our ignorance and acceptance of artificial social-systems), finding the ecological niche for our species on this planet.
I feel bad being critical at all of the great work shown in films like Can You Dig This, The Garden, and Occupy The Farm, because if you want to see people that are really making the world a better place and are pointing the way for the rest of humanity, watch those documentaries and support these gardeners, also including the very on-point Eugene Cook of Grow Where You Are. What I’m pointing out here is the systemic limitations imposed on these gardeners that need to be removed in order for these movements to have the world-wide positive impact that they should have. More community or guerrilla garden plots can’t be enough to solve the global environmental, economic and injustice crisis because the ultimate solution to that is for people to be respected as sovereign individuals on their own sovereign land, forming gift-economy communities, and community garden plots don’t provide that, nor are they adequate for a family to approach self-sufficiency. (With community gardens/farms and guerrilla gardening, a common problem, besides the amount of land being insufficient, is that when that piece of Earth is restored into a beautiful garden the property value goes up for the owner, and they then sell the land for development at a good profit, thanks to the gardeners who were not compensated in any way, and have all their satisfying work bulldozed before their eyes.) In both aforementioned documentaries, The Garden and Occupy the Farm, we see collectivism (collectivist-oriented activists) fighting a bigger and badder form of collectivism (the State and its institutions) with their violent cops and destructive bulldozers. The institutions and their corrupted order-followers were set on destroying organic crops and a more natural lifestyle, to replace them with warehouses, stores or GMO crops (i.e. the monetary-slavery status-quo). But by not operating from a non-slavery foundation of recognizing individual sovereignty and each individual’s birthright to a fair share of land and water, the activists were destined to fail. The reason that is so is because of the Natural Law that evil cannot produce good. Problem is, most activists think they are fully on the side of good, and although those occupying land for sustainable use are certainly closer to the full good than most other activists, they are still missing the mark by incorporating the collectivist ideology that is the foundation of the very thing they are protesting against. This was encapsulated perfectly in the words of an activist shown in Occupy the Farm who was in conflict with police saying “We’re trying to stick up for this country, this State, and this school!” That’s exactly everything that should be abandoned, not supported; all of those are institutions based on aggression and slavery, and those are both evil things, in case you didn’t already know. And again, evil can’t produce good. Which leads me to a question said by an activist in Occupy the Farm wondering why the University of California, which was instrumental in developing the atomic bomb, (i.e an evil), wouldn’t support something good: “People have been trying to establish a sustainable program here for fifteen years and it hasn’t happened, why is that?” The reason why is because that university is part of an evil system based on aggression, slavery and profit-seeking, it is fundamentally bad, and again it is against the very fabric of our Reality for something fundamentally bad to support and align with something fundamentally good. This absolutely crucial point is usually ignored by most people as some kind of fanciful spiritual rambling, if you find yourself doing that now, trust me on this one, you’re wrong, and the more you look deeply and clearly into our Reality the more you’ll realize that. Again emphasizing individual sovereignty isn’t anti-community or promoting isolation and fragmentation, it’s actually the right foundation for community, it’s the foundation that community could actually thrive in, unlike the fragmented and isolating collectivist-capitalist society we find ourselves in today. In Can You Dig This we see the opposition to the gardening coming from landlords (turning/locking off the water for the garden!), the city/State as well as “hater-ass neighbors” reporting them to the State, all of which are a consequence of a social-system of collectivist slavery, wherein people don’t have their own sovereign land (their birthright as sovereign men & women) where they wouldn’t have to deal with any of that bullshit. So, for all these reasons and more, the ultimate answer is having a homestead plot of sovereign land as a free birthright of every woman & man, just because you are human on the planet Earth, and that being the basis for natural and voluntary communities. Why am I convinced that this is definitely the answer? Because it’s completely sound ethically, and everything else that has been attempted to bring a healthy, sustainable and just social paradigm has been continually sabotaged by the aforementioned unjust systemic restraints and additionally prevented by Natural Law.
These attempts include the land trust model, as done by the School of Living, wherein land is purchased and given some safeguards against corporate/industrial development. It’s a very good model that has helped conserve some land for sustainable use, but the problems, like land costs, arise once again; can everyone afford to buy into a land trust? No, even when working full-time. Is there enough land legally available for everyone to utilize land trusts? No, most of the land is unjustly owned/controlled by States, corporations and the rich who have well beyond their fair share. And even for those that can take part (usually after decades of slaving away to earn & save enough money), their life is often still corrupted further by the need to earn additional money to pay for property taxes and other government requirements.
“We consider it absurd that a few people should possess the earth, and the many not have a place to lay down their heads for rest. We want, then, that the land be accessible to all, just the same as the air, the light, the warm sun rays are there for all creatures on earth.”
– Flores Magon,“Manifesto to the American People,” Mother Earth, February 1908
“Abolition of taxation” is listed alongside “community rights and control” under movements the School of Living supports, and that is incredibly on-point. But those need to be put to the front of the list (plus modifying “community rights” to “individual rights”) if we are really going to accomplish the positive changes we want to see on a large-scale. The main thing holding back abolition of taxation is that many people believe the tax-funded social-system foundation of society is necessary. Before we examine this “necessity” further, let’s just summarize the situation humanity is in right now: Humans now face a massive man-made ecological crisis, along with a massive health crisis, as the planet becomes increasingly toxic and irradiated. This crisis is mainly the result of billions of people being forced to:
a) pay taxes that funnel wealth to the few, who then commit and support the worst acts of destruction known to man, including: war, building nuclear power plants, making and using depleted-uranium weapons, various massive mining operations (e.g. mountain-top removals), hydro-fracking for “natural” gas, extracting, processing and piping tar-sands oil, creating one massive oil/chemical spill after another, supporting massive air pollution (causing ill health, acid rain and destroying the protective ozone layer) including geo-engineering/chemtrails, engaging in massive deforestation (wiping out biodiversity and indigenous cultures), decimating ocean-life and coral reefs (along with killing off most marine life, including the plankton & blue-green algae that produce the majority of oxygen on Earth), pushing health/Nature-damaging GMO foods, approving massive toxic pesticide spraying on our food (along with toxic chemical additives put inside it) and fluoridating our water, making and using militaristic nanotechnology, the HAARP project, etc..
b) live an unnatural lifestyle that is destructive to our health, the Earth and other species, supporting destructive/unethical corporations, purchasing their toxic consumer goods (with their subsequent negative health effects and huge waste, preceded by major environmental destruction during massive natural resource extraction, and then extremely polluting production & transport). [By being forced to work for money rather than self/community-sufficiency via a full-time homestead lifestyle, this destructive corporate dependency is created by social-systems.]
So, the main two sources of the crisis, namely governments and corporations destructively working together, are directly connected to a system that is supposedly necessary. Now if they really are necessary, then we might as well throw in the towel shouldn’t we? If the source of a problem is a given, then what can really be done? Not much, as I have been showing with previous examples of within-the-system “solutions.” Once you can clearly see the root origins of the world-wide crisis, then you can take the next rational step which is questioning the so-called necessity of those man-made origins. This is a more radical approach, granted, but it’s also completely logical. And when you start to analyze these origins, their necessity and goodness quickly become refutable. The most direct way to this realization is to understand the following: Forcing others to pay for things that they don’t want to pay for (like war and ecocide), and shouldn’t have to pay for (namely a fair share of land & water), is a form of slavery. It’s not “representation,” it’s not “democracy,” it’s not a “social-contract,” it’s slavery; and slavery is not a sound foundation for society. Most people born into (and indoctrinated by) social-systems will immediately shy away from the term slavery, thinking or saying something like “No, slavery is just when you are in chains.” That would be an incorrect thought. There are different forms of slavery, but the fundamental characteristic of slavery remains the same, as the definition of the word makes clear: “Compulsory service, often such as is required by a legal penalty,” “A state of subjugation or captivity often involving burdensome and degrading labor.” There are forms of slavery that you may already acknowledge, like sex-slavery/trafficking, child-slavery, and work-debt bondage/slavery. These are all terrible of course and should be vehemently opposed; their root cause however is often missed, taken as a necessary given of society: Taxes are compulsory, with the threat of arrest and imprisonment for noncompliance. Having to pay other humans just for a place to live on this Earth is compulsory, with the threat of arrest and imprisonment for noncompliance. These are both clear examples of slavery that in large part create the conditions for the other forms of slavery, though we have been indoctrinated to believe in the illusions of a “social-contract” and “representative democracy” that supposedly make this whole arrangement of monetary/tax-slavery just and voluntary, which it most certainly is not (a reality Indigenous peoples tend to see much more clearly).
Most people, even when living a wealthy lifestyle compared to most of the rest of the world, will admit that the work they do to earn money is burdensome and degrading to varying degree, some having been mistreated for decades by deranged corporate executives that only care about profits, regularly exploiting those lower in the artificial hierarchy without remorse. Is this not being in a sense “owned” by others, being under their control? Time to take another look in the ol’ dictionary: “Slavery emphasizes the idea of complete ownership and control by a master.” The lower and middle classes of wealthy nations can be said to be in large part owned and controlled by their bosses and the officials of the nation-state they happen to be within the borders of, dependent on them for the basics of survival: food, clothing & shelter. Having to earn money just to live on this planet, we can’t just do natural fulfilling work to attain those basics at a natural pace (a few hours every day doing homesteading work like gardening & orcharding), leaving more free time for the Arts and other pleasures, along with being of service to others. Instead we have to seek various other forms of artificial degrading work, selling ourselves to employers with resumes and interviews. (Even the upper class that has more than enough money for survival and their material desires are still karmically bound to this unjust system, and can’t escape the consequences of that).
Likewise we are slaves to the State by being subject to its rules and taxation with no freedom to opt-out of the arrangement if we don’t agree with the rules, like the rules that we have to pay property and income tax. The number of States world-wide (with their “official” flags) has been in flux for thousands of years, the current number is around 200; ever wonder why you can’t form your own too? Only other special people can draw imaginary lines on a map, call it a sovereign territory and make a flag for it, but non-special-you can’t do that, even if your borders are just around your house and garden? What makes their sovereign land supposedly legit and yours not? Nothing more than the threat of force, which is no basis for legitimacy at all. Starting to see through their deception now? Keep in mind: Did you ever sign this so-called social-contract you are bound to? No, because you are automatically, at birth, considered a subject of the State, which makes you a compulsory subject, and that is just another way of saying you’re someone’s property, i.e. their slave. Every new baby born within the borders of a nation-state is basically considered livestock to the statist control-freak human farmers who we know simply as “officials.” We are indoctrinated to embrace our citizenship as if it is some glorious thing to be happy about, but it is really branding by human farmers, it is enslavement that continually corrupts our lives.
Why focus on the fact that social-systems are actually farms of enslaved humans in this essay on sustainable living? Well, besides that obviously being a topic worthy of discussion on its own, it’s because, as is worth repeating, this slavery is the root origin of the current ecological and health crisis. I am not just “pushing an anarchist agenda” because I think anarchism is a cool philosophy; I’ve come to understand that the fact of the matter is that without anarchy, nothing is going to significantly change for the better; the world will just become increasingly toxic and dystopian because of our participation with toxic social-systems. Could it be that origins & foundations actually matter? Could it be that a society based on constant violence and threats of violence (e.g. pay your taxes and go to jury duty or we will harm you) is actually not the best way to go? Most people just skim right past this foundation in discussion, they take it as a given, that it has to be this way, and so they then get lost in the apparent complexity of politics and trying to manage/control society, not seeing that because social-systems are wrong from the start (i.e. they are based on violence and slavery), they can never be perfected into something that’s good overall.
“The first kings were conquerors. They stole the land by shot and shell, period. Then, they settled down to rob the survivors at a certain rate per year, called taxation. Next, they divided up the land among their relatives or officers in the army, who all became lords-of-the-land, landlords, and were empowered to rob the citizens at a certain other rate per year, called rent. …
Anarchists say that the first crime was the crime of the conquerors/governors, who seized a whole land, cut it up among themselves, and proceeded to rob all of us forever by taxation, rent, corporative profit, money interest, and various sub-classes of the same basic fraud. Anarchists say that the Earth belongs to its inhabitants, not to this small “owning” and “governing” class of less than 1 percent of the population. Anarchists say that the way to stop crime is to stop the primordial crime, the State, and administer the land through voluntary associations (syndicates) of all the people.
Anarchists say that if people could work for themselves — if they received the full product of their labor through a syndicate of fellow-workers — almost all motivation for crime would disappear. If you didn’t have to pay taxes and rent, starting tomorrow, your purchasing power would be more than doubled. If other forms of exploitation and robbery, through the financial-interest system, were also abolished, your purchasing power would more than quadruple. How much envy, how much worry about money, how much irrational fear, ulcers, nightmares, headaches and other motivations to cheat a little or steal a little would survive after this simple economic justice was achieved?”
– from the article Anarchism and Crime by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea
On a spiritual level, the reality consistently appears to be this: We cannot build a harmonious society on a foundation of slavery and violence, no matter how hard people try, because the karmic effects of that unethical foundation cannot be escaped. Even if a politician or other government official has good intentions, the amount of good they can do will be largely undermined by the system they are operating as a part of, because the system is fundamentally evil, since slavery is an evil. Also when we non-officials accept, associate with and participate in a system of slavery and violence then we are thereby supporters of slavery and violence; and if someone is a supporter of slavery and violence, their life will be karmically corrupted by that support. Proof of this is all around for us to see, with various disturbances arising from this root injustice in our own lives, and the lives of billions of other people. This karmic reality is why government continues with blunder after blunder, destructive act after destructive act; if it’s not approving drone-strikes, GMOs, nuclear power and clear-cutting old-growth forests, it will be something else destructive. New branches from the same bad root will keep growing even if activists win a battle or two and prune a couple branches. If you find this analogy to be too simplistic, I challenge you to clearly examine political history and current political reality in broad view and not see how this is exactly what is going on; the big picture is very clear, but oftentimes people miss the forest for the trees and say it’s just the current politicians or policies that are the problem, missing that all of the destruction/frustration/disturbance is actually feedback from an ethical dimension of our reality, an ethical dimension that doesn’t allow for harmony through slavery and violence.
“Society is sick when goals no longer seem responsive to what makes men happier and healthier. Such a society, subservient to runaway production, has become the enemy of life. … More serious in the long run are the effects of unrestrained industry and population explosion upon the ecology. Although few will dispute on principle the merits of environmental purification, most industrialists on their own behalf are unwilling so far to consider it of greater importance than satisfactory production figures. Yet prospects of a fuel shortage throw industry into a tailspin and cause governmental concern and rapid action never afforded the natural environment, all to keep the capitalistic show on the road. It may well be asked, are ever-expanding industry and business that important? Is it really such a disaster that fewer planes may crowd the sky, fewer cars and trucks clog the highways? Does commercial expansion really have such a direct relationship to the quality of the life one lives? The anarchist would answer no. He has always valued the natural environment, and the desire for oneness with nature has been part of his character. The old call for decentralization seems more urgent now than ever, and what once seemed a dream suitable only to an eccentric like Thoreau now is fast becoming a precondition for survival on this planet. … Unquestionably anarchism has its appeals, some never greater than they are now, as a last-ditch stand against the super-organization of modern technological society, as the enemy of injustice, and as the supporter of the individual dignity and freedom of man. But does the average man [or woman], burdened with self-doubts, fearful of the unanswered questions about life’s purpose, want the total freedom that anarchism avows? Many would reject it in favor of the security that comes with regimentation [and slavery].”
– Anarchism: Political Innocence or Social Violence?, by James D. Forman
I can already hear the conditioned responses: “Anarchy as solution? No, anarchy means violence and chaos, we need social-systems to stay safe.” Now if you find yourself having a thought similar to this, you need to realize something basic first of all: Anarchy means “No ruler,” it means a society without social-systems of control, without forced government, it is not (despite the pervasive propaganda saying it is) synonymous with violence and chaos. Anarchy is against violence, the violence of the State that forces us to participate in the destruction of the Earth, individuals and communities. Anarchy, in its pure form, is an unwavering belief that slavery and acts of authoritarian aggression are always wrong; not really an extreme notion! But amazingly, in Orwellian fashion, this stance of non-violence has been totally distorted (by those it benefits to do so) into its complete opposite. Now of course there are some people who call themselves anarchist that commit and/or promote acts of violence (some actually agent-provocateurs paid by the State), but you must use your intelligence to be able to discern between the basic premise of the philosophy and a totally divergent act that is under that label. For example, surely you know of those that call themselves Christian that commit actions hardly in line with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, don’t you? By irrationally equating anarchy with violence you turn away from something that is actually based on a more comprehensive non-violence, and is also the key to repairing our society. Because there are unethical forms of what is called anarchism, like those that advocate overthrowing the State violently, that does not mean there is not a rational and ethically consistent form of anarchism, like claiming your fair share of homesteading land & water as a birthright. To give an example of a sort of anarchist strategy that is irrational, immoral and based on lies (three elements I call the “toxic-trio,” that is always found within delusions, such as that used to defend aggression of various sorts), here is a quote from Aric Mcbay, one of the authors of the book Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet: “Planting a garden—as wonderful and important as that may be—is not a decisive operation. It may be a shaping or sustaining operation under the right circumstances, but nothing about gardening will directly stop this culture from killing the planet, nor dismantle the hierarchical and exploitative systems that are causing the ecocide. Remember, the world used to be filled with indigenous societies which were sustainable and enduring. Their sustainability did not prevent civilization from decimating them again and again.” (p. 391-2) Actually if everyone planted a garden on their own sovereign land that would stop the ecocide, and it would prevent further genocide, because there would be no State-dependent industries or State-dependent militaries to commit those acts of mass-destruction in the first place, they would both go out of business for lack of customers and taxpayers. What has allowed the decimation of sustainable indigenous societies is basically States, therefore the answer is not complicated, we need to eliminate States (and any other form of authoritarian rulership), and the only way we as individuals can do something toward that productively is by claiming sovereign land as a free birthright and plant gardens. If we think there is some violent or collectivist strategy necessary because “not everyone else is going to do that” we miss the wisdom of “let us not become the evil we deplore” and Gandhi’s statement that we need to “be the change we wish to see in the world;” those aren’t just nice ideas, they are actually very intelligent and incorporate the crucial truth of our Reality that the only thing we really have control over changing is ourselves, so any and all strategies for peace, justice and sustainability that ignore that fact are going to be ripe with irrationality, lies and immorality, as the Deep Green Resistance strategies are (which by the way, include assassination and destroying the major infrastructure on which billions of people are currently dependent on for survival). While promoting this violence they also say “individual actions are rarely decisive,” so, very interestingly, this “resistance” strategy is based on collectivism and violence, the very same things that States are based on! If someone were to pick up that book and think that’s all anarchism was about, they would probably never look into the philosophy further, believing it just equates to irrational and destructive actions; unfortunately that would be an example of the psychological phenomenon of false equivalency (a common behavioral manifestation of the toxic-trio), believing all anarchism = violence. Another very unfortunate example of false equivalency is when people say large-scale industrial agriculture is a major problem (which it is), but then irrationally use that fact as a supposed reason why veganism is not viable for humanity, believing all agriculture = destruction, as if there is not something called homestead-scale veganic horticulture/permaculture, which has none of the negative effects of the large-scale chemical/GMO agriculture.
Confusing what’s good and bad (i.e. false morality, another manifestation of the toxic-trio) perpetuates the bad; to think State-slavery is good for us and real freedom is bad is a backwards ethic, a false morality that has devastating consequences. False morality is also of course perpetrated by States themselves on a constant basis in countless ways, from banning lemonade stands while approving nuclear power, hydrofracking, GMOs and various other toxic products, to restricting nonviolent people from crossing their made-up borders while letting known war criminals pass right through, to maintaining a “justice” system that lets people get away with murder if they have enough money and locks people up in prison for decades for relatively insignificant acts, to burdening small-business with tons of bureaucratic restrictions, fees, etc. while letting big destructive corporations have huge tax and regulation loopholes (and even giving them subsidies on top of that), etc. And of course there is the biggest example of false morality, war, the killing of millions of people with impunity while talking of “family values.” The crucial thing to understand here is that this false morality can not be reformed away, it is all manifestations of the slavery foundation of States; you can’t produce an ethically sound form of slavery, that’s why we just keep seeing one hypocritical example of false morality after another.
“The modern nation-state is an absolutely necessary condition for the wars and exterminations of the twentieth and the resent century that have expended human beings as if they were inanimate. … It may well be, when all is said and done, that the nation-state is responsible for the extermination of our species or the extinction of our planet. Certainly it is hard to imagine any other sort of entity developing atomic weaponry, for instance. It would be hard to hold the entity responsible for the end of all things to be practical… For the anarchist, such results are not mere epiphenomena of state power, mere unfortunate misuses of otherwise benevolent agencies, but rather a predictable outcome of the state’s essence in massive fatal force. …
Understand: on my view, the fact that we owe to governments the amazing technologies of death which confront us is not a coincidence. It is government expressing its essence in the process of history, unfurling its flag over a period of millennia.”
– Crispin Sartwell, Against the State: An Introduction to Anarchist Political Theory, p. 8-9, & 28
Ever think much about why you have to be molested and irradiated with body scanners at airports to make sure you are unarmed but they can have all the guns they want and nuclear missiles on constant stand-by? Obviously such a dynamic is based on the idea that they are of greater moral and intellectual fiber than yourself isn’t it? That you are inferior, and they are superior; in other words that you are not at all their equal (never-mind what the Declaration of Independence says), you are a lesser form of human life that needs to be managed by them (never-mind that history shows the worst acts ever committed have been by governments). And what does that mean? It means you’re treated as a slave. You may not currently think citizenship is slavery, but technically it is. And the statists that don’t want you to realize that actively disseminate propaganda about their goodness and necessity, filling movies, TV shows and the “news” with any violence or destruction they can find and replay (to keep you in a state of fear and child-like dependency), and telling you that anarchy would equate to even more violence. It’s highly unfortunate that people continue to accept the propaganda that we need States, and that all anarchists are violent and want violence; that’s actually the truth about statists/officials, whose very existence depends on constant violence and the threat of violence, and profits from further violence and destruction, like war and ecocide. (This is an example of the other common toxic-trio behavioral manifestation known as projection, i.e. telling other people they are doing what you in fact are doing.)
“At the basis of anarchist pacifism is the idea that as long as sovereign Nation-States exist, the possibility of resolving the dilemma of egoism and altruism, force and harmony, war and peace, remains nil. The very existence of separate States implies the use of force to resolve every major issue. Just as individuals must strive to go beyond the passions of the ego, Tolstoy and Gandhi implore men… to move beyond the confines of the State and its by-products: force and aggression.”
– Irving L. Horowitz, The Anarchists, p. 54
“[U]nless our goal is the complete elimination of force from the body politic, we are not anarchists of conviction. Whatever the consequences may be, personal or social, our obligation is primarily to maintain that the use of force is corrupting to the human mind and produces infinite damage to the community. This is the principle, enunciated by Lao-tzu, Chuang-tzu, Jesus Christ, Tolstoy, Kropotkin, and Gandhi, on which we can never compromise.”
– Herbert E. Read, El Anarquismo en la Sociedad Capalitista
If you think “the time is not right” for real freedom, for individual autonomy & sovereign land being a birthright of all, then when will it be right? When will you know the time has come? Dismissing needed radical changes by saying “that’s not going to happen this century” is just a self-fulfilling prophecy; the changes will happen once people stop immediately dismissing them as impossible! If everyone keeps waiting for everyone else to begin the real change then everyone will just keep on waiting, at their own expense and the expense of future generations; we must snap out of our fearful pessimism and actually do what we know is right. Yes it can be intimidating to oppose a system of violence & slavery, but unless we do, we will be abandoning the children of the world to a dystopian wasteland, abandoning them out of fear; and anyway, couldn’t your life use something more deeply meaningful and important, perhaps even a little adventurous/dangerous? Supporting the right revolution can actually be very enlivening (while we still have life to live, remember any day may be our last!), and can help open us up to a supportive magical/spiritual dimension of Reality. And with the major crises we now face, it’s a more appropriate time than ever to do what would actually be effective, rather than keep trying more reformist tactics that never (and can never) lead to significant positive global change. “The time is always right to do what’s right,” as Martin Luther King Jr. said. We need to recognize the need for outside-the-system solutions, and take courage and inspiration from movements that have already moved forward in that direction. The following are examples of such movements that I’m aware of, I’m sure there are more inspiring actions going on out there focusing on land, water and sovereignty. [All city and State names used are for geographical reference only, all could be preceded with “so-called…”].
- The 2006 “Umoja Village” occupation of vacant land in Miami (see takebacktheland.org and read the story in the excellent book Take Back The Land by Max Rameau (akpress.org/takebackthelandak.html)
- The 2008-09 “Kew Bridge Ecovillage” occupation in England; a participant hit the nail on the head when he said “We need to make people understand that the true issue in this world is not the fact that we don’t want to live ecologically, it’s the fact that we don’t have the freedom to do that.” (quoted from the documentary “Grasp the Nettle” (graspthenettlefilm.com) This is following in the footsteps of the English 17th century “Diggers,” led by Gerard Winstanley, who claimed land as birthright (see the historical movie “Winstanley: The Revolution Starts Here” (1975)).
- The 2010 occupation of Indoamericano Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina (http://www.sub.coop/en/photo-coverage/conquest-indoamericano-park-en), followed by approximately 3,000 families occupying land outside Buenos Aires again in late 2015.
- The 2013 “Gezi Gardens” occupation in San Francisco; even the news headline about it is revolutionary: “Occupy Moves Into Hayes Valley Farm, Declares Sovereign State, Plants Kale.” The first line of the article reads: “A group of Occupiers has moved into the tract of land formerly known as Hayes Valley Farm and renamed it Gezi Gardens, in solidarity with the protests going on in Turkey. Hayes Valley Farm moved out of the space on June 1, in accordance with an interim-use agreement with the city of San Francisco, because half of the block-wide tract has been sold to developers to make way for a 185-unit mixed-use development. The new group moved into the 2.2-acre parcel shortly thereafter in a bid to prevent that impending development.” [Over and over it’s the State colluding with business to prevent self/community-sufficiency.]
- The 2014 “Albany Bulb Autonomous Zone” occupation at a landfill area outside of San Francisco. The declaration also crucially includes mention of homesteads, thereby pointing to the real solution, Autonomous/Sovereign Homesteads: “We Declare the Bulb an Autonomous Zone, a space where Art and Music continue to flourish… where long-term Residents can continue to maintain and improve their Homesteads.” (sharethebulb.org/declaration-of-the-bulb-autonomous-zone)
- The ongoing “Occupy Your Homes” & “Eviction-Free Zones” movement, which can and should transition from success being considered simply a renegotiation of a bank loan, to claiming one’s birthright of a fair share of land & water. Currently they are bogged down with these bank negotiations and “broken promises” from the State… missing the crucial point that they are participating with institutions that are fundamentally wrong and therefore can’t be reformed into goodness. (occupyourhomes.org)
- The ongoing War Tax Resistance movement, which can and should be expanded to a refusal to pay ALL taxes, since all are taken without voluntary contractual agreement, and fund social-systems which are the root source of every major crisis and injustice global society faces. (nwtrcc.org, nowartax.org, wartaxboycott.org)
- The ongoing Transition Towns Movement, which is “seeking to mitigate these converging global crises by engaging their communities in home-grown, citizen-led education, action, and multi-stakeholder planning to increase local self reliance and resilience.” (transitionus.org/transition-town-movement)
- The ongoing State secession/independence movements in places like Scotland, Quebec and in the U.S.A. (e.g. the States of Hawaii, “Cascadia”, “Jefferson,” “North Colorado,” “Western Maryland,” etc.). While not all purely anarchist in philosophy, all are at least going in the right direction, toward the ideal of individual/land sovereignty. (hawaii-nation.org, hawaiiavoiceforsovereignty.com, hawaiiankingdom.net, cascadianow.org, freecascadia.org, jeffersonstate.com, scotreferendum.com, jeffersondeclaration.net, middleburyinstitute.org)
- The “Coconut Revolution” documentary
- The “Zone to Defend” in France (Zone À Défendre) – zad.nadir.org
- The Gaviotas Village in Columbia: friendsofgaviotas.org
- The ongoing indigenous sovereignty movement by the Mapuche people in Chile, and, to quote Lori Gallegos who I am in complete agreement with, “In addition to the environmental philosophies of the Mapuche and other Amerindian groups, I believe that we can draw philosophical insight from Latin America’s long history of political movements by landless peasants and workers seeking land reform, even in an urban context. For example, in Chile, from the late 1940s through the 1970s, many destitute farmworkers and miners came to occupy the outskirts of the capital city of Santiago with their families, engaging in hundreds of
tomas de terreno, or land seizures…” (mapuche-nation.org, coha.org/the-mapuche-struggle-for-autonomy)
- The ongoing indigenous sovereignty movement by the Unist’oten clan in Wet’suwet’en territory (western Canada) that is resisting the construction of various pipelines of toxic materials used by the very destructive hydro-fracking/“natural” gas and tar-sands industries. (unistotencamp.com)
- The ongoing Rainbow Gathering/Family movement, that is based on an anarchistic gift-economy Nature-oriented structure, which can/should evolve to permanent occupations, defending our birthright to cost/tax-free sovereign land & water for sustainable living. (welcomehome.org/rainbow)
- The ongoing “Anastasia Movement” in Russia region and worldwide, inspired by the Ringing Cedar Series of books that promote a back-to-the-land, self/community-sufficient way of life. Anastasia gives the crucial message that every person has the birthright to a small parcel of land (a “Kin’s Domain”) to grow their own food, build their own house and raise their family on, without monetary cost or taxation. (ringingcedarsofrussia.org/theearth)
These actions are unfortunately not given the attention and respect they deserve; they point us in the right direction but get lost in the stream of news on activism, and so people miss when something with actual revolutionary potential arises. We need to make more aware and better choices with how we use our time trying to make a more desirable future.
“I believe that a desirable future depends on our deliberately choosing a life of action over a life of consumption, on our engendering a lifestyle that will enable us to be spontaneous, independent, yet related to each other, rather than maintaining a lifestyle which only allows us to make and unmake, produce and consume–a style of life which is merely a way station on the road to the depletion and pollution of the environment.”
– Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society
We can have “restorative ecology,” we can each repair the environment that surrounds us (as described in the book Earth Repair by Leila Darwish), just as we can repair society as a whole, if we recognize that nation-states are actually human-slave farms that are the root problem we need to completely reject. As the author of that book stated:
“We must challenge the voracious colonial processes [i.e. the spreading of social-systems] that created and continue to create such damage in the first place. Because without that, your healing work for this planet will only be superficial and short-lived at best.”
– Earth Repair, p. 5
We need to focus on and carry out the key elements of a real way forward to a just and sustainable society, a strategy that has the right ethical foundation and therefore has real power for positive change. The problems we face can seem overwhelmingly complex, but their origin is simple (social-systems), and so the solution to overcoming them is simply its opposite (anarchism). Anarchism however, by itself, is not a complete lifestyle and social-justice solution. People dependent on social-services and consumer goods need to be able to live in communities where food, clothing and shelter are produced and shared freely, and that will only become commonplace when a fair share of free land & water is acknowledged as a birthright of every woman and man. Anarcho-capitalism (a.k.a. “market anarchism”) without land equality is not social-justice; the masses would be left to be exploited by rich land owners and unjust usury/capitalist economics, so they would still be ruled by others; and since the “archo” means ruler, and the “an” preceding it means no, the term anarcho-capitalism is an oxymoron. Capitalist markets are based on artificial scarcity, inequality and competition; it corrupts human nature to be profit-seeking above all else, it doesn’t just create “ingenuity, innovation, self-betterment, and social-service” as some of its advocates proclaim (I don’t need monetary slavery to motivate me to reach my full potential and do something for others!). The belief in the “invisible hand” of the capitalist market that provides for the good of all when everyone is left to pursue their own interests, is confusing anarchism and capitalism; the former is anti-hierarchical and pro-equality (which is the right foundation for such a natural force to manifest), while the latter is based on hierarchy and inequality, so no natural win-win process actually has a chance of becoming dominant. Many free-market proponents talk about how if a business isn’t treating their employees good, or are producing an inferior product, they would go out of business because people would just quit, not buy or boycott their product; this is clearly not often the case with people that have scarce amounts of money (which they need to survive) who will buy things from companies they know are bad, out of necessity. This boycott corrective “solution” also ignores the problem of monopolies; if one or a few bad companies have control of all of a resource, like say water, people will be forced to buy from them whether they want to or not. The free-market advocates reply that monopolies “are extremely difficult to create in a free market” and “highly unlikely.” Well that is certainly debatable (to put it nicely), and regardless, there is no recognition that people shouldn’t have to pay anyone anything for a fair share of land & water in the first place. To ignore the structural violence inherent in a capitalistic society of inequality (e.g. hording resources at the expense of others, the rich living off of usury, etc.), and to ignore the injustice of having to earn money through whatever available means (if any) just to have your fair share of land & water (which is a birthright) rather than being a natural/free woman or man of the Earth, is to be thinking inside an economic bubble that is flimsy and hollow. Additionally, removing government from the equation doesn’t remove the psychological problem of unnatural power’s corrupting influence, it doesn’t remove the environmental problems of an economy that relies on excessive extraction, consumption & disposal, and it doesn’t in fact prevent monopoly, oligopoly, social-inequality or exploitation… market-anarchists have missed the root injustice and so their philosophy becomes only half-right, and half-right is basically worthless at this point, and could possibly make things even worse. The proposed “free market” is actually a war-system like State social-systems; its proponents support a disturbing competitive money-slave paradigm while ignorantly disregarding the alternative of living self/community-sufficiently as “primitive.”
The bottom line is we can’t live more harmoniously, self-sufficiently & sustainably while denied our autonomy and our birthright; the land control, cost and taxation that comes with that denial/restriction make it an impossibility.
Many scientists and environmentalists are in agreement that nothing short of basically shutting down industrial civilization will likely be enough to stop catastrophic global warming, (increasing efficiency and renewable energy use, while good, doesn’t appear to be enough). So how can we leave behind this slavery and fossil fuel based society of environmental destruction, without making matters even worse? Establish free communities of off-the-grid zero-waste sovereign veganic homesteads, that’s how! What’s a more fair to all life and more sustainable way of living on this planet (and therefore more able to reverse the toxic/irradiated/death trajectory humanity is on) than that? Nothing I’m aware of, and social-systems wickedly stand constantly in the way of that right livelihood being accessible to everyone. In order for that harmless and fulfilling lifestyle (a “return to Eden” if you like) to be a real possibility for most people on Earth we need to a) reject forced citizenship, b) recognize all women and men as sovereign individuals, and c) have a fair share of land & water as a free birthright. We need to cut the supply line to the main sources of injustice and destruction in the world (States & corporations), and their supply line basically consists of three things: 1) Obedience, 2) Taxes, and 3) Profits. Therefore the only real way forward translates specifically to the following actions:
- Women & Men of the Earth declaring themselves to be sovereign individuals.
- Boycotting all taxation and rejecting all governmental control.
- Claiming a fair share of cost-free land & water as a birthright. For those that already live in a home and have some land around it: Transition the Eviction-free Zones/Occupy Our Homes movement into one of forming Autonomous Zones, i.e. sovereign individuals on their sovereign land/homesteads (claiming their birthright to a fair share of free land & water), forming voluntary gift-economy communities. If already existing & occupied houses in a neighborhood became autonomous zones (ideally with enough land/space around them for growing gardens and for privacy), no longer paying land costs and taxation (rejecting the root injustice of having to pay to just live on this planet) then we could build a truly just and sustainable society, one free home at time. For those who do not already have a house and homesteading land: Occupy unjustly controlled, misused and uncultivated non-wilderness land in cooperation with the indigenous people of your area for the purpose of sustainable self/community-sufficiency. This would ideally take the form of off-the-grid veganic homesteads; off-the-grid so that people are not dependent on the dwindling fossil-fueled power-grid, subject to the problems of Peak Oil and technical malfunction or sabotage leading to large-scale blackouts; veganic also to not be dependent on fossil-fuel dependent importations (namely animal-feed and harmful artificial fertilizers/GMO’s, etc.) and also to not support unnecessary slavery of and violence toward sentient beings, i.e. to have a consistent morality, since animal products are not necessary for healthy bodies or healthy soil; homesteads to not be taking more than your fair share of land & water (so as to not be stealing from others), and to avoid the very common problems that arise in living situations in which individuals don’t have their own space, privacy and independence, as well avoiding the excessive/corrupting additional hours of work (and the hierarchy/authoritarianism that usually goes with it) that are needed for the larger (and less sustainable) farming scale.
Thinking this direct-action/civil-disobedience anarchist strategy is “too radical,” neglects the reality that non-violent civil-disobedience is necessary to clearly reveal the evil of States, and thereby destroy the belief in their goodness which upholds them. By courageously disobeying tyranny we further global awakening to the crucial truth of statist slavery; we debunk the false beliefs in governance that are their main stronghold (yes, even more so than their military bases!). Additionally, thinking it’s just a matter of making the politicians listen to us, and also somehow controlling corporate industry to make things right, is a majorly flawed perspective for two big reasons:
1) It ignores the fact that when indigenous peoples and other individuals try to dialogue with State officials about their right to be left alone, their right to not participate or support something destructive, their perspective is continually dismissed by these “representatives.” The crucial truth that must be faced is that States will never agree to real freedom and sustainability, because their existence and power (which they are addicted to) depends on destructive slavery. So the only way to productively deal with that is noncompliance, and claiming what is rightfully yours, namely individual sovereignty and a fair share of land & water.
2) It doesn’t recognize that destructive corporate industries have only grown to the enormous size they are today because of social-systems that made people dependent on their products in the first place. Governments continually work hand-in-hand with these industries, giving them critical support; without the foundation of land control, taxation and subsidies, most if not all of the destructive industries would go out of business, e.g. the highly subsidized and immensely destructive nuclear power industry (Chernobyl! Fukushima!). No corporate reformist/regulation tactic is more effective than putting the corporation completely out of business for lack of funding and customers, and the Earth and all species on it need that level of change now, not “greenwashed” reforms. Additionally, thinking that without government and its (very limited) regulations corporate abuses of the environment will just increase forgets that a) the world is already becoming increasingly toxic/irradiated every year with regulations, and b) it’s the government, through land control and taxation, that makes us dependent on those destructive energy, automobile and consumer good industries in the first place. If people can grow their own food, build their own homes with natural materials, and trade within their own local communities for other natural and artisan goods, the polluting industries will have plummeting profits and power as more and more people go back to the land, living a more natural, sustainable and self/community-sufficient lifestyle.
Also government social services and corporate health-“care” (which are often of terrible quality) will become completely unnecessary as we become more self & community-sufficient; freed from monetary slavery and statist/industrial “civilization,” we can provide better education for our children, better care for the elderly, and better health & well-being through home-grown food and a natural non-toxic environment & lifestyle.
I find there are two other reasons most people give on why they disregard the Good Life (i.e. sovereign veganic homesteading) when they hear about it: Believing a) “There isn’t enough land for everyone,” or “There soon won’t be enough land due to overpopulation” and, returning to an aforementioned concern that most need further clarification on, b) “We need to pay into social-systems in order to keep us safe.”
Concerning the former belief, as long as immense land ownership exists like the Queen of England technically owning 1/6th of the entire planet’s surface, and the rich elsewhere owning millions of acres while most people own none, to stand against land redistribution is unethical and irrational. Secondly using land for raising livestock is another unethical (and unnecessary) use of land, land that could instead be used for billions of self/community-sufficient veganic homesteads. About 45% of the entire Earth’s arable land is used for enslaved animals/livestock; world-wide if that land was used instead for the production of veganic foods for humans to eat directly, it’s estimated the planet could easily support a human population of twenty billion and more. Right now it’s estimated there is at least 2 acres of arable land available per person, and since most people would want to have a home with at least one other person, that doubles the land availability. But again the main thing to keep in mind is that we are nowhere near a just level of distribution, there is massive land inequality in global society, and this is the main cause of poverty and hunger in the world. There is absolutely no good reason why we shouldn’t move toward greater land equality, greater self-sufficiency, and greater freedom. And no matter how much land there is per person, no one should have to pay other humans just to live on this planet. The drastic human population increase in recent decades is actually mainly due to more people living in cities (most moving under economic duress, caused by governments), wherein they can live far beyond the carrying capacity of the land they live on. This reality is shown in the excellent documentary & book Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh, wherein we see another example of indigenous people living in traditional ways, sharing the land and water equally with each other (the documentary said each family had about 3 acres of land of their own), and their population never exceeded the carrying capacity of the land. It was reported that in the year 2008 human civilization went from a mostly rural to a mostly urban lifestyle for the first time, correlating with the huge population increase, a trajectory we definitely need to reverse. However birthrates have been reportedly falling worldwide, so many are predicting that overall population growth will slow significantly, or even reverse, in the coming years. But even then overpopulation of the Earth could be a problem in the future if we continue on the urbanization path, because urbanization fuels overpopulation, and that’s just one more reason why we need a world-wide back-to-the-land movement now. Some “environmentalists” will mistakenly tell you that if everyone lived in cities that would actually be more sustainable, and they’re flat-out wrong. (They cite the large “carbon-footprint” of suburban commuters, but forget that living in the country-side doesn’t by itself naturally necessitate, now or historically, long-commutes in petroleum-field vehicles, this artificial social-system of slavery does!). Cities have higher levels of waste & pollution than traditional rural living, and higher population growth rates, not to mention other disturbances like higher levels of crime and tyrannical police-state actions (most cities now becoming total-surveillance “control-grids”).
In order to disconnect from destructive, tyrannical and artificial social-systems we necessarily must connect with Nature instead (ideally through veganic homesteading); that’s why the control-freaks want everyone in cities, because people are disconnected from the Earth in those disturbing concrete jungles, and so become dependent on governments and corporations for survival. That’s also why the profit/control-crazed don’t care if they corrupt the entire global food supply with harmful GMO’s, because we would then be even more dependent on them, having to buy their patented corporate seed and food, no longer able to grow healthy organic foods provided by Nature for free. It’s no coincidence that some of the most beautiful places on Earth, like the Marshall Islands, New Mexico and Vieques, have all been used for massive nuclear/depleted-uranium weapons testing; evil seeks to destroy what is most good in the world. If we let these highly disturbed/possessed people turn the Earth into a complete wasteland, then our only means to real freedom, Nature, will become corrupted to the point of inaccessibility. (Paralleling this is the Transhumanist agenda, which basically advocates people becoming cyborgs, destroying their natural bodies & minds, and thereby disconnecting them from their Inner Nature, but that’s another story.)
As for the belief of greater safety through coercive social-systems, it has major flaws (again comprised of irrationality, lies and immorality), including:
- It ignores facts like a) several times more innocent people are killed by police than by terrorists, and have been killed by States throughout history through wars and internal/external genocides, b) continuing to kill thousands of innocent children, women & men in other countries (e.g. by drone attacks) doesn’t make us safer, nor does state-sponsored terrorism (which the events of 9/11/2001 clearly were) or government-supported GMOs corrupting the food supply, nuclear power & depleted uranium weaponry radiation filling the planet, or water fluoridation, etc., c) there are over a million people suffering in prison for non-violent drug offenses in this country (plus all those wrongly convicted and those subject to various unjust laws/punishments for other benign actions), d) we are never safe from constant abuses of authority by government officials, e.g. having our privacy constantly invaded in public places covered with surveillance cameras and RFID chip readers (being subject to unreasonable searches anyplace and at anytime), our phone/email/letter correspondence listened to, read and scanned, being subject to molestation and/or cancer-causing radiation by government agents at airports, immigration officials tearing families and loved ones apart with deportation, being subject to mandatory evacuations and mandatory vaccinations, etc. All of these actions treat people like property/livestock rather than the sovereign individuals that they are, individuals who, regardless of these facts, may say that they would rather be really free while potentially less safe, rather than supposedly safer while definitely less free, and they have a natural right to that freedom.
- It ignores the fact that most crime is poverty-related (both physical, emotional and spiritual poverty), and that this poverty is produced in the most part by social-systems, which constantly corrupt our lives with their unnatural and coercive machinations, making people into money-slaves who are deterred from living truly sustainably and instead rewarded for in-authenticity and environmentally destructive lifestyles.
- Forced participation in a social-system is a preemptive attack against humans, and preemptive violence is an ethically and rationally flawed premise on which to base human-relations; you are told by officials that you must pay up “for your own safety,” and this is absolutely no different from how the mafia works. Would you find it legitimate for some random person on the street to engage in the same preemptive attack against you, demanding money from you because they say it’s a preventative measure necessary for the good of yourself and society? Of course not, and the only reason you may think when government officials do it that then it’s legitimate is probably because of indoctrination on “democracy.” We don’t need mandatory taxation in order to help each other, people do that naturally and would do it even more if they didn’t have the burden of monetary-slavery caused by taxation and land/water costs. Additionally, if most of your taxes go toward militarism, and the rest for upholding a social-system of denigration and exploitation, wouldn’t it be better if you yourself directed your resources to those in need?
- Perhaps most importantly, it ignores that the immense power and wealth social-systems put in the hands of the few, does far more damage than people could ever do without the immense power and wealth given to the few by social-systems (nuclear weapons, never-ending wars/State-sponsored terrorism, current environmental and human health devastation, etc.). These positions of power are oftentimes sought and gained by those that are already disturbed people (“control-freaks,” “ego-maniacs,” etc.), people who in a natural community would be only a minor nuisance, but when given this unnatural power are able to cause much worse disturbance to a community, and possibly the whole world. The “checks and balances within our democratic government” and the “power of your vote” to prevent the disturbed few from effecting the many are for the most part deceptive illusions (especially with undisclosed “black-budget” programs, and easily manipulated electronic voting, etc.); they have done nothing to stop atrocities like the Iraq invasion with its massacres and depleted uranium weaponry, even though the majority of “Americans” were against it, just as they were unable to stop the horrors committed in the Vietnam War, etc., etc.,.
Regardless of whether you see the merit of the points made in this essay, or face up to the necessarily very limited success of city/corporate lifestyle within-the-system strategies for a just & sustainable society, there is something that is completely outside of any reasonable debate: if you feel the loss of freedom & peace is a fair trade for the supposed safety gained via artificial social-systems, then that’s fine, take part in one. But who are you to tell everyone else (including of course indigenous peoples) that they also must take part, even if they do not think it is a beneficial trade-off? How is it legitimate that some humans can tell other humans that they have to obey and pay them just to live on Earth, just for a place to sleep on the planet they were born on? Because some people vote every four years for some pre-selected presidential candidates? Regardless of what you may believe, those advocating a free anarchist society don’t need to prove to you that it would be safer than a society based on slavery (a society which has been a proven failure, century after century, culminating in our current mega-crisis). To put the burden of proof on freedom-advocates rather than slavery-advocates is absurd, slavery is completely evil, freedom is a right principle of humanity; those defending social-systems of slavery are exercising an underlying ethical dereliction that supports this backwards world.
The Bill of Rights supposedly protects the minority from the tyranny of the majority, but the smallest minority is the individual, and there is no constitutional protection for the individual who doesn’t want to be a citizen in the first place. (On top of that is the fact that the 13th Amendment is said to protect us against “involuntary servitude,” but that’s exactly what forced citizenship is!). Natural rights are inalienable rights, meaning they are permanent and pre-political, they exist before any government official “gives” them to us. And what are our natural rights exactly? There is widespread agreement that they are most fundamentally the right to Life & Liberty, i.e. the right to a Free Life; the most fundamental right of humans is the right to not be enslaved. And since governments are actually institutions of slavery, they can never give us that right; all other rights they say that they give us are made meaningless by violating our most precious right, the foundational right that all others should come from. Can’t you see that these limited rights we are “given,” the forced extortion/taxation, land & water control, and the nation-state structure as a whole, is just human farming, a form of slavery, that is gift-wrapped in the guise of “democracy” and “We the people?”
Why is it that only States, kings and queens can be sovereign and not have to pay for their land and water? Why not you or I? This is a fundamental injustice that can no longer be brushed aside.
The “kingdom of heaven” (i.e. a heavenly kin’s-domain, a paradisaical family homestead free of animal & human domestication) remains out of reach for humanity not because it can’t be on Earth, but because people believe propaganda, propaganda that upholds the social-systems that prevent a more heavenly society from manifesting. Just as we must all always remain on guard for an internal negative, controlling, deceptive and misguiding influence (“Mara” or the “Pain-Body” in Buddhist and spiritual terminology), we must always reject those that seek to control, deceive and misguide us externally (“Statists” or “Corporatists” in Anarchist terminology). Remaining vigilant against aggression, deception and slavery we can have real liberty, we can be free of the inner & outer tyranny that disconnects us from inner & outer Nature, free of the disconnection that constantly undermines our happiness and well-being.
All of the strategies for a happier, healthier and more sustainable world that accept and identify with an unethical corrupting influence have been very limited in success, and that is because, as I hope I’ve made more clear, they necessarily must be limited in success; we absolutely cannot bring a more free, natural and sustainable society via a form of slavery. It’s no coincidence that every within-the-system strategy is ultimately unsuccessful; it’s a karmic cause & effect dynamic that people ignore at the peril of themselves and future generations.
by Colin Denny Donoghue
[updated June 28th, 2015]
A very poignant fact about the history of Wall Street:
“The African slaves built the wall that gives Wall Street its name, forming the northern boundary of the colony and warded off resisting natives who wanted their land back.”
That really encapsulates the whole situation. What is now called the United States was founded on the genocide of Native Americans and the slavery of Africans, and in a much less harmful but similar dynamic, the 21st century urban Occupy Wall St. campers being evicted from city parks across the country are getting a first-hand experience of what it’s like to be violently forced off the land, out of their small dwellings, dissolving their communities, and forced (back) into a social-system of (monetary) slavery. Of course the Occupy camp evictions and the police-brutality that has come with it (and preceded it), though inexcusable, is still nothing compared to the indiscriminate killing and physical slavery that occurred on this continent not too long ago, yet it would be productive to consider where similarity between the two events does exist, and what that means as far as understanding what the root cause of social-injustice really is, and what the most effective strategy against it is.
Many activists today seek to “evolve” the same imperial powers that enslaved and committed wars of aggression and genocide against sovereign peoples around the world, and have since gone on to massacre millions of other innocent women, men and children in other acts of mass-violence. These activists believe the existence of governments can still actually advance liberty & justice, they believe it is just a matter of somehow making these so-called democracies actually live up to that promise, like through more protests, voting and petitioning. However, one may progress to the realization that the violence and slavery committed by those calling themselves government officials never actually ended with their nation-forming; the violence and slavery has continued on in forms old and new, and all social-systems depend on this continuous violence and slavery to varying degrees for their existence.
In America during the past two centuries, activists have tried to reform this institution of war and ecocide over and over, without understanding that this government, like all governments, not only still regularly commits atrocities and was founded on such violence and destruction, but also in fact continues to be violent and destructive on a daily basis just by its very existence alone. What do I mean by that? We are actually always experiencing the violence and destruction of an ongoing eviction by social-systems, an eviction from the Earth, an eviction from a natural way of life that harmonizes with Nature and each other. These current Occupy camp evictions make partly visible once again how the 99% have all been prevented from living in harmony with Nature and each other, through the existence of social-systems, and the taxes and land costs that come with those systems of human farming. The fundamental issue is lack of personal sovereignty and land sovereignty. We are sovereign women and men of the Earth, and a fair share of land and water for the purpose of self-sufficiency is our birthright; resistance to that fact by officialdom is the root of empire, it is the root injustice.
Sovereignty is what Indigenous peoples like those in Hawaii are trying to reclaim, and lack of sovereignty is also ultimately what’s behind the massive amount of home foreclosures & evictions occurring (over 4 million foreclosures in the U.S. in the past few years alone); people are being denied their individual sovereignty (forced to pay into a destructive social-system) and denied their birthright to their fair share of the land that would allow them to escape the degradation and exploitation of being a money-slave consumer-citizen. With that denial of individual and land sovereignty comes all kinds of other cruel injustices too, like Native/Aboriginal families having their children taken away from them; and those in “civilized” society are not safe from these violations either, as recent news stories like this illustrate: “Police State kidnaps couple’s baby for getting a second opinion on his medical treatment.”
Social-systems are simply vehicles of violence and enslavement; it basically consists of armed government agents acting on behalf of the ruling class (royalty, head bankers, heads of multinational corporations, the ultra-rich, complicit government officials, etc.) forcing people to abandon natural & sustainable living, so the rich can get richer and the poor made poorer through a paradigm of domination and exploitation (“for your own good” they say of course). The ideal of natural & sustainable self/community-sufficiency is opposed through multiple channels of tyranny, but it all comes down to the same root cause: not allowing people to live as free and natural women & men of the Earth, pushing them down into deeper monetary-slavery and dependence. This is most obviously true with what has happened with Indigenous peoples throughout the world, but it is also true for all that are forced into an artificial social-system where they have to struggle just to pay others to live on this planet:
“Entrapped in our concrete reservations, indentured to our corporate masters, impoverished of our land, separated from the earth, and at last placed at odds with nature herself, many no longer see the issue of freedom as relevant. For them the ring of the liberty bell has long ago been silenced. And, having lost our connection with our mother earth, we have lost our connection with ourselves. … [It’s] an unholy alliance between the living, who must love and respect the earth, and the dead corporate King, who is bent on destroying the earth for profit. People must work, but more and more their work compels the injury or destruction of their mother earth.”
– From Freedom to Slavery by Gerry Spence (St. Martin’s Press, 1995), p.142, 134
Two excellent documentaries that also visually show this root injustice repeating of denying people their birthright to land and sovereignty are “Broken Rainbow” (about the Navajo in the Southwest) & “The Garden” (about community gardeners in Southcentral Los Angeles); in both you see the state bulldozing the gardens of people trying to live more self-sufficiently and naturally. Other examples include the “Diggers” group in England (past and present) being evicted by the state when they try to establish a sustainable small eco-village on unused land; the state bulldozing of a community garden in Hempstead, New York; a Canadian family being told by the government they have to tear up their vegetable garden that’s on their property; and the US military bulldozing the orchards of Iraqi farmers as punishment for not being productive informers. The way back to the Garden of Eden (i.e. human and ecological balance) isn’t blocked by some sword-wielding angel, it’s blocked by government.
“The Hopis were entrusted with this land from the Great Spirit. To take care of this land so they could live a long time, by protecting this land so that we can have something for our future generation. This is what the Federal Government don’t see. They sell all the land and split us apart. They fence the land around. Our ancestors said that’s wrong. When the government takes over the land then we’re getting out of balance, because that’s not what the Great Spirit wants for all mankind.”
– Manuel Hoyungowa, a traditional leader of the Sovereign Hopi Nation, from the documentary “The Big Question: A Film About Forgiveness”
By forcing us into dependence on an unnatural way of living we are also simultaneously forced to fund the military-industrial-complex; we are forced to fund wars we don’t want (and the sickening extreme cruelty that comes with them, like that occurring now with drone attacks in the Middle East, and which occurred in Vietnam, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, etc.), and we are forced to live in a way that destroys the natural environment we need to survive; and yet all this comprises what is spuriously called an advanced society.
“We live in a very low state of the world, and pay unwilling tribute to governments founded on force.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, from his essay Politics
Those deeply indoctrinated by irrational praise of modern civilization condescendingly put the label “primitive” on the way many Indigenous peoples throughout the world live now, and how all our ancestors used to live (much more in harmony with nature and each other, having little to no major impact on the ecosystem as a whole). Is that modern elitist perspective emblematic of an advanced intelligence? Advanced ignorance is more like it.
Is the never-ending toxic pollution filling the atmosphere and acidifying oceans, along with extreme over-fishing which has decimated not only the fish populations but with them the plankton and blue-green algae that produce the majority of oxygen on Earth (yes, more than rainforests!), a rational thing to do? Is massive natural gas drilling across America that is polluting the entire water supply so much that people’s tap water has become flammable a sign of an advanced society? Or how about conducting nuclear bomb tests and building extremely expensive and dangerous nuclear reactors (to just boil water for steam-generated electricity!) that spread radioactive material across the world which takes millions of years to decay and causes epidemics of disease? (1/3 of Americans live within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant, feel safe with that?) And off-shore petroleum-oil drilling, that led to the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, creating another massive “dead-zone” in the Earth’s waters? Continuing the ecocide, is destroying bee colonies (with pesticides and EMF pollution) that pollinate about 70% of the world’s food supply, show any sanity? And destroying the last remaining large rainforests in order to make more top-soil depleting cattle ranches, anything but extreme stupidity? Or how about putting sodium fluoride, a neurotoxin, in our drinking water? And chlorine, another toxin put unnecessarily in our water (non-toxic sanitation methods are available, and the chlorine can at least be easily removed after being used at the treatment plant), which is harmful to ingest (it destroys beneficial bacteria in our digestive-system), soak in and inhale when we breathe in the chlorinated water vapor during a hot shower, how smart is that? Like fluoride and chlorine, another free “gift” of government is cancer causing radiation: a) Wi-Fi routers are put in schools (despite the countless cases of ill-effect and corresponding parent’s objections) covering them in cell-damaging radiation, b) food irradiation is done for our “safety,” and c) now they are requiring “smart” digital wi-fi meters be installed in homes that emit even more damaging radiation… And then there’s eating and drinking out of containers that contain toxic chemicals like BPA and DEHP, children and adults rolling around in bedding covered in toxic (and ineffective) fire-retardant, using cleaning and personal care products containing a multitude of other toxic chemicals (that can be deceptively labeled on the ingredient list as simply “fragrance“), etc…. (See my “Toxins & Tyranny” post for more on this.)
Additionally, do you think it’s well thought-out to be completely dependent on a centralized source of electricity for your survival, that can go out of service at any time, for many reasons? Or to only have a few days worth of food available at your supermarket for the surrounding urban population? What are you going to do if those shelves are empty on your next visit?
Examples like these of society actually going in the wrong direction just go on and on, and keep increasing in number… how is all this an improvement from what our ancestors did? Is all this really “moving forward” or is it wicked/backwards insanity? We are being poisoned, irradiated, suffocated and put on the constant brink of disaster by this crazy industrial machine which runs on profit and greed, all in the name of “progress.”
“We come upon a contention which is so astonishing that we must dwell upon it. This contention holds that what we call our civilization is largely responsible for our misery, and that we should be much happier if we gave it up and returned to primitive conditions. … During the last few generations mankind has made an extraordinary advance in the natural sciences and in their technical application and has established his control over nature in a way never before imagined. The single steps of this advance are common knowledge and it is unnecessary to enumerate them. Men are proud of those achievements, and have a right to be. But they seem to have observed that this newly-won power over space and time, this subjugation of the forces of nature, which is the fulfillment of a longing that goes back thousands of years, has not increased the amount of pleasurable satisfaction which they may expect from life and has not made them feel happier.”
– Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents (1930)
In order to establish a sense of sacred relationship with the land and Nature, rather than an attitude of disconnection and exploitation, people need to be physically rooted in the land, otherwise it is much more likely to be ignorantly treated without respect, care or reverence. For example, if all the waste your household produces had to go into your backyard, you would probably reduce your waste output immediately. Likewise, if the plants around your home were your food and medicine, you probably wouldn’t spray toxic chemicals all over them, or otherwise contaminate the botanical and soil ecology.
Our disconnection from the land is not only a disconnection from plants and wildlife, but also from our neighbors, family and surrounding community.
“One major difficulty which non-Indians face… is the absence of any real or lasting communities. Non-Indian Americans, not the Indians, are the real nomads. White Americans are rarely buried in the places they were born… living in as many as a dozen places, and having roots in and accepting responsibility for none of these locations. … Land, for traditional peoples, includes the other forms of life that share places with us. … We thus move from simple appreciation of land to an apprehension of its sacredness and to the discovery that our analysis must include proper relationship with animals. … It is apparent that the Indian relationship with the land is one brought about by prolonged occupation of certain places. Non-Indians can work toward this condition, but it cannot be brought about by energetic action or sincerity alone.”
– from the essay Reflection and Revelation: Knowing Land, Places and Ourselves by Vine Deloria, Jr.
And what is the main obstacle to “prolonged occupation” of the land? The fact that we have to pay other people just to live somewhere on this planet! This is why so many of us move around so much, looking for a different job or because we can no longer afford to live where we are; we are money-slaves, not free, sovereign and natural humans inhabiting the Earth. So people’s lives are oftentimes reduced to a mind and body degrading daily grind, working at jobs they hate, going through fast-food drive-thrus, buying GMO and chemical-covered/filled foods from corporations that damage their health, treat animals hellishly, and further decimate the Earth.
And by the way, what would be a truly “proper relationship with animals,” referred to in the above quote? I, and many others (increasing in number), would say it is a relationship free of the violence and slavery that we wish to escape ourselves, i.e. a vegan ethic. (I will expand on this point later.)
Just as immense centralized power in the hands of the few is unnatural and causes those with it to become mentally disturbed, so it is with the immense artificiality of our society for the many; living so disconnected from the Earth and a natural lifestyle disturbs all those within it to varying degree. “Eco-therapy” is a growing field of healthcare as more and more urbanized people realize that spending time in natural settings and doing natural activities like gardening are very healing. One of the main factors leading to distress is modern man’s lack of free time that could be spent in healthier and more fulfilling activities (including non-actions like meditation). People actually have less free time in our consumerist/corporatized society than they could in a free and natural one. Without free time the likelihood you’ll ever attain peace of mind, happiness, or gain crucial knowledge of self, society and cosmos, is little to naught. Developing a philosophy of life used to be a main priority among people, now it is often just earning a lot of money and using the latest technology; it is a sickness of the soul, which some have given the name Affluenza.
Many in techno-industrial society don’t realize just how much of their stress and ill-health is really due to their unnatural environment and lifestyle, and so they suffer from stress and illness which they often accept noxious treatment for, e.g. artificial pharmaceutical drugs from misguided doctors who are quick to label them with various “genetic disorders”; the real disorder is this modern way of life, a drugged populace is not the solution, living in a natural way (and eating natural foods) is. It is no coincidence that the most mental illness and drug-addiction is found in city-centers, and that cities are also the most destructive to the ecosystem as well; what’s bad for our inner nature is also bad for outer nature.
“The trauma endured by technological people like ourselves is the systemic and systematic removal of our lives from the natural world… This is also the systemic and systematic removal of our lives from the kinds of social and cultural experiences our ancestors assumed when they lived in rhythm with the natural world.”
– Chellis Glendinning, from the anthology Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind
We are currently in the period of fastest mass-extinction of species in the Earth’s history, faster then when the dinosaurs died, and about a thousand times faster than the natural rate of extinction. Knowing that the Earth’s ecosystem relies on biological diversity, this is obviously a threat to the human species as well, on top of other major threats like global-warming/climate-change and nuclear radiation. To think that humans have now reached a pinnacle in their evolution makes no sense; shouldn’t evolution be progressive rather than increasingly destructive? Shouldn’t we be happier and healthier rather than more miserable and diseased? Tens of millions of Americans are now taking dangerous artificial anti-depressants (giving record profits to the pharmaceutical industry), and cancer is being accepted as “just a part of life” (giving the harmful and mostly ineffective surgery, chemotherapy and radiation “treatment” industries immense profit as well), the masses believing the lies of industry that it’s your genetics that are the cause of both, when the truth is of course that the cause is mostly all the degradation, toxins and radiation we are exposed to in this artificial/unnatural/toxic society.
Some people praise modern technology as representative of advanced natural curiosity and holistic intelligence, yet they ignore all the environmental destruction and exploitative centralized power that goes with its production (and disposal), missing the cause-effect reality/truth that bad origins produce bad outcomes. It seems that as techno-industrial civilization continues to erode the natural environment, it also erodes people’s critical thinking, morality, and sense of true quality-of-life; it’s as if they are hypnotized by the money-game along with the screens of their TV’s, computers and cellphones, unable to articulate what really matters in life anymore, and unable to see the real natural world around them any longer. The complexity and unnaturalness of the modern world has led to increased derangement, as the healing and natural characteristics of a simpler and more sustainable life becoming less and less common.
“Continuing global “development” with the same world-view and institutions that have produced the deadly global situation we now face reminds me of one of the popular definitions of insanity: the act of trying the same thing over and over again while expecting to get a different result each time.”
– Red Alert! Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge, by Daniel Wildcat, p. 79
Taking this obsession/addiction with modern technology to the extreme, more and more we are propagandized (in movies and TV shows especially) with the Transhumanism idea that the next step in human evolution is a merging of man and machine (i.e. becoming cyborgs), and even “uploading consciousness” into supercomputers for so-called “digital immortality.” Never-mind that only the powerful few will be able to design and build this artificial intelligence cyborg tech (and thereby be able to further control individuals via the limitations of the design and the possibility of your cyborg components being “hacked” into and controlled), or what their environmental/health effects will be, or what connection with Nature and Spirit is being lost. The same goes for nanotechnology, propagandized as a means to cure cancer (if you can afford such treatment!) and allow humans to possibly live forever, yet the similar negative effects/realities and terrible dystopian possibilities are ignored. This obsessive (and unwise) push for cyborg technology and nanotechnology is another destructive and unprincipled endeavor of man, like nuclear power and GMO’s, that we would be much better off with not existing at all, and, of crucial importance to understand, only exists because of the funneling of wealth to the few via social-systems. The key to keep in mind is that if the origins are unnatural and unprincipled, so will be the results; this is what makes this technology inevitably destructive, it’s a cause and effect dynamic.
Modern technology does not equate to superior experience, intelligence, creativity or curiosity. Let’s be real, most of us don’t know how to make a cell phone (or computer, or stereo, etc.) and understand how it works exactly; by speaking of electronic tech as a product of humanity as a whole, people are taking credit for knowledge and techniques that have been developed by a relatively few specialists (who are dependent on computers/robotics for their work), and generalizing it as the work of all mankind. The truth is most of us are completely ignorant and hapless consumers only concerning this technology; we can put our favorite ringtone and images on the device, but that’s about as far as consumer input goes in most cases. Most people do not have the very expensive resources necessary to create these devices (and many in the world can’t afford to even use them), and on top of that, how many of us would really want to bother with learning this robotic programming/manufacturing anyway? As John Zerzan says in this passage from his book Running On Emptiness:
“Sure, people are naturally curious. But about what? Did you or I aspire to create the neutron bomb? Of course not. That’s crazy. Why would people do that in the first place? … [T]he fact that I don’t want to create a neutron bomb doesn’t mean I’m not curious. Curiosity is not value free. Certain types of curiosity arise from certain types of mindsets…” (p. 82)
Mindsets that are motivated to create weapons of mass destruction and other destructive (to mind, body and environment) technology are disturbed mindsets, they are not more intelligent than the so-called primitive mindset.
Just as the modern mind-set is not necessarily more advanced than the more natural one, modern technology does not make for a truly advanced society in an ethical sense. Let’s not forget about Freedom, Equality and Justice in this distracting technological whirlwind! When right principles are lost, so is humanity.
Though there has been some post nation-forming progress in social-justice through reform, such as the end of the physical slavery of Africans, has not that slavery just been refined and expanded through greater monetary-slavery for everyone except the 1%?
Why do we need to earn money in order to survive? Why do most of us have to work at jobs we don’t want to, and often struggle to even find one of these jobs? Why are people forced to give their life away to working for others and be subject to various forms of exploitation, discrimination and abuse? Why do people have to unhappily work in toxic factories and for corporations that act against their values? We constantly hear talk of the job-market in the mass-media, but is it really a market of jobs or a market of wage-slaves? What is really for sale? Jobs or people? Don’t we go to perspective employers and try to sell ourselves with resumes, cover letters and interviews? This is of course normal in this society, but it is not natural or dignified, it is a reality of subservience and dependence, denying man the option to make an honest living by his or her own natural labor, to be his or her own master, subservient to no one, living off the land as a natural human being. The job market is in fact part of the human farm we are forced to live within, and us humans are put out on that market for sale every day. (The second listed definition for the word prostitute is: “Someone who debases themselves or their abilities for money.” Working in the corporate world is often prostituting oneself then isn’t it?) And even if you find a job you find tolerable, you must always live with the anxiety that it can be taken away from you at any time, just like how your investments and pensions that you may be dependent on can suddenly vanish, as has happened to countless people.
Being a commodity on a farm is not a secure or happy way to live, nor is being dependent on bank notes that may lose their value at any time (as they have many times in many countries). Our forced alienation from the natural world by the monetary-system is destructive to us and the environment, it is an artificial way for humans to live on this planet; as the Native American saying says, when the last tree has been cut down and the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that we can’t eat money. Our dependence on money and employers is due solely to the restriction from claiming our birthright to our fair share of land & water; we should have the option to not be wage-slaves and instead be self-employed via natural work, subservient to no one.
“When a family cannot support itself, and secure the food, clothing, and shelter it needs by getting employment in a factory, or an office, or a store, the only sensible thing for it to do is to support itself by producing these things for itself on its own homestead. … Insecurity and Industrialism are Siamese twins. You cannot have one without having to accept the other. Insecurity is the price we pay for our dependence upon industrialism for the essentials of life. … …[N]o man can afford to be dependent upon some other man for the bare necessities of life without running the risk of losing all that is most precious to him. Yet that is precisely and exactly what most of us are doing today.”
– Flight from the City: An Experiment in Creative Living on the Land, by Ralph Borsodi, p. 139-147
Obviously there is no such dependence in traditional indigenous societies, there is no monetary-slavery, because these people are living more naturally and freely, they are sustained by the Earth and each other, not by controlling and exploitative governments and corporations. This way of life points us in the right direction, away from this globalized money-machine. This machine has advanced some things, for sure, like: exploitation, destitution, illness and environmental destruction. This advancement of degeneration is now very acute among First Nations Peoples who have been subjected to the statist agenda, like the Lakota, who I will quote here at length:
“Today, real unemployment and corresponding poverty among Lakotas is over 90 percent. The level of self-sufficiency evidenced among even those who have somehow managed to cling to a few acres of land is nearly zero. This among a people who have always been productively occupied in the past, and who have never been truly impoverished.
Meanwhile, the wealth of our land, our water, our very habitat itself is being stripped away, inch by inch, pound by pound, all for the use and profit of others.
And the price we pay for this “progress”? It cannot be measured only in the depths of our destitution. Besides the obvious costs, there is the radioactive and chemical contamination of what little water remains to us, a matter which has led to spiraling rates of cancer, stillbirth and genetic mutations like cleft palate. Every new stripmine, uranium mill, power generating plant and production facility serves to up the ante of the consequences we endure.
The situation is already bad, and it promises to become much worse in coming years. Lakota territory is extraordinarily rich in minerals, and both the federal government and its corporate partners are once again offering “jobs, income and prosperity” to those foolish enough to grant them easy access.
What happens when the “resources” are gone? Look around you. The conditions currently prevailing at Pine Ridge are but a small taste of what is to come. The example of Laguna Pueblo, which placed its faith in uranium mining, is very much to the point. Only a few years ago [i.e. 1977], Laguna had the highest per capita income and lowest unemployment of any reservation in North America. Then the uranium played out, and with it went the jobs and royalties which had made Laguna “prosper”. Now the corporate sugar daddy is gone, the water is radioactively contaminated, and so are the foundations of homes and community buildings, the roadbeds and the farmland. The old economy of Laguna cannot be reconstructed, the new economy is bust, and the chances are that the people will not even be able to remain on their homeland because of the contamination. The people of Laguna are rapidly being reduced to absolute dependence upon unemployment compensation, welfare, ADC [Aid to Dependent Children], commodities distribution, the Indian Health Service and “Christian charity.” So are the Lakota people. The only difference between them and us [the Lakota people] is that their situation is likely permanent, and ours doesn’t have to be. But it could be. If we follow their lead, if we allow the trend of industrial “progress” to continue, our present situation will not be temporary. It will be permanent. There will be no way to regain self-sufficiency in terms acceptable to our own Lakota tradition.
Insofar as the United States and its corporate allies are presently seeking to leave us no alternative but to accept such a fate, they are guilty of denying Lakota self-determination in the most egregious manner imaginable.”
– quote taken from the 1982 Campaign Platform of Oglala Sioux/Lakota member Russell Means, the first National Director of the American Indian Movement
What Occupiers who are trying to reform social-systems need to recognize is that such systems are unnatural and unprincipled in any form. All forms are based on force (e.g. evictions) and theft (e.g. taxes) and so are therefore unprincipled. The domestication of humans through social-systems is not natural, it is a forced deviation from the wild order of Nature, a deviation which has had extremely negative consequences. These unnatural practices are the root cause of most of the despair, violence and environmental destruction in the world, and so doesn’t that reveal the source of what the Hopi call Koyaanisqatsi, life out of balance? Is not something continuously extremely destructive to our Mother Earth, not at all fitting into Her ecology, unnatural? “No, it’s corporations that exploit people and destroy the environment, they are the problem, not government,” you may object, but where do corporations come from? Governments! (They create corporations). And what caused us to become dependent on corporate goods in the first place? Governments! (They tax us and force us off the land which makes us $-slaves). “Well technically yes, but…” But nothing. When you ignore the root cause, irrationally believing it is somehow good, though the majority of destruction on Earth comes from that root, you are delusional if you just keep looking at the branches (like individual corporate acts) and think pruning those will save the day.
“[W]hen we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government which we might expect in a country without a government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence: the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers [i.e. natural dwellings] of paradise.”
-Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)
As the Occupy activists are being removed from living freely on the land, like Native Americans were, we glimpse at the root injustice, the injustice which allows for empires to exist and grow in the first place: making it illegal to live as free and natural women & men on the Earth. In some places it has even been made illegal to collect rainwater! That injustice encapsulates the whole root problem we face as a society.
The government claims you are subject to their jurisdiction because you are living in “their” territory. Yet how did this territory become theirs? Officials say their jurisdiction was made valid by the absurd (and racist) “Discovery Doctrine,” that proclaims “lands lay with the government whose subjects explored and occupied a territory whose inhabitants were not subjects of a European Christian monarch.” Uh huh, insane religious conquest/imperialism… real solid so far. “The doctrine has been primarily used to support decisions invalidating or ignoring aboriginal possession of land in favor of colonial or post-colonial governments.” So a few Christian European officials sailed over to somewhere they had never been to before, and Bam! it’s all theirs, further than the eye can see! And everybody already living there (e.g. indigenous peoples) are now under their control! Yeah, sounds super legit!
On top of this bullshit doctrine there is the fact that this territory was established via the massacre of Native women, men and children; hardly legitimate means to property rights! The fact is that all nation-state territory was at some point established by conquest (followed by the conquerors arbitrarily and without valid authority drawing lines on maps, designating “their” territory); this is just force, violence, coercion and slavery in-action, none of these territories and jurisdictions are actually valid.
Saying you “agreed” to the rules of a nation-state by simply being on a piece of Earth state officials claim is their territory (i.e. “implicit consent”) is completely fraudulent, just as the so-called “social-contract” that none of us have actually signed and has been forced upon us, is invalid.
Social-contract theory relies on the “implicit agreement” of the public, that is, even though you don’t specifically agree to something, like taxation for protection, you supposedly implicitly agree by accepting some of the benefits of the state, like using roads or whatever (which are necessary for survival as a money-slave). Yet even if you explicitly object to this arrangement and say you want to live off the land and be left alone, this is ignored! Somehow your “implicit agreement” trumps your explicit objection! How absurd it is to call a contract valid that you never signed, can’t opt-out of, and are told that you gave implicit consent for, by simply being alive!
All of the major imbalance and destruction we observe in the world, from extreme disparities of wealth to ecocide, is a result of humans not living in proper relationship with Nature and each other. Since there aren’t enough resources for everyone to live like wealthy Americans or Europeans, obviously the answer isn’t for everyone to live that way, nor should the tragedy of people dying of starvation and malnutrition-related disease be tolerated either. The way we can end this great disparity of wealth and restore ecological balance is for there to be equal and free access to a fair share of the land and water for every sovereign human and family, so they can live more self-sufficiently via homesteading. This would end the monetary-slavery that creates the massive inequality and hunger that exists in the world. Once we no longer have to pay to live on the planet, we can much more easily and readily help one another achieve greater self-sufficiency; we can have much healthier and supportive communities that aren’t divided within by the stress of individuals trying to survive in unjust monetary social-systems.
In order for lasting justice to be achieved, focus needs to be on these evictions from the land, past and present, while not confusing these current occupations with imperial ones of the past; not all occupations are equal. What distinguishes imperial/colonial occupations from just occupations is the former is the taking of more than is needed to live naturally by the occupiers; the taking of more than your fair share, which is more than a homesteading scale; it is thereby the theft of land and water from other people and species.
Stealing is taking what belongs to others, e.g. forcing someone off land they are currently using or taking more than your fair share preventing other people from using it. Yes people may have been gathering & hunting occasionally through an area, but to say a new homesteader there is “stealing the land” just begs the question of which and how many people are allowed to use that land before it is called “stealing,” and what is a fair share of land & water for each human being? Can I rightly say that a thousand mile radius from my place of birth is my territory, and anyone who tries to grow a garden within that area is stealing my land? Of course not. Well, what about a hundred mile radius? 50? Still no. What actually makes the most sense for just property rights, something that is actually applicable world-wide (and therefore worth talking about), in keeping with the principles of equality, justice and compassion, along with the fact that everyone needs a place to live on this planet, is clearly a homesteading scale. Saying so doesn’t make me an insensitive racist who doesn’t respect anything of native cultures. Colonialism is military conquest by nation-states, it is slavery and genocide, it is forcibly denying people the ability to live their traditional/natural free way of life on Earth. Establishing a homestead peacefully on an unoccupied/uncultivated piece of land is a completely different thing, it’s not murdering/enslaving/stealing like Christopher Columbus. Migration of humans from one continent to another is a natural and blameless phenomenon, colonial conquest is not; making the two an inseparable whole is mistaken. Yes, many people, like my Irish ancestors escaping famine, moved after a militaristic conquest by English and other European governments, but they were not part & parcel to those governments (and to say so to an Irish woman or man would probably be responded to by laughter at your ignorance or worse for the insult). My great grandmother was sent on a months-long journey to Ellis Island on a “coffin ship” alone at the age of 17 because she was the healthiest and the only one the family could afford to send. To equate that Irish girl with the king of England is extremely stupid and completely false. There are of course countless other examples like this of migrating people just trying to survive with no ill-will toward native peoples, yet this fact is often amazingly absent from opining by radical activists, essentially spouting little more than “colonialism, colonialism, colonialism!”, a view which keeps implying the false/ignorant equivalency of “all white people = colonizers” and also seems to be ignorant of the fact that every “white” baby born on this continent is actually a human individual! The main mix-up here is assuming/implying that every “settler” living on this continent has the same mindset as fascist/racist imperialists, that they’re the same as the governments who have deemed them their “citizens,” and that these individuals don’t care about Native Americans, don’t want to live in harmony with them, and are all just mindlessly going on a “white/colonial privilege” ride through the countryside without any consideration for who may already be living in the area. And in staying stuck on that narrow/false thought, one can totally miss the ecological and rational basis for homesteading as a sustainable and fair-to-other-life way to live (especially veganic homesteading); they’re ironically actually caught up in a racist way of thinking (against “white people”) which is muddling their critical thinking; they’re exercising the psychological phenomenon known as projection, i.e. saying someone else is doing what they are in fact the one doing (e.g. being racist).
“White privilege” does exist (mainly because of social-systems, which is the real root problem that should be focused on and countered with anarchism), but how is the best way to deal with that being to deny the freedom and equality of the so-called white people? You can’t peacefully set up a garden anywhere on this continent because your skin color is similar to tyrants like George Washington? Send them all back on a boat to Ireland or wherever? That’s obviously totally impractical, irrational and wrong isn’t it? As is the less obviously foolish activism which seems to have as its sole goal trying to make others feel guilty about things like the color of their skin and where they were born. What’s the solution-oriented point to that? There isn’t any, which is sadly then just serving the status-quo. [side note: Rather than focusing on advocating the main solution of anarchism and being on equal grounds with each other (i.e. equal land and water access), radical activists on both sides often get sidetracked in a divide & conquer program they don’t even realize they are participating in; in academia/off-target fashion, “anarchists” sadly just become another tool of the State/status-quo.]
The answer is therefore that we need to take back the land as sovereign individuals, establishing voluntary communities of sovereign homesteads, in solidarity and cooperation with indigenous peoples of the areas in which we live. The imperialist agenda that led to the genocide of Native Americans and slavery of Africans is of course quite different from the agenda of the Occupy activists who peacefully occupied parks and other public spaces; in fact the motives of each are opposite to one another. When activists occupy a park peacefully for the purpose of greater social-justice, that obviously cannot be equated with the slave-trade or armies massacring women, men and children for the purpose of establishing new national territory or to secure “national interests” (like oil reserves in the Mid East); the former is nonviolent and non-hierarchical, while the latter is extremely violent and hierarchical.
Some object to any occupation at all based on the idea that “private property is theft,” but this perspective doesn’t make much sense as far as pointing to a harmonious way humans can live on the Earth together. That phrase is oversimplified, the truth is that property beyond your birthright of sovereign homesteading land is then the theft of that birthright from someone else. If there is no private property at all, then it is all communal property, and is that really a better idea? This theory, advocating the total elimination of private property, is defined as communism; and that theory has not played out well at all in the real world (a major understatement of course). If there is no private property, no personal sovereignty, then there is no protection from communal authoritarianism regulating the property (and your life); without private property, namely without sovereign homesteading land, concentration of power in one form or another is very likely, which inevitably leads to corruption, injustice and tyranny. If no one can claim and protect the land their family lives on, and must submit to so-called “community” authoritarianism, we are back to square one, a control paradigm, a social-system. Yes, “the Earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the Earth” but don’t we all deserve (and need for peace & harmony) our own places wherein we can commune with our families, Nature & Spirit without the interference of others? We shouldn’t get hung up on the term “ownership” concerning land. Yes the Earth belongs to everyone, but if we don’t designate portions to people to be their “own” during their lifetime, how can we insure personal freedom/sovereignty, peace/privacy, and independence? We can’t. That’s why we need to be a bit more rational and accept the fact that designating a couple acres of arable land per individual/small-family is necessary, it would be a principled occupation, not taking more than your fair share. It would also be unproblematic to trade one’s homestead land for someone else’s, not treating it as property in the sense that it equates to a monetary value, but rather as the birthright of all. These sovereign homesteads would make up voluntary communities; voluntary because any social-system or claiming of territory beyond your own fair share leads inevitably to conflict, corruption and calamity. Our “tribe,” or relations that we wish to be near for mutual support and friendship, would be in nearby sovereign spaces, but not subject to forcible membership in any collective or hierarchy.
We need to peacefully claim our birthright through such occupations and stop supporting unprincipled/violent social-systems, we need to stop submitting to false authority and hierarchy. The newer strategy within the Occupy Wall St. movement has been to occupy homes, to help families resist evictions and stay in their homes, creating eviction-free zones (very close to the more on-point declaration of private homes as autonomous zones) and this is a much wiser strategy than the park occupations were (good as those were), being that it is closer to the necessary self-sufficiency dynamic for social, ecological and economic balance, i.e. sovereign homesteads making up voluntary gift-economy communities. Eviction resistance can be a viable transition to a truly revolutionary movement, but thus far the home occupations have not been declaring free and sovereign homesteading land as a birthright, and so the dominating economic and legal apparatus of the state is not being adequately challenged and rejected in a way that can have permanency; the current tactic of settling for some renegotiated payment-plan with a bank is not a real victory, it’s just making the slavery more livable, for a time. There is no just compromise solution within an unjust system, the only logical and ethical way is via complete noncompliance to forced citizenship and having to pay to live on this planet, i.e. declaring individual sovereignty as women & men of the Earth, to whom a fair share of free land and water is a birthright. Then people will have the stability of having a place to live they don’t have to pay for, and community solidarity and organizing can take off to new levels impossible under current restraints.
“Gandhi envisaged for India an ideal that was the opposite of a modern centralized state, monopolizing decision-making and buttressing itself and its decision with varieties of coercion. He hoped… small-scale communities would regulate their own affairs without the use of force. He called this ideal “Enlightened Anarchy.” … From this it followed that individuals were obliged by their duty to pursue Truth, to withdraw cooperation from a state that became immoral, and to refuse to obey laws that were clearly wrong and immoral. “Satanic” was the worst, most profoundly critical adjective he used of the British raj [i.e. rule] and the reason he gave for noncooperation with it…”
– Gandhi, Freedom, and Self-Rule, edited by Anthony J. Parel, p. 92-93
Before the police evicted the Occupy Portland camp and fenced it off, I saw a sign left behind, staked in the ground, that read “I can’t afford to be here.” Yes, we have to pay the Rent don’t we? We have to pay off those Student Loans! We can’t afford the time to do things like share food and discourse with our community and be a part of some nonviolent social-justice movement; we can’t afford to be the change we wish to see in the world. We are ensnared by modern techno-industrial society and so have lost sight of what it means to be a natural woman or man on the Earth. Through land control/cost and taxation, governments force us to be money-slaves and assimilate to an unnatural consumerist lifestyle that destroys minds, bodies and spirits. The wisdom and understanding of Native Americans who are demanding real freedom and sovereignty is needed by many activists who are still just aiming for some reformation of the system, reforms that will not solve the root problem to the social and ecological imbalance we see growing throughout the world. Additionally, knowing how to grow your own food, build your own home, make your own clothes, etc. are not “primitive” skills, they are valuable natural human skills that take a lot of intelligence and skill to master (and are satisfying creative activities too); modern social-systems have actually de-skilled the populace, we are less capable of doing the many natural and sustainable things our ancestors could, having become dependent on electronic technology, corporations and governance. Occupy members can unite in solidarity with Native peoples to reclaim their own sovereignty and humanity, breaking the governmental chains that still bind them both.
The countless injustices against Native Americans has been an ongoing tragedy that needs to be rectified, rather than just continuing on with the countless examples of dishonor and insults added to injury, like these:
“During World War II, in 1942 the Department of War annexed 341,725 acres of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for use by the United States Army Air Force as an aerial gunnery and bombing range. It condemned privately held land owned by tribal members and leased communally held tribal land.
Among the 125 families forced to give up their land was that of Pat Cuny. He was an Oglala soldier with the 83rd Infantry Division, who landed in Normandy at Omaha Beach two weeks after the Normandy invasion in 1944 after his transport was torpedoed in the English Channel, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, helped liberate the Langenstein concentration camp, and fought to the final conquest of Nazi Germany.
Another family forced to give up their land was that of Dewey Beard, a Miniconjou Sioux survivor of the Wounded Knee Massacre.”
[Quote taken 7/9/2012 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_Ridge_Indian_Reservation#Taking_of_Badlands_Bombing_Range%5D
There has been successful resistance by First Nations Peoples however, like the 1970 occupation of Fort Lawton in Seattle. Actions like that, which make sovereignty and land their foundation, are what should continue, and non-First Nations Occupiers/activists are in a perfect position to help. As I pointed to years ago in my essay “Native Americans & Hemp: A Call for Reverse Colonization Through a New Sustainable Paradigm” there is the potential for “Americans” to side with Natives in reclaiming their sovereignty & land (along with claiming their own, cooperating together), and not have the land & water further decimated by government-backed corporate destruction like coal and uranium mining. There has been some collaboration already of course, like there was among radical American activists of the 1960’s who devoted an entire issue (#8) of their San Francisco newspaper, The Oracle, to the “American Indian”, which included the following:
“As the machine increasingly dominates our lives, replacing trust, love and sense of community, Uncle Sam finds it necessary to remove Indian heritage and plug its people into the system. Indians are not a resource to be developed! “America, the great melting pot” has turned into a coerced illusion, forcing the Indian into completely relinquishing his real heritage, as it has done to most minorities. Keep in mind, however, that American Indians are not minorities of the United States, but sovereign nations surrounded by Americans. … [They] now have to pay for the land which they previously occupied without charge. If they cannot pay, as most will be unable to do, they will lose their land…”
The solution for all who wish to live freely, naturally and sustainably on this planet is the same: claiming personal/land/food-sovereignty, so that we no longer have to live under domination and destruction.
What made the Native culture decline so rapidly was of course the genocide, forced colonial schooling and restrictions from speaking their languages and practicing their ceremonies; it has also been due to their forced dependence on the corporatist social-system, the monetization of the Earth’s resources. The reason why most Natives (and non-Natives) now can’t afford to live naturally is because of being forced to pay people, calling themselves “officials,” for “services” that were never signed for in contract; it’s an illegitimate social arrangement, it’s tyrannical. We all need a place to live, we all need food, clothing and shelter. The question is whether governance is the best means to obtain these necessities; the answer, based on an objective view of the present and past, is a definitive no.
“We must learn the homely laws of fire and water. We must feed, wash, plant, build. These are the ends of necessity, and first in the order of nature, the house of health and life.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, from his essay “Poetry & Imagination”
“The essence of what I have said is that man should rest content with what are his real needs and become self-sufficient. If he does not have this control he cannot save himself.”
– Mohandas K. Gandhi, Gandhi, Freedom and Self-Rule, p. 107
Returning to the imperial conquest and colonization of the Americas, we must recognize what enabled this conquest in the first place: military forces. And where do military forces come from? Government. As most Americans know, the majority of their tax dollars go to the various armed forces; war and government go hand-in-hand, war as we know it would not exist if governments didn’t exist, and if it were not for social-systems of taxation and land control the 1% could not establish their hierarchical power (and military forces) in the first place. Sadly many have been propagandized into the short-sighted perspective that the government, and the military at their disposal, “protect our freedoms.” Isn’t the most fundamental freedom to live on the Earth as a sovereign human being, in relationship with loved ones, the Earth and Spirit, without being forced into subservience that you never agreed to? We are not made free by governance, we are made into unnatural slaves by it.
“We no longer see ourselves within the webs and cycles of nature. The loss of a direct relationship to the world terminates a once universal human understanding of our oneness with the natural world. The principle of relatedness is at the heart of indigenous wisdom: traditional intimacy with the world as the immanent basis of spirituality. This understanding is an essential and irreplaceable foundation of human health and meaningfulness.”
– John Zerzan, Twilight of the Machines, p. 124
Indigenous wisdom is desperately needed by those who think of themselves as citizens rather than humans, by those who are exploited and indoctrinated by social-systems, systems that are supposedly run by representatives who “serve” the masses. The truth is a rearranging of those letters, they don’t serve us, but sever us, from the Earth and from each other, through taxation, land control/cost, hierarchy and division of labor. Seeing through the deceitful promises of government, modern technology and industrialized society, we can reclaim our humanity and base our way of life on ecology, on nonviolence, equality and true freedom.
Tribes are sometimes associated with a hierarchical social structure, false authority and forced participation in customs, but this is not usually the case, for example tribal chiefs are usually not at all authoritarian, they are more a spokesperson and mediator who can be removed from their position at any time if they are found to be irresponsible in some way.
“Leadership in a tribe is an advisory role, not an authoritarian one. (There are exceptions to this, but the anthropological record shows they are rare.) … [E]arly European invaders of the Americas didn’t understand this: in fact, they considered it a sign of backwardness, and so sought out the “chief” or leader of a tribe, thinking that they could negotiate with that person and everybody else in the tribe would then have to comply. In fact, tribal leadership is usually held by a committee, and even that committee is more advisory than authoritarian. Power is shared among the members of the tribe, as are resources.”
– The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann, p. 175
That said, the reason I emphasize individual sovereignty over tribal, regional or community sovereignty, is that without that as the foundation of social relations we are still accepting some level of tyranny. Although tribal territory is obviously making a much more legitimate claim based on thousands of years of occupation, how can the group territory be defined definitely and justly? Who has authority to draw those lines on the map? And what about people that don’t want to be part of the tribe, or because they don’t have a certain percentage of ancestry from a particular tribe are not accepted to be part of it? We are all indigenous to the earth, all of us have tribal ancestors at one point or another, so it really makes no sense that you must have a certain percentage of blood from a certain tribe in order to be entitled to sovereignty and land; that would be an injustice to every child that is born someplace that does not have that percentage, discriminating against them and subjecting them to greater oppression just because of their physical likeness, and that’s racism. The key is equality; all of us being on equal ground (which would be best achieved via equal land & water access), which is exactly what I’ve heard many Native peoples advocate. If you want to live in a tribal fashion with others that want to do the same that’s fine, you can all live right next to each other, but if you make that structure the starting point of society, rather than sovereign individuals that can choose to be a part of a tribe or not, you are still making Nature secondary to an artificial system of man, and that always has negative consequences and inherent problems, as I just brought up.
The fundamental problem is force/violence/enslavement, whether it’s on the genocidal colonial end of the spectrum or the automatic membership in a tribe, they are both types of forced membership and collectivism (though of course very different in degree) and that’s fundamentally wrong, denying the birthright of everyone as sovereign women and men of the Earth; this creates inevitable negative ecological & social consequences. You can’t build a principled, balanced and harmonious society on a premise that is fundamentally unjust, unprincipled and untrue.
So the answer, which respects everyone’s sovereignty, freedom and equality, is to only have the right to make the rules for your own valid territory/property (be the “master of your own domain”), and the only just and valid territory/domain that can be established (respecting the equality and liberty of all) is that of individual or family homes, on their own sovereign homesteading land, utilizing their own fair share of land & water, and no more. We should all be Queens & Kings of our own sovereign domains, this is what a true Kingdom (Kin’s/family domain) of Heaven (right principles) is. (Of course these homesteads can be near others (friends & family) we wish to form communities with; this is not an “isolationist” model for society, it is a model for society that has as its base a respect for the equality and sovereignty of every woman & man on Earth.)
Tribal authority has the problem of individual sovereignty being superseded by a collective, and land being collectivized rather than distributed on a one-by-one basis, which is the same problem of nation-state forced citizenship, disallowing voluntary community and voluntary membership. I believe this is why, to a large degree, taking the treaty/law route to freedom has been unsuccessful: it is appealing to an illegitimate authority (e.g. the Canadian or U.S. government) and speaking on behalf of many individuals (like a state constitution does) in a collectivized territory, which as I explained, is also ultimately illegitimate. Unanimous direct democracy (in which everyone voting agrees on the measure being passed) is a legitimate form of social-agreement, but only if a person can choose to not agree or participate. Not allowing that is assuming that those in positions of power in some organization (whether state or tribal) are automatically more virtuous than those that are not in those positions, and thereby deserve powers which the others don’t have; an assumption that is irrational and without historical basis. For example there are countless examples of tribal governance going against the will of members of the tribe (often in collusion with the U.S. government). Since this corruption can and does keep occurring, treaties can be a form of false representation. Additionally, people don’t always agree, an individual may find no group mandate which she or he is in complete agreement with, so there must be the option of not being part of any collective, of being an independent person.
And in order for that to be a possibility, one must have the option of having their own space, namely their own sovereign piece of land, so that they can live self-sufficiently. Tribes, majority rule and even direct democracy are really no better fundamentally than a dictatorship if there is no option to not participate and instead be a independent woman or man on this planet, not forced to agree with others, not forced to forfeit individual autonomy; to acquiesce and relinquish that unwillingly is really to be no more than a child, submitting to the commands of those playing the role of authoritarian parental overlords, and that’s not what society should be based on, it should be based on dignity and respect, for ourselves and others. Many tribal leaders do have the best interest of those in their community at heart, and they certainly should continue to be leaders in their community, the key is that it’s on a voluntary basis and that they have no “representative” power over those who did not agree to that arrangement.
Speaking of respecting the lives of others, many mistakenly think that hunting was historically the main means of tribal subsistence, and under-emphasize their skills as gatherers, and especially as horticulturists. Regardless, today with the almost complete decimation of wilderness and wildlife, we can’t all rely on hunting and gathering for survival, nor should we commit violence against other sentient species unnecessarily, that would be hypocritical for those advocating justice. It’s proven that animal-products aren’t needed for optimum health, so there’s really no ethically sound justification for enslaving and murdering sentient animals for food. Sometimes animal-based meals are associated with a cultural tradition, but violence and slavery are certainly never what makes any culture or tradition great; having vegan versions of varying cuisines is not a loss to that culture, but a gain. Claiming the murder of animals is essential to the beauty and distinctness of various cultures (which is found in their arts, languages, etc.) really doesn’t hold up to analysis, nor does claiming one’s culture is inseparable from the government alongside it. Governance (a.k.a. statism), like human carnism, is a tradition of violence and slavery that also doesn’t add to the beauty or uniqueness of various cultures (in fact governments support a corporate mono-culture that destroys cultural diversity).
“It has also been established that most traditional native economies were based in agriculture rather than hunting and gathering–a clear indication of a stationary, not nomadic, way of life–up until the European invasion dislocated the indigenous populations of North America.”
– Struggle for the Land: Native North American Resistance to Genocide, Ecocide, and Colonization by Ward Churchill, p. 16
Therefore the way we can be in most in harmony with Nature, other species and each other, finally end tyranny, and live in true justice & equality, is through sovereign veganic homesteads, making up voluntary gift-economy communities. The restrictions of social-systems (land control, costs and taxation) won’t allow for that ideal way of life, and so that’s why we must reject systems of human farming altogether.
So yes, Occupy, but not to temporarily petition false masters to treat their slaves better, Occupy homesteading land permanently as sovereign humans to break away the chains to the lie of so-called “representative” democracy. Then we can unite and harmonize with the Earth, our true nurturing parent, and reject the false parental overlords who continue to deceive the masses into believing that they are better off with their “care.”
Urbanized Occupy activists need to remember the Earth beneath these concrete jungles, and they need to remember the indigenous societies that existed on that land for a long time before these unsustainable corporatist cities were built there. With ecology, sustainability, ethics, land and sovereignty as our main guideposts, we can move towards a truly intelligent, harmonious and principled way of living together on this amazing & beautiful planet.