by Colin Denny Donoghue
[updated October 14th, 2017]
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. The Occupy camp evictions, perhaps inspired by the Native American occupation of Alcatraz island in 1969, made 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. This modern technology didn’t just come from human ingenuity, it came from injustice providing the basis for a classist society, an injustice that produced the division of labor that allowed a rich ruling class to form, dominate the rest of humanity, and use their idle hands to produce more advanced military technologies and social-systems of slavery. This root origin of technology and social-systems is lost on almost everybody, and why is that? 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.
[updated March 19th, 2017]
by Colin Denny Donoghue
“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” – Albert Einstein
“Revolution is based on land. Land is the basis of all independence. Land is the basis of freedom, justice, and equality.” – Malcolm X
There is a simple reason why those seeking a better society by engaging in activism to reform social-systems find themselves in an exercise of futility. The existing problems remain unsolved, or new problems from the same source take their place, and this is not accidental. In order to discover the Natural Law in operation that makes sense of this reoccuring phenomenon one must look deeper into our social and historical reality, through the political & mass-media theater, to what is happening beneath the surface concerning truth and principle.
This is just like with human psychology: if someone had experienced something traumatic as a child and the event was suppressed within their subconscious, it will most likely operate as the originator of destructive & fearful (or at the very least unproductive) behavior, and until that deeper issue is resolved, treating the symptoms of the behavior through medication and so on will never bring about a real cure; the irrational negative concept and belief created alongside the trauma must be rooted out in order for there to be real progress. Back to the social realm, we have all in a sense been subjected to a systemic trauma early on in our lives, actually it was already waiting for us before we were born: the trauma of being forced to assimilate to unnatural social-systems. These social-systems drastically shape our lives every day, and indoctrinate us with the belief that they are beneficial, that we need them for our survival, and so are therefore principled. We are also indoctrinated to accept the self-concept that we are “citizens,” rather than sovereign humans, and to accept that there is no choice in the matter. And just like within the personal realm, these irrational root beliefs and self-concepts create fearful & destructive behavior, except on a much larger scale.
The simple reason the political process is unproductive in producing lasting peace & justice is that it is fundamentally unprincipled; it is based on aggression and exploitation, which are in turn supported by lies, and you can’t build a principled society on a foundation of violence and lies. The unprincipled root at the foundation of social-systems will always create disturbing effects, over and over, year after year (like nonviolent men being choked to death by police on the sidewalk for not paying cigarette taxes). We will never see a truly just and free society using a process and system that is fundamentally unjust; world peace & justice will remain allusive, and fear and destruction will remain widespread, until this crucial truth is recognized by humanity. To ignore the root problem is to ensure the continuance of negative consequences that stem from it; constantly fighting against those consequences rather than their origin can never lead to lasting progress, more of the same negatives will karmicly follow; if you only treat the symptoms of a disease you will never be fully cured. So when we get upset at a corrupt politician, or some uncaring CEO, we aren’t really being effective activists. These powers-that-be are just inevitable virulent products coming from a social factory that’s origin is completely unethical. Yelling at the output is like yelling at toxic products coming out on a conveyor belt, it’s short-sighted and a waste of energy; we need to shut down the factory, we need to eliminate the unprincipled social-system that is the real root problem that needs to be completely abandoned, rather than reformed; you can’t make evil good, it’s a Natural Law.
Yet people may cite the existence of nuclear weapons, terrorism, poverty/hunger or industrial destruction of the environment as reasons for why we need government, but this misses the fact that government is the main means by which all of those came into being (unnatural centralization and accumulation of wealth/power/resources that allows for nuclear weapon development, etc., along with supporting the condition of monetary-slavery via taxation and other mandatory governmental fees that set up dependency on corporate goods, profit from which allows those industries to grow to immense and even more destructive size). The key simple thing here to understand is this: the government is an evil because it’s a form of slavery. And to think we need evil to combat evil is a fallacy; evil only combats good, that’s what makes it evil! This gray-area moral-relativism and compromise that is considered the more “realistic” and “rational” approach (compared with the “wishful thinking” of anarchist perspective) is actually neither realistic nor rational; it’s irrational delusion, it’s the true wishful thinking, wishful thinking that good can come from slavery. Calling on evil to combat evil is completely unproductive; most people would probably agree with that, but they don’t agree that government is an evil, they would say “It’s not that simple, government does good things too, like provide education and public services.” This perspective, again thought to be the more realistic and rational perspective, is actually ignorant of the reality. If someone was physically enslaving people, but also provided them with some services and education, like say what occurs in prisons, would that make the slavery “neither good or evil?” No, it would still be evil; any form of slavery is an evil. This is why the overall effect of statism will always be negative, it can never escape the Karmic Law connected to its foundation of aggression and slavery. If you look at the big picture, giving loving attention to all of Reality rather than just some narrow and irrational focus (e.g. “what about roads?”), then you can see that we can have all the good that society needs without any of the bad. If most of humanity understood and embraced this one crucial point centuries of massive destruction and suffering could have been avoided, and we could stop the apocalyptic trajectory that modern statism is taking humanity and the rest of life on Earth today. Good-intentioned people that support statism are some combination of ignorant and in denial; they are ignorant of the deplorable reality brought by social-systems, historically and today, and in denial that these systems are actually a form of slavery, even though they fit the very definition of slavery exactly.
Political reformers don’t yet understand this and say the fundamental flaw is lack of democracy, that if we could just “take back the power” from the corporations, or the crown, or the federal reserve, or whoever, then we could have a better world. There is truth to that of course, what we see growing around us is fascist globalization of power, and so it makes sense that its opposite, democratic localization of power, would be the solution to that problem.
This reasoning is not taken to its logical conclusion by reformers however; if it were, if we were to take the ideal of democratic localization to its most pure form, we would be left with no social-system at all, we would be left with sovereign families not subject to any outside human authority. And that’s anarchy, which the reformer believes equates to chaos (due to propaganda exposure), so that’s not a preferable option in their mind. Therefore the conclusion of this pro-democracy reasoning is that the solution is simply a social-system that is more democratic than the one we currently have. They may even call it, like I used to, a “true” democracy: the ideal social-system, the best that human civilization can achieve. Democracy, defined as government “by the people,” either directly or through representatives, is certainly a better model than a fascist dictatorship, no doubt. The problem with this model is that it’s actually impossible to maintain on a large scale. In fact it can’t be maintained on a moderate, or even regional scale. Take for instance, the largest protests in American and world history in February 2003, those against the proposed invasion of Iraq by the U.S. Military. Polls at the time confirmed the obvious: the majority of Americans were against this invasion; millions marched, and millions more wrote and called their representatives telling them not to go ahead with this violent plan. None of it stopped the invasion; hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed, including countless babies born dead or deformed from radiation poisoning caused by the depleted uranium weaponry used. And why did this horror occur despite the public outcry? Lack of democracy, yes, but if we had simply had more democracy (like through paper ballots, instant run-off voting, public financing, etc.) would that prevent the possibility of government officials making unpopular and destructive decisions, like illegally invading other nations? Well, they don’t take national polls before making every decision now do they? How could they? Isn’t that an impossibility? Since that is the case, every few years a few politicians we are allowed to choose from tell us what they will do when they are in office, we get an idea of their outlook on many issues, and then we may vote for the one we think is the lesser of the evils, and hope they will keep their word. News-flash: they often don’t keep their word. The list of broken campaign promises by politicians is endless. On top of the problem of deception and betrayal, this example is assuming you vote for the winning candidate; if you vote for the candidate that loses, or you find no candidate you want to vote for, you are even more obviously not being represented.
“We frequently hear the refrain: If you don’t vote you have no right to complain. Such an argument makes the false assumption that an election provides real choices. And, of course, it falsely assumes the legitimacy of the process itself: that an individual is required to delegate authority to an arbitrarily chosen few, or that an individual is required to elect his own jailers.”
– People Without Governments: An Anthropology of Anarchy by Harold Barclay, p. 118
And also since you have to be rich to afford the costs of being a viable candidate, the lie of representation is further exemplified by the upper class always being presented as representatives of the lower class and poor that live lives and have perspectives and interests nothing like theirs. Additionally, since voter turn-out is usually only an undersized percentage of the population, how can we possibly say those votes represent the wishes of everyone the policies and laws will effect? And so for all these reasons we must conclude that this is not real representation, nor could it ever be. Representation is fundamentally a lie, it is a technical impossibility. The well known saying “No taxation without representation” is a good one, but since representation is not really possible, that means we should have no taxation. This truth is not looked at by reformers, the blinders of indoctrination keeping the focus straight ahead on a delusional social dream. They believe, as I used to, that “if just more people participated in the political process” then we could have proper representation of the public by government. Reformers therefore see anarchism as the worst idea for attaining social-justice, and they look upon anarchists, as I used to, as immoral and ignorant. This perspective is not based in reality however. The truth about who is ultimately supporting immorality and ignorance turns out to be the opposite.
During the Nuremburg Trials of Nazi leaders one of the Nazis (Herman Göring) actually admitted the truth that all social-systems are corrupt and immoral, and that representation is a lie, whether called “democracy” or not:
Goring: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.
Interviewer: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.
Goring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.
— published in Gilbert’s Nuremberg Diary, (1947)
The whole premise of representation of the masses is a sham. The truth is we are all forced to obey the few, no matter what our personal views are. In the U.S.A. we are somewhat protected by the Bill of Rights, which was created to protect us from extreme governmental abuse, but of course those rights are still violated regularly, and they don’t give us real freedom: the fundamental right to be left alone, to not be attacked in any way or forced to do anything against our will. The prime example of this tyranny is facing arrest if you try to live naturally and freely on the land without paying taxes for things you don’t want, and without paying for a fair share of land & water, which should be a free birthright. The story remains the same, just as with the countless old tales of poor villagers being harassed, threatened or worse by tax collectors; today’s reality is only modernized and more propagandized.
The original colonies of the United States represented the rich land-owning class, and that’s still basically what the U.S. government, and other governments, in fact represent, even more so now in this time of corporate land grabs across the globe. Corporate and governmental domination work hand-in-hand to undermine natural community; that is their main function, to restrict your right relationship to the Earth, thereby making you exploitable money-slaves. Government and corporate/industrial power are really one and the same, this supposed battle between the two is really just theater to keep you complacent, to keep you in subservience, ignorant of the fundamental injustice in operation.
Today the word “revolution” is thrown around quite a bit, in advertisements for everything from beauty products to automobiles, as well as in political discourse, but even then the term is watered-down to represent events that aren’t really revolutionary. The word is misused to misguide the populace as to what a true revolution would be, lowering their standards to mere mass-demonstrations. I’m not against mass-demonstrations at all, but I am against the exaggeration that they are revolutions. The electronic social-media supported demonstrations that occurred in 2011 in Egypt are now referred to as the “Egyptian Revolution,” but was it really? The sobering reality is that it was hardly that, as we can now clearly see. While it was occurring I corrected some commentators on this, telling them that unless the demonstrators were claiming sovereign homesteading land, it would ultimately amount to little, but I was disregarded as “overly negative” (which was irrational and untrue). Now they say “the revolution was hijacked by the elite.” Yet, the “revolution” was never really “hijacked” because it was never a real revolution to begin with, the elite never lost their base of power, which is land control, cost and taxation.
During the 1960’s radical movement in the U.S., the word revolution was often used as well, but the status-quo remained and grew because that crucial truth did not take center-stage. Some did go in the right direction however, like those that were part of the large back-to-the-land movement of that time, but most of these attempts did not acknowledge the insurmountable problems with communal living (i.e. lack of personal & land sovereignty) along with land cost, control and taxation (i.e. monetary-slavery), and so were mostly doomed to failure. A 60’s Hippie laments decades later:
“The word radical, like its etymological counterpart radicle, comes from the Latin word radix, which means root. So were we truly radicals? Did our roots go down into a life-giving source that could sustain us and bring about the goals of the Movement? No! Time and time again we went home dismayed and frustrated–our efforts to organize peace coalitions had come to nothing and the peace groups we belonged to had divided into warring factions. Eventually we left the Movement and fell back into the same system from which we had tried to escape.“
There were some successes however, like the formation of People’s Park in Berkeley, California, in which the local community claimed the land as their birthright (facing strong opposition from authorities for years), planted gardens, and successfully resisted the violence of the government and university officials using police which repeatedly tried to evict them. Overall though the critical importance of the land was missed by the 60’s radicals; the activists were still petitioning false masters, believing in the false ideals of “democracy” & “representation”, along with being largely inundated with drug use, which served as a distraction (albeit a sometimes inspiring distraction) from the real work that needed to be done, namely claiming land. Again, Hippie lamentations:
“We wanted to conquer the world with love and bring peace to this earth, but there was no blueprint to bring our vision into a lasting demonstration.”
But they were very right in emphasizing Love & Freedom as core principles of life, they just didn’t understand what those principles would manifest as comprehensively (i.e. the most loving (e.g. nonviolent toward animals and ecosystem) and freedom-respecting (e.g. recognizing personal sovereignty) social-structure is the “blueprint” of sovereign veganic homesteads, making up voluntary communities).
The famous philosopher Georg Hegel supported the French Revolution (1789-1799), while seeing its “Reign of Terror” (1793-1794), and later emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s rule (1804-1815), as an inevitable consequence of the fact that it didn’t manifest true equality. But he also thought that in order for a society to function well there must be judges, legislators and executives, there must be a State. Hegel thought the main short-coming of the French Revolution was its inability to conceive of a notion of equality that could coincide with the “necessity” of the State. No such notion was found then, nor has it yet been found, because none exists! To base a society on a system that is fundamentally unequal (statist representation is always an authoritarian lie), and expect to actually develop and maintain social equality, and avoid tyranny and State terrorism, is to be caught up in a delusion, it’s to have fallen for a Big Lie, the lie that statism is necessary and legitimate.
The Mexican revolution (1910-1920), as said in a recent article “Indigenous Communities in Mexico Unite to Protect Ancestral Lands,” “was fought under the rallying cry, Tierra y Libertad—“Land and Liberty.” At the end of the war in the 1920s, the victors began a massive land redistribution program, giving away large tracts of land to be farmed communally by poor Mexicans who had previously worked practically as slaves in vast haciendas. Finally, these farmers could work together to produce food autonomously for themselves and their communities,” but, as the renewed struggle highlighted in the article makes clear, didn’t last. And why not? Because they were still enabling a State, that’s why! This deplorable shit of corruption and destruction (destruction now accelerated through modern technology) is inevitable with that evil slavery foundation, yet activists around the world, for centuries now, keep falling for the same aforementioned Big Lie of statism.
The Spanish Revolution starting in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War likewise was based on some right principles, and in many ways manifested them to a greater degree than most other revolutionary movements; a popular movie about the Revolution was also significantly called “Land and Freedom,” again encapsulating the Right Revolution in two words! (Except they don’t of the crucial details of sovereign homesteading land, and real freedom, i.e. anarchism).
“Land and Freedom… recreating a momentous experiment in social revolution that, almost succeeding, found an authoritarian left [the Communists] to be as much a hindrance as outright Fascism [the forces of Francisco Franco].”
– Anarchism (Reaktion Books, 2003) by Sean M. Sheehan, p. 95
Yet those principles of land equality and individual freedom weren’t followed fully, and so there were predictably disappointing results. By not focusing on land as a birthright of all and individual sovereignty as paramount, and not being wholly anarchist but instead largely “libertarian-communist”; this collectivist/statist ideology, like any collectivist view, isn’t truly revolutionary, denying the sovereignty of individuals, thereby associating itself with tyranny. The betrayal of the Spanish anarchist militia by the Communists, who were supposed to be fighting against fascism side-by-side with them, shows us again that real freedom (anarchism) and forms of slavery (e.g. Communism) can’t mix; they are ultimately diametrically opposed; the betrayal would have never happened if the Communists weren’t given so much direct support and affiliated with in the first place. (The same basically goes for the Russian anarchists who were heavily suppressed by the rising Bolshevik Communists in the 1917 Russian Revolution.) Because of their largely collectivist-industrialist doctrine that was an unstable mix of anarchism and communism, the Spanish revolutionaries didn’t each have the sovereign homesteading land to stand as a model in stark contrast against the visions of the Communists and Franco’s fascism. In a way this actually made it easier for their collective land and factories to be re-owned by another collective, the new fascist government of Franco, because their ideologies were not distinctly opposing; the revolutionaries were actually unknowingly partly in collaboration with the greater collectivist system (the State) via the correlation of their ideologies. They were taking part in the very evil which they were fighting against, and so lasting success was actually an impossibility. To think that private property of any kind is unjust is false; the truth of the matter is that if you don’t have any private property, that can actually make you a slave of other people: your body needs to be respected as your private property; your home and homesteading land needs to be respected as your private property; what you need for your survival needs to be respected as your private property. Otherwise your life is in the hands (and control) of others, and like I keep saying, that isn’t a sound foundation for harmonious communities. The idea of private property that includes the “right” to take more than your fair share of land & water, is immoral; you would then actually be stealing from others, taking something that was given by Nature/God and keeping it from others who have a right to it just like you do. The natural harmony that comes between people voluntarily, when slavery and aggression are absent is indeed a beautiful and real thing, however the anarcho-capitalist “free market” perspective accepts the unjust societal condition of land and water inequality upon which exploitation and oppression are based, it is a accepting a form of aggression and slavery, another form of rulership, so it’s really not “anarcho” (no rulers) as it claims to be. They are simply believing that removing the aggression and slavery of government is enough, but it’s not, they are not acknowledging the evil that would still remain without sovereign land & water being a birthright of all, and no one having the right to own more than that. It’s incredible to me when people object to this truth and talk about “giving” land and water to the poor who “may not know what do with it” or “how to take care of it”, etc. First of all land & water are not yours to give, if they were given by anybody, they were given by the Creator. Secondly, this elitist stance of “the poor are too ignorant” is the same immoral and superiority-complex mindset that totalitarianism is based on; again, activists and political commentators are often really taking part in the very evil that they claim to deplore.
Although States may claim their goal is to “give to each according to his needs,” that’s never how it actually works out because the hierarchy of the State requires taking that what the people really need: freedom and sovereign land. So the idea that the State is engaged in some benevolent program of generosity is self-contradictory ideology, it’s a lie.
“The object of anarchism, on the other hand, is to extend the principle of equity until it altogether supersedes statutory law.”
– Herbert Read, The Philosophy of Anarchism (Freedom Press, London, 1940), p. 19
Real universal justice and equity must be made the basis for society; not law-making institutions with a monopoly on violence that violate the higher natural/moral Law immediately, in the name of upholding morality. Are you starting to see the crucial importance of ethical consistency? Are you starting to see that trying to establish more peace and freedom via more violence and slavery can’t work? And when I say “can’t work” I don’t just mean that on an emotional level if that’s what you’re currently thinking, I mean that technically; slavery. does. not. work. Our reality actually has some integrity to it, just as there are laws of physics there are laws of morality and functionality; freedom and slavery are not compatible just as oil and water are not; we keep trying differing varieties of oil (different types of Statism) and mixing it up with water (the Natural World) over and over again, and the oil just keeps on “separating”, the social-systems just keep on going against what’s good and natural.
Back to the context of the Spanish Revolution, it may seem safer to collectivize land and communities (rather than having voluntary coalitions of sovereign homesteads) when facing opposition from the State, the rich and other controller/dominators, but this doesn’t actually turn out to be true in the long (or even short) run.
“[F]acing the task of confronting Franco’s forces while maintaining the rural collectives and other economic advances in the face of opposition from Communists and right-wing socialists, it is arguable that anarchists showed themselves to be flexible without self-destructing. … [It’s] a soul-searching dilemma for anarchists over whether to dilute fundamental principles on the grounds of a tactical postponement. It is, essentially, the same kind of rationale used by centralized parties of the left when appealing for votes, with the conservative opposition playing the role of the common enemy. Many socialists succumb to the same old dilemma when, knowing in their hearts that the politicians they elect will probably betray them, they still cast votes in their support, forlornly hoping that something good may come of it or that a slightly left-of-center government is better than a right-of-center one.” – Ibid., p. 96-97
This hope is misplaced. They were fundamentally still playing the same game as the fascists they opposed, an unnatural game that’s fixed toward tyranny, being that it’s based on the injustice of denying individual sovereignty. The movement was also engaged in offensive violence and militarism rather than defending the birthright of all women and men, which also planted the seeds of the revolution’s failure (aggression is part of the dominator paradigm). On the bright side they did demonstrate Stateless cooperation of individuals for a better world, and I’ve heard a plant-based diet was also widely promoted and practiced by those revolutionaries, along with the practice of nudism and domination-free relationships (just like the American “Hippies” did), all of which are in-line with a truly natural and free society. But because their philosophy was flawed in a critical way their movement was mostly absorbed back into the system, just like what happened with the 60’s movement decades later in “The Land of the Free”.
The anarchist movement in the Mexican Revolution of 1910 was similarly undermined within by their mix of communism and anarchist philosophy, though this quote, like the Spanish revolutionary cry of “Land and Freedom!,” was right on-target:
“The people themselves–the hungry and disinherited–are they who must abolish misery, by taking into possession, as the very first step, the land which by natural right, should not be monopolized by a few but must be the property of every human being.”
– Ricardo Flores Magon, Land and Liberty!: Anarchist Influences in the Mexican Revolution (Black Rose Books, 1977), p. 62
The Right Revolution (i.e. one that would be truly revolutionary) would be comprehensively nonviolent, egalitarian (acknowledging everyone’s birthright to a fair share of land & water), and in tune with human and planetary nature (veganic); it is the way that has only been tried in part and only for short periods as far as I know, the crucial truths that support it still not fully grasped by most who strive to bring revolutionary positive change to the world.
The present-day Egyptian demonstrators have missed these same crucial truths, so just like mass demonstrations that have occurred in North, Central & South America and elsewhere through recent decades, their end positive effect was little to nothing on the systemic level (though the increased dissent and community solidarity that have occurred are very good nonetheless).
The so-called elite let us “participate,” like let us hold big demonstrations and marches, but this is allowed because it is key to successful management of the masses, to give those under control the sense that they have real power too. These outlets of participation, like voting and demonstrating, actually do nothing to alter the technocracy substantially (though again I’m not against demonstrating or petitioning altogether, they do raise awareness and show dissent which are very good). But let us ponder, fundamentally why do we demonstrate? Why do we vote? Because people in positions of power are doing things we disagree with, and since we are in a position of powerlessness, we must resort to begging (e.g. petitioning, voting, demonstrating) that they stop doing those things, because we have no control of what our labor contributes to (i.e. what our tax dollars are used for). We send letters to our “representatives,” saying things like “Please don’t allow this corporation to destroy this natural area”, “Please stop killing women and children in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan” or “Please don’t let this corporation contaminate our whole food supply with GMO’s,” and even if the local politician her/himself happens to be an ethical individual that somehow temporarily got in office (like the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota) and agrees with you, there is little they can do since the system itself is there to protect and serve corporate interest, not the public interest. It is the social-system itself that is in control, the restrictive structure we are forced to live within, not “the people”, not even politicians. Ultimately we have lost control of our destinies by this system, we have lost the means to a dignified, natural and free life on this planet.
“Democracy, the destin’d conqueror, yet treacherous lip-smiles everywhere,
And death and infidelity at every step.”
– Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
This is why the American Revolution (1765-1783), which many libertarian and even anarchist activists romanticize (along with romanticizing the “Founding Fathers”), eventually led to a new empire, to new tyranny, not dissimilar to the British Empire which it was fighting against. This revolution, even with its declarations of equality and rights for the masses, was fundamentally just the replacement of one ruling class by another, the recycling of a social-system that was still at its base a system of slavery. The Republic turned into another Empire because both systems were on the same ideological spectrum, they are not polar opposites as many wrongly believe and claim. And because those systems shared the same slavery-foundation, it was only a matter of time before the political train on that track moved back toward more tyranny; that is the inclination of the track, it is already pointing downward (because of its coercive violation of individual sovereignty and the birthright of those individuals) at its origination, and the “gravity” in this analogy is karmic law concerning slavery, i.e. you can’t have a society of true justice, equality and peace that’s based on the very antithesis of all those principles, slavery.
And so what can the citizen-activist really do trying to reform such a system? Spend every free minute of her life trying to counter the evils of statism/corporatism that karmically just keep on coming? Is that the ideal for humanity? Is that realizing one’s full potential as a human on the Earth? It is rather a prescription for burnout and depression. Though much activism, from gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to some forms of direct action, are very commendable, if it doesn’t address the root problem/cause, which is the system as a whole, it will always be ultimately unsuccessful; the system will inevitably keep producing the destruction and tyranny that is being protested against. Actions like blocking a road used for logging or transporting toxic waste are good, but their impact is obviously very limited, usually business returns to usual shortly thereafter. Also a General Strike can also have some impact and is going in the right direction, but it doesn’t undue to the root problem: monetary/job-dependance and being denied your individual sovereign birthright to homesteading land, water & seed. We need a Continuous Strike, we need to be able to disconnect from this exploitative social-structure for good, through self/community-sufficiency. In addition, activists “fighting the system” cannot even address all of the bad things that governance does, since we of course don’t, and can’t, know all of the bad things they do (i.e. “black-budget projects”). Though some of the worst is known: CIA terrorism, School of the Americas training and funding the most evil torture and killing of women and children imaginable, as has been documented happening in Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, etc.. One could spend a lifetime researching, documenting and trying to educate others about all of it, which still continues on, and that would be a life of great integrity, no doubt. But if we really want to end these sickening acts we need to recognize that all this evil has the same root cause (social-systems which concentrate immense power in the hands of the few, who inevitably commit atrocities with that power), and that the right strategy isn’t to fight these systems, but to reject and abandon them through mass non-compliance and independent natural living. The reason these activists don’t see much (or any) fruit for their labors is because they are not employing the right strategy; they are missing that claiming our birthright to our fair share of the land & water is the only truly effective action against the military-industrial-complex social-system of control and destruction.
“Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.”
– John Dalberg-Acton (1887)
The only way to remove the structural capacity for this unnatural power, authoritarianism, fascism and war (i.e. mass-violence in its many forms) is to end our support for social-systems and establish sovereign homesteads, making up voluntary communities. This may seem like an odd solution to the reformer, but it would not seem that odd to the Indigenous peoples and rural “poor” of the world, who know very well the crucial importance of having a personal connection with the land in order to be free from exploitation and tyranny. We must embrace the true root solution (becoming free and natural women & men of the Earth), in order to effect true and lasting positive change. And because there are systemic restraints to achieving that ultimate localization and sovereignty (namely land cost, control & taxation), the system itself needs to be rejected.
A healthy society based on inequity and force, like the idea of a healthy and sustainable city, is an oxymoron. There is a lot of talk nowadays of “greening” cities, but the fundamentals are not changed: cities require the importation of resources, create landfills of toxic waste and massive amounts of very harmful (e.g. causes cancer) air and water pollution, along with highly disturbing light and noise pollution; veganic homesteads can be zero-waste and produce little to none of those pollutants. Cities, like governance, have directly caused incalculable amounts of environmental and health destruction; it’s time we stop trying to “green” something that is inherently toxic. Governments and cities are actually intrinsically linked with one another, just as governments and war are co-dependent:
“Urban reality is primarily about trade and commerce, with a nearly total dependence on support from external areas for continued existence. To guarantee such an artificial subsistence, city fathers turn inevitably to war, that chronic civilizational staple.”
– John Zerzan, from his book Twilight of the Machines, p. 41
Cities disallow a natural lifestyle living off the land, they disallow individual sovereignty, privacy and true freedom, and so they are perfectly complimentary to social-systems. Social-systems and the cities they create are unnatural control-grids, they constitute intensive farming, of humans. This is clearly seen with the cruel and tyrannical criminalization of sleep; homeless people are often harassed by police just for sleeping in a public place, even though they are disturbing no one. I have seen this first-hand many times at the public library, wherein a homeless person has fallen quietly asleep in front of their book at a nearly empty large table, and a security guard always comes by and wakes them up! As long as your eyes are open you can stay, but god forbid you should rest, or meditate for a short while! This despotic control of natural life takes on many other forms too, like cops and security guards knocking on your window if you fall asleep in an empty parking lot in your car, etc. Not being an active consumer, not paying someone for your time on this planet, is criminalized, just as sharing food with your neighbors has been criminalized. We can’t have people sharing now can we? There’s no corporate profit in that!
Modern technology too goes hand-in-hand with this control-culture; it is the main tool of modern governance, using it for invasive surveillance and personal data collection. And of course the latest tech always goes to the development of various forms of weaponry first; that is the priority of its use: violence, not aid. It is also the main tool of industries that are destroying our environment through intensive resource extraction (clear-cutting forests, massive mining operations, over-fishing, etc.).
“We cannot have fast cars, computers the size of credit cards, and modern conveniences, while simultaneously having clean air, abundant rainforests, fresh drinking water, and a stable climate. This generation can have one or the other, but not both. Humanity must make a choice. … Gadgetry or nature? Pick the wrong one and the next generation may have neither.”
– Mark Boyle, The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living, p. 196
This unnatural combination of social-systems, cities, and modern technology keeps us from realizing a natural synergy of natural-freedom, natural-living and natural-community.
Some denounce agriculture and call it the root of all of our social problems, and yes, large-scale agriculture does coincide with hierarchy, the accumulation of wealth in few hands, environmental destruction, etc. but it is not the root source of those problems. The key word is large–scale agriculture; how did there get to be such huge farms in the first place? Control of the land by the few is what allows for it; unjust monopolization of land and water, though denying people their birthright to sovereign land. Today this is inequality is made even worse via government subsidies to large agribusiness corporations, furthering the unjust socioeconomic imbalance. This is the real source of all those aforementioned problems; to think agriculture should be altogether abandoned ignores the existence of sustainable localized agriculture, i.e. veganic homesteading horticulture/permaculture.
Anti-agriculture voices seem to think hunting & gathering is a viable solution, but it’s clearly not, for multiple reasons; firstly murdering animals when we don’t need to is uncaring, and depleting the little that remains of wildness is also immoral; secondly there is not enough public lands with enough wildlife and edible plants to sustain the world population anyway; thirdly, even if there was enough animals to kill and plants to forage, where will these wandering hunter & gathers do such activity? Wont they end up in competition with other wandering tribes over the same territory? Doesn’t this competition inevitably lead to war? Human subsistence that violently departs from community cooperation/solidarity and respect for other sentient life is linked to greater social and ecological disharmony; I believe this is no coincidence, rather it shows that there is a moral fabric to our reality, there is such a thing as Karmic/Natural Law.
Others say socialism is the answer, and that capitalism is the fundamental problem, but they seem to miss where capitalism comes from in the first place: social-systems, founded on the true root injustice: land control (i.e. land cost & monopolization of ownership, zoning restrictions, permitting restrictions, etc.) and monetary-slavery (mainly via taxation). Socialists believe that if they elect socialist politicians they can create a just world, and though it might be better in some ways than what we have now, ignoring the faults of all social-systems and the falsehood and violence of “representation”, makes this perspective and strategy a failure from the start. Focusing on single issues, like employment, more government funding of social programs, ending the drug war, etc. is well-intentioned, but this strategy has two major flaws: 1) It ignores the root of all of those problems, namely social-systems based on land control and monetary-slavery (e.g. we wouldn’t need jobs if we had our share of land, nor would we be restricted from growing valuable crops like industrial hemp if there was no governance), and 2) It believes that social-systems of true representation can exist, and that social-systems of control are necessary and good, when in fact they are unnecessary and unprincipled. Social-systems, even socialist ones, have the seeds of concentrated power within them. In the excellent essay “Anarchism: Against Capitalism, Against Socialism” by Chris Wilson, he says:
“Socialists should consider the possibility that the proposed command structure of socialism might possess certain inherent properties that necessarily lead to such ghastly forms of authoritarianism. Every attempt to realize socialism has always resulted in a totalitarian society in which the population is used as an expendable resource for the enrichment of a handful of elites. These failed attempts are a direct consequence of the innate hierarchy of socialist organization combined with a refusal to realize that power always corrupts, even when delegated democratically.”
Socialists also see the harmful “privatization” (i.e. corporate control) of public resources in many countries, usually encouraged or demanded by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organization as just the fault of capitalism and lack of democracy as well. This perspective assumes that 1) if all the natural resources of the nation were under “public ownership” (i.e. government ownership) and 2) if all tax dollars were kept in the “public treasury” (i.e. centralized government control), for social programs like better health care, education and quality job-creation, then we could avoid the mass exploitation by globalist trans-national corporations which have increased poverty and environmental destruction in many “third world” countries. The first point on corporate control of natural resources, especially water, is in response to something that is of course extremely unjust and has led to increased corporate profits at the expense of people’s health and well-being. But simply giving the control back to the government is obviously no assurance that justice will prevail! The costs of living may have been temporarily lower under State control in some countries, but how do you think the corporate control/corruption happened in the first place? The fact that “public property” (like water and forests) keeps becoming corporate property goes to show that it never really did belong to “the people” in the first place. “Public ownership” sounds good, and would be good in the sense of everyone being entitled to their fair share of natural resources as sovereign individuals, but when said in the sense of governmental ownership it is supporting a social theory which is fundamentally flawed, since government is always subject to further corruption because it is an inherently corrupt and unjust social-structure. “Public property” and “public treasury” are lies, just as “representation” is. Which leads to the second point: eliminating social programs that may have been helping a lot of people in order for the government to pay back loans to the IMF and adhere to their “structural adjustments” has indeed led to further unnecessary suffering and a lower quality of life for countless millions of people, but because governments are inherently unprincipled, corrupt and unstable, because representation is a lie and cannot be made true, returning to full governmental control is absolutely no assurance of economic equality, stability and justice. When was it ever? There is no way to have harmony, equality, personal freedom or sovereignty in a mass-society, it is inherently unjust and thereby destructive, depending on force and enslavement to varying degree for its existence. (See also the essay “Against Mass Society” by Chris Wilson.)
“The revolutionary alternative to the status-quo today is not collectivized property administered by a “workers’ state”, whatever that means, but some kind of anarchist decentralization that will break up mass society into small communities where individuals can live together as variegated human beings instead of as impersonal units in the mass sum.”
– Dwight Macdonald, from his article Politics Past
Economists offer schemes as solutions too, and even the best among them, like the “Robin Hood Tax” (which would tax the financial sector more), and so-called “Sacred Economics” (which is basically just putting a negative interest rate on bank reserves), ignore the root problems of individuals being forced into monetary dependency and subservience to some outside imposed authority, and being denied their cost-free birthright (their fair share of land & water). It also ignores the fact that increasing taxation for the “public treasury” doesn’t equate to greater public wealth or quality of life, because representation is a lie. The website for the Robin Hood Tax says it can “raise hundreds of billions every year to provide funding for jobs to kickstart the economy and get America back on its feet. It could help save the social safety net in the US and around the world. Not complicated. Just brilliant.” But it’s really not brilliant; again ignoring the fact that just because the government gets more money doesn’t mean the poor will, and also ignoring why we need money, jobs and a governmental social-safety net in the first place: land control, cost and taxation. How is that more complicated or less brilliant?
Also more people are now advocating community land trusts, and that’s not a terrible idea at all, but it is really just another petition to the rich dominators of society; the common woman or man can’t actually make or afford these economic or legal changes themselves, so it amounts to more of begging “representatives” to be less evil and give up the natural resources they have stolen; this is not only an exercise in futility but is also sadly subservient and expresses a self-concept of citizen/subject rather than sovereign human. In a film on the injustice of real estate economics, the reformers exclaim: “We can change the way we are taxed!” Yes, hooray for less abrasive whips! This false solution is again just begging for better slavery, rather than rejecting it altogether, as we should and need to.
Others, called “economist heroes” by the corporate media, “help” the poor in the “undeveloped Third World” by setting them up with small businesses through small-loans. Is this “development”, this so-called progress, really in the best interest of these “less civilized” people? Of course many of the people receiving this assistance today are initially thankful for it; when they aren’t able to acquire sufficient food for themselves, and a few dollars is the only apparent means to get it, that’s very understandable. But they shouldn’t need money to survive in the first place, it is this unnatural social-system that corrupts their lives and makes that their reality. Those that currently live in “undeveloped” areas are those that haven’t been completely corrupted yet, their assimilation is currently incomplete, they still haven’t had all of their ancestral land taken from them, they still haven’t lost most of their natural skills and livelihood, accumulated debt, and so on. They can still live more naturally, their traditional culture is still somewhat intact; along with their natural resources, these people have not themselves been “developed” into profitable resources for the global economy (a.k.a. the global human farm), that’s where the so-called economic heroes come in to finish the job of assimilation.
The only way to have a significant increase in freedom and sustainability and have significantly greater equality and peace, is through individual sovereignty. That means you are a Woman of the Earth first, not the subject of a crown. That means you are a Man of the Earth first, not the citizen of a country. This does not mean that you wouldn’t have community available, you would actually have more of it. Techno-industrial mass-society is anti-community and anti-family; it fragments, divides and isolates us, destroying families and natural community and replacing them with shallow and artificial substitutes like nationalism, sport teams, and electronics. In a genuine community your relationships with your neighbors are not corrupted by monetary concerns, and your level of interaction with community is up to you, it’s completely voluntary, which further removes inter-personal friction that arises from unnatural social-systems.
You would live on your sovereign land, alone or with family (in whatever form that takes) that all wishes to be together, and then you would interact in a gift-economy cultural relationship with others as you choose. Your space would be private, your own “kingdom,” which means kins domain, or family land. This avoids the common problem of inter-personal friction that comes from lack of personal space/privacy along with forced communal decision-making that arises even in eco-villages, intentional communities or other collectives. Humans instinctively desire freedom, and one aspect of that is having your own space and privacy, and not being subject to communal-everything dynamics you’d rather not be a part of; this has been and continues to be the biggest problem at most intentional communities and collectives that is not recognized as such, and so people within that dynamic think “this is just the way life is.” But this is just another negative belief based on ignorance of the root problem. They deal with the constant inter-personal conflict and unnecessary drama because they think there is no other way, but there is: sovereign homesteads. What they’re experiencing can be thought of as karmic feedback for participating in something that is ultimately not natural or principled (even though of course it’s a lot more so than the typical corporate dynamic). What I’m pointing to is a way that harmonizes with our inner nature, as well outer nature: sovereign veganic homesteads, which minimize the disturbances we experience on both fronts drastically. These are truly kingdoms of heaven in that they lack all the problems that come from living in less ethical, natural and sustainable ways; everything else results in hellish instead of heavenly experience.
“Mahatma Gandhi was a champion of swadeshi, or home economy. … Gandhi’s vision of a free India was not of a nation-state but a confederation of self-governing, self-reliant, self-employed people living in village communities, deriving their right livelihood from the products of their homesteads. … The British believed in centralized, industrialized, and mechanized modes of production. Gandhi turned this principle on its head and envisioned a decentralized, homegrown, hand-crafted mode of production. In his words, “Not mass production, but production by the masses.”
– The Case Against the Global Economy and for a Turn Toward the Local, edited by Jerry Mander and Edward Goldsmith, p. 418-420
Since animal domestication and farming are also based on false beliefs (like that we need animal products for optimum health), and has also been a source of major disturbance (to put it very lightly, actually the leading cause of environmental and health destruction), as well as being the vehicle for the most massive violence humans participate in, it should also be rejected. Animal domestication was an unprincipled mistake by humanity, and until we end that practice it is unlikely we will escape domestication ourselves. In seeking freedom from domination and exploitation, it makes perfect sense to not do the same to other species, regardless of how “natural” it supposedly is. Taking “good care” of an animal up until the point you kill and eat it, is not ethical, it’s twisted. There is no such thing as “humane” murder or enslavement. The sound nutrition science and ethical principles of veganism should trump unprincipled tradition, so these private homesteads that ensure freedom for us should not be places of enslavement for other species, they should employ organic vegan agriculture. This avoids the ethical hypocrisy, as well as the environmental and health damage from synthetic chemicals and corporately-controlled Genetically Modified Organisms. The veganic component of sovereign homesteading further incorporates nonviolence into the model; not harming animals, humans or the environment is what makes a homestead, a kin’s domain (a.k.a. kingdom), heavenly, hence a true “kingdom of heaven.” You don’t have to be religious at all to agree that violence, toxins and slavery aren’t heavenly!
Another way the root of all the social, personal and ecological destruction that has been going on could be summed up as is: living out of harmony with Nature, through animal & human domestication. The human domestication and farming arises through the forcible restriction from living as free natural women and men on the Earth, mainly through land control/cost/taxation. This is the fundamental flaw of governance (and technological dependence), which has led to the Orwellian human-animal farm we now find ourselves within. Until we can become self/community-sufficient, we will remain dependent on governments and the corporations they serve, and we will continue to face the disturbances of living in an unnatural and unprincipled way. Even everyday disturbances of life can be perceived, with a more penetrating analysis, to be rooted in animal & human domestication as well; from foul smells of garbage, barking dogs, car alarms, construction and various machinery like leaf-blowers, to traffic jams you may drive in or plumes of exhaust you must breathe in if you’re walking or biking by them, to loud neighbors, annoying or abusive housemates you are forced to live with (because of monetary restraints), to other piercing sounds like near-continuous sirens from emergency vehicles in urban centers, it all originates in animal and human domestication, they would not exist without that domestication, they would not exist in free and natural veganic homesteads, well-spaced from one another, making up voluntary communities. Until we claim our birthright of sovereign land and start accepting the responsibility to live truly ethically as natural humans (growing our own food, producing our own fuel, building our own homes, etc.) we will continue to be disturbed money-slaves, and we will continue to beg for corporate jobs (or join the military), no matter how unsatisfying and exploitative, just to have the basics of food, clothing and shelter, all of which the Earth provides for free.
“Having reduced the masses to a point at which they have not the means of subsistence for a month, or even for a week in advance, the few only allow the many to work on condition of themselves receiving the lion’s share. It is because these few prevent the remainder of men from producing the things they need, and force them to produce, not the necessaries of life for all, but whatever offers the greatest profits to the monopolists.”
– Peter Kropotkin, from his book The Conquest of Bread
Why should our destiny be so much in the hands of others? Why can’t we have access to our fair share of natural resources that would enable us to break these chains of unjust subservience? Being denied the ability to live naturally and self-sufficiently is the root social-injustice, all others follow from it, this is the real front-line that activists (and anyone who cares about freedom and sustainability) should be focusing the most on. In the book Twelve by Twelve: A One Room Cabin Off the Grid and Beyond the American Dream, the author tells of people in North Carolina living in homes that are only 12 feet long and wide because that is the maximum size allowed by the State before you have to pay various taxes, and install plumbing and electric lines. The State, being the partner of destructive and exploitative industry, has made it a requirement to have electricity, they force you to pay for something you may not want, just like with insurance; quoting one of the “poor” people trying to live off the grid: “Do you know it’s not legal to live without electricity in North Carolina? It’s not a choice you make. It’ll cost us a fortune. … What does it matter to them if we live simply?” (p. 223-4) He then cries out “Hell is other people!” in anguish over being forced to assimilate to a way of life he does not want to live or support, and also says that he tried communal living and it wasn’t for him either (or me, or countless others who have faced the aforementioned problems of that living situation), he just wanted to be left alone (i.e. not attacked by others through taxation, arrest, etc.) as he survived and thrived through his own natural labor. So what creates a hellish world for so many is not just “other people” (an obvious exaggeration and over-simplification), it is other people that force you to pay for your birthright, and it is the other people you are forced to be exposed to, lacking the privacy and space of that sovereign land, wherein who stays with you is your choice. What does it matter to State officials if you live simply? It matters a lot, though this fact is a great secret of the establishment. The State’s existence relies on people being assimilated to this system; if there was a loophole, like living in 12X12 houses, more and more people would do that, so even that is being eliminated; now they are told they can only live that way part of the year, not year-round; if you try and live very simply and naturally it is a crime, you face fines and arrest. So these peaceful people that want to live peaceful and good lives (in their own “kingdom of heaven”) need to return to being money-slaves, victims of the system, supporting industries and government that are opposed to their values. Sovereign veganic homesteads are the logical antidote to this tyranny, they are the cure for empire, establishing harmony between humans, Earth and all other species on this planet.
In the concluding “Getting There” chapter of his book Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America, author Nick Rosen says: “[I]f off-the-grid building permits were easier to come by in more parts of America, hundreds of thousands would be allowed onto the property ladder, including many who have been in foreclosure or who are trapped in mortgages they cannot afford. … The solution could take the form of small, localized non-profit groups that take control of land and ensure that the original owners wishes are followed.” Some “solution!” Yes, if the government would just permit us to freely rise on their ladder of social-control! Why didn’t I think to just ask? Hang on while I call my “representative’s” office and leave a message, I’m sure they’ll give me the a-okay! And complying with the wishes of the original owners? What makes you think their wish won’t just be to keep their massive holdings of land? Why do many people (like this author) say the most remarkably stupid things when it comes to solutions within the system? Because there aren’t any, so they must resort to outright absurdity; you can’t be rational and principled while conforming your thought to irrational and unprincipled restraints. The author goes on to say the other two functions of these nonprofits (besides following the original owners wishes) would be “to introduce landowners to land seekers” and “to provide legal advice and help draft land-use agreements.” Again, this is more worthless nonsense, sorry Nick. Introduce land owners to land-seekers? Like “Hey, howya doin there Mr. Rich Land Owner, my family and I here are poor and would like some land”? And if that doesn’t work, one can always ask for legal advice! What a joke! And what might these “land-use agreements” entail? If you can’t afford to pay for the land (like most people can’t), then, if you’re lucky and Mr. Rich Land Owner is a nice man, he might say you can work for him! What a novel idea! You can grow food on his plantation, your wife can be his personal maid, and in exchange, he’ll give you some food and let you sleep in the barn! Now that’s justice!
I’ve actually had many people say very similar things to me when I expressed an interest to live naturally & freely, they’ve asked me “What about a work-exchange somewhere?” or “What about an intentional community?” My reply is: What about freedom? Why must I submit to false authority, collectivism, hierarchy, subservience, injustice, inequality and exploitation? Why must I be denied my sovereignty and my sovereign land to live on by my own natural labor? There are no good reasons why, and that’s why the world needs The Right Revolution. I’ve done several work-exchanges and lived in communal living situations, and those experiences, and the inevitable disturbances that come with them, just reinforced the truth that the true ideal, worth repeating a hundred times, is sovereign veganic homesteads, making up voluntary gift-economy communities.
If you were born on this planet then your fair share of the resources needed for your survival is your birthright, you are not bound to any contract you never signed, for services you never asked for. The spiraling ripples of discontent and destruction originate at this unprincipled point, it is karmic law in action. By sacrificing our right to live free and natural lives, for supposed greater security, we agree to the age old “Devil’s Bargain.” And how is that working out for most people? How is it working out for the ecosystem and other species? Stress is said to be the #1 reason people go to their doctor, so obviously we have not found personal peace in this exploitative and unnatural society, nor should we expect to.
“You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”
– Malcolm X, from the book Malcolm X Speaks
And speaking of this contract we never signed, also known as a constitution, did the signers of the U.S. Constitution really have the power to contract for people other than themselves in any matter? Legally a contract can only bind those that sign it, so how does the U.S. Constitution (or any other Nation-State’s constitution) apply to anyone besides those who sign it? Could you write a valid contract that said everyone in your neighborhood has to give you a hundred dollars a week for some service they never asked for and never signed in agreement to? Of course not. And furthermore, could you make that contract binding on all their children, and their children’s children, going on forever? That would be laughed at wouldn’t it? Yet that’s the same thing as a constitution, it’s false authority manifest. We are told that the constitution protects our freedoms, but it violates our most fundamental freedom, to live as sovereign natural humans in harmony with the Earth (self-sufficiently & sustainably), by forcing us to pay taxes and submit to an unjust and undemocratic social-hierarchy.
On a simpler level, it comes down to government officials not lettings us be, they constantly invade our lives making demands upon us, they just won’t leave us alone. As Supreme Court Justice Lousi Brandeis said in 1928, “the right to be let alone is the most comprehensive of rights and the the right most valued.” To not be “let alone” really means to be attacked in one form or another, for violence to be initiated against you. And that’s what government is, a group of people who won’t leave us alone, who say they have exclusive use of “justified” violence, supposedly because they only use it for good. Thousands of years ago Lao Tzu spoke to this same absurdity when, directed to government officials, he said “Act for the people’s benefit, leave them alone.” (Tao Te Ching, verse 75) Through propaganda indoctrination we receive starting from childhood, we are led to think that when the government initiates force, that’s not violence, just “the way society works”. Coupled with this denial of real violence, we are taught that when government forces people to do things (like pay taxes) it leads to a harmonious society. We are led to believe that this violence is good (along with all their military violence, etc.), but all other violence is bad. They can steal from and kill people and that’s okay, but if you do it, then that’s a crime.
A couple more examples of how they just won’t leave us alone:
- Are we really free when one government official can declare a “mandatory evacuation” of our homes in the name of safety? Aren’t we being treated like children who can’t make decisions for ourselves? Government operates under a paternalistic superiority complex, because ultimately they consider you a child-pawn that they can move as they like on their grand chessboard, not a sovereign individual as you are.
- Do we really have freedom of religion? What if I believe, as Thomas Jefferson & Benjamin Franklin reportedly said, that “resistance to tyrants is obedience to God,” and that all forms of involuntary government are forms of tyranny? What if I also believe that God wants me to not fund wars [how crazy a belief!], and wants me to be a proper custodian of Creation [extremism!] by living as sustainably as possible (i.e. veganic homesteading, using plants like industrial hemp for food, fiber, fuel and shelter)? Do I have the freedom to practice that religion? Nope! “Sorry”, say government officials, “you have freedom of religion, as long as it takes the authority and control of the State as a given; that way of life is against the law.” That’s quite a big caveat to my so-called freedom!
Government officials & enforcers claim they have a justified monopoly on controlling people (i.e. on violence), and many people (due to massive indoctrination) believe that this violence is indeed justified, they think that without it the world would be even more violent than it currently is. So this is giving approval for pre-emptive attacks, on everyone, all the time, in order to prevent the possibility of some other violence occurring at some other time. This unprincipled, irrational and deceptive premise of pre-emptive attack, of being treated guilty without any proof, is the evil seed that grows into monstrosities; I cannot overstate how important this point is! Pre-emptive attacks must be identified and rejected wherever they are found; acceptance of this evil is why we currently have a world of about 7 billion human slaves, and billions more animal slaves; it is the philosophical underpinning for tyranny. Government operates on the crazy notion that in order to be free we need slavery, and in order to protect us from violence they need to commit violence against us. This is what is all boils down to, the ideology of pre-emptive attack as legitimate, which it is not.
Here’s another way to think about this: If someone on the street was taking a survey and simply asked you “Do you think mass-violence can lead to a harmonious society?” You’d probably say “No”, as would most people, because it’s an absurd notion: mass-violence and harmony are not at all compatible, they are in fact opposites. So if you accept the fact that stealing from people against their will (e.g. taxation), making wars, violating peoples bodies at airports, supporting industries that are destroying our health and environment, etc. are all acts of violence, then why do you think that will lead to a harmonious society? Building on what I was saying in the opening paragraph, we must uproot that which is unprincipled, irrational and false, what I call the “toxic trio”, that always, in part or synergistically, constitutes the opposition, in the personal or social realm; look for them and you will begin to see these crucial elements at play, cutting through distraction & illusion. The healthy trio to base perspective and decisions on is its opposite: principle, rationality and truth, and that is what we need if we are to progress, personally and socially. The phrase “Give Peace A Chance” is popular, but it usually just refers to military war based on lies, and misses that war/violence and lies are always close to home, even in “peace-time”, it is ongoing and against all of us (and the ecosystem); government never really gives peace a chance, just by its very existence.
“Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds upon itself.”
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, verse 30
Some may say: “If you don’t like this country than why don’t you just leave?” But this is a very short-sighted perspective since there is nowhere where human farms are not, they border one another across the globe, so there is nowhere to go; it is not a matter of leaving, it is a matter of staying wherever you and your family are and wish to be, and claiming your fair share of the currently unjustly controlled land as your human right to live sustainably on. Some might object to that as well saying: “What about the people that bought large amounts of land and worked hard to earn the money to do so, how is that fair to them?” A quote from Alexander Berkman’s book “What is Anarchism?” is a good beginning to a response:
“The first requirement of justice is equal liberty and opportunity. Under government and exploitation there can be neither equal liberty nor equal opportunity — hence all the evils and troubles of present-day society.”
We do not have equal liberty and opportunity when we don’t have equal access to the Earth’s resources, which should belong to everyone as a birthright for being human, irrespective of whatever country they are supposedly born into. The exploitation begins there, and then capitalism compounds the injustice through usury, unfair and highly disparate wage differences, inheritance originating in conquest, etc. So someone who has gained large amounts of land through these means have not really gained them fairly, and once they have more than their fair-share of land it becomes the theft of the birthright of others; therefore even if you had to work hard to attain those riches, it does not justify the continuation of that theft, denying others their birthright. All the land that is uncultivated and just kept as an investment by the rich, while millions have no place to live and are hungry, cannot be justified.
And even those that “earned” their land can be victimized by the system; if they can no longer afford rising property taxes the land would be seized from them as well. Moreover the government officials can at any time still claim the land for themselves as “eminent domain” or harass you with bogus “code violations”, charging you various fees and penalties until you are forced to sell the land. These actions are often taken when the land is wanted for new corporate development, and government serves that corporate interest through an unjust legal system; this is another example revealing again that ultimately the public and private sectors are really just one sector, the fascist sector.
For the majority of people on Earth, saving enough money to buy land, pay all the initial taxes, fees, etc. and then not have to do additional work besides their natural work to keep the property, is not a possibility. Unless you are ultra-rich, you will still need to earn money to pay for mortgages, property taxes, etc. and so therefore have not achieved freedom from the monetary system of control and exploitation, your life is still compromised and corrupted. Some system apologists might say: “Yeah people may need to earn some money on the side, maybe a small business, but whats wrong with that? They are earning their keep.” But this is where the corruption of the natural life begins (along with beginning of our discontent), having to sacrifice time that could be much better used towards things like creativity, spirituality and sharing pleasure; instead that time has to go towards earning money to appease other peoples conditions for living on the Earth.
The crucial thing that many people overlook is that social-systems initiate violence over us first, supposedly to protect us from violence. This is the fundamental philosophical premise that must be rejected; it is not okay to initiate force against people just because you say it is for their own good. That “goodness” can never be proven (and is disproved every day), therefore, nonviolence must take precedence. What is “good” after all? Isn’t nonaggression good and initiation of aggression bad? That’s the most basic morality, the universal ethic. We have been indoctrinated to accept a completely backwards morality, and we, along with other species and the ecosystem as a whole, are paying dearly for that acceptance.
Tellingly most people already do reject the premise that violence always prevents violence, i.e. the legitimacy of pre-emptive attacks, on the person-to-person level; for example, if someone told you they need to punch you on the face in order to help you overcome your cough, and that you have no choice about it, what would be your reaction? You’d probably think they were a crazy control-freak right? Yet most people believe the propaganda of governments telling them that they need to commit violence against them (force them to pay taxes and other fees for their natural birthright), for “their safety and well-being.” Meanwhile governance has been the #1 source of violence throughout history! Talk about a need for a wake-up call!
“Even outside war, in the 20th century alone, more than 270 million people were murdered by their governments. Compared to the few dozen murders committed by anarchists, it is hard to see how the fantasy of the “evil anarchist” could possibly be sustained when we compare the tiny pile of anarchist bodies to the virtual Everest of the dead heaped by governments in one century alone. Surely if we are concerned about violence, murder, theft and rape, we should focus on those who commit the most evils – political leaders – rather than those who oppose them, even misguidedly.” … “The statist looks at a population and sees an irrational and selfish horde that needs to be endlessly herded around at gunpoint – and yet looks at those who run the government as selfless, benevolent and saintly.” … “[We are led to believe] that these living man-gods [i.e. false idols] have such perfect knowledge and perfect wisdom that we should hand them weapons of mass destruction, and the endless power to tax, imprison and print money – and nothing but good, plenty and virtue will result.”
– Stefan Molyneux, Everyday Anarchy
Anarchy is associated with destruction and violence, and yet nothing has been more destructive and violent than governments (and the corporations they foster); look at history! Look at current reality! Indoctrination blinds people to the root cause, knowledge of good and evil has been lost, and with it a more paradisaical world. Interestingly when I bring up the point of governments being the leading cause of mass violence, oftentimes people will agree partially saying “Yes, historically, but governments aren’t as bad as they used to be, they’ve evolved along with the rest of humanity.” First of all, “not as bad”? Is bringing the entire ecosystem to a point of collapse not as bad? Is developing weaponry that could be used intentionally or accidentally to turn the entire planet into a radioactive wasteland not as bad? Or creating a world-wide surveillance grid that corrupts human existence? Supporting health-destroying GMO corruption of the world’s food seeds? Militarized nanotechnology? Etc., etc., etc.? Things have actually gotten worse, as the amount of damage that governments and their corporate partners can now do (and are doing) is far greater than ever before in history. This belief that current government “isn’t that bad, it was all the previous ones that were so,” shows the power of indoctrination, the mind-control that creates the giant intellectual blind-spot of missing that the violence committed by government in the name of safety is wrong and unjustifiable, supports inevitable tyranny and atrocity, and can’t be evolved into something good. There is no way to improve slavery, it needs to be altogether abolished.
Fortunately there are growing numbers who see through this propaganda, but they also know that if they begin to practice noncompliance with this illegitimate social-system (i.e. stop paying taxes, fees. etc. and claim their birthright of sovereign homesteading land), they will likely be met with further violence (arrest/fines/imprisonment) and so they go along with the status-quo because they don’t want to face this, and that’s understandable. That’s why at least waking up others to this crucial truth about social-systems is imperative and our responsibility; when enough people no longer believe the lies upholding the system it will be severely undermined, it relies on its mask of morality, it relies on maintaining the mass-deception.
The fundamental issue that needs to be recognized is that there is no valid justification for why land & water should not be a human right, there is no principled reason for why we must pay some people called officials for their “services” and be automatically subjugated to citizenship (i.e. to be put under a form of slavery); the usual justification, “It’s for the greater good,” is just dogmatic opinion, (opposed by history and current reality) that does not take precedence over the fact that social-systems initiate violence on everyone every day, and one should be free and sovereign, not forced to obey life-restrictions via a social contract that they never signed. Slavery is not justifiable!
The massive world-wide problem of homelessness, hunger and starvation is really a problem of landlessness. Building or acquiring a modest natural home and planting seeds of vegetable, fruit and nut trees is not a major difficulty, the main problem is not having a piece of free land to do that on. People are homeless, hungry or starving not because they are incapable of building a natural shelter or creating a garden & orchard, they are simply restricted from living in that easier and natural way because of the monetary-slavery imposed on them by land control/cost and taxation.
We are led to believe by technocrats, politicians and the media that living off the land is more difficult than being a money-slave. The anthropological record shows otherwise, along with the testimony and demonstration of people today who have abundant homestead gardens and orchards: they actually have more free time than those needing money to purchase the things the earth provides for free. What changes this is monetary slavery, the need to pay taxes and land costs, so that if one looks at the hard life of modern farmers they don’t take that into consideration, even though that is what makes them have to work so much more than they would if they were free of such unjust debts. I’ve heard technocrats say things like “Thank you industrialization! Now we have time to read books!” Again this is really just propaganda, it is pushing the lie that natural living is harder than artificial living, and that you would have less free time living in harmony with Nature. Now of course since most of us are domesticated and have lost natural skills that need to be acquired (mainly organic gardening, which is not very hard to learn the basics of, and can be very enjoyable) , along with the fact that much of the Earth is under concrete now, initially the transition to a natural way of living may be somewhat difficult, but that will only be during the initial phase as we restore the natural balance and abundance that the Earth and natural communities provide. The more people that establish veganic homesteads, the easier it will be for everyone else, the easier it will be to voluntarily help and share with one another. And anyway, tearing up concrete with some friends can be a lot of fun!
“2500 years is long enough for us to have learned that escape from community, and from the earth, is not a solution, but a root cause of our troubles.”
— John Zerzan, Twilight of the Machines, p. 37
Once people have their own free land, gift-economies would flourish. Today even with the restraints of monetary-slavery, low-wages and high costs, many people regularly give to charity, like local food banks. There have even been cafes opening that have a “pay-what-you-can” policy, along with the common “free-box” phenomenon, community tool-libraries, organic seed libraries, etc. All of this confirms that sharing is a natural thing for human beings to do, and of course it would be a lot more common if people didn’t have to worry about paying the rent, mortgage or taxes! The ancient tradition of human cooperation has been corrupted by the domination/exploitation paradigm, and the foundation of that paradigm is land control and taxation; from there begins the process of siphoning the wealth and energy of the masses up to the few vampires at the top of the social pyramid.
“If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. If the tax-gatherer, or any other public-officer, asks me, as one has done, “But what shall I do?” my answer is, “If you really wish to do any thing, resign your office.” When the subject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned office, then the revolution is accomplished.”
– Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
But what about roads, security, education and healthcare? If no one is paying taxes for them, won’t we be without them? No, we won’t. Why do people think that only government can provide these things? (A rhetorical question, the answer again being indoctrination.)
“Throughout my year [of living without money], many people suggested I could only live without money because others live with it. ‘How would you have a road to cycle on if there weren’t money and I didn’t pay my taxes?’ It’s an understandable argument, but it’s based on the underlying assumption that you need money to create things.”
– Mark Boyle, The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living, p. 193
To think roads, education and healthcare are only possible with government is irrational, denying history and the intelligence and skills of yourself and those within your community, it is a mindset of child-like subservience and helplessness. Time and again natural and voluntary communities have shown that they do a very good job at taking care of one another, without the exploitation or environmental destruction. Yes services and infrastructures like roads will be more natural without centralized governance and industry, but that’s hardly a reason to embrace artificial social-systems of control and destruction! As Mark goes on to say: “I’d happily sacrifice large asphalt-covered roads if it meant we could get back to a truly sustainable way of living.” (p. 194)
Can you imagine living on a homestead with nearby friends and family on their own homesteads, sharing and enjoying the abundance to be had by natural living, out of the grasp of the consumerist corporate world? You would be able to pursue your creative passions alongside enjoyable and health-giving small-scale gardening, sharing the bounties of both with your friends and neighbors, a good life uncorrupted by the need for money… It would be nice wouldn’t it? We might even call it a return to Eden. Yet your imagination might soon drift to what might disturb that peace and satisfaction, and what, if anything, might do that? Government officials would have us believe that if people started living this way they would be victimized by terrorists and criminals, yet isn’t it they themselves that are most likely to arrive with weapons, arresting us, taking away our homes, tearing up our gardens? Of course the answer is yes, this is what they do today (and have done for centuries) whenever anybody tries to live separated from their social system of control and exploitation. The worst terrorism and crimes have been, and continue to be, committed by governments. Government is telling us that we need protection, from people just like themselves! (Speaking of which, if you look into quality sources of information on the terrorist events of 9/11/2001 in New York and 7/7/2005 in London, it’s obvious that the official stories given to us about those events are false, and that those events had to be State-sponsored, just like many others throughout history). Government is just like the mafia by making you pay, through the threat of violence (arrest and imprisonment carried out by people with guns), for protection from themselves; except the mafia doesn’t pretend to be your friend.
The corporatist State uses mass-media every day (yes, it’s really not a “free press”) to instill fear of our neighbors and take attention off themselves (the old divide-and-conquer strategy). They dramatically assault our consciousness repeatedly with crimes, distorting just how common they really are, and most importantly to them, to make you feel that you need protection from it, to make you feel that you need your Big Brother to protect you from your neighbor because they are always out to get you. Yet what they never reveal in the media is that most crime is actually a result of the system itself, most people are brought to desperation and mental illness by being forced into this unnatural and soul-suppressing consumerist/industrialist society. The other important factor to understand is that yes, there are disturbed people out there that can be destructive, so in the interest of our safety we should minimize the amount of destruction they can yield. Therefore we should stop supporting the formation of centralized power which produces nuclear weapons, “smart” bombs, etc. because it is very likely that a disturbed person will gain control of those weapons (just look at all of military history!); additionally false authority and hierarchy is unnatural and corrupts the human mind, and so that means anyone in positions of great power are most likely disturbed individuals! And so, the solution to this dilemma is to eliminate those positions of false power in the first place. A world without governance is actually safer than a world with it; on top of the aforementioned reasoning, there are the historical examples of communities without a central authority that had much less disorder and violence than those with it, this also refutes the belief that without social-systems we are doomed to destructive chaos.
The corporate media also doesn’t mention all the violence government officials take themselves against the public, particularly those speaking and working for peace and justice. After all, as many involved in activism are aware, there are government agents being payed to interfere with nonviolent positive activism as their sole occupation, violating people’s privacy constantly and worse, all of course in the name of “safety.” But safety for whom? Of course it is the preservation of the status-quo that the employers of these agents are concerned with, maintaining their power and control, and peace and justice aren’t exactly compatible with that. The “4th Branch” of the government (the mass-media) may talk about a corrupt politician now and then, but they never question the existence of governance overall, and whether it could actually be harmful to the public; it is always portrayed as our benevolent parental overlord. It’s fairly easy to fall for this trick and think that what we need to control all the so-called “anarchy”, as the mass-media and politicians often say, (a propagandized negative distortion of the true meaning of the word, which is simply “No government”), is more governance, more centralized control, but this omits that the whole planet now consists of one human farm (a.k.a. country) bordering another, and that has not ensured greater safety at all, it has actually brought us to the point of possible extinction through nuclear war and/or ecological collapse. The chaos/destruction we observe around us, from wars, various physical/mental diseases, State-sponsored terrorism, oceans/rivers/air/earth filled with toxic chemicals, acid rain, forest clear-cutting, to nuclear waste/radiation/weapons, dangerous nanotechnology, GMO’s, etc., is not the result of anarchy, it is the result of its opposite: social-systems; most of these tragedies would not exist entirely, and the others reduced dramatically, if we didn’t give the few the unnatural power to create and yield all this destruction in the first place.
Returning to the root solution, there is definitely some recognition that very localized agriculture and trade is a crucial part of a new paradigm among activists world-wide, yet as humans born into this techno-industrial society, many have a hard time forming a clear conception of what a natural life would even look like, or consist of; they are like animals born in captivity. Also like such animals they often become unnaturally attached to their false parents; people often feel indebted to the system, since it has allowed them to survive (no matter how feebly and unnaturally) and so they can become defenders of those that are ultimately their captors, because of a false sense of familial bond. This can be seen often with ultra-patriotic individuals who angrily shout at and villainize anyone who questions “their” government, since subconsciously it is equivalent to questioning or criticizing their own parents.
Whether patriotic or critical of government, most people who do want to make the world a better place have been so indoctrinated into this social-system they totally miss the real solution, and the insurmountable obstacle to that sustainable vision for society: the forcible restriction to living naturally on the Earth. Very good ideas now often surface among good-intentioned people, like “We need less waste, less transportation of energy/resources, support for biodiversity, more recycling, more localized and sustainable production of organic food, we need more self & community sufficiency, we need food sovereignty and local control of natural resources”, and all of this is very good, true and in the in the right direction, but that direction needs to be traveled to its final destination/solution, otherwise the not-so-minor detail that most people can’t afford the land (or time) to live in a truly localized and sustainable way is not addressed, nor is the ineffectiveness of partial environmental solutions. This short-sighted, “working within the system” approach misses where the logical direction of ecological and social science is pointing to, the ultimate ideal: Sovereign Veganic Homesteads. That model is the most local (there’s nothing more local than growing your own food and living on a homestead!), the most sustainable & healthy (veganic agriculture is the most sustainable, healthy and ethical form of agriculture!), the least wasteful (homesteads can be zero waste!), the least dependent on transportation of resources (homesteads can be completely non-dependent!) and energy (homesteads can produce their own energy, if even needed, via windmills, solar/thermal, biofuel, etc.!); veganic homesteading is the sustainability ideal to which all these good ideas are progressing toward, yet the reformer’s train of thought may not venture that far outside the systemic box (thanks again to indoctrination), and so they miss this real “kingdom of heaven” solution. The question to ask yourself when confronted with whatever ecological or social disturbance is “Would (or could) this have occurred in a world of sovereign veganic homesteads?” Once you have that correct prescription of lens to view the world with, so to speak, the reason for why what you’re observing exists will be clear, you will have the fundamental truth that cuts through all the seemingly chaotic disharmony to its fundamental rational cause. This ecological and social template is the only thing that can really produce the positive dramatic change the world needs, now more than ever; half-measures and false climate-change and social-justice solutions offered by industry and government will not be enough, as the facts and current reality makes very evident. Just like the mistake of thinking a social system that is just more democratic and less corrupt will be sufficient, the idea that simply buying more local and producing less waste while still supporting the system, being a “conscious consumer,” though certainly better, is not enough to end the ecocide, mass-injustice and tyranny taking place, nor does it address the root injustice of land control that makes us need to buy (rather than freely produce) the necessities of life in the first place. We must recognize that the whole artificial corporate/consumerist society that we are forced to live in is fundamentally wrong and cannot be reformed into goodness; there is no good form of slavery.
“We do not question the existence of an economic and social system that is working the world to death, that is starving it to death, that is imprisoning it, that is torturing it. We never question the logic that leads inevitably to clear-cuts, murdered oceans, loss of topsoil, damned rivers, poisoned aquifers.”
If we each restore our sovereignty and the earth around us, we can save this planet for future generations. If we keep waiting for someone else to give us our freedom and to restore ecological balance, we will face increasingly unpleasant social and ecological realities, like a complete dystopian police-state and possibly even extinction as a species. We need to stop just saying we care about the Earth and the Life on it, and actually find a piece that we can take care of, and that can take care of us. That would be gaining real traction toward restoring social and ecological balance, that would be making a real difference, being a significant change in the world that we wish to see others emulate. We have failed to see real progress against the juggernaut of imperial/industrial civilization because we have failed to take our rightful and responsible places as women & men of the Earth.
The Right Revolution is not complicated, it doesn’t require guerrilla warfare or even an activist group, it’s an idea not dependent on or corruptible by violence or collectivism of any sort; it is simply claiming your sovereignty and helping others do the same. As I said before educating others about the crucial truth about social-systems is key (e.g. please share this essay), but if you and some others are willing and able to risk arrest for the greater good (like many people are and have been doing) then claim your sovereignty and birthright. Two acres of arable land per family would be sufficient and fair. Those that already have a house and land could just continue living there, but stop paying taxes and costs that prevent them from living freely and naturally. Surrounding community could then support them in eviction resistance, proclaiming that a free place to live on the Earth is a birthright for all. The first steps for those that don’t already have a house or land would be to work with family, friends and willing neighbors to occupy empty land and houses, depave empty concrete lots, and form sovereign homesteads for everyone involved. The little wilderness that still remains should be left alone, there is plenty of land that is already mis/un-used that can be claimed. Helping each other defend against house and land evictions (and remember evictions = the initiation of violence against nonviolent people), the mask of governance is taken off and the truth of tyranny becomes clear to see: there are people that want to live naturally, ethically and freely on the Earth, and there are other people who want them to be their slaves instead. So these other people have men with guns go to your home and tell you that you have to pay up, otherwise they will harm you. Again, this is exactly what the mafia does! There really is no difference, except in appearance; the mafia doesn’t say they are your “representatives”. And so having found this clarity of good vs. evil in the world, people can confidently defend their birthright vs. the violence of others who want to force them to pay for what should be free (i.e. their space and time on this planet). The more people vocalize and act on the fact that sovereign homesteading land is a birthright the more successful this movement will be since there is no good counter-argument to that; the evil of governance will become more clear for everyone as the real front line of the revolution remains in the spot-light (which is well worth repeating): people trying to live natural, free and nonviolent lives, and then men with guns (police) initiating force against them under orders from the State, attempting to return the humans (whom politicians consider their property) to subservience and assimilation, attempting to return these free humans to slavery. Then it will be clearly a battle between violence and nonviolence, and once that moral high-ground is clearly established and widely seen, the lies and propaganda of governance which has shaped human beliefs that have supported this destructive rampage through the centuries can finally be discarded for good.
Just as local communities successfully overcame the mafia in Italy through large numbers of people refusing to comply with their demands, we we can form the Beloved Community (as the great Martin Luther King, Jr. put it) across the world by claiming our birthright and refusing to comply with the demands of so-called “officials”. And remember, this is not “reclaiming the commons” as a citizen, this is reclaiming your birthright as a human.
Gandhi was wisely insistent that Truth and Nonviolence are inseparable; it is only when they are both pure and working together that a force capable of dismantling empire is created. This is why Gandhi was successful against the British Empire and why Martin Luther King, Jr. was successful against the American Empire; by making the good and evil of the situation very clear, by making the nonviolence vs. violence starkly obvious, their movements gained the power to succeed. Look at all other violent revolutionary campaigns throughout history, what significant positive change did they bring? If activism contains lies and violence it is doomed to failure, it is just another version of the evil that is being deplored. No matter how good-intentioned activists are, fighting fire with fire, evil with evil, just doesn’t work; this is why governments hire agent-provocateurs and use many other means to either create or provoke violence, it always works in their favor. Some so-called radical activists have a hard time accepting this, just like they have a hard time accepting the nonviolence and science of veganism, but this is basically just an expression of immaturity, a refusal to face the facts and ethical imperative of current and historical reality. I highly recommend the book “Nonviolence: 25 Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea” by Mark Kurlansky and the documentary “A Force More Powerful” for more on this issue.
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
– Benjamin Franklin
“The cardinal rule of a closing or closed society is that your alignment with the regime offers no protection; in a true police-state no one is safe.”
– Naomi Wolf, Author of Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries
Do you agree with the above quotations? Perhaps you’re not convinced that a world without social-systems would be safer than our current reality, and perhaps you’d rather have that supposed safety in exchange for your sovereignty and liberty. Perhaps you’re fine with being a money-slave, paying taxes for things you don’t want or agree with, and petitioning and protesting mostly in vain. Perhaps living more freely and naturally just doesn’t sound appealing to you at this point in your life. If so that’s fine, that’s your disposition, your preference. But for those that don’t want to play this game why must they? Why is their choice invalid and yours valid? Why should your preference for supposed greater safety override another’s preference for greater freedom? Why must someone agree to a “social contract” they never signed? There is no principled, rational and true reason for why the choice of greater nonviolence and freedom should be opposed. To say everyone must submit to some other human’s contrived authority, and pay them for services they never asked for, is tyrannical. This is the despotism of all social systems, they are based on force, on violence, and so have already committed a crime before any other has. Governance punishes us with restrictions and servitude at birth for a “pre-crime”; we are charged guilty before innocent at birth, and this is not a defensible position. No one has the right to deny a woman or man their birthright and deny their sovereignty for a crime they’ve never committed.
Also if despite the principled reasoning I have offered in this essay, you’re currently living a pretty comfortable life and find the call for the abolition of government to be “too extreme,” or maybe just sort of scary to you, then because of this you may also disregard the crucial truths I’ve presented. But if you were to look beyond your bubble of comfortable existence (or even just more deeply into it) you’d see how much suffering and destruction is going on in the world around you, how our lives are in fact corrupted by tyranny, and then a call for drastic change would not seem so extreme, but rather more logical and necessary.
There is risk in freedom. It’s safer to never leave your house, but that’s equivalent to house-arrest, to prison. Life can be risky, but we take the risk because the possible rewards, namely happiness and satisfying engagement with the world, creativity, others, Nature, etc. is worth going for. Guaranteed mediocrity is worse than possible joy. We have been denied the possibility of experiencing real freedom and right-living on this planet by social-systems, we have been disallowed from realizing our full potential for happiness.
So don’t accept the belief that heavenly experience is only to be found in the after-life, that we have to live in an unsustainable way and be subject to pre-emptive violence, that we can’t be natural and free humans on this planet. Lets respect the freedom of others, dominate no one and live peacefully in harmony with Nature, each other and other species, lets make Earth more heavenly (i.e. more peaceful, healthy and just) by establishing true kingdoms of heaven, sovereign veganic homesteads, making up voluntary gift-economy communities.
This form of Green Anarchism (more specifically a form of Veganarchism), liberates all species on Earth from a paradigm of domination/slavery and all the negative effects that inevitably causes. At a time when we see ecological (and possible economic) collapse, nuclear disasters and the ever-present threat of nuclear weapons, a growing worldwide-surveillance grid/police-state, further unjust exploitation and disparity of wealth, extinction of species, toxic chemical overload in the air, water, earth and our bodies, Peak Oil, GMO’s corrupting our food supply and health, and on and on, it’s a perspective and solution who’s time has definitely come.
This post has been moved to:
“Any religion or philosophy which is not based on a respect for life is not a true religion or philosophy.” – Albert Schweitzer
[updated May 13th, 2014]
by Colin D. Donoghue
Caring about how we are effecting the Earth’s ecosystem should be a basic tenant of humanity, since the health and survival of our species depends on a healthy environment, but a lot of people don’t seem to care at all. The petroleum, nuclear, natural gas, coal, logging and livestock industries are destroying the environment at a scale never before seen in human history. The relationship between humans & the Earth has become an increasingly abusive one, to the point that it may result in ecological collapse. The glaciers keep melting, the temperature (and cancer rate) keeps rising, the weather becomes more destructive… and we are just letting these government-backed industries continue to lead us on a path of devastation and suffering. Earth Day passes once again while the obvious solutions to our own sickness and the sick ecosystem, most importantly veganic homesteading and industrial hemp production, still remain restricted by those who undemocratically control our lives, and of course, tax dollars. Most Americans would love to live more naturally and self-sufficiently, but cannot due to land costs and taxation. So, while we wait (or don’t wait) for the Right Revolution, there is something that effects the environment in a major way that most of us have choice over on a daily basis: the food we eat.
Here’s an amazing fact that is extremely under-reported: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that animal wastes pollute U.S. waterways more than all other industrial sources of water pollution, combined. And yet instead of calling for an end to factory farming, many environmental groups mostly ignore it (as explained in the documentary “Cowspiracy“) and instead suggest reforms that would have little positive impact. And its not just the water that the livestock industry is polluting. From ODE Magazine, December 2007:
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published a report in 2006 called Livestock’s Long Shadow.
“The FAO concluded that the livestock industry accounts for 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. That’s more than is produced by every form of transportation combined.”
“Consumers are told to conserve by switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, to take public transportation more often, to turn off the TV when they’re not watching. Why aren’t environmental organizations telling them to eat less meat?”
Veganism is the “elephant in the room” that isn’t being discussed because of ingrained conditioning as to what a “normal” diet is.
Why do most people claim to be against violence, yet participate in it everyday? It is because of false beliefs, a false morality, that says sometimes mass-murder and slavery is actually good and natural for humans. “I’m no mass-murderer or slave-driver” you may be thinking, but if you eat animal products, then that’s really not true. Getting vegan foods is extremely easy. We can choose foods that involve suffering, violence and environmental destruction, or those that do not. We don’t need to eat animal products for optimum health, or hunt animals for survival; we only have to make nonviolent choices at the supermarket, farmers market, a community garden, or on your own homestead.
“Children can, generally, make the philosophical switch easier than adults because the plant-based diet and related issues of compassionate living resonate perfectly with the innocence of childhood. To treat one animal as family and another as food, to continually feel sick and tired, to consider preventable open-heart surgery as “routine” and part of the aging process, or to watch others suffering are ideas that are inherently not acceptable to children. It seems to me tolerance for such ideas can only be achieved by repetitive cultural teaching of numbness. Being numb to animals in pain, numb to our effect on the ecosystem, [numb to thousands of civilians being killed by the US military/CIA/Blackwater, etc. I would like to add], and even numb to our to our own body’s cries for proper care are hallmarks of adults and older children in mainstream society.” – Kerrie Saunders, PhD (www. drfood.org)
I have seen video of the hellish experiences cows, pigs, chickens, etc. go through during captivity, transport and slaughter; it is perhaps the greatest motivator to change to a vegan diet. Short documentaries like “Meet Your Meat” and “Farm to Fridge” show you truth behind the animal flesh you eat, often without any thought of where and how it made its way to your mouth. If ever there was a hell on earth, it is the experience many animals go through in becoming food and during animal experimentations. Isn’t there something ethically wrong with tormenting those who have never harmed us, and who cannot defend themselves against us? Rather than go into the gorish details of what I know occurs, I will leave it to you to take personal responsibility and investigate this for yourself.
I have heard some repeated counter-arguments to adopting a vegan diet, and all have been unjustified. To the belief that we were “meant to” eat meat, I ask “says who?” Did you have a conversation with God and she/he/it told you you’re meant to eat animals? I doubt it. And if you happen to be Christian, the Bible actually says the opposite, on the first page! To quote from the book of Genesis, page 1:
“Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”
And also from the Old Testament we find:
“He who kills a bull, it is as if he slays a man.” (Isaiah 66:3)
Also from chapter 22 of the Dead Sea Scrolls it is written that Jesus said:
“For I tell you truly, man is more than beast. But he who kills a beast without cause, though the beast attack him not, through lust for slaughter, or for its flesh, or its hide, or yet for its tusks, evil is the deed which he does, for he is turned into a wild beast himself.”
To assume that animals were “made for humans to eat” lacks any plausible foundation. Seed bearing fruit however is obviously designed and intended to be eaten, so its seeds can return to the earth in fertilizer, so new fruit may grow. And many plants can be harvested over and over again without resulting in the death of the plant; another indication of its design to be used for food. We do not find such obvious design for food consumption in animals, who feel enormous amounts of physical and emotional pain like we humans do when are bodies are cut or our children are taken away from us and killed. A vegan diet is also better for own well-being; meat and dairy products are generally loaded with fat, hormones, antibiotics and pesticides. All of these can lead to disease and cancers. (Some also believe that eating animal flesh lowers our vibration due to the violence associated with it, and is therefore an obstacle to a spiritual path.)
Scientifically, we have the jaw structure, digestive system, etc. of an herbivore. The most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted, The China Study, concluded that human physiology reacts best to a vegan diet! The argument that you can’t be healthy and get the protein you need without meat and dairy is completely false. You can, and the protein from plants is more easily absorbed by the body. The human body does not require meat to reach optimum health, and in fact some of the most fit and healthy bodies ever to walk this Earth were formed with vegan diets (and of course a lot of training!). Many of the world’s top athletes have vegan diets, including vegan body-builder Kenneth G.Williams, pictured here:
Getting back to the environment, a major reason for continued deforestation (along with not using hemp) is the expansion of land used for livestock. Deforestation is causing major ecological imbalances, and a meat-eating diet is directly linked to it.
About ninety percent of all our agricultural resources are used for the feeding of livestock. The land could be used instead to grow plant-foods to directly feed the hungry and starving, plant-foods like environmentally beneficial and nutrient-dense hempseed.
From the book The World Peace Diet by Dr. Will Tuttle:
“Everyone on Earth could be fed easily because we currently grow more than enough grain to feed ten billion people; our current practice of feeding this grain to untold billions of animals and eating them forces over a billion of us to endure chronic malnutrition and starvation while another billion suffer from the obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer linked with eating diets high in animal foods. The drugs we take to combat these diseases are discharged through the urine, flow into the water and become yet another major stream that adds to the pollution of our Earth.” (p. 191)
From environmental destruction to inflicting torturous pain on other beings, the modern meat industry is a clear example of something “bad.” That’s right, I made a moral judgment! I must be an extremist! (Or so says modern Sophists in America society conditioned into suppressing the use of their own conscience). The experience of pain in other mammals, birds and fish is virtually the same as our own. For those that say that there is no difference between killing plants and animals, they are basically delusional, ignoring the fact that animals definitely feel pain, have emotions and want to live, while picking an apple off a tree remains incomparable. Animals have feelings, have consciousness on some level, and so therefore should be treated as such, not just as animated food. Would you like to be imprisoned, tortured and then brutally murdered so someone could eat your flesh for dinner? I didn’t think so. Non-aggression remember? The foundation of a moral society? Speaking of which here are some salient excerpts from the excellent book The Nonviolent Revolution by Nathaniel Altman:
“In addition to its impact on animal welfare, a vegetarian lifestyle offers additional ‘ahimsic benefits’ towards one’s body, the environment, and the right utilization of the earth’s resources….The practice of feeding plant protein to livestock instead of directly to people places a tremendous strain on the earth’s resources, and contributes to the shortage of food around the world… In addition, a vegetarian diet calls for far less water than a diet containing meat… [which] utilizes some 2,500 gallons of water per day (including irrigation ,animal drinking water, and the large amount of water needed for the actual processing of meat), while the pure vegetarian (vegan) diet uses only 300 gallons per day. [According to Dr. Aaron Altschul of Georgetown University]”
Some more poignant information from Alternatives magazine (Winter 2007-08) in an article by Bruce Friedrich:
“Even leaving aside all the animal welfare issues, a vegan diet is the only reasonable diet for people in the developed world who care about the environment or global poverty… Environmental Defense, on its website, notes: “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains… the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. Roads.” Imagine if we stopped eating animal products altogether… Vegan foods cut out the factory farms, the slaughterhouses, and multiple stages of heavily polluting tractor-trailer trucks, as well as the resources (and pollution) involved in each of those stages… Choose vegan – and preferably organic [and local] – foods. It’s bad for the environment to eat animals. It’s time to stop looking for loopholes.”
And since I’m a fan of being blunt and cutting through the bullshit when appropriate, I’ll share such a statement from the book The Real Forbidden Fruit: How Meat Destroys Paradise And How Veganism Can Get It Back by Jeff Popick:
“There are many well-intentioned people who consider themselves to be environmentalists, and yet many of these people eat animal products, even though it is animal products that are primarily responsible for the demise of the environment. Eating meat kills animals, people and the planet. To be an environmentalist, one must be vegan.”
I know black & white statements are unpopular among many in this corrupted culture, but the truth must be told. Truth! Dare I say it in this world filled with post-modern nihilists? Total non-dualism/non-judgment is an idea that permeates all areas of modern culture, from those that are “cool” to those that are “square,” from the young to the old, from the academic to the spiritual, and it is corrupting the progress of mankind via its nonsensical rejection of conscientiousness. If you think there is no truth, no good or bad in the world, I’m sorry to say, you’ve become delusional. Instead of citing those that have backwards/insane ideas about morality and the environment (as supposed proof that all morality is bunk), why don’t you stand up for the sane perspective? I address this issue more in my essay “Eating the Apple.”
So, if we want a healthy, peaceful and sustainable world, that means: No war, No nukes, No coal or uranium mining, No clear-cutting, No petroleum or natural gas drilling, and No meat.