Mishka, the Russian Winter, and Terror in the Homeland

“Now is the winter of our discontent” – William Shakespeare

“Civilization originates in conquest abroad and repression at home.” – Stanley Diamond

Well, the thaw may be on, but winter in Russia is just getting started!  And sleepy Mishka (the Bear; or is it the Tundra Mammoth) is now facing the voice of a people clamoring at his door. Across the globe, the hunter and the hunted are exchanging places.  As much as the (generally) Western media likes to portray the recent political demonstrations in Russia as yet another desperate call for real democracy, they may be woefully disappointed and disillusioned.  I do not know if the Russians are sick of Putin, or just plain sick of politics as usual and the bureaucratic power hierarchies; perhaps, not unlike their American counterparts.  Folks across the globe are tired of being marched around and manhandled by well-entrenched and fortified (well capitalized) elites who really have no more connection to the people than do alien invaders from the distant star – Kepler 22-B.

Tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets in Moscow on Saturday shouting “Putin is a thief” and “Russia without Putin,” forcing the Kremlin to confront a level of public discontent that has not been seen here since Vladimir V. Putin first became president 12 years ago.

The crowd overflowed from a central city square, forcing stragglers to climb trees or watch from the opposite riverbank. “We exist!” they chanted. “We exist!”

So here is the bottom line, folks. When will the citizens of America finally awaken from their own entrancing slumber?  When will they find a proper voice and the courage to make similar demands of their own selfish oligarchs? When will they go to the streets and vociferously demand the resignation of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Ben Bernake, Timothy Geitner, and the other hooligans lining their pockets and the pockets of their patrons at the expense of our planet and the people? When will they demand imprisonment for the likes of Cheney, Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld and their ilk for crimes against humanity and nature?

There are many in the USA who talk almost mechanically about the repressiveness of the Russian regime, and the lack of free speech in that country; and we Americans, along with our NATO allies, smugly believe we know about what we are talking.  But are we fooling ourselves?  Perhaps there is more freedom of speech than we realize in Mother Russia.  At least the Russians actually have the viscera to go to the streets, stand up, and clearly vocalize their frustrations (as they did precipitously with the fall of the USSR).  All the while, we here in the homeland beat our chests and proudly proclaim our freedoms, remaining comfortably ensconced in our fantasy cocoon.  Yet, we do not have the guts to demand an end to our own enslavement or the eviction of our slave masters. And perhaps the OWS movement has revealed to us our own weakness as a people — our lack of commitment, or the true freedom to proclaim it — subdued as we are by the mesmerizing enchantment of a cornucopia of commodities and other entertaining distractions.

It seems as though “we, the people,” are incapable of speaking-out or taking any discernibly direct action here in the homeland; we are constrained by the constant flow of propaganda and our own willful compliance in believing it. Too many of us (even the OWSers) assume that what we have is already democracy and freedom of proclamation.  We mistakenly assume that our official, as well as the more informal, declarations of independence and equality (i.e., our common suffrage) is a valid stand-in for an egalitarian life. Yet, in fact, those occupying positions of power in the diverse hierarchies that constitute our State – our corporate, political, or religious leaders — are not our equals by any measure; rather, they are our trainers, managers, masters, and avatars.

Meanwhile, these self-styled “masters of the universe” continue to engage in visible acts of terror and genocide out of their lust for control and global dominion. Even, in the homeland, we are witness to broader incursions and greater repression, not only within the private domains of our life — for example with the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 that Obama will now sign into law, making indefinite military detention of American citizens legal. But, environmentally as well, with increasingly aggressive measures to subdue nature and make the earth stand-and-deliver more energy in order to power this extravagant and domineering lifestyle.  All the while, “we, the people,” sheepishly acquiesce.

In addition to the poisonous effects of an unrestrained and maddening rush, fracking for oil, we must also focus on the prospective invasion to our homeland and destruction of our wilderness – financed, lobbied for, and bribed into being by your friends at ExxonMobil – represented by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The environmental terror that this project would unleash upon the homeland should send our threat-level meter off the charts. One of the problems is that most of those holding controlling positions in the power hierarchy have already been bought off by the investment bankers and corporate interests who need more oil at any cost.  As well, they need to eek out more profits to keep the empire going and growing, no matter what the fallout.  It is truly a case, in their minds, of the ends justifying the means.  Again, it is the imperial processes doing what they have done since the dawn of history – “secure luxuries and magical substances or raw materials” (S. Diamond) at the expense and impoverishment of the people and their lands.

Interestingly enough, there has been one group in-country that has been more vociferous than most in trying to derail this gargantuan terrorist threat, potentially the biggest insult to our local environment and our Mother Earth in the modern era.

(November 30, 2011)

This Friday, tribal leaders from across the continent will meet for their third summit with the president in Washington, and one of the prime items on the agenda will be the fight against the Keystone Pipeline. They’ll talk about the way both the pipeline and the process of approving it have violated treaties, and they’ll present the president with a copy of the Mother Earth Accord adopted in a special meeting at the Rosebud reservation a few weeks ago. It’s a strong document, full of details about the impacts of tar sands mining and pipeline leaks and carbon emissions — but it also speaks with the real power of the people who’ve lived longest and best on this continent. Indeed, it begins by affirming that “the earth is our true mother, our grandmother who gives birth to us and maintains all life.”In many ways, that’s the most real language anyone’s used in the entire debate. It sums up all the scientific testimony about parts per million and degrees of temperature rise–and it trumps all the empty nonsense about “energy security” and “pipeline jobs” that turned out, on closer examination, to be so much nonsense. Nonsense that was backed by millions upon millions in lobbying dollars, repeated in endless TV commercials, bandied about by pundits of every stripe. That nonsense may still carry the day — the investment of the oil industry in the tarsands is so large that they will keep at it relentlessly. But at least for the moment, the Indians have carried the day.

Predating, by millennia, even the smallest autonomous villages and communities of the Neolithic, the indigenous soul still leans towards a freedom and sense of participation characterized by more egalitarian relations obtaining in its tribal, pre-civilized roots.  But civilization and its hierarchies required a breakup of these earlier forms of village communitas and participatory tribal-egalitarianism; demanding, instead, adherence to imperial process and metropolitan powers.

There is, however, a memory trace of that tribal-egalitarian indigenous soul still resident across the vast geographies and demographics of the great Russian cities, steppe and tundra; as there is among the tribal remnants (descendents) scattered here and there in the homeland.  Perhaps it will be necessary for us lily white European transplants to take our guidance and motivation from these more primal elements demonstrating and vocalizing that to which we are currently witness.

88 Responses to Mishka, the Russian Winter, and Terror in the Homeland

  1. murph says:

    Sandy,
    There is an assumption contained in all the protests that have and are taking place that is not true; namely, that if enough people show discontent and damage by policies, the policies will change. It also assumes that 1. the elites that govern give a damn about the citizens other than as a source of money and 2. by appealing to their better nature they will come around and do the right thing and 3. that change within a system that benefits only the elites can actually be effected.

    I have to assert that none of the three assumption are true and never have been. If enough pressure is brought to bear, they just change the agenda and toss a few bones to the masses to quiet them down without any structural changes of significance. This is a main strategy for remaining in power.

    Ultimately, while it can be conceded that ultimate power resides within the masses, (we outnumber them by a considerable margin) the question comes to my mind that even if the power was taken away from the elite presently in control, to whom would that power then be given? It appears to me that the bottom line is the acceding of power over our lives to others with silver tongues and promises. It has happened over and over again through history. I have come to the conclusion that the vast majority of folks don’t really want actual freedom in their lives, rather, they want security and benefits from those they entrust with power over their lives. Actual freedom is fraught with danger from making choices that can have disastrous consequences and what benefits are to be gained from life have to be self provided. I think most folks are not all that interested in living like that.

    In the end, there just ain’t no such thing as a benevolent government.

    • kulturcritic says:

      I would agree, Murph!

    • john patrick says:

      “I have come to the conclusion that the vast majority of folks don’t really want actual freedom in their lives, rather, they want security and benefits from those they entrust with power over their lives.”

      So true, Murph.

    • Bruce says:

      “I have come to the conclusion that the vast majority of folks don’t really want actual freedom in their lives, rather, they want security and benefits from those they entrust with power over their lives.”

      I am slowly coming to the conclusion that I, personally, may very well be in that vast majority of folks you speak of, in spite of railing against this sort of preference. When I was young and invulnerable and idealistic I absolutely loathed the man I find myself becoming…

      There’s a Kierkegaardian thought lost somewhere in here about the progression from the aesthetic to the ethical, and then the ethical to the religious, stages on life’s way…

      • Randy McLean says:

        I remember, when I was a kid in the 60’s, seeing a monk, protesting the Viet Nam war, pour gasoline over his head and strike a match. This was the ultimate expression.

        Nobody can claim such an outrage to do that or a similar act. I will not say that the single issue of the Viet Nam war trumps the combination of issues we face today. (Fracking, water shortage, overpopulation, global warming, economic liars, genetically modified food strains, nuclear fall out [fuckushima], etc.) but I do believe we have become so insensed that a suicidal monk or other will not impress us the same as it did 40 some years ago.

        We are not the same speices as our fathers.

      • kulturcritic says:

        On that Kierkegaardian note… perhaps even, Fear and Trembling, or The Sickness Unto Death!!

  2. Martin says:

    “So here is the bottom line, folks. When will the citizens of America finally awaken from their own entrancing slumber? When will they find a proper voice and the courage to make similar demands of their own selfish oligarchs? When will they go to the streets and vociferously demand the resignation of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Ben Bernake, Timothy Geitner, and the other hooligans lining their pockets and the pockets of their patrons at the expense of our planet and the people? When will they demand imprisonment for the likes of Cheney, Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld and their ilk for crimes against humanity and nature?”

    Or, as Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death!”? Which might be the case if ‘We The People’ did in fact stand up and hit the streets en masse. Given the Patriot Act, the most recent recant by the POTUS in flip-flopping on the provisions of the 6th Amendment and the return from Iraq of thousands of now-unemployed trained killers, aka, ‘The Troops’, mass demonstrations aren’t going to cut it this time, OWS notwithstanding.

    Think ‘sneaky’ instead of ‘confront’….

  3. john patrick says:

    When I look at magnificent structures, I remind myself that they were built on the backs of the poor. When was the last time a King, Lord, or President actually created something with their own hands for the benefit of others? And, yet, we marvel at these wondrous things. The product of slavery. The citizens say, “We are a great people.” While they toil and row to a destination not their own.

    I do not think people will wake from the dream of a luxurious slave until death looks like the only alternative. The death of their dream. And then, the new state of freedom will look every bit as frightening as it’s always been.

    And maybe that is why “There will always be war.” Because what is real refuses to be usurped by a dream.

  4. bmiller says:

    Ah, our wandering Siberian bard has landed and given voice.

    When will the American populace rise up? As Murph and John Patrick say… Never. Too may creature comforts, yes. But, there is also no clear solution to the problems we face. I contend that whatever is coming down the pike will have a momentum all it’s own. Tend to your garden, save your seed and cover your ass.

    Thanks for the spirited rant this week.

    • john patrick says:

      Even IF freedom is won, then what? Without a vision of something better/higher, freedom is meaningless. It’s like getting out of college and not having a clue as to what one’s talent/direction is.

    • kulturcritic says:

      You are welcome my friend. I leave you with these words from Stanley Diamond.

      “Conspicuous extortion from worker and peasant was a confirmation of power; but power, so reified, not only confirmed social status, it also displaced anxiety about the actual powerlessness of the privileged, which was a result of the loss of their direct command of the environment. The sheer accumulation of wealth, the antithesis of primitive customary usage, was thus compensatory, a sign of the fear of impotence… As civilization spreads and deepens, it is ultimately mans’ self, his species being, which is imperialized.” (In Search of the Primitive, p 10)

      • javacat says:

        Fascinating quote, Sandy. Here’s another author to add to my reading list.

        This passage supports the image of the wealthy and powerful who have lost most meaningful skills and can operate only within a very rarefied, artificial environment, and who are otherwise totally helpless when it comes to anything practical because they’ve appointed others to do those tasks. Fear and powerlessness are transformed to ‘right and power’ in the minds of those afflicted, a spin piece spread to create the myth to protect themselves. This unrealized fear and impotence drive the construction of walls of the compound, literal and metaphorical, further distancing the inner and outer circles.

        Their reality is not mine, and mine is not that of those in the street. What illusion of power have we each absorbed, that raises its ugly head in times of fear or danger, that distances us from ourselves & our connection?

        • john patrick says:

          I came across this a few months back. But, it doesn’t apply to Gov’t alone, but rather anything that causes us to sell our inheritance for a bowl of soup.

          • kulturcritic says:

            I disagree with his assumption that enslavement is intrinsic to human nature. He himself, states later that it is coincident with history, not humanity. Otherwise, I like it as a critique of modern culture.

            • john patrick says:

              I go along with you on that… I do not think it intrinsic to human nature. I would say what IS intrinsic is to take the easy path. Perhaps, most efficient path for biology. But then, is the sum of our being biological only?

              The other thing, the ant or wolf do not have to destroy their cage. Only learn how to escape, and–not return to it. The child needs parental gov’t to have its needs met. But the goal, is to leave it behind and become a functioning adult.

              We have freedom and liberty of spirit. Wisdom would be the understanding that some forces will always be with us. To destroy these forces (impossible) is not the same as gaining freedom of ones expression. The essence of our being, coming into full expression, must learn to overcome and leave them behind when the time is right and appropriate. And this takes vision and work. Otherwise, we all remain as a child.

              • kulturcritic says:

                Hey John – I think you may have a valid perspective here; perhaps ‘civilized’ humanity is stuck in an adolescent phase of development. And, this results from cultural forces designed (one may say intentionally or not, but I would say intentionally) in order to keep us dependent. The irony is that it keeps those at the top of the hierarchy just as dependent as those at the bottom (as I suggested in the quote from Diamond, above). I would recommend another book for you on this very topic; Paul Shepard, Nature and Madness. It is on my bookshelf. best, sandy

                • javacat says:

                  Being stuck in an adolescent phase of development certainly rings true for us in the US. You’ve offered a mechanism for the why: cultural forces making us dependent. But what keeps us there? Teenagers and toddlers naturally move through a stage of rebellion necessary to the development of the self, the healthy ego, that includes independent thought and choice, personal boundaries, etc.

                  What prevents us, the age-wise adults, from living our post-adolescence as mature, responsible wisdom-gatherers and leaders? Is it inevitable that we default to the mush of consumerism and fluffy pop culture? Has a modern, transfigured Morpheus led us to slumber so tightly that we don’t catch a glimpse of what’s outside?

                  Of course, even as I might talk the talk, I mostly don’t succeed in walking the walk. Maybe therein lies my answer.

                  • kulturcritic says:

                    JC, get Shepard’s book on Nature and Madness, if you have not already read it. Lays out a very engaging discussion of civilized adolescence.

                    • john patrick says:

                      I think the contemporary term is, “perma-teen”. Or, arrested development. Perhaps the board has more details, but I’ve heard that some people actually stop developing emotionally at a young age. Is this due to nature/nurture, or lack of challenge? I do not know. I suspect that the ancient tribes did not tolerate it. One might also make a case that when you spend 12 hours in the field, you don’t have time to develop neurosis, ADD, etc.. (certainly can’t develop consumerism)

                    • javacat says:

                      Have it but not yet read it. Maybe my travel read. Thanks.

        • kulturcritic says:

          Precisely put, Michele. And it is THE question that you raise.

  5. John Bollig says:

    My own opinion is that the protesters are but a shadow of the real resistance that will eventually from when the empire finally falls flat on its face. The bigger they are, the harder they fall, may actually have some merit in the fake world that we inhabit. The real issue is how will this all play out ? Who will surivive the initial shakedown that will come with the end of the world as we know it. Who will eat software and financial instruments ? Can you grind up hard drives for food ? Lets face it, the jig is up and I mean really up. My point is that our urban western civilization is going to collapse and when we finally stabilize, we will be at a much lower level of integration. The only way that we are ever going to make it is by going back to farming and local markets.

  6. john patrick says:

    …starting a new thread so we don’t get scrunched.

    “Hey John – I think you may have a valid perspective here; perhaps ‘civilized’ humanity is stuck in an adolescent phase of development.”

    I struggle with the “why” of cruelty and that it seems to be baked into the cake. Why do animals eat each other (and we eat them) when the vision is of peaceful co-existence. How, and when, does the Lion lay down with the Lamb? It is certainly not happening much of the time. You know, at this time of year many will celebrate the birth of baby Jesus while they sit down to a dinner and eat his friends. WTF?

    I have come to one conclusion. (not a belief, just an understanding on my part)

    After almost 30 years of pondering this (am 57). And I can’t say I “came” to it on my own. A small quiet thought arose and said, “birth pangs.” For the same reason a woman suffers to bring new life and awareness during childbirth, so too–does the larger spirit (god/universe/whatever) suffer the pain that accompanies our birth to a higher level of being. Of what we are to become. The “process” of our spirit/essence evolution involves the mixing of opposed concepts/ideas/beings. Heat is generated. Shit happens. Eventually, a little cupcake is formed.

    The end.

    Until, the little cupcake wants to be something else…

    • kulturcritic says:

      JP – I think the game of predation is fairly natural. Tell me when you’ve made a cupcake, my friend. With a smile on my face, sandy

      • john patrick says:

        It is natural. Until–we become the prey, don’t ya’ think 😉 Or, our kids are eaten. But even so, if we behave strictly according to nature, and accept it entirely, then we are nothing more than food for a bigger fish. Slaves to a higher power. Salt is salt, and flour is flour, and never the two shall meet.

        I’ve already been through the oven, a number of times. Can’t you tell–the frosting melts over the edge and the paper sticks to the roof of your mouth.

        But seriously, creating is not copy/paste. Nor is it creative ways of destruction. Nor is it pulling down the castle walls. While these things may be necessary, they are not part of the magic wand. Until salt and flour agree to some heat, nothing new will become of them.

        • kulturcritic says:

          Even when we become prey, it is natural. It is only civilization that has tried to kill off all of our predators. Now we live behind the safe walls of the city, the forests and the wildebeasts long ago destroyed by a culture of make believe. So now, we are prey only to our slave-masters – who feast on our ignorance and our submissiveness. (You posted that video John, did you forget?)

          • john patrick says:

            Eh, since when did a video capture the complete essence of anything.

            My point ties in with an ancient saying, “Live by predation, die by predation.” I do not think we can have it any other way. Except, in a dream. Where gravity is suspended and there is little connection between the camera frames.

            While many hope for a life of peace and tranquility. Who will man the slaughterhouses in utopia/heaven/nirvana so you can eat? Guess tranquility isn’t meant for them. I can picture a lot of the ancient seers wearing a Rolex. I have a very hard time imagining them participating in the predator/prey arena. In fact, they would probably say to the big fish–take me.

            • kulturcritic says:

              And who, are these ancient seers? Israeli prophets, magicians, medieval alchemists? Primitive shamans?

              • john patrick says:

                Why, Charlie Brown. I thought you knew! But even so, it is open to practice and see what the results are. One benefit of community is to share experience and learn from it.

              • john patrick says:

                I think it was Pliny the Middleman. My point is, if you claim to be “Master” of even the smallest atom in the universe, then you create/nurture the reality of slavery. Our cries for fairness will hold no value, or respect, to seek justice or freedom for ourself. First (IMO) we must loose the bonds we place on those/things/animals around us. Then, we will know what freedom is.

                On second thought, I think that quote came from Gilbran the Funnyman.

  7. Brutus says:

    I guess my reaction to dissent, demonstration, and rebellion is less damning than others here, who appear to insist that the only measure of success is to remove oligarchs and plutocrats from power but then admit that all that is accomplished is swapping one ruling faction for another, each with its illusions, conceptual fallacies, and psychological frailties. Whether the masses take up arms or occupy the streets or hole up and die seems to matter little, as the institutions of our own creation stay at the centers of power, brand names changes periodically.

    I’m more impressed with OWS themes and behaviors than others, but not because I find them more effective. Rather, I appreciate the adoption of satyagraha and the willingness to bear silent witness and endure suffering at the corrupted hands of our betters. Though not OWS precisely, the video of the UC Davis chancellor on her walk of shame past rows of students watching in baleful silence from the surrounding darkness was very impressive. To my mind, OWSers are doing much the same, shaming the rich and powerful with their very bodies, their presence in Zuccotti Park and elsewhere. Perhaps I’m projecting too much on them, but I sense the OWS statement is something to the effect, “So you want to reduce us to nothing? Fine, we’re nothing. Now look at what you’ve done.”

    • kulturcritic says:

      > as the institutions of our own creation stay at the centers of power, brand names changes periodically.

      This is a very clear revelation, Brutus. Unless one can dismantle the hierarchy, we are just switching partners. I have no problem with the Gandhian approach of the OWS movement. I just think they are naive. It appears that all they want is a new bicycle for Christmas, a piece of the American Pie. They seem thoroughly committed to the master-slave model of society; they just want some more scraps off of the master’s table. IMHO.

      • Brutus says:

        Sandy sez:

        It appears that all they want is a new bicycle for Christmas, a piece of the American Pie.

        I’ve yet to see that demand articulated by the movement itself; it’s always pundits and media who say that about OWS. Even if true, who can blame anyone for wanting reasonable participation in our current paradigm rather than anarchy? Frankly, I’m not adapted for anarchy, though I realize it’s coming. But I don’t congratulate myself for being more aware or enlightened, if in fact I am (doubtful supposition).

        • john patrick says:

          “who can blame anyone for wanting reasonable participation.” Thanks, Brutus.

          It is as if it all takes place in a dream. The struggle for change/fairness. But if the players are just casting dream material, wishes, hopes, and even attainment of some part of the dreamscape, what have they really attained? And then to wake up and find it all gone.

          That said, the dreaming seems to be a necessary precursor to waking up. I’m not sure I want 10 billion grouchy souls hearing the alarm clock at the same moment. Or taking all the coffee that I need to function when the heavenly gates open in the morning. Slow steady plod, might be our best friend.

          • kulturcritic says:

            JP

            Wanting reasonable participation will get them NOWHERE. It is not that I don’t understand the desire; I do. In fact, I am as guilty as the others. But, all it does is keep us tied in to the overarching strategy; and the master-slave relations that entails

            • john patrick says:

              And, I agree. I am guilty and complicit, too, of supporting and feeding the beast. I used to think it was a friendly dog. But, now I know otherwise. This “thing” guards the door to a place we’d rather be. And I fed the damn thing. Stupid me.

              • kulturcritic says:

                Stupid us ;-). But, what do you do when not feeding it makes you a sociopath, an outlaw, a wanted criminal, or, god forbid, a terrorist? We are trained monkeys, and we have become our captors.

                • john patrick says:

                  We have to learn to be smart/wise monkeys. Do not feed the rabid dog. It will shrivel and diminish on its own 😉 (with one helluva temper tantrum)

          • Michael says:

            “I’m not sure I want 10 billion grouchy souls hearing the alarm clock at the same moment.”

            Personally I think that the constant stream of propaganda that we will be reaching 8,9,10 Billion withing the next X number of years is highly suspect. The other propaganda that there is enough food to feed even more than any of these numbers, and it is just a matter of distribution is I believe patently flawed. these sorts of statistics seem to be focused on moving the failure of the present structure to feed the present population onto those who have no possible way to mitigate this predicament. because we are according to some statistics reaching the limits of the low hanging fruit. No amount of GMO crops is going to solve this issue. I believe that the elephant in the room is that we are way over the carrying capacity of the planet, based on all I have read regarding limits.

            This is the topic that is seen to be taboo when elections of any groups in any culture is raised, and would be political suicide for any citizen wishing to run for office. the corporatist world is predicated on More, Bigger, Better, and for that you need “consumers” not citizens who can think outside of the present quagmire.
            these thoughts fill me with a sense of foreboding which is uncomfortable.

            Michael

            • john patrick says:

              you need “consumers”…

              And, with that in mind. It doesn’t matter how “fair” we are in the process. If the product slowly rotting.

              Thanks, Michael.

            • kulturcritic says:

              Yes Michael – we are way into “overshoot” of the earth’s carrying capacity.

            • Ed-M says:

              Yes, Michael, we are way beyond planet’s carrying capacity. In our natural state of being, paleolithic, thyere were only 6 million people on this planet. Now there are 7 billion consumers. When there is insufficient stuff to consume, just what is going to happen? I suspect anarchy of the worst sort.

        • kulturcritic says:

          Brutus

          But, then, if that is all they want, their movement is virtually meaningless. Again, crumbs from the master’s table

  8. Michael says:

    “> as the institutions of our own creation stay at the centers of power, brand names changes periodically. ”

    A clear revelation maybe, However I respectfully disagree, for the following reasons;
    1 until recent times our planet was able to absorb all the plunder, pollution, and disregard for our companion species.
    2 our success is our own failing because we shall continue along the path of blind faith that we (as a species) have been able to adopt that, “we shall overcome”
    3 I for see great changes ahead that will not reflect any that we have seen or studied in the past, Our denial of the predicament that as a species we have foisted on ourselves is extremely sad and will no doubt cause a great deal of harm to us, no amount of weeping over the spill t milk will solve this predicament.
    4 The institutions of our own making will go the way of the Dinosaurs.

    But I could be absolutely wrong in my understanding of our present situation.

    Michael

    • kulturcritic says:

      Love your humility Michael; and I agree in general with your assessment.

    • Brutus says:

      I’m entirely in agreement with your assessments, Michael, but I thought the post above was primarily about rebelling against government, not dismantling civilization (by design or by accident). All civilizations fail eventually, and ours is poised to do just that. No disagreement. But one doesn’t exactly rebel against civ; rather, one walks away — by steps. That’s a somewhat different discussion.

      • john patrick says:

        “…rather, one walks away..”

        Nicely said, Brutus. I used to think the ancient ones went into the wilderness to see/meet god. Now, I think they were taking small steps away from the madness.

        • Michael says:

          “Now, I think they were taking small steps away from the madness.”
          John, I would agree with you, and in an earlier time probably a lot easier to do than today. Disengaging from the present madness seem to be neigh on impossible these days. avoiding the propaganda of our global connectedness takes an enormous amount of effort.

          Michael

          • john patrick says:

            I know. You run away today and you’re greeted by a McDonalds and a Walmart at the next town.

            Inner contemplation, that cool deep garden within, seems to be the only “wilderness” that one can run off to. If you remind yourself that it is “opposite day” when you go out and about, it takes the edge off things 😉

            But seriously, it’s as if we have a choice to look at something directly. Or, via a mirror. It makes a big difference when the time comes to turn left, or right. Oops–just ran over grandma. Sorry granny! I was using the mirror. Next time I’ll concentrate/focus better. With the mirror.

            And we wonder why some things don’t change. The problem, is that looking directly can hurt the eyes. If they are open.

          • john patrick says:

            The other thing… is you awake one day and realize you are a captive. It does no good to spend the rest of your life fighting for fairness from the guard. You are still a prisoner. And even if you get fair/equitable treatment, the cell walls remain.

            Which is why I think another ancient (name not important) said you have to sell all your shit and walk off in another direction. It had nothing to do with following the teacher, per se, but rather getting out of the cage so one can be free to use their inheritance/talent to build a real community. One that won’t wither when the sky turns grey.

            I’d like to know if you can make good bread with rotten dough. It would be a lot easier.

      • Michael says:

        Brutus yes you are correct, I think that one of the very clever tools of the power elite with use government as their mouthpiece, is to perpetrate this notion that the citizen has a voice. I believe that one of the fears of the power elite is for the citizens to find their real voice, because this would create a real threat to their position. I am not sure that the corporatist management structure is really fully prepared for a rising voice, which the OWS might be the first whispers.

        Michael

  9. Michael says:

    John, “Plants” can come in all forms this link takes a different slant on the pitch.

    http://www.voltairenet.org/From-America-to-Amerika-The-End

    Michael

    • john patrick says:

      I caught that earlier this week… How does one change a suspicious/paranoid culture? I think what Brutus suggested, walking away, from the fire of madness to let it consume itself, completely.

      I have no polyanna vision on how these things will play out. Being wise will get oneself poisoned, murdered, or nailed to a fence post.

        • john patrick says:

          I prefer to go out being attacked by ten virgins. No spears or whips. And they should be close to my age, of course. Which means it could be awhile…

            • john patrick says:

              Well… vision doesn’t stop here.

              I suspect the best visions go for a million years. Is the vision good/complete only if we see the final product? It is one thing to see real democracy by the end of our years (not holding my breath). But what values would we like culture/civilization to express in 10,000? If we don’t have a longterm vision, then impetus for life is buying toilet paper on aisle 43.

  10. troutsky says:

    The pipeline is actually an interesting Event and one that may surprise those who think the Western imagination/sense of outrage is dead. I actually like the way things are becoming more and more defined, how certain symbols (such as the Pipe) are becoming signifiers and more clarity around power and structure is in the process of becoming. A little patience goes a long ways here my friends. The “vision” may not be a blueprint yet, but Desire is running into the Death-wish and I still think freedom has a fair to middling chance.

  11. Malthus says:

    Excellent Sandy. Especially good.

  12. John Bollig says:

    Today. I am puzzled by the gift giving season… I guess the greatest gift I can give is the gift of survival. The plan is a go, Sandy. We are nearing the end of the trip to our own land. Finally security is within our grasp. We will have a fighting chance…

  13. the virgin terry says:

    hi sandy, tvt here from nbl, my usual cyberspace station. here to offer my 2 cents regarding one particular statement at the beginning of your title essay. i should preface this by saying i’m a fan of your writing.

    ‘Folks across the globe are tired of being marched around and manhandled by well-entrenched and fortified (well capitalized) elites who really have no more connection to the people than do alien invaders from the distant star – Kepler 22-B.’

    some folks, i’d say a distinct minority, see the ptb as metaphorical lizards/leeches who need to be disempowered. a good majority may know or sense we live in a troubled world, but they are psychologically and/or mentally limited in ability to perceive/understand the devilish details of surreality. legions of fervent religious believers around the world attest to the fact that ‘homo sapiens’ is highly prone to embracing dogma, unable or unwilling to embrace critical thinking, perhaps unable or unwilling to embrace the possibility/likelihood/certainty?! that our lives are meaningless, that in fact we’re not ‘children of god’, but the result of a mindless mysterious meaningless mechanical chemical chain reaction in a cold soulless universe. perhaps existentialism is too much for most sheople to handle.

    so while discontent is growing (and no doubt will continue to grow as eco collapse progresses and claims more and more lives), i believe it’s a mistake to hope that public discontent may be channelled constructively as more and more sheople surrealize that the ptb are metaphorical lizards or leaches (or aliens) who pose as our benefactors while acting as predators and exploiters.

    i defer to prof. robert altemeyer’s opus on authoritarianism

    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

    THE AUTHORITARIANS for a view of grass roots ‘common’ sheople, legions of whom are apparently highly prone to being ‘authoritarian followers’, the sort of sheople who enable and actively support and execute authoritarian degrees (such as carrying out the numerous genocides, persecutions, and wars the ptb are fond of fomenting). so while on the one hand there’s a growing ‘occupy’ movement seeking radical and mostly progressive change, otoh there’s phenomenon like the ‘tea party’ movement which is also growing and seeking radical and mostly politically regressive change, acting as a strong counterweight to progressives. this dynamic could well turn ugly as the surreal stresses of eco collapse get greater and greater. the potential for widespread violent conflict and repression between increasingly strident and conflicting views/groups is scary.

    our problem is much bigger than a relatively tiny band of elites using their great wealth and apparent ruthlessness to control and exploit us/nature. while i can deeply empathize with the sentiment that makes u claim these ‘elites’ are so different from us that they may as well be aliens from outerspace, sadly we both know this isn’t true. they are in fact close biological relatives. spiritually we may seem to be world’s apart, but biologically we’re brothers.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Hey Terry the Virgin, Love hearing a new voice! So, help me here a bit. NBL is that short for ‘nothing but love’? Sounds good to me. Especially from a virgin. LOL

      Thanks for reading my stuff and being a ‘fan’. It is sometimes a challenge to do it each week. But, it is my labor of love.

      You are correct, Terry, the elite are genetically related to us, you got me there. But, psychologically they inhabit a world of make believe and denial. They deny there is any problem associated with their behavior and they make-believe (and actually believe) the world is theirs for the taking. True, there may be some among the elite with consciences, but they are few, and typically see their only obligation to be philanthropical, if anything. I know this, because I was one of the 1% for many years running.

      Please keep joining in the discussion. warm regards, sandy

      • john patrick says:

        “But, psychologically they inhabit a world of make believe and denial.”

        Does the 1% represent the height of achievement for the 99%. We are in trouble… Where in our culture is the pursuit of wisdom, fairness, and justice rewarded? When peace prizes are awarded to warmongers, and parents thrown to the heap…

        • Brutus says:

          You want rewards? There are none, only just desserts. Morris Berman, whom I quote frequently and at whose blog I sometimes comment, has made the point repeatedly that alternative traditions with different life values that don’t fit with the dominant hustling mentality, which primarily grants financial rewards (which can never be enough, since it always demands more), simply are given no heed. There are in fact voices calling out from the wilderness. Problem it, no one is listening because those folks are considered kooks and weirdos.

          I find it curious that our blog host admits he hails from the 1% (no surprise if you read his bio). So Sandy, if power corrupts and wealth is power, how did you manage to avoid being corrupted? I suspect the academic background (humanities, no less, not B-school) has something to do with it.

      • the virgin terry says:

        nbl could mean ‘nothing but lies’ if one is referring to establishment propaganda. however in this instance it refers to ‘nature bats last’, guy mcpherson’s blog which is one of 2 listed on your blogroll. u probably knew that, but it could have confused other readers. thanks for asking for the clarification.

  14. Bret Simpson says:

    so,other than debate narrow points of view….what are you going to do about it?

  15. Pēteris says:

    Parhaps the alternative to the existing financial system:
    Margrit Kennedy, “Interest and Inflation Free Money”
    http://kennedy-bibliothek.info/data/bibo/media/GeldbuchEnglisch.pdf

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