Archive for the ‘ONE planet’ Category

[Warning – the theme of this blog u-turns.]

We are a long way from most people following the path. As a political strategy I have proposed “following the path”. All those that follow the path will not be subject to conditioning, and such freedom will be increasingly recognised as the natural human freedom.

But that will take time, and meanwhile the need for a narrative is glaring. The dilemma of automation is upon us. How can we live in a consumer society in which the 1% accumulate based on consumerism when people don’t have money. Robots have no desires, they have no self, no conditioning, they do not consume, and therefore the powerful cannot continue to accumulate.

Therefore we cannot continue with profit alone. But we cannot just make demands when we have no power. The power we have is in consuming, and that is because the powerful allow us to work, earn money and become consumers. We agree to that conditioning, and that is the normal narrative:-

If we are not working because the robot is doing our job, there is no consumerism.

1%, people know this, they are not stupid. They might knee-jerk, make stupid decisions like Trump and blaming immigrants because it is easier, but they know if the 1% don’t change and the 1% continue with the profit motive there will be no jobs no consumerism and society will implode.

If there is no consumerism then there is no wealth, where will your power be? You will continue using your wealth as society slowly withers. You will continue to pay your security, the robots will make your products, the military will fight off the 99%, and then your wealth ends you cannot pay for military, you cannot pay for robots, you wither and die.

1%, if you don’t join in the new narrative you will wither and die. Davos there is no future for you in isolation. Davos, you have to know you need consumerism. Davos you have to know you must involve people not sycophants. You want consumerism, you want profit and you want automation. It just doesn’t work.

End your addiction before it is too late for us all.

Serious disappointment. In meditation there came a neo-narrative that works.

For a narrative to work there needs to be consuming, expansion and accumulation. In the current narrative expansion and accumulation are enabled through fiat mechanisms – unsustainable currency, it is the imaginary economy that is creating new accumulation. It has been a long time since money was connected to available resources even the gold standard was not sustainable, and even that minimal protection has long since gone. Money as exchange has long been surpassed, and now money is printed that just disappears into the accumulation – as apparent wealth. We now have crypto-currencies which are completely unsustainable, and even have no pretence at sustainability; they exist purely on the basis of confidence. But then much of our economic system is an act of faith – ask Yanis.

There is a traditional illusion in our current narrative that money is connected to productivity but there is no reason for faith in that illusion to continue. With robot automation there is no need for productivity only the skills for maintenance and creativity for development. Most people would be allocated “entitlement” probably chip-based (RFID). This entitlement would have two properties – survival and choice. The survival entitlement would provide a certain amount of stability, money flowing into government paying rent etc. Then there would be choice to enable crime (enterprise?).

Entitled people would live in ghettoes (projects council estates) that would be intentionally divided to create tension and division – probably based around race but these ghettoes would include white people; deplorables LINK know they are heading there. Crime would be a way out of these ghettoes for a few. Miseducation (conditioning) would ensure the continuation of these ghettoes (in much the same way that wage-slavery is continued now), but there would be a way out for the creative; that would be the secondary purpose of this miseducation – to find the creative and enable their escape.

They would escape to the middle-classes – Liberals. These would be the people who would enable production through the maintenance of automation. They would be rewarded with greater entitlement and greater choice over their money – probably still RFID-based. These middle-classes would provide the enterprise and expansion and therefore increased consuming that would enable the continued accumulation.

There will of course be wars. These wars would be resource-based such as with the Congo and Middle East now. And with the increased ghettoisation will be targeted on “other” ghettoes. Whilst there would be continuous Liberal outcry at these wars, this will just be rhetoric as the Liberals will continue in their separate middle-class enterprise habitats.

The accumulators will have their enclaves protected by private security.

This neo-narrative can be conditioned and is not significantly different from our current narrative.

There will always be the path, and there will be far-off places – communes where people on the path can take refuge. Many on the path would of course work to improve humanity (as they do now) but to what avail? As now.

The call is still:-

Accumulators, end your addiction before it is too late for us all. But sadly that call has no immediacy as I had hoped for when I first started this examination of a new narrative based on the robot imperative.

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I have previously described the path as going beyond conditioning, I have also described it as the path of compassion, insight and creativity. It is not narratives we need to understand, follow the path.

So far I have looked at narratives and have seen that the manipulators of the 1% can condition based on any narrative. A narrative is a set of ideas describing a situation. Finding a new narrative is not a revolutionary act because it is simply a set of ideas – khandhas. What matters is the power. For conditioning of the narrative to happen there needs to be power, and that power provides an object of desire. People desire that object, maybe money from a job, they become addicted to that desire – because of what the money can buy, and we have the conditioning that can be recognised in any description of paticcasamuppada or the 4 Noble Truths. Addiction – desire and craving – is at the basis of this Buddhist dogma, I am simply describing how this conditioning is developed in daily life. But it is the same dogma, the same description, the same process; addiction .

In this addiction blog, I have gone into detail with addiction and how it can be understood in terms of the two Buddhist dogmas paticcasamuppada and 4 Noble Truths. Overcoming addiction is not easy but it can be done, but the first step is to recognise there is a problem. In this same blog I discussed addiction to self, few would see this as a problem, but that is the nature of addiction and the first step is recognising we are addicted to self.

To reiterate here is a short description of the process of being addicted to self. I start with what I call the Buddhadasa meme:-

Now body and psyche refer to the khandas. Body – rupa, and psyche – feelings (vedana), perceptions (sanna) and mental constructs (sankhara); with consciousness (vinnana – also a khandha) these are the basis of human ontology. Events can fit into these categories. Conditioning is a natural process. An event happens and consciousness attaches to it. Babies like (desire) suckling and enjoying mother’s milk. Adults like (desire) having money to buy a house. Conditioning is not a process that is inherently evil, it is natural.

But when we are considering narratives, there is a process that is human – how the powerful give their power to the narrative. This is a function of the desire of the powerful. This power is nature’s power but it has accumulated through wealth to a few, and they decide when to give power to the narrative.

It is relatively easy to understand addiction because we know of and have seen many examples of addiction to substances. But we do not understand addiction to self. In part this is because we do not understand the formation of self. And this comes back to the khandhas again. As we like different events, that like becomes part of who we are. As a baby we like suckling, we desire suckling, we cling to the mother’s breast. At that time suckling mother’s milk has become who we are – as a baby we selfishly want mother’s milk. Then the power, mother, says enough is enough, and no more self. We don’t question this analysis of self, but we don’t recognise that this process of desire-clinging-becoming self is the natural process that applies to all events. And more importantly we don’t realise that we can be weaned off this addiction to self. Babies don’t choose to dump the breast, power decides for her/him.

When we consider the human self of the adult, where is the power that decides? Consciousness. Consciousness can decide to form self or break away from self. But that consciousness is not “on its own”. Always sunnata is with us, always the path is with us, but if our consciousness is always stuck in the body and psyche then we just continue to create self – we are addicted to self. The word for consciousness not being stuck in body and psyche is awareness. Somehow consciousness recognises that it does not have to stay attached to the body and psyche, attached to self, and it starts to follow the path. We could visualise that awareness is when consciousness becomes attached to sunnata but that visualisation is confusing if we take it literally as that sort of attachment can never exist.

It is much better to talk of this as following the path, the path of compassion, insight and creativity, and as it is a path that is not addicted to self it is a path that is beyond conditioning.

Let us consider the new narrative again. Naomi describes the situation at the moment as having a potent vacuum, as an indigenous activist I accept her judgement – with my age and where I live I cannot judge. The essential word here is potent meaning power, and power governs ideas.

I surmise that the need for a new narrative is being driven by the realisation that automation will drastically reduce employment thus ending the essential of consumerism – the consumer. The zombie idealism of the current consumerism will continue to lurch for as long as it can because the accumulators will not relinquish power. What will replace it will be some compromise that will enable their continued accumulation – they have more invested in there not being an apocalypse than most people.

Hopeful people, Naomi, want a new narrative but with narratives having no power in themselves such narratives will simply be the “same old same old” conditioning as they have been since tribal times. The powerful want a narrative that allows them to continue accumulation. They will then give power to this narrative, conditioning will follow, and “same old same old”. If a new narrative can give them the same accumulation their desire would be happy, and they would give power to the narrative. Is there such a narrative?

But remember narrative is a khandha – sankhara. We attach to a set of ideals, it becomes part of self and we become addicted to it. As an activist, of course you must engage with the process of changing the narrative in the hopes of participation enabling a better narrative. But narrative is part of the addiction, narratives create the conditions, the process is conditioned, and the conclusion will be conditioned. Because of addiction that is how we all, including the powerful fit, into the narrative.

For people the real hope lies in going beyond conditioning, following the path. Following the path does not mean the end of making better changes of the narrative, but it gives greater power, it gives resolve, it gives strength and conviction, and it avoids the attachment and disappointment of windmills.

It is pleasing to see Naomi as an indigenous activist talking of oneness, similarly with Russell, but the best thing for progression in all human movement is the path that includes recognition of oneness. Naomi you have grasped this because you describe indigenous movements as being driven by love – indigenous love of the land. This love of oneness is being sunnata, it is Gaia, and indigenous culture is much closer than the miseducated “European” culture. But love is not restricted to indigenous movements, love is the path.

Despite the potential “hippy” labelling the best way forward in terms of the narrative is not to promote a new narrative but to promote following the path. This is not some loose airy-fairy impractical naval introspection because it is the path that goes beyond conditioning. However the narrative is resolved, following the path will enable people to deal with the conditioning that results from any new narrative.

There is talk of revolution. In Marxist terms revolution means change of ruling class from bourgeoisie to proletariat, in non-Marxist terms revolution can just mean a change of government created by violence. Violence is not the answer. We live in a world that is controlled by violence. The powerful have not only accumulated money, their power also means control of violence through the military, even more so with the privatisation of security. To seek revolution through violence is now self-defeating and akin to suicide of ordinary people by the oppressive violence (cf suicide by cop). Do not seek suicide by the powerful, there is no future for anyone there. The revolutionary path is to go beyond conditioning. If you don’t accept the conditions they offer, what can they do. If they take away your house you go somewhere else you still have your path. When your path gives you strength in adversity people will see, and then they will see that the path s what they must follow. The path itself is revolution, and is not violent.

A political maxim:- detach from desire and follow the path.

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Indigenous Activist

Posted: 20/03/2018 by zandtao in ONE planet, Struggle
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Interesting conversation between Russell and Naomi Klein.

When I retired it was primarily concerned with the increasing gap between my (spiritual) path and work demands. When I found I could manage financially in Thailand, it was a no-brainer; however I am not so sure my father would be happy to see what half his house is financing. I retired to be Buddhist but after a number of years I knew that for me to be Buddhist I had to be aware of engagement (Engaged Buddhism). This coincided with Occupy, and whilst I have become increasingly conscious of the importance of path I have tried to be consciously politically aware. Of course such activism is limited because of the Thai direction my life has taken. My writing is of course activism of sorts, it is everyone else’s fault they don’t read it!!

Once I became politically aware I discovered that Naomi Klein was ubiquitous always saying the right thing in the right situation. So of course listening to her is worthwhile. I was particularly amused by the length of silence after a Russell rant.

I am going to end this blogpost with Naomi’s narrative because it relates to my consideration of narratives in the next 4 blogs.

I liked her description of zombie capitalism or zombie neoliberalism, it completely describes the way the 1%-system lurches from one crisis to another – however remember these crises are integral to the system and whilst not exactly planned are intended as a means of introducing distasteful policies. I have previously referred to this as an aspect of brinkmanship.

I have also called her an indigenous activist with affection. She is not “indigenous” but recognises that the love of the land that indigenous peoples bring to the struggle is much more positive than the “anti-movement” integral to the western perception of the struggle. To protect the land is an act of love that is integral to the lifestyles of the indigenous. The struggle, the path is also an act of love, but unfortunately most left-wing struggles are based on injustice, greed and intellectual anger based on ideals connected to Marxism etc – especially the more intolerant of the liberals. Of course it is hard to be loving when there is so much legitimate anger about.

Naomi’s narrative is of course connected to the ecology of ONE planet. Hundreds of years ago, enlightenment?, man decided that he could be in charge of the environment as opposed to integrated with the environment – Gaia. Her narrative was based on 3 factors:-


Scientific Revolution

Technology – steam engine

For her the sense of this narrative is that humanity feels it is beyond nature, beyond Gaia. This narrative is integral to her view of climate change which she sees as Gaia fighting back. Perfectly reasonable.

For her this narrative is outdated and is being replaced by an integral ecological outlook ( – ONE planet or Gaia); for her this is a return to an indigenous oneness. I don’t know whether a return to an indigenous love of the land is feasible given the increased accumulation, but loving Gaia does not require an indigenous passport. The path is love, it is compassion, insight and creativity, and whilst it is much easier to attain if one is close to nature I am not so sure it is exclusively so. Being sustainable, being in harmony with nature, are of course essential characteristics of the path, and some describe the path as going back to nature. In Russell Means’ terms you can love and be European, Europeans can follow the path.

The key of course is path, indigenous or otherwise.

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Wolfie had a list of who he was going to put up against the wall. Who are they now? The Koch brothers? Robert Mercer? Donald Trump? Maybe Wolfie would have blown up the computers that ran the City but with blockchain even that potentially-viable target has gone. With the advanced weapons technology fewer soldiers are needed, now we only need the occasional brain-washed to play video games. And with the military going private, the 1% pay for private security and their money controls – not even a pretense of moral integrity any more, simply power controlled by the accumulated money of the few. Now we don’t even know who Wolfie should put up against the wall, worse than that a few people up against the wall is not going to make a change as the problem is systemic and not just the few bad apples mentioned above.

What is the analysis for Wolfie’s wall? Unity. Through awareness the comrades will rise up in unison, and the oppressors, the 1%-system, will just disappear because of the masses. Where can this happen? Now there is intended confusion. Yanis talks of the real opposition, the Deep State or 1%-system, and the false opposition – the nationalist xenophobic internationale – funded by the Deep State (Dark Money Network – Koch Brothers, Mercer etc) yet delusorily considering they are actually fighting the Deep State. Where is Wolfie’s wall in all this confusion?

To unite the mass movement was always a pipedream. Even though this pipedream was never a possibility it was the right strategy, the right thing to do, to work together for unity, and that work needs to continue even though there can be no ultimate success – unity. Time has turned any approach based on Marx’s analysis into a pipedream, and this is beacuse the mass movement have lost power. In the 19th and for most of the 20th century the mass movement had the power of withdrawal of labour, but with increased globalisation global labour competes for work that is intentionally limited and the strike is not effective. Consumer power is now the only weapon but in a consumer society that power rests more with the wealthy – senior puppets. So now Marxism is only able to win a battle of awareness, and there seems little chance of that happening.

Marx’s analysis is sound, and the ultimate result of that conditioned analysis is the mass movement creating Wolfie’s wall. But Marx’s conditioned response can never happen because of the very conditioning it is a part of – sankhara. Ideals have no power, people have power. Making people aware is not sufficient despite Yanis‘ human spirit. Increasing awareness helps but with advanced technology the rich can buy the military – as opposed to the military belonging to the nation state.

Intended funded confusion could be seen as the current response to Occupy, look how effective the Dark Money Network is. If there were ever the possibility of Wolfie’s wall there would be so many counter-measures not a brick would be built.

Wolfie’s wall is a conditioned response, and that is why it was not likely to succeed. Marxism is an analysis, an intellectual system, and whilst it is fundamentally correct it is never an understanding that will be accepted by the mass movement as a whole because of the power of conditioning

The target is wrong. The target needs to change from a sankhara, an ideal, an intellectual system to that of going beyond conditionality. Conditionality is what enslaves us, we are not enslaved when we go beyond conditionality. This is the freedom that humanity needs to strive for.

What is beyond conditionality? The path, the path of compassion, insight and creativity. This path has strength and conviction. Even though people on the path are forced to work for money to survive, where and how they work undermines who and what they work for – simply because they bring compassion, insight and creativity to every workplace. Wherever they are the path shines through and people know that there is something better – the path.

The path induces guilt in the conditioned. The path makes the conditioned doubt their own conditioning. The path is the future of change. It is not a future of confrontation, it is Gaia’s future – a future of evolution, slow, sure and effective. Meanwhile there seems little hope.

Where is the path now? There are a few spiritual teachers. There are revolutionaries such as Yanis who see the path, human spirit, as the raison d’etre of struggle. There is Eckhart whose approach has galvanised Oprah America into some form of spirituality. There are still the modern-day Sharon Salzberg’s going East in search of the path. But this is so amorphous.

For the Path to be a movement that can change humanity, move humanity beyond conditionality, there has to be an understanding of where path comes from. In his intro to Power of Now [pp21-26 of 383], Eckhart discusses his breakthrough after depression and potential suicide. This is not enough.

Ajaan Buddhadasa found his path. There appears to have been no upheaval, enlightenment, his revolutionary understanding appears to have just happened.

In the life of the Buddha there was an awakening after seeing all the suffering. Is that the education we need? Making people aware of the suffering they cause through their fear, delusion and lack of responsibility.

Eckhart claims there is a new consciousness, I hope there is. Is the only way to bring this about talking?? Or can more be done to bring about path awareness? There needs to be path education, an investigation of path – path science, a methodology to create the conditions for the path to evolve. Why? HHDL, rather than playing science’s token game of accepting meditation (mind-life institute) invest in path science. Zen, isn’t there more to path awareness in the west than trying to knock hell out of the western ego?

The path is Gaia’s way of evolving change, without the path conditionality that produces accumulation and its consequences will continue to drive the planet, Gaia, into oblivion. Path needs to be studied not simply accepted through happenstance. Path science.

Make the path real through path science, organise the path.

Then we must ask how will path make a change, where is the power of the path, is it not simply awareness?

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Path – a lottery?

Posted: 24/02/2018 by zandtao in Freedom, ONE planet

Throughout his talks Raoul Martinez (with Russell) (TED, RSA and others) considers the lottery of birth. People are born in certain conditions, and through conditionality of genes and environment their life happens. This is an assumption. And that assumption has the scientific limitation of genes and environment, this leads to the question “is there more than genes and environment?”

I believe Raoul might well touch on this with creativity, but I want to pre-empt this by considering path – I am not a good reader and might not get through his book!! Understanding something about path makes the question moot. The best way to understand path is to define it as that which goes beyond conditionality. Whilst this means a great deal to me, it is a somewhat redundant definition. If you don’t believe in path then all is conditionality – genes and environment, if you believe all is genes and conditionality then there is no path. And path is not scientific – subject to measurement by machines, so cannot be verified that way.

Path might however be observed empirically because many on the path behave the same way, there might be mileage in empirically observing those on the path. But I suggest most such would probably turn their noses up at such an experiment, why be interested in scientific verification? I have a similar attitude to scientific verification of meditation, because science through its limitations is straitjacketing the scope of meditation through its definitions of meditation as that which science can measure.

Path is a spiritual “approach” that lacks definition. Anyone who has considered spiritual descriptions will see regular phraseology such as descriptions are beyond language, phrases that science loves .

I have already described an aspect of the path, it is the mental discipline that enables connection with sunnata – anatta no-self. This is a tad Buddhist. However genuine creativity is beyond conditioning. But so is insight and wisdom, all are beyond conditioning.

I suggest that Raoul’s primary purpose in considering conditionality is to debunk the myth that the wealthy are there by merit, and therefore attacks the myths of responsibility and blame attached to the burdens of impoverishment. I have no disagreement with criminality being a consequence of conditions, and call for a social awareness of this and demand that society accepts its responsibility in this. I know they won’t because society is part of a 1%-system, and they have no intention of releasing their accumulation.

My description of path does not per se go against Raoul’s non-assignment of blame. Path would however provide social development if society respected the path and those who are on it, of course society does not – nor does science – nor does the 1%.

Whilst I would have nothing against a “path-meritocracy” – I know society would benefit, I also know that a path-meritocracy has no connection with the prevailing wealth-meritocracy. With a small proviso the wealthy have no different access to the path as the less wealthy. The proviso is this, because of their wealth the rich have the time to consider spirituality, the poor because they are always searching for a buck don’t have such a luxury. But time without proper mental discipline does not lead to spirituality, and being rich does not provide this discipline – so I use the word proviso and nothing stronger.

Access to the path can just happen. In discussions of path here there is no clarity as to when someone will access the path. Buddhism amongst others points to meditation as a method to access the path but for some meditation does not seem to work – although meditators tend then to say “they are not doing it right”.

Within spirituality there are descriptions such as Divine Plan that claim to go beyond Raoul’s conditionality. I tend to have leanings towards a Divine Plan although I would not use such a term. However Divine Plan is typically the prerogative of a religion – usually Christianity, and that exclusivity I have no time for. Whilst there might well be Christians on the path, the correlation between path and Christianity is no greater than with any other religion; there might well be a correlation between the path and esoteric aspects of any religion. With the Buddhist emphasis on path (the 4 Noble Truths) and meditation, I would have to suggest that Buddhism would enable more people to find the path, but when Buddhism is a state religion and Buddhism is a form of worship there is little connection to the path.

Genuine artists have access to the path as the muse is connection to sunnata.

Such artists often discuss the path as being part of their creativity. It is possible that this is where Raoul is going with his book, but if so it is limiting if it does not open up to all aspects of the path – not just creativity.

Yasmine Mustafa (TED talk) claims that you are not limited to conditioning if you “define who you are”. This goes part way to the path, and therefore there is an aspect of what she says which is beyond conditioning. But if the definition is merely a rehash of the results of genes and environment, then it is not path and merely a different form of conditioning. In my interpreting the description of her life, I would suggest that Yasmine has used insight and wisdom in parts of her life, and it is these path-aspects which “define her”.

I propose that nature has a plan for us, but this needs explaining. It is necessary to understand nature as what I call Gaia to comprehend this plan. Gaia as described by James Lovelock presents a holistic view of the integrity of the planet. In his description there is an interconnectivity on a non-human level, possibly including animals in that interconnectivity. There is however a different expanded notion of unity, a complete interconnectivity of all life connected with earth including humans and the earth itself; this complete interconnectivity I describe as a single organism, Gaia.

Consider a human being it is made up of organs. Mostly those organs function adequately, and a human is not conscious of organs in this state. If there is a heart attack, a human needs to alter their behaviour to cope with the weaker heart. For a human to function properly there are times when that human is conscious of aspects of their being to help that proper functioning. Gaia as an organism also has a “plan” for proper functioning of itself as an organism. Gaia “enabled” the Buddha to deliver wisdom to us all because, maybe, there was a wisdom gap. God sent Jesus Christ to earth to save mankind. Please excuse my ignorance but I understand that in Islam the Prophet Muhammed, Peace Be Upon Him, was also sent to earth to help humanity and to receive the teachings of the Quran. In no way am I suggesting that these great religions accept the above notion of Gaia, but I am suggesting that these aspects fit in with an interconnected Gaia.

What I am saying to Raoul is that Gaia has a plan to survive. In this plan Gaia allocates paths that we can follow. But I do understand that Raoul could say genes and environment are nature’s plan, and so that doesn’t necessarily refute his conditional approach. With or without the Gaia construct, the difference is path where Gaia is path and conditionality, and for Raoul there appears to be just conditionality.

Understanding path as being beyond conditioning enables freedom by following the path.

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There is a great deal of delusion concerning values in our society, examining how society evolved – even cursorily like this – can help place these values in context. I want this post as a “sort of reference” if people want to tell me society is based on freedom etc.

Undoubtedly people historically collectivised to protect themselves, this was the tribe. Tribes are depicted as having leaders although they also have tribal councils, it was a bit happenstance as to the benevolence of such leadership. I suggest that tribal ownership of land was originally an understanding, in other words lands were not owned. If you consider the approach of Native American Indians tribes used lands which had notional borders that tended to be respected, land was not owned – apparently.

As history developed ownership of land became the means of accumulation, and some countries established military to facilitate this. Greek and Roman empires were founded on military establishment. Other tribes did not have military and were swallowed up. The European model was tribes with militaries became countries. Within these countries people traded. Their produce was primarily agricultural and they traded these products, but around this production there developed skilled trades such as blacksmiths so trading took on a wider meaning.

European countries were therefore places which owned land – the measure of their wealth, and were often ruled by monarchs. Wars were fought when a monarch tried to expand their land ownership, and in the second millenium AD they often used religion as a means of recruitment. European countries became identified as religious – catholic or protestant, and this religion was used to expand the military and therefore the land accumulation.

As soon as we consider religion we have to consider morals and values. Chronological development of religion is not important to this post, but it is important to recognise different functions of religion. On an individual level religion can be highly significant. I consider myself a religious person, I usually use the word spiritual and for me the path has always been central to my life since I became aware of it. Having described myself as religious and that religion is a prime mover in my life, that does not mean that I accept the moral component of religion as a prime historical mover. When wars have been fought ostensibly for religion, my view is that was a delusion. The state and religion became linked as a mechanism for state expansion, if a war was considered religious it was because the state could recruit on religious grounds. And why was the state trying to expand – to gain wealth through greater ownership of land. Within a country a religion as an institution might well have been concerned with values but nationally it was concerned with military recruitment.

Empires were always significant historically but for some reason the word “empires” was changed to colonialisation, in Britain we still called it the British Empire. And the basis of colonisation was still the same, expansion to gain wealth using military. The ease with which the British Empire conquered was not based on favoured British values – it was technology. Although the Chinese invented gunpowder, it was British use which created their empire; their technology could kill better than the technology of others. Significant in the expansion of empire in later years was the misuse of missionaries as a means of expansion, whatever the personal values of these misguided zealots their function in the expansion of empire was to provide recruitment and justification for violent actions.

Partway through the second millennium the nature of wealth began to change. Colonisation was concerned with trade and land ownership, yet at the same time there developed finance. Banking became connected with colonisation, without finance the monarchies were not able to fund their expansion. There developed finance families such as the Rothschilds who historically have had tremendous wealth, and with that wealth were able to exert control on the development of empires. Their motivation was profit, accumulation of money, whereas for monarchs it was the accumulation of land. These interests were mutual, colonies expanded as did the wealth of monarchies and the finance houses.

Up until the 20th century wars colonial expansion drove the national wealth of European countries, Britain a small island had tremendous wealth and development as a result of its colonial expansion throughout the world. These two blogs, 1 and 2, give more details with links to reference texts.

When considering this history it is important not to be deluded by moral justifications, religious or otherwise. Colonial expansion was driven by a desire for increased trade, and this trade produced greater wealth for the monarchs and the financiers. Colonised countries had raw materials and cheap labour, and once developed also had money to buy the goods made in the homeland from the raw materials. When I was at school history was presented as Britain leading the world in development, we had great inventors, we developed railways and so much more that is now called “civilised”. But it was not invention that drove the expansion but the reverse. Inventions for the mills and cotton industry did not come prior to colonisation of India and the increased raw materials, but afterwards. Once we had the wealth from the invasions of the expanding empire, we had the time, money and necessity that led to education and invention. Personal advance was predicated on the wealth that came from expanded empire, that does not make the intelligence of invention any less of itself but that invention was a direct result of accumulated wealth. It is important not to be deluded, the only thing that is superior about “British” invention and education is the additional wealth from colonisation that founded it.

The length of history allows myths to develop. Expansion for profit becomes religious crusades. Mechanisation to increase profits from raw materials becomes intellectual invention of a superior education, making British invention special. Even in the 21st century British people are deluded by their education system not to see colonisation for what it was, despite the fact that there are many colonial peoples in the country, who have followed their money and resources, willing to say the truth.

The second world war saw a major change in the hegemony. What was once European colonisation changed to US hegemony, and this hegemony also changed the nature of the rulers. The US had no monarchy, there was only a financial oligarchy; once the US took over there was the birth of what Occupy called the 1% as rulers. A hundred years previous to the birth of the hegemony Marx had described the 1% as bourgeoisie in his attempt to show us that the world was controlled by accumulation, initially as land and then by finance.

Significant in this financial control is the anonymity of the rulers. Monarchs as leaders were always targets, and especially early on were not long-lived. Occupy was the high point in which these targets were named, and since then there has been a strategy of confusion BLOGLINK to denotarise these exploiters. But recognising the power of the 1% and the class identity that can fight them is integral to the struggle.

With the US hegemony the image of wars for profits has had to change. Under European empires there was a tradition of expansion and wealth from that expansion, there was no indoctrination needed it was in the European ethos. US expansion was different. Their expansionist history was based on slavery and the appropriation of lands from the native Americans, now their internal wealth is dependent on cheap immigrant labour.

Meanwhile they have expanded the wars for profits, but the nature of these wars has changed. Under European imperialism it was expansion and subjugation, under US hegemony it is concerned with control through puppetry. European imperialism imploded through the two imperial wars of the 20th century, and the cost of subjugating colonies. European colonial tactics were divide-and-rule to ensure the continued supply of raw materials. The US followed this through but without having originally been rulers. Their hegemony was simply economic but backed up by a military they used ruthlessly such as with Hiroshima. Affectionately this is known as the world’s police force but in reality if there is a democratic uprising that is not in the US interests in go the marines.

How does the US maintain this at the present time? Now US war is primarily technological, more deadly distant weaponry provide subjugation without the loss of US life. The US controls diplomatically with military enforcement, beneficial trade deals or else. Enforcement is minimal but deadly.

Hollywood is key to recruitment. How does the US find military to invade without just cause? Some form of misguided righteousness. Financially this is provided by the Christian Right. But this righteousness in movies presents the All-American hero who is strong moral and “the best”. This hero is a thinking person who is fighting for freedom and democracy against various morally-inferior enemies portrayed by Hollywood. These are the values the wealthy are using to ensure continued accumulation – Christianity, freedom and democracy.

How as a rational person can I argue that Hollywood is a key player in recruitment? Firstly it is not mass recruitment as has been the case in the past, only a few loyal people are needed to use the technology. Secondly there are significant groups of American who want to accept the “American Way of Life”. As with the greed and delusion discussed amongst the British middle-classes, greed and delusion also dominate in the US, Hollywood provides the delusions that the greed can focus on. And so there are recruits facilitating MAGA – Making America Great Again.

This is a description of how society evolved. It is primarily concerned with the 1%, the class enemies who support the 1% as described here:-

Included in the right wing and the opportunists are those whose greed and delusion (discussed here) also support the 1%-system.

But it is equally important to understand that within these societies there are tremendous thinking people. There are people who follow the path, people who believe in freedom for all, diverse peoples whose morality should be lauded. But they are not the powerful, and they are not the people who shape the dominant approach of these societies. To understand this you need history, not a moral perspective or a deluded desire that society reflects this perspective. Analysis needs to be simplistic and candid. Americans and Europeans need to face the fact that because of the way their societies are evolving they are the creators of war and instability on this planet. In our societies there are many dedicated people who give up their lives in the service of others, but because of the dominant ethos in the societies their efforts are relegated. In fact it is worse than that. These good people give credibility to societies whose destruction of the planet is frightening.

And it is families of these good people that are facilitating this with their greed and delusion.

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Continuing the Russell Brand binge here is Noel Fitzpatrick, I believe he is known on British TV as the “Supervet”. There were a few things he said that were interesting but he was fundamentally a system apologist, and as such I am not recommending listening to him. I wish him good luck with the work he does for animals – friends, and the joy he brings their owners.

There was a discussion about regulatory bodies that are failing to work effectively. Russell, quite rightly in my view, ascribed economic vested interest, but Noel wanted to work with the people at the FDA, Fred and Mary. Maybe Fred and Mary are good people, but does that mean that the string-pullers are good? Whatever Noel believes deep down, he considered his most effective way of working was a way that disagreed with Russell.

But there is an arrogance to Noel’s position, does he think that he is the first person who has tried to work with these people? His Fred and Mary are not the first who have tried to make a go of the FDA, neither is he the first Noel Fitzpatrick. Throughout my lifetime and before, good people have compromised to try to be effective turning a blind eye to vested interest, and the result? In education I worked hard for 35 years because of the kids. I fought for and with education compromising along the way, and 35 years later education is worse throughout. And I look around to see no difference elsewhere. Were all the hippies calling for change just junkies? The arrogant position of people like Noel is just blinkers – I presume he is not an actor who deep down believes the truth. It is also not insignificant that he is famous on TV, he says what they want to hear – whether he is being duplicitous only he knows [duplicity as in acting the part or just using rhetoric for self-interest, I don’t know him but I have no indication of the second].

The real problem with this level of compromise is that the 1% are comfortable with the compromised efficacy. They can say, here is Noel he compromises and is successful; we are not the block – you are for not compromising. He is a better teacher because he doesn’t fight the headteacher, he gets the promotion, and gets to pontificate about education. Everything appears to work, but the true educationalist is marginalised because they will not buy into the compromise, and the system worsens.

People like Noel survive only because they are arrogant, think most others do it wrong (in this case Russell) and ignore history – no matter how mild-mannered they are. In the end this compromise is destructive because the 1% only choose to work with the compromisers, do not work with the truth, and the system worsens. There is a reason why collaborators are frowned on in war.

During the talk he was also trying to promote unconditional love, and by implication was critical of Russell’s 1%-position. This is typical of the myopic nature of system success. Yes, Noel has obtained some success for his unconditional love because they are willing to give a “dog a bone”. There are small victories along the way of class war. Liberals do gain some things whilst they are losing the war. The power and influence of the 1% is such that Noel can talk of unconditional love, and he will gain some victories, but because Noel will put out that he gained that victory by compromise that suits the 1% for whom compromise is a by-word. Remember their profits are based on consumerism and wage-slavery, they need compromise. Their profits are not based on love, they will not reward love without compromise.

But what all such compromisers have to know, they will be dumped. When they have outlived their usefulness they will be dispensed with, no matter whether their compromise is based on unconditional love or just the usual self-interest. It is not a condition of unconditional love that the 1% should accumulate; this is not a law of nature.

During the talk Russell dichotomised art and science by describing art as “negotiation with essence” and science is empirical and practical ideas. Whilst I understand art as negotiation with the muse of Wai Zandtao, Science-Fiction writer, science is more than the scientific method of the rational. What are wisdom and insight? Neither of these are considered arts-based yet they are clearly connected to essence, if they are not you end up with Yuval. As Noel says it is important to understand that the dichotomy is man-made. Why are arts people often wise? Why does picking up a paintbrush make you wise? The muse as an aspect of essence has wisdom and insight.

I am grateful for the help Noah provides.

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Brad Evans

Posted: 04/02/2018 by zandtao in Democracy, Finance, ONE planet, Struggle, War
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Love (respecting dignity), academy for questioning, and answers through history; what more can you want to understand 1%, politics and the way of the world. Find this in Russell Brand and Brad Evans – Under the Skin. Understanding the violence leads to an understanding of the nature of repression – obvious really but never thought of it.

No provisos, no fundamental flaws – just listen to the talk.

I missed at the end discussion of conspiracy theories. Brad’s answer was consider the empirical, examine what is, don’t deal with theories you have no idea about it. Excellent. What does this mean for my continual analysis of class and the 1%? 1% have power and influence, this is observable even though many will not go as far as I do. Is it a conspiracy to blame the 1%? No. Because they control, they control government, they control the number of jobs, they control all the political aspects of our lives. When we see problems concerning racism, feminism etc., these problems are fundamentally created because the 1% have accumulated much of the world’s resources for personal greed. This is observable fact even though we do not have the actual figures. If we call the 1% conspiracy, then we are avoiding the empirical – the observable. If the 1% become obfuscated with all the conspiracy theories so that we do not see their power and influence then we area voiding the truth.

Is the power and influence of the 1% what Brad describes as “visible traces”? I hope so. Use theory as a tool but based on facts. That is fine as well but there is a doubt raised in me as to how far he takes the power and influence of the 1%. That doubt is not based on anything I know he has said, but is based on the fact that he has a job in a academia, and fundamentally academics are restricted by their establishment to tell the truth. But we all have to work, leave that as a question given how much sense there was in the talk.

It is good to see the flag flying in academia, it explains to some extent why Russell is seeking answers there.

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Class First

Posted: 02/02/2018 by zandtao in Democracy, ONE planet, Struggle

Bruce Dixon has written a second part to the piece on intersectionality, I wrote a blog about the first part here (reference to part 1 quoted within).

This part was primarily concerned with criticism within his own community, and that is a debate I will not enter as it is not my debate and I don’t have knowledge of it. But he quotes Sharon Smith on two intersectionalities “there are two separate, distinct and mutually incompatible intersectionalities. The first, she says is firmly in the camp of the real left, those who oppose and aim to overthrow capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy and empire – not two or three out of four but all four. This tradition, which puts intersectionality in the context of class analysis and class struggle goes back at least to Claudia Jones in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, and the Cohambee River Collective in the 1970s, although neither of these ever heard or uttered the word “intersectional.” The second intersectionality according to Smith, is rooted in post-structuralism which categorically rejects socialism and class analysis, and either downgrades the importance of class struggle at most to something coequal in importance with ageism, ableism and speciesism. With no anchor in class struggle, and emphasizing the oppressed experience of individuals and non-class groups this kind of intersectionalism acts to perpetuate the division of the US left and wannabe left into squabbling constituency groups vying for attention, funding and acknowledgement of whose cause is the most righteous. With neither the means nor the inclination to contend for power, this intersectionalist emphasis on individual experience and deeds has given rise to atrocities like callout culture.” As an aside I was interested in reading that Claudia Jones founded the West Indian Gazette, and started the Notting Hill Carnival, I would like to think this was just something I had forgotten but maybe not.

These two intersectionalities closely parallel the dichotomy of the UK left at present. I interpret these two as class socialists (real left) and liberals, all of whom have been conveniently labelled by the right into “The Left” – without sufficient outrage by the real left in my view. It is this I wanted to note. Whilst this article is primarily concerned with answering internal criticisms, it still contains the clarity denoted by these two intersectionalities acting as divisive forces in the class struggle. “Unfortunately this second version of intersectionality is nearly hegemonic among self defined radicals and even liberals in the academy. Since it’s vigorously promoted by sectors of corporate media and the funders of the nonprofit industrial complex, it’s likely to remain so for the forseeable future.” That is liberalism to me.

Whilst it is not my argument, this “Similarly afro-pessimism only surfaced after enough black faces got comfy spots in the academy.” did make me laugh.

As usual it is worth reading Black Agenda Report.

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I just started listening to podcasts in the car – nothing unusual; – end of all the 60s music plus Taste of Honey? Boogie-oogie?

Started with Russell Brand’s Under the Skin – he gets good people. Adam Curtis was introduced as Esther Rantzen’s “sausages” and politically sussed.

I liked some of Adam’s observations, worth noting, but there was a fundamental flaw. To begin with I thought it was because it had no framework – no 1% nor Buddhism. But I didn’t like that because that requires belief in the framework. This morning it was clear, there was no conviction, no insight, just sound observational analysis. Then it was confirmed – “Hypernormalisation” was a BBC documentary, not threatening the establishment.

He began with a critique of government, that it cannot govern that it is corrupt – selling arms to Saudi to kill the Yemeni. Russell reacted to this as yek, and he said that it was normal to accept that these things would happen; this is his “hypernormalisation” (included his movie for completeness, not watched). It is this view of government that is the fundamental flaw of his discussion. The government is failing the people. Why? Is it failing? It was never a government for the people. Look at history. Government was monarchy, then for landowners then for finance (Cromwell supposedly fighting a revolution for the people but anti-monarchy simply meant pro-finance). And government has increasingly been for the finance sector ever since. Is government failing the finance sector? Not at all. Their profits and power are ever increasing. Government is a success. The power and corruption, the arms sales to Saudi, all benefit the finance sector; it is a successful government.

Then the other BBC “like” is that there is no alternative. He promotes the failure on the left, and says there is no alternative. This completely suits the establishment who are afraid of people knowing and acting on the truth. They are afraid of the recognition that the power is the 1%, the government are their puppets, and that real change can come if the power is taken away from 1% and their puppets. Real change can come if government is controlled and run by the people and profits are returned to the community and not accumulated in the coffers of the 1%. This is real change, this could be real change, and is constantly being fought by the BBC and pundits they promote.

Given this very significant and overarching fundamental flaw Adam’s observations are interesting. The left has failed. Well it has failed but that does not mean government by the people as and when necessary, or anarcho-syndicalism, has failed. It just means that under the current power structure it has failed. When Adam describes “normal acceptance” of events such as Saudi arms trade and the ensuing complicity with the event and complicity with the establishment in general, his critique is not of anarcho-syndicalism as a failed system but his critique is of the apathy of the people.

According to Adam, the term hypernormalisation arose in the Soviet Union in the 80’s when the system was collapsing and people were watching the scenery fall all around. One of Gorbachev’s criticism of communism in Glasnost and Perestroika was the endemic apathy that had developed with the removal of power and responsibility from ordinary people. Adam said that what happened in Russia was not applicable to the UK but endemic apathy is a perfect description as Adam attested to. It is normal to be apathetic, Chomsky describes apathy as an integral platform of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is the 1%-system that creates the hypernormalisation, is descriptive of how I described government above, and can be changed through anarcho-syndicalism or similar (see Under the Skin – Carne Ross) and my blog about it.

Much of his talk focuses on individualism, and how it just happened. Our individualism is a product of a fiercely competitive education system within a fiercely competitive society. Rather than playing down individualism as being the ego-monster it is, it is lauded in our society with the cult of personality etc. This individualism is again a pre-requisite of a 1%-system, fierce individuals refuse to accept ego-submergence in favour of the majority – fierce individuals have no genuine democratic acceptance or concurrence; this could be seen on the Left with the Trots repeatedly promoting their own agenda despite numerous votes to the contrary – no attempt at working for the majority.

Adam mentioned failed movements Occupy, Arab Spring in Tahrir Square, and the march against the Iraq War. In the case of two they were violently suppressed and the third “Not in my Name” was liberal-based embarrassment rather than a genuine attempt to change policy as there was no attempt at follow-up (as described by Adam). These are descriptions of how neoliberalism controls, and not an indicator of there being no alternative.

Listen to Adam’s interview. Don’t be persuaded by the intellectualism that makes him acceptable to the BBC. Note the above, and then listen to valid observations within the flaw.

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