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From the ashes of despair, the seeds of solidarity might spring?

Phoenix rising | 10.11.2007 12:06 | Culture | Ecology | Globalisation

Faced with the pervasive onslaught and destruction of the ecosystems, the natural ecology, the social ecology, and the psychological ecology, by the way of the world as it is today, I express my frustration and impotence with traditional forms of protest and in the naked vulnerability of my lack of ability to positively influence the flow of events, I ask for input and hope to plant the seeds of solidarity.

This may not be newsworthy for the moderators of IMC, and if so, then so be it. I just don't know where else to raise these issues with a hope of obtaining some worthwhile comments and input from people who can relate to my concerns. I have had just about enough as I can stand of the way this country, this world, is being run. I have had it with not only the big issues, but also with the small issues too – the constant bombardments to which we are subject, the daily assaults on our ethics and our sensibilities.

The big issues are easy enough to recount and will probably be familiar to all who read the list:

the on-going slaughter and torture of animals in the name of science and food economics
the continuing green-wash from multinational corporations intent on extracting the very last ecological resource from the planet and converting it into a dead, time-limited “service” for profit and gain
the dithering of governments in awe of the lure and threat of corporations and the subsequent refusal of those governments to act on behalf of the long-term future of the country and the planet. Instead, they follow the corporations down the path of an environmental cul-de-sac and short-termism
the onslaught against personal privacy and civil liberties, on behalf of “security” and to reduce “the fear of crime” when the fear of crime is nothing more than a perceptual descriptor for the generalised, free-floating anxiety most people feel in a society out of control and balance
the diffuse apathy of the “(wo)man-in-the-street” whenever yet another person gets done for having sincere and passionate beliefs that are opposed to the ruling hegemony of corporatist and statist devotion
the refusal on the part of the elected representatives to represent the views of those who elected them, if those views might undermine the candidates political future
the bland indifference of the state to public opposition to its plans resulting from consultation events – be this on the introduction of GM foods, the ID cards, nuclear power, and even the Iraq war
the trivialising focus of the mainstream media on the petty details of politics rather than executing their supposed critical function to challenge and investigate the content and substance of those politics
the alignment of state and business so that the interests of one are reflected in the policies of the other, enforced through militarised and unaccountable thugs and goons should there be any protest against this fascist collusion
the omnipresent threat of pre-emptive attacks on foreign sovereign nation-states on the grounds that they are developing civil nuclear power, while we – the aggressor – are beefing up our own military nuclear weapons systems and claiming our inalienable right to do so
the never-ending destruction of this fragile and beautiful earth, even against the background of full and frank knowledge of how our planet's ecosystems are already showing signs of fatigue, of its inability to cope with the damage we have wrought thus far, and yet we keep adding to the backlog
the refusal for leaders, CEOs, politicians, and others at the head of the food chain to be held to account for their mistakes and errors as well as for their deliberate obfuscation and lies, such as Ian Blair recently, or the heads of corporations who are given substantial “golden parachutes”
the bombardment of pesticides, fungicides, fertilisers and other forms of chemical warfare against our foods, from seed to plate, the limited range of produce available to favour market-preferred varieties, the saturation of processed foods laced with polyunsaturated and hydrogenised fats
the deliberate manipulation of food markets to protect the producing corporations, marginalising the small farmer, plying low-cost minimally nutrient highly processed foodstuffs on those with low incomes, while the British government has recently outlawed giving out (potentially nutritious) food to the indigent

There are many other macroscopic issues that I could add to this list, but I am sure that most people will get the idea by now. When I add the smaller, more incremental issues which form the socio-cultural backdrop to daily life in the UK, the overall picture becomes ever more oppressive, insulting, demeaning, dehumanising, and inexorably destructive. For example, those who commute using the London underground, bus or train systems are exposed to the relentless advertising campaigns, so much so that we no longer have works of art, only adverts. One of the most joyful experiences I can recall in a cityscape was in Southwark where someone has graffiti'd on a space formerly occupied by a billboard the words “The joy of not being sold anything”. Whoever that person was – thank you for the breath of fresh air. I am tired of having my psychological space occupied by corporate spin – from the music people listen to and impose on others from their iPods and mobile phones, to the garbage spewed out in the freebie newspapers on trains, to the crap foisted on us from the media campaigns on every available surface. It is little wonder that the UK plc has outlawed graffiti – it poses too much competition to the advertisers who want the space. But all of those adverts are an intrusion into public space, and they are allowed to get away with it. Unfortunately, there is a sad lack of any decent, politically apt graffiti: the graffiti scrawlers just seem to want to etch illegible squiggles on surfaces ... doodling while our planet dies.
I am sick and tired of the lack of critical debate going on in offices across the country: every office I have been into and overhear what people talk about (and my job requires me to do a lot of visiting other offices), the conversations are pretty much the same – mindless drivel about some or other celebrity and their latest “adventures”, or about some crap on TV.

I am sick and tired of having to toe the line in a political-juridical order when that same order is violating one of the most fundamental tenets of any act: first, do no harm. I am saddened by the apathy of protesters who march pointlessly and impotently from point A to B, listen to the same old speeches from the “celebrity” of the cause and then go home again, self-satisfied that they have made a difference. I am amazed that the FIT don't get boxed into corners and have their devices and gadgets, their notes and their radios “confiscated” and returned after the event; I am also disappointed (although, given the general apathy, not surprised) that the general public don't demand some form of accountability for this waste of tax resource spent on hounding those who are exercising their alleged civil liberty and the right to hold and express opinions divergent from those of the fascist state.

I am so sick and tired of the encroachment of our “civilisation” onto non-human life, and the indelible footprint such encroachment leaves, and am world weary. I am at a complete loss as to what to do. Protesting is apparently useless – it doesn't change much, if anything. Writing letters and symbolic actions are barely even worth mentioning. Direct action is illegal and will result in the undermining of the cause for which is acting because it will be recoded as illegal and therefore invalid. Moreover, because the insanity is so widespread and pervasive do any of these actions make a difference either? Eco-sabotage, for example, merely increases a corporation's insurance premiums, the costs of which are passed down the line to consumers anyway, and rarely does it stop them from doing their business. So what does one do in the face of this monstrosity? I feel completely powerless to make any difference, and yet I see the need to do so all around me. I can, and often have, nailed my colours to the mast on a number of issues over the almost fifty years of my time on earth, but realise that despite occasionally significant risk to life and limb, nothing has really come from it ... .

This is not news, and perhaps IMC will “hide” this. But, I wonder how many people find resonance with what I have attempted to give voice to here? Is this a possible seed of solidarity? Can something come of my plaintive disclosure of frustration and impotence? God, I hope so!!

Phoenix rising
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Display the following 3 comments

  1. State authority screws you up. — Rosa
  2. Hear! Hear! — Andy
  3. Seconded (again) — T