Podcast: Steve Best – The Politics of Total Liberation

Animal Rights Zone

November 17, 2014


Steve Best is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at El Paso, but he’s perhaps best known as an advocate for the liberation of the earth and all who live on it – humans as well as other animals.

Steve Best has published 13 books and hundreds of articles and has been active nationally and internationally for more than 3 decades, challenging the conventional wisdom on topics ranging from environmentalism to sexual liberation to animal rights. Dr. Best joined Animal Rights Zone to speak about his new book, The Politics of Total Liberation: Revolution in the 21st Century. Audio podcast, approx. 65 minutes.

To listen to the podcast:

The Predictable and Pathetic End of Sanders’ “Political Revolution”

World Socialist Website

July 13, 2016

by Patrick Martin

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, is confronted on the Westlake Park stage by Mara Jacqueline Willaford CQ over "Black Lives Matter" issues.  She and another activist took over the rally at this point leading to the Senator leaving the stage, making his way through the crowd which thanked him for coming, and getting in a car and being driven away. Saturday August 8 2015,

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, is confronted on the Westlake Park stage by Mara Jacqueline Willaford over “Black Lives Matter” issues. She and another activist took over the rally, leading to the Senator leaving the stage. Saturday August 8 2015

Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign Tuesday, not with a bang but a whimper. The Vermont senator formally endorsed his rival in an undignified prostration before the Democratic Party establishment and Wall Street’s favored presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The unity rally featuring Sanders and Clinton in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, had all the spontaneity and enthusiasm of a going-out-of-business sale. The funereal atmosphere was perhaps fitting, because with the demise of the Sanders campaign, the Democratic Party has demonstrated, for the thousandth time, its historical role as the graveyard of progressive movements and efforts to achieve reform through the capitalist two-party system.

The Sanders campaign has provided a major lesson in politics to millions of young people and workers who rallied to support the Vermont senator because he called himself a “democratic socialist” and because he denounced Wall Street and the domination of US politics by “millionaires and billionaires.”

The mass support for a self-proclaimed socialist shocked the US ruling elite, the Democratic Party establishment, and, no doubt, Sanders himself. It demonstrated that, despite decades of incessant media propaganda against socialism and communism, the experiences of masses of working people and youth are driving them to the left.

This was particularly true among the younger generation. Sanders won by huge margins—70, 80, even 90 percent—among primary and caucus voters under 30 years of age. More than 1.5 million people attended his rallies, with college students and youth of college age predominating.

The Sanders campaign did not create the broad radicalization demonstrated in these figures. The Vermont senator’s bid for the Democratic Party nomination rather served to uncover what was already developing, the product of decades of deepening economic inequality, ceaseless war, attacks on democratic rights and the growing realization that the profit system is leading mankind toward catastrophe.

Once the Democratic primary campaign was fully engaged, however, Sanders’ political task—in the eyes of the US ruling elite—became clear. It was his responsibility to put the genie back into the bottle. He had to deliver his millions of supporters, particularly the youth, to the candidate chosen by the Democratic Party establishment.

In the beginning was the end. From the start of his campaign, Sanders understood the role assigned to him. He abandoned his longstanding pretense to being a political “independent,” and pledged to remain within the framework of the Democratic Party regardless of the outcome of the contest for the nomination.

Throughout the Sanders campaign, the Socialist Equality Party has welcomed the broad shift to the left that it revealed in the thinking of millions of working people and youth, while warning that the Vermont senator would inevitably disappoint his supporters.

We drew attention to two key aspects of the Sanders campaign: his silence on foreign policy and the growing danger of war, and his refusal to criticize the Obama administration for bailing out Wall Street and spearheading the corporate attack on the jobs and living standards of working people, beginning with the 50 percent wage cut imposed on new hires in the auto industry at the insistence of the White House.

Tuesday’s “unity” rally with Hillary Clinton demonstrated both these tendencies. Sanders spoke for 30 minutes without ever mentioning foreign policy, only days after Obama announced an extension of the US military intervention in Afghanistan and approved the dispatch of another 560 US troops to Iraq.

In his tribute to Clinton, Sanders never referred to her four-year tenure as secretary of state, where she was consistently the most hawkish member of the Obama cabinet, instigating the US-NATO war with Libya and advocating even greater US intervention in the Syrian civil war.

As for the Democratic Party’s domestic record, Sanders praised Obama’s actions during the 2008-2009 Wall Street crash. “I thank President Obama and Vice President Biden for their leadership in pulling us out of that terrible recession,” he said, although Obama and Biden saved the bankers and billionaires at the expense of the working class.

Similarly, Sanders hailed Clinton’s agreement on several minor and meaningless changes in the Democratic Party platform, on health care, student debt and the minimum wage, claiming that the result was “the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.”

Clinton’s own remarks at the rally were equally demagogic and deceptive. She denounced “trickle-down supply-side economics” which were responsible for “30 years of a disastrous Republican philosophy that gave the huge breaks to those at the top.” She conveniently left out that those “30 years” included the eight-year administration of her own husband, who followed the dictates of the financial markets no less slavishly than the Republicans.

She pledged to “open the doors to everyone who shares our progressive values,” although the political careers of both Bill and Hillary Clinton have been based on moving the Democratic Party ever further to the right—abolishing welfare, promoting harsh policing and mass imprisonment, deregulating the banks, and generally distancing the Democrats from any association with policies of liberal reform.

In his remarks Tuesday in New Hampshire, Sanders declared that his campaign would continue, in the form of an all-out effort to elect Hillary Clinton president and elect Democratic majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives. To call such an outcome a “political revolution” is, to say the least, a cynical fraud.

The Democratic Party is, like the Republican Party, an instrument of the financial aristocracy that rules America. While the Republican Party generally expresses the ruling class’s appetite for wealth and power in its most unrestrained form, the Democratic Party has long served as the principal vehicle for neutralizing any challenge to the corporate elite from below.

Despite the best efforts of the media, the Democratic Party and the political establishment as a whole, including Sanders himself, the social and economic opposition that found an initial expression in support for his campaign will not disappear. Whoever wins in November will oversee a society riven by social conflict and will implement deeply unpopular policies, including a sharp expansion of war abroad and the attack on the working class at home.

Workers and young people attracted to the Sanders campaign must draw the necessary conclusions. The Democratic Party cannot be transformed and capitalism cannot be reformed. A leadership must be built to unite the developing struggles of the working class in a revolutionary movement against the corporate and financial elite and the profit system they defend.


Does Anyone Really Need Another ‘Political’ Article?

The Soapbox

April 9, 2016

by Mickey Z.


documenting photo


“I am documenting our collective self-annihilation. I am not writing to change your mind.” (Cory Morningstar)


I deeply relate to my friend Cory’s quote above — but to take things further: I often wonder why any of us even bothers with the documenting. This line of thought reminded me of an e-mail I received in 2006 from a man who’d been following my work for quite some time.

“Reading your writing makes me think that expressing your opinions is what helps,” he began, “but I now wonder if it actually does any good.” He states his belief that, yes, the pen is mightier than the sword, but quickly conceded that the pen “takes a lot longer to be effective.”

His e-mail wrapped up: “In a world full of inequalities, I see your writing as an attempt to combat this situation but I wonder what provides the motivation in the face of such daunting odds. I might have it all wrong and that is not what motivates you at all in which case I’d be interested in what does.”

To be blunt, part of what motivates me to document these days is that I very much need the money I’m paid to write such articles. This is not to say I take this work lightly (never do and never will) but it is to say that, given the chance, I might stop writing “political” articles for a while.

Such a break might enable me to gain a valuable new perspective on the issues I write about but in a more immediate sense, it’d also provide me with a much-needed reprieve from the childish name-calling, passive-aggressive stalking, vile slander, and promises of violence (including death threats) I endure due to my endless questioning and evolution. (FYI: Such responses rarely come from outside radical (sic) or activist (sic) circles but rather, almost always from those whom I once called comrade or even friend.)

Trust me, if I could somehow delude myself that my work ever truly mattered and made even a tiny bit of difference, I might at least perceive all the abuse as “worth it.” But if all I’m doing is “documenting our collective self-annihilation” to an ever-dwindling and progressively less receptive (even hostile) audience, well… you know the rest.

So here we are:

The stakes have never been higher.

Accordingly, the distractions have never been louder.

Does anyone really need another “political” article?


[Michael Zezima (known as Mickey .) is a writer, editor, blogger and novelist living in New York City. He writes a bimonthly column, “Mickey Z. Says”, for VegNews magazine and he has also appeared on the C-SPAN network’s Book TV program. He is also a regular contributor to Planet Green, ZNet, CounterPunch, OpEdNews,, Animal Liberation Front, and other websites.]

La révolution ne sera pas subventionnée ou l’échec absurde de la gauche (une interview avec Cory Morningstar)


Nous avons récemment interviewé Cory Morningstar, une journaliste d’investigation canadienne spécialisée dans l’écologie et la politique. Son travail remarquable peut être consulté librement en ligne, sur son site web (en anglais). Nous avions déjà publié deux de ses articles sur notre site, à savoir, AVAAZ, et la marche mondiale pour le climat — Comment l’Empire nous fait marcher (par Cory Morningstar), et, Bill McKibben (& Naomi Klein): L’écologie made in Wall Street.


A quel point notre situation, en tant qu’espèce vivant sur la planète Terre, est-elle grave, et pourquoi?

Cory Morningstar: Elle est si grave que nous sommes incapables — ou que l’on ne le veut simplement pas — d’en comprendre la magnitude. Même ceux qui seraient en mesure d’en saisir la magnitude sont souvent incapables de l’accepter entièrement. J’entends à travers ça que nous continuons à planifier des choses sur le long terme alors qu’il est établi qu’elles ne seront ni plausibles ni possibles au cours de notre existence. Nous sommes tellement endoctrinés et conditionnés à la folie que nous semblons incapables de nous libérer. De plus, même si nous rassemblions le courage nécessaire pour nous libérer, le système qui nous asservit garantit que nous ne le puissions pas. Si l’on observe les données et la science comme le fait Guy McPherson, il est clair que nous avons déjà dépassé les limites maximales (1°C) établies par le Groupe de Conseil des Nations Unies sur les Gaz à Effet de Serre (United Nations Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases (UNAGGG)) dans un rapport datant de 1990. Un document qui, d’ailleurs, fut délibérément enterré afin que continue la croissance du système économique industrialo-capitaliste. Sans parler du réchauffement auquel nous sommes d’ores-et-déjà condamné en raison de ce que nous avons émis depuis, mais qui n’adviendra qu’au cours des décennies à venir en raison du temps de latence.

Si davantage de preuves étaient nécessaires afin d’apaiser certains doutes persistants, il suffirait d’écouter les avertissements apocalyptiques de Natalia Shakhova sur la fonte du permafrost et des émissions colossales de méthane qui s’ensuivraient. Shakhova, l’une des principales scientifiques expertes des hydrates de méthane, voit ses publications mises au ban sur la liste noire des médias depuis de nombreuses années. Il suffirait également de prendre en compte le fait que d’éminents scientifiques utilisent le terme « Anthropocène » depuis des décennies, afin de décrire cette époque géologique distincte de l’Holocène – une transition/changement causée par les impacts humains. Nous ignorons collectivement cet incroyable point de basculement.

Voici quelques-unes de mes principales observations, mais le plus dramatique, c’est ce que j’observe dans ma vie de tous les jours. Ces simples observations de la façon dont les gens 1) se traitent entre eux, 2) traitent les êtres sensibles, 3) les formes de vie non-humaines et 4) notre mère, la Terre. L’horrible vérité, c’est que les gens traitent les quatre comme des déchets jetables. Mince ! Ils traitent même leurs propres corps comme une poubelle et sont plus que disposés à empoisonner leurs enfants de multiples façons. On ne peut que se demander s’il s’agit purement et simplement d’ignorance ou bien d’une haine de soi. Peu importe, nous continuons à involuer rapidement. L’importance de la dissonance cognitive est manifeste quand on sait que toutes les civilisations ayant jamais existé se sont effondrées, mais que celle qui surpasse toutes les autres en terme de pillage de l’environnement naturel dont nous dépendons absolument est considérée comme exempt de ce même destin prophétique.

En Occident, dans les sociétés industrielles, la principale opposition politique envers la culture dominante, qui n’est peut-être pas autant en opposition qu’elle aime le prétendre ou le pense, et que j’appellerai « la gauche », afin d’être bref, semble n’être qu’un colossal échec, qu’en penses-tu ?

Cory Morningstar: Oui, c’est très vrai. Il s’agit manifestement d’un échec complet. Plusieurs raisons expliquent cela, selon moi. J’en citerai quelques-unes. La majeure partie de notre « gauche » est constituée de blancs issus de la classe moyenne, de privilégiés. Ces mêmes 1% qui qui émettent 50% des émissions mondiales de gaz à effet de serre. Il est incroyablement difficile de persuader quelqu’un de regarder dans le miroir lorsque tous ceux qui l’entourent diabolisent les corporations des combustibles fossiles, comme si l’industrie était, de quelque façon que ce soit, séparée de la société et du système lui-même. [Lorsque l’activisme est redirigé et piloté par diverses grosses ONG, par les médias, par toute la gauche bien-pensante, vers un simplisme comme ce « désinvestissement », cet improbable et incompréhensible « abandon » des combustibles fossiles brandi isolément comme LA solution miracle qui nous sauverait tous, sans aucune compréhension du fait que c’est absurde, impossible et implausible tant que TOUT LE RESTE, TOUS LES AUTRES SECTEURS de la société ne sont pas radicalement changé, avant, qu’avancée toute seule cette injonction à « désinvestir des combustibles fossiles » ne signifie rien, NdT]

Après des années de travaux sur le climat et les problèmes écologiques, j’en ai conclu que l’écologie occidentale était morte, et qu’elle avait été remplacée par l’anthropocentrisme du 21ème siècle. Le mot « activiste » en Occident est un terme qui ne fait plus référence qu’à un anthropocentriste égocentrique — volontairement aveugle aux horreurs de l’impérialisme et du racisme qui sous-tendent le système tout entier. Une partie importante de notre langage a été cooptée par le Complexe Industriel Non-Lucratif (CINL), y compris l’environnementalisme, l’activisme, le mot radical, et même le mot capitalisme — mot vague qui fournit un effet de style dans un discours visant dans les faits à protéger et à propager le système socio-économique même qui nous tue.

La critique révolutionnaire, en Amérique, est morte. Le processus bien entamé de la « nouvelle économie » (la financiarisation de la nature) ne suffit même pas à faire émerger la résistance significative, féroce et nécessaire dont nous avons besoin. Bien que Facebook (et son Deepface !) puisse jouer un rôle dans la transmission d’informations, ces métriques sociale sont, en un sens, de l’argent. 500 000 abonnés n’ont rien à voir avec des actions révolutionnaires, tout comme l’argent qui n’est soutenu par rien. Et pourtant ces deux phénomènes dominent le meilleur-des-mondes moderne dans lequel nous vivons aujourd’hui. Je dirais même que les médias sociaux sont finalement un grand mal pour la société dans son ensemble, car il s’agit là du rêve ultime de tous les oligarques et publicitaires de notre temps. Comme mon camarade de WKOG [Wrong Kind Of Green, en français « la mauvaise sorte d’écologie », NdT] Forrest Palmer le dit, à l’instar du Latin, la vérité est une langue morte dans ce monde — tout comme la pensée critique. Les gens ne veulent pas du changement radical s’il nuit de quelque façon que ce soit à leurs privilèges. Et le changement radical nécessaire pour ne serait-ce que ralentir le changement climatique exigerait le plus radical (et pourtant habilitant [i.e. le réapprentissage de l’autonomie, NdT]) des sacrifices, celui qui démolirait les institutions qui oppressent ceux qui paient le prix pour les privilèges des Euro-Américains. J’ai accepté le fait que le privilège, sous quelque forme que ce soit, ne sera jamais abandonné par ceux qui le détienne — il devra être retiré par la force. Toute tentative légitime de démantèlement des structures actuelles du pouvoir, ou de ralentissement de nos multiples crises et de l’autodestruction qu’elles entrainent, ne peut émaner que de la classe ouvrière.

Pourquoi? Quelles sont les principales raisons de son échec?

Cory Morningstar: Il me semble que nous échouons à reconnaitre le niveau de notre propre endoctrinement. Des questions cruciales mises en avant il y a des siècles dans le discours sur la servitude volontaire d’Etienne de la Boétie demeurent sans réponses à ce jour. Personne, ou presque, ne s’intéresse à cet obstacle majeur qui nous empêche de résoudre notre problème majeur, et qui sert à protéger nos structures de pouvoir actuelles. Les faits ancrés dans la réalité observée par de vrais révolutionnaires, comme Assata Shakur, qui soulignait que « personne dans le monde, personne dans l’histoire, n’a jamais obtenu sa liberté en faisant appel au sens moral de ses oppresseurs », sont ignorés.

Je crois que la principale cause de notre échec collectif est le succès du Complexe Industriel Non-Lucratif (CINL), qui est financé à hauteur de billions d’euros par ceux qui nous oppriment. Ceux qui administrent le CINL font appel aux pires traits de l’humanité, plutôt qu’aux meilleurs. L’individualisme, le narcissisme, l’égo, la convoitise, la soif de pouvoir et la célébrité. Ils nous content les mensonges que nous avons besoin d’entendre pour continuer à vivre avec nous-mêmes, pour continuer à piller voracement. Les mensonges qui nous permettent de nous réjouir de nos privilèges sans culpabilité aucune. Les gens de la « gauche morte » suivent ceux auxquels ils s’identifient, comme Bill McKibben et Naomi Klein de l’ONG 350 — des « leaders » blancs et riches, nommés par les élites. Les Marilyn Bucks ne sont plus de ce monde. Les révolutionnaires comme Omali Yeshitela — avec lesquels la « gauche morte » ne s’identifient pas — sont ignorés. En 1966, le révolutionnaire Stokely Carmichael avait dit que c’était « la vraie question qui divise les activistes blancs d’aujourd’hui. Peuvent-ils démolir les institutions qui font de nous des captifs depuis des centaines d’années ? ». 50 ans après, nous pouvons répondre à cette question par un NON sans équivoque. Les activistes blancs n’étaient pas/ne sont pas prêts à abandonner leurs privilèges, quel qu’en soit le prix. Même au prix de leurs propres enfants. Et comme Forrest Palmer le souligne souvent, aujourd’hui, la bourgeoisie noire cherche à s’intégrer dans ce système oppressif plutôt qu’à le détruire. Utiliser le mot détruire dans la même phrase que le mot activisme est d’ailleurs souvent jugé inacceptable. L’autodéfense n’est pas reconnue comme légitime par ces privilégiés tandis que la violence de l’état policier est généralement considérée comme acceptable. La croyance selon laquelle les plus puissants capitalistes du monde vont abandonner volontairement ne serait-ce qu’une partie du pouvoir ou de la richesse qu’ils détiennent est absolument grotesque.

Il me semble que la gauche est un mélange confus de différentes idéologies, plus ou moins contrôlées et créées par la culture dominante, qu’elles pensent défier, et que nous pouvons de ce fait pointer du doigt plusieurs contradictions majeures qui l’empêche d’être une force efficace de résistance, de changement. Qu’en penses-tu, et quelles seraient ces contradictions ?

Cory Morningstar: J’ai compris que c’était le cas il y a des années. A savoir que si « la gauche » pouvait comprendre qu’elle est perpétuellement réabsorbée dans le système auquel elle prétend s’opposer, nous pourrions militer contre une telle manipulation ; qu’en embrassant pleinement la discipline et la pensée critique, nous pourrions empêcher que cela se reproduise encore et encore. Mais la société occidentale nous a enseigné l’inverse. Elle glorifie l’opposé. Ne pensez pas de façon critique. N’apprenez pas l’histoire. Croyez aux slogans que les superpouvoirs corporatistes vous soufflent à travers la chambre d’écho des medias et du CINL. Lorsque j’ai commencé à écrire à propos de l’horrible réalité des organisations non-gouvernementales (ONG) qui forment le CINL, j’ai découvert que les gens croyaient fermement en ces institutions. Cette croyance est profonde — proche de celle en ce dieu des hommes, blanc et aux yeux bleus.

Lorsque John D Rockefeller a dit que « la capacité à gérer les gens est une marchandise que l’on peut acheter, au même titre que le sucre ou le café, et je suis prêt à payer plus pour elle que pour n’importe quelle marchandise », il savait alors ce que la gauche mettrait des décennies à comprendre. Ce que la gauche n’a d’ailleurs toujours pas compris. L’idée selon laquelle nous pourrions modifier la balance des pouvoirs à l’aide des organisations financées par — et dans de nombreux cas créées par — les plus puissantes institutions du monde est ridicule. Et pourtant cette force surpuissante continue et garantit ultimement notre propre destruction. Et lorsque nous regardons ce que la gauche morte occidentale continue à « demander » (des demandes dont les réponses sont d’ores-et-déjà écrites et attendent derrière des portes closes), à savoir des « solutions » qui n’ont rien à voir avec la protection de la nature ou des formes de vie non-humaines, mais qui ne servent qu’à protéger le mode de vie occidental, on se dit que notre éradication est peut-être bienvenue. [Cory Morningstar fait ici référence, entre autres, aux solutions comme les panneaux solaires et les éoliennes, que le système dominant comptait de toute façon mettre en place au fur et à mesure, et met d’ores-et-déjà en place, ou comme le développement durable, et qui ne solutionnent rien bien au contraire NdT].

Voilà la partie la plus triste de notre histoire, celle du chapitre finale. L’ironie étant que si l’être humain avait placé la vie non-humaine au-dessus de la vie humaine, par défaut, nous nous serions sauvés. Voici la contradiction ultime. Et ce qui nous précipite vers la catastrophe. Il y a cependant une bonne nouvelle. Même s’il semble peu probable que nous parvenions à enrayer le changement climatique, ou à le ralentir, il n’est jamais trop tard pour approfondir nos connaissances et poursuivre la vérité et la justice. Tenter de recueillir ne serait-ce qu’une once de dignité tandis que la nature s’éclipse, voilà ce qui me semble souhaitable.

[1] « la quantité total de méthane (CH4) actuellement dans l’atmosphère est de 5 gigatonnes. La quantité de carbone stockée sous forme de méthane dans le plateau de l’Est Arctique Sibérien est d’approximativement 100 à 1000 gigatonnes. Seul 1% de cette quantité doublerait la charge atmosphérique de méthane (qui est approximativement 23 fois plus puissant en tant que GES que le CO2). Peu de choses suffiraient à déstabiliser ne serait-ce qu’1% de cette réserve de carbone étant donné l’état du permafrost et la quantité de méthane actuellement menacée. Ce qui empêche ce méthane d’être émis dans l’atmosphère est une mince colonne d’eau et un permafrost diminuant et perdant sa qualité de sceau. Cela pourrait se produire n’importe quand ». Natalia Shakhova, une des principales expertes du monde en hydrates de méthane.

[2] L’holocène est le nom de l’ère géologique qui représente les 11 000 dernières années. Correspond à la dernière partie de l’ère quaternaire période la plus récente dans l’échelle des temps géologiques.

WATCH: Biomass – an Ecological Facade | A Massive Threat to the World’s Forests

WKOG disclaimer: Keep in mind while watching this film that while Dogwood Alliance may publicly denounce Enviva’s biomass (the burning of trees) practices, Dogwood Alliance has partnered with Coca-Cola along with other corporations and NGOs to create the Carbon Canopy Group – a coalition “that seeks to leverage markets for ecosystem services” [Source] and “offset” pollution via carbon credits. More false solutions. In fact, one could easily argue that biomass stands to cut into future profits to be made by the expanding commodification and privatization of trees/nature by Dogwood Alliance, Coca-Cola, Staples et al. (You can read more about this is the upcoming segment of the ongoing Divestment series.)



Exodus To A Brand New World

Wrong Kind of Green

June 8, 2016

by Forrest Palmer and Cory Morningstar


Trail of Tears 1

Between 1830 and 1850, the United States committed one of the most genocidal movements in the history of this country, although still unacknowledged as such to this very day.  During the aforementioned time period, the U.S. government forcibly removed all of the major indigenous tribes from their homelands in the Southeast portion of the country to West of the Mississippi  River in the Oklahoma territory and the surrounding areas.  This mandatory migration came to be known as The Trail of Tears. The removal was comprised of the so-called “Five Civilized Tribes” (given this moniker because they were seen to be most equipped to appropriate the traits of Western civilization, such as clothes, customs, economy, Christianity and other signs of being ‘humanized’, i.e. white).  These five tribes included the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muskogee, Creek, Seminole and Cherokee Nations.  Yet for all of these tribes perceived signs of being “civilized”, when the land that they inhabited was needed by the state, their designated ethnic inferiority was the single most reason for them being compulsorily extracted from their only home.  During the migration, these indigenous First Nation members were made to walk the entire length of this most inhuman journey, which was over 1,000 miles. Of the approximately 60,000 total members of the tribes who were expelled from their homelands, anywhere from 8,700 to 17,000 were killed by making this treacherous trek , which is between 14.5% to 28.3% of the victims.


Mississippi Choctaw group wearing traditional garb, c. 1908. Photographer unknown. Public document.

Most recently, approximately 2,000 miles to the North of the general vicinity where the natives in the U.S were finally housed in the most deplorable conditions imaginable on the reservations, there was another exodus that happened recently in Alberta, Canada that had similar characteristics.  As a result of a raging, out of control forest fire, there was a mass evacuation out of this region that was reminiscent of what we saw a couple of hundred years ago during the native death march to the south. The primary difference is that this exodus wasn’t done at the barrel of a gun, but at the behest of something much more powerful than any weapon devised by man:  Mother Nature.

A giant fireball is seen as a wildfire rips through the forest 16 kilometres south of Fort McMurray, Alta. on Highway 63 Saturday, May 7, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A giant fireball is seen as a wildfire rips through the forest 16 kilometres south of Fort McMurray, Alta. on Highway 63 Saturday, May 7, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

In the energy oasis of northeastern Alberta, Canada where the oil tar sands are found, approximately 88,000 residents of Fort McMurray had to leave their community with wildfires nipping at their heels.  Fort McMurray is the primary residence of the people that work in the Alberta Tar Sands, comprising about 80,000 “permanent” citizens and 40,000 expatriates who came to Great White North seeking fortune in the lucrative yet environmentally  destructive tar sands oil development.  The region is most famous due to the Keystone XL pipeline and the ongoing attempts to run this pipeline from Alberta, Canada to refineries in the United States, primarily located in Houston Texas.  Although the tar sands oil provides millions of barrels of oil today, this effort has still been used as a red herring by the mainstream environmental movement to give the false impression that it isn’t daily business as usual in the fossil fuel industry which is the problem, since this global effort VASTLY outweighs the drop in the bucket contributed by the tar sands, whether or not Keystone XL comes online or not. (Unbeknownst to most, the pipeline is already up and running with the fourth and last phase being the only one under dispute and the other three phases already being used right now, as well as rail moving significant amounts of tar sands oil as I write this).

racism at core of suicides

Image: Racism At Core Of Native Teen Suicides [Source: Red Power Media]

As a testament that the abuse of the natives really knows no end, the indigenous were spared no mercy at the hands of the state yesterday nor the corporations today. Over past fifty years when the first barrel of oil rolled off the assembly line in 1967, there have been harmful effects visited upon the indigenous community in the surrounding region over time due to the amount of cancerous byproducts that are dumped into Lake Athabasca. The tailing ponds (the dumping ground for the polluted water that is used to assist in tar sand extraction and production) measure about 30 square miles (77 square kilometers) and reside in close proximity to Athabasca River.   Although unacknowledged by the industry, the state or the mainstream media, the sediment from the tailing ponds has been leaking into the Athabasca River. This river is a contributory downstream to Lake Athabasca, where the community of Fort Chipewyan uses for fishing and a freshwater source.  This community is comprised of approximately 1,000 people, almost entirely indigenous First Nation. As proof of the deleterious effects of the tar sands pollution, the community has experienced the rarest forms of cancers that belie such a small community somehow logically showing up with such disproportionate illnesses as compared to the general population . Yet, this medical anomaly doesn’t even fall on deaf ears since the people don’t even have a voice.


tar sands at night

Tar sands at night. Alberta Oil Sands: “Twenty four hours a day the oil sands eats into the most carbon rich forest ecosystem on the planet. Storing almost twice as much carbon per hectare as tropical rainforests, the boreal forest is the planet’s greatest terrestrial carbon storehouse. To the industry, these diverse and ecologically significant forests and wetlands are referred to as overburden, the forest to be stripped and the wetlands dredged and replaced by mines and tailings ponds so vast they can be seen from outer space.” [Source]

In relation to this turn of events with Fort McMurray currently, the definition of the term ‘poetic justice’ is experiencing a fitting or deserved retribution for one’s actions.  In destroying the environment and visiting unacknowledged depredations to the people of Fort Chipewyan and the surrounding areas, as well as contributing to the devastation of which they are facing presently since the entire community relies on the fossil fuel industry, it is poetic justice by any honest estimation that these residents had to run fleeing from their comfortable houses  in the middle of the night.  This is even more justified since the people in the Fort McMurray area are indicative of the climate change denier clique as only 33% accept that anthropogenic climate change is real to any degree.  Hence, these people are unwilling to even accept that their own hands were on the trigger that caused their own communal maiming through the most dangerous game of Russian roulette known to humanity.

The reason that this is the case is because the masses were in the region specifically to rape the land and  destroy the environment.  There is no rationally sane debate that wouldn’t admit ecological devastation and the resulting climate disruptions increased the likelihood to something such as this happening to almost a certainty.  Hence, if their actions were  the singular, primary or only a contributing factor to their speedy migration from Fort McMurray, it must be acknowledged that the  mere physical presence of the now fleeing residents in the city was  the reason that they had to run from a hell of their own making.  To be succinct, if the residents wouldn’t have put their economic wants above their environmental needs, they wouldn’t have been in a position of vulnerability since the only reason the population was so large in the area was due to the oil industry.  Ultimately, any impartial assessment of the situation comes to the conclusion that the citizens have no one to blame but themselves for this self-inflected catastrophe.

Therefore, we are now in the beginning stages of seeing a grand change in the migratory patterns of humanity. More times often than not migration was due to the collapse of civilizations by way of a lack of resources, which are the basis of any society.  As Western civilization has been able to move masses of people to whatever area of the world that it needed in order to continue the economic system of capitalism, be it the forced migration of the indigenous in North America to the concentrations camps called the reservation, or the worldwide diaspora of the African through the global slave trade, or the coolie labor system where Southeast Asians were dispersed across various continents, it has fostered a god complex in the Western world that only the system and the people who control it can ever dictate who goes anyplace at a given moment in time.


As such, the Western world has lived under the delusion that it had conquered nature itself and was the ultimate arbiter of who and what was going to go where and when.  This latest episode is just a single example of many recent ones that are increasing in rapidity in the Western world.   The Westerner embodied in the prototypical anglo male is now being made to do the one thing that he thought he was immune to in this world: forced to go somewhere he didn’t want go when he didn’t want to leave.

Luckily, the Western world still has the resources and the economic ability to move with relative ease when disasters like this occur, although this will not be the case for too much longer.  Soon, the daily movements that are effortlessly accomplished by plane, train, ship, car and automobile will lead to having to hurriedly leave a demolishing area with the only thing that nature has given us to move and will be the last thing we have when the infrastructure isn’t available to utilize the previously mentioned contraptions : our feet.  The same feet that carried the native all those hundreds of miles in the distant past.


Illustration by Gord Hill, Kwakwaka’wakw

As our feet will be the thing to carry us to parts unknown as we will have to go to places we have no choice to go for survival in the not too distant future, I would think that poetic justice would include that we be relegated to the same existence that was imposed on the ones so long ago by such a self-designated exceptional civilization such as this.

Poetic justice indeed.




Values & Virtues


February 6, 2016

by Jay Taber

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Totem poles in Thunderbird Park of Victoria, Canada on August 05, 2011


Native American clans — symbolized by totems (i.e. Eagle, Bear, Wolf, Beaver and Swan) — are representative of universal values (i.e. courage, strength, cunning, industry and beauty), that are distinct from wide-spread virtues (i.e. ethics, honor, integrity, decency and nobility), all of which are institutionalized in American Indian special societies (i.e. gourd, medicine, protector, shaman and warrior).




[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at]]


Eagle and Condor meet in Oneida

December 26, 2015

Irene Leon, advisor to the Ecuadorian foreign minister addresses members of three different Oneida clan families.

Irene Leon, advisor to the Ecuadorian foreign minister addresses members of three different Oneida clan families.

ONEIDA OF THE THAMES TERRITORY – On Sunday, October 25, a 10 person delegation headed by Irene Leon, advisor to the Ecuadorian foreign minister, was welcomed at the Kayanere’ko:wa longhouse within the K^onthyokwanhasta on Elijah Rd, on Oneida Nation territory. This gathering was the latest step in the development of an ongoing relationship between three traditional Oneida Nation clan families who follow the Kayanere’ko:wa (the Great Peace), and the movement known as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA).

Sunday’s delegation was received by some 35 members of the Turtle, Wolf and Bear clans, including Hoyane (chiefs) and clan mothers. The delegation from Ecuador included representatives from Alliance Pais, the coalition of social movements backing the current Ecudorian government as well as long time Chilean activists.

The main purpose of the delegation was to strengthen an ongoing relationship with traditional Onkwehon:we clan families that has been building since early April of last year. On April 8, 2015, a delegation of some 30 members from the Latin American community in Toronto accompanied Wilmer Barrentios, the Venezuelan ambassador to Canada for a meeting at the Kanien’kehà:ka (Mohawk) long house at Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. At that meeting, diplomatic protocols were observed and lines of communication were opened between the Venezuelan government and clan families represented within the K^onthyokwanhasta or peoples wampum.

[The complete transcript of the diplomatic exchange from that visit is available online via the Two Row Times newspaper. The audio of the speech made by Venezuelan Ambassador Barrentios event, and the speech given in reply by Kanenhariyo on behalf of the Mohawk Longhouse are both available via the What’s Going On? Podcast. For more information about the K^onthyokwanhasta, check out Episode 9 of the What’s Going On Podcast.

Following the ambassador’s visit, representatives from the Ecuadorian government who had joined the delegation of April 8, continued to develop relations with the clan families involved in the K^onthyokwanhasta movement. The Ecuadorian consulate in Toronto reached out to members of the K^onthyokwanhasta in Oneida and Six Nations and Akwesasne, and asked for their help in coming to Washington on April 19th and 20th to stand together with the people affected by the ecologically destructive acts of Chevron.

In answering this call for help, over 100 traditional Onkwehon:we people from Oneida, Grand River, Tyendinaga, and Akwesasne drove to Washington for a rally outside the offices of the world bank in order to support the indigenous peoples of Ecuador and their $10 billion dollar lawsuit against oil giant Chevron for its pollution of the Amazon – an ecological disaster ranked as one of the greatest in human history.

Rotiskenrakehte gather outside of the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC in April of 2015.

Rotiskenrakehte gather outside of the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC in April of 2015.

The participation of the Onkwehonweh delegation was enthusiastically welcomed by the thousands of Ecuadorians present at the Washington rally, and the intervention in support of their southern cousins, was widely reported and made front page news in the daily papers in Ecuador.

Follow-up meetings were held with Ecuadorian representatives after the event, and Kanasaraken from the Bear Clan of the Akwesasne Mohawks was sent to Ecuador as a representative of the K^onthyokwanhasta for a meeting and a series of workshops concerning the anti-Chevron campaign.

This campaign, which has trended on Twitter with the hashtag #chevronsdirtyhand, has seen the Latin American community in Canada build relationships with Onkwehon:we people as well as with anti pipeline movements such as the Unist’ot’en camp in BC which stand in the way of a major tar sands pipeline backed by Chevron. The gathering at the Oneida longhouse on Sunday, October 25, thus represented a continuation of this ongoing relationship.

In addition to bringing a message of greeting and solidarity from the Ecuadorian social movements, Ecuadorian representative Irene Leon made a formal invitation to the three clan families who were present to send a delegation to the global indigenous summit that the Bolivarian movement is planning in June 2016.

At this conference, the presidents of 10 different Latin American nations will be present to meet with representatives of indigenous peoples from across the Americas. The aim is to bring together indigenous peoples movements across the Americas with the ALBA governments to address common problems and to build an international alliance of social movements and indigenous peoples. The conference is set to occur during the course of the summer equinox from June 19-21, 2016 and will be held in Ecuador.

Sunday’s meeting was an indication that the rebuilding of traditional Onkwehon:we ways of governance is alive and well. The meeting was opened with the traditional Thanksgiving address, and the visitors were informed that they were being welcomed on behalf of not only the ancestors, the elders, the men and women, and the children, but also the faces yet to come – the people in whose interests all decisions must be made.

The Ecuadorian delegation and the K^onthyokwanhasta sat on opposite sides of the Longhouse and counseled amongst each other in coming to decisions which were expressed to the other side of the fire by their speakers. Both groups expressed satisfaction that their ongoing relationship was being strengthened by regular contact and discussion together. Regarding the invitation to the International conference in June 2016, the Oneida clan families decided that further discussion was required before making a formal decision about attending the conference. They informed the Ecuadorian delegation that they would return a formal answer to them once they had fully consulted with their people.

The Ecuadorian delegation provided their hosts with gifts including a coffee table photo book which showed pictures of the environmental devastation caused by Chevron and also provided a glimpse into the lives of indigenous peoples in Ecuador and the stunning landscape and natural environment that is their home. Chilean members of the delegation performed a song about the struggles of the Mapuche peoples, and presented the longhouse with a portrait engraved in copper of socialist president Salvador Allende who was murdered in a CIA sponsored coup on September 11, 1973. A flag of the Alliance Pais movement bearing the visage of Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa and Che Guevera’s famous saying “Hasta la victoria siempre” (forwards to victory) was also offered to the Longhouse. The gifts were graciously accepted, and the guests were invited to partake in a delicious meal prepared by the hosts.

Once the gathering reconvened after lunch, further business was attended to. Recognizing the efforts of the Ecuadorian government in dealing with transnational corporations acting against the interests of indigenous peoples, the Oneida clan families asked for assistance from the Ecuadorians in understanding and addressing developments on their territory involving large corporations. In particular, the Oneidas asked for help with understanding corporate agreements made without their consent. The Ecuadorian delegation agreed to provide their international expertise in dealing with global corporations, and made a public commitment to follow up with a series of workshops on how transnational corporations operate, and how the Ecuadorian, Venezuelan, and Bolivian governments are working towards an alternative vision for their peoples.

The Ecuadorians asked for a letter of support for their anti-Chevron campaign and the Oneida clan families agreed to write such a letter. The Oneidas in their turn asked for a letter of support from the Ecuadorians that would recognize the relationship that has been built together with the K^onthyokwanhasta over the past six months. The speaker from the Oneida families explained that the traditional clan families are not part of the elected band Council system and are not seeking provincial or federal recognition from the Canadian government. The clan families that make up the K^onthyokwanhasta are the basis of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and they don’t speak for anyone else, only themselves.

Traditional protocol was used to ensure that all parties had expressed what they had come to the meeting to say, and the meeting was concluded with a closing address and the taking of a group photo to commemorate the continued building of a relationship between the peoples of the land of the Condor and the peoples of the land of the Eagle. As in the other gatherings which have defined this newly emerging relationship, there was an air of happiness and very positive energy from all involved in the meeting.


For more information about the work of the K^onthyokwanhasta, please contact Jagwadeh at 519-865-6407 or Anthony at 226-234-5342.


For more information about the campaign against Chevron and the work being undertaken by Ecuadorian social movements in North America, please visit the website or the Facebook group please contact Santiago Escobar at 647-920-6446


Wrong Kind of Green

January 14, 2016

by Jay Taber


society of spectacle 2


In the 1973 film The Society of the Spectacle, Guy Debord described the total domination of the industrialized capitalist economy over the psyche of 20th Century humankind, and the resulting separation of modern urban society from reality. Represented in images projected by the bureaucratic state, the assumption of this unreal role of urban consumers enables the ruling class to control consciousness. Today, that separation from reality is so complete that the economy of war – including genocide and mass displacement of indigenous peoples – is largely unchallenged, despite the fact that consumer demand created by the spectacle of advertising is complicit in these crimes against humanity.

War for the resources required to fulfill consumer demand of luxury goods like automobiles and electronics is now accepted as normal, shrugged off by hyper-consumers as an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of progress. Unlike the spontaneous resistance by students and marginalized sectors of urban society to this total bureaucratic domination in the 1960s, consumer reaction to mass murder and dispossession in the 21st Century is itself choreographed by the ruling class. Controlling consciousness through mass communication via the Internet has created what the French philosopher Debord described as A Culture of Imbeciles, “in which advertising has become the only factor”.

The ongoing social disintegration of industrial civilization that produces pseudo-citizens signing online petitions created by ruling class entities like Avaaz, Purpose and 350, is indicative of the unbridled power of seamless spectacle, begun in the era of television, and culminated in the reign of the Internet. Controlling Consciousness through public relations has generated a ‘discursive monoculture’, where self-organized democratic renewal is unimaginable. Communication in this environment has become what the American cultural critic Neil Postman described in 1985 as Amusing Ourselves to Death. Thirty years later, and contrary to Postman’s assertions, technology has substituted itself for human values.



[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] Website: ]

WATCH: The Utilization of Western NGOs for the Theft of Africa’s Vast Resources

Original Video Published January 26, 2015

The following in an excerpt from a lecture given by Mallence Bart Williams in 2015 (TEDxBerlin). 

Chanel Celebrity Fetish


Above: Mademoiselle Privé: “The fabric-lined room is a truly sensory experience… Surrounding the room with portraits of modern-day Chanel muses, from Lily Collins to Lily-Rose Depp, you will be enraptured by the beauty that is Chanel.” [source]

One thing that keeps me puzzled, despite having studied finance and economics at the world’s best universities, the following question remains unanswered. Why is it that 5,000 units of our currency is worth one unit of your currency where we are the ones with the actual gold reserves? It’s quite evident that the aid is in fact not coming from the West to Africa but from Africa to the Western world. The Western world depends on Africa in every possible way since alternative resources are scarce out here. So how does the West ensure that the free aid keeps coming? By systematically destabilizing the wealthiest African nations and their systems, and all that backed by huge PR campaigns — leaving the entire world under the impression that Africa is poor and dying and merely surviving on the mercy of the West.

Well done Oxfam, UNICEF, Red Cross, Live Aid, and all the other organizations that continuously run multi-million-dollar advertisement campaigns depicting charity porn to sustain that image of Africa globally. Ad campaigns paid for by innocent people under the impression to help, with their donations. While one hand gives under the flashing lights of cameras, the other takes in the shadows. We all know the dollar is worthless, while the Euro is merely charged with German intellect and technology and maybe some Italian pasta. How can one expect donations from nations that have so little?

Chanel Diamonds

Mallence Bart Williams

How super sweet of you to come with your colored paper in exchange for our gold and diamonds. But instead you should come empty-handed, filled with integrity and honor. I want to share with you our wealth and invite you to share with us. The perception is that a healthy and striving Africa would not disperse its resources as freely and cheaply, which is logical. Of course, it would instead sell its resources at world market prices, which in turn would destabilize and weaken Western economies established on the post-colonial free-meal system.

Last year the IMF reports that six out of 10 of the world’s fastest-growing economies are in Africa, measured by their GDP growth. The French Treasury, for example, is receiving about 500 billion dollars year in year out, in foreign exchange reserves from African countries based on Colonial Debt they force them to pay. Former French President Jacques Chirac stated in an interview recently that we have to be honest and acknowledge that a big part of the money in our banks comes precisely from the exploitation of the African continent. In 2008 he stated that without Africa, France will slide down in the rank of a third-world power.

This is what happens in the human world. The world we have created.

Have you ever wondered how things work in nature? One would assume that in evolution, the fittest survives. However in nature any species that is overhunting, over-exploiting the resources they depend on as nourishment, natural selection would sooner or later take the predator out, because it upsets the balance.


 [Mallence Bart-Williams was born in Cologne, Germany. She is a Sierra Leonean writer and filmmaker and a German fashion designer. She pursued her studies in economics and finance in Paris, Singapore, and Great Britain. She is the founder and creative director of the Freetown-based creative collective FOLORUNSHO, a ‘SHARITY’ (with no financial donations or aide) that she initiated with street kids in Sierra Leone.]