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Tagged ‘Foundation for Deep Ecology‘

Wreckreation Oligarchs

Counterpunch

December 16, 2016

by Chris Zinda

 

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“We believe that stopping the global extinction crisis and achieving true ecological sustainability will require rethinking our values as a society. Present assumptions about economics, development, and the place of human beings in the natural order must be reevaluated. Nature can no longer be viewed merely as a commodity—a storehouse of “resources” for human use and profit. It must be seen as a partner and model in all human enterprise.”

— Our Mission; Foundation for Deep Ecology

Big Green spent $100 million of funds donated to them supporting the Democratic Party and their establishment candidate Hillary Clinton. With smug displeasure on their 1% faces at a D.C. National Press Club event, I watched with my own smug glee as the Sierra Club, NRDC, and League of Conservation Voters among others doubled down on both their fund raising pitches and need for more failed collaboration within the current political system, an indication that nothing will change and that none of us should waste our money financially supporting any of them.

Like George Soros and the Democracy Alliance oligarchs with the Democratic Party, let their Wreckreation industry and Foundation for Deep Ecology oligarchs continue to pour their money down that rat hole.

Deep Ecology as an organized spiritual endeavor has become immoral bastardized horseshit, run by guilty oligarchs with spiritual rot complaining about motorized wreckreation or cattle, never calling for carrying capacities for the consumptive recreational uses their businesses and shared elite pursuits promote. They instead delude their moral dilemma through the use of their cash to, in part, solve the consumptive problems the Thompkins clan and their ilk have created with their North Face, Patagucci and Esprit derived financial empire to begin. Arne Naess should be rolling in his grave but, maybe, he was co-opted, too.

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Supreme x The North Face® “By Any Means Necessary” | Highsnobiety website: “Supreme’s ever-popular collaboration with The North Face rolls on into FW15, with a set of heavy-duty outerwear decked out in a “By Any Means Necessary” slogan, a phrase invented by French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and brought into pop culture lexicon via Civil Rights icon Malcolm X.” [“La capsule Supreme x The North Face® “By Any Means Necessary” sera disponible à partir du jeudi 19 novembre à 12H00 (heure de Paris) sur www.supremenewyork.com ainsi que dans les boutiques de New York, Los Angles et Londres. Disponible au Japon à compter du 21 novembre prochain.” Nupste Jacket: $368, Mountain Pullover: $298, Base Camp Crimp Backpack: $148, Base Camp Travel Canister: $32, Winter Runners Gloves: $58

Their conservation is like any other, the biblical Garden to be cultivated and managed, one that seldom defers to natural processes unless those processes are deemed beneficial for our extractive use. A sheen of secular humanism means they create and selectively use science to justify their conservation positions, with forest practices and wildland fire being some of the best examples. Cult of the Red Pine-like forests are being fully realized officially, cooperatively, placatingly crisscrossed with heads and trails for wheels, hooves, and feet, having seemingly either sprung up or been hardened everywhere that is neither first mined or grazed. Very few places, even in our wildlife refuges, are off limits to all humans.  In this sense, they are rationally no better than the working class manifest destiny, prosperity doctrine evangelicals they scorn and, soon, all of the lower-48 will look and feel like the tamed European continent.

The wreckreation industry instead talks of the Tragedy of the Commons, of the loss of biologic habitat and diversity, that we need to protect places round the nation and world from overuse, to sustainable use, while screaming like stuck pigs when agencies actually institute what biological and social science tells them to do, which is to stop freeloaders, set quotas, and shut the gates, measures that would reduce their access to profits and pursuits and better protect the flora and fauna that need their own solitude to flourish.

Secretary of the Department of the Interior Sally Jewell is indicative of the incest, the revolving door wreckreation industry insider having been the CEO of outdoor retailer Recreational Equipment Inc. Given past Secretaries usually came from fuels, mining or agriculture, Jewell can be seen as the apex of wreckreation industry political influence.  And, you could see it on the ground during her tenure, as there was never talk of carrying capacities or appropriate uses, always talk and action of compromise for the sake of multiple abuse everywhere, never meaningful or direct action for environmental preservation or to address climate change.

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Like the land management and environmental regulatory agencies no matter where they lie in our levels of government, Big Green and the outdoor wreckreation industry work for and with the faces of those who regulate them: largely white, upper middle class, and come from urban areas.  These are people who are economically and socially insulated from the majority of the citizens of the planet, scorned by the American working class as elite.

You could see it in both her and Big Green’s response to the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, as both were conspicuously absent on the ground, not wanting to upset the delicate apple cart they built collaborating across the west with the ranchers and their corporations whose locusts do more damage to public lands than any but humans themselves.

Conservation vs. Preservation. An old argument that always favors human use. And, Big Greens and their Deep Ecology 1%, by definition of their social class and financial empires, are not preservationists, as preservation provides a conflict between indoctrinated spiritual and economic positions. Progressive oligarchs and meritarchs, like their Garden of Eden prosperity doctrine counterparts, prefer a comfortable delusion to an uncomfortable truth in regard to their impacts on both the continuance of paradigms that destroy our planet and the aims to protect it. Irrational.

They believe in “sustainable“, implying to conserve a finite resource. Tell me, how do we conserve the climate of the planet and the ripple effect to our food supply with the reality of an ever increasing population based on an ever increasing market?

I’d like to ask these fake Greens who make their money helping to wreck the planet: Do you ever think of the ethics/morals of the results of your corporate (non-profit can also be corporate) endeavors? Do you think of the opportunity costs of money spent on the meritocratic establishment? Instead of collaborating with the enemy and pontificating, how about spending that money fighting without compromise?

*  *  *

These faces of failure – 350, Sierra Club, NRDC, League of Conservation Voters, the Wilderness Society – are people who are not acting like they are on the front lines of survival like their working class brothers and sisters. Wreckreating on high, they protect their bureaucracies, incomes, and self righteous, indignant, compromise with the extractive enemies that have always included Hillary and the Neo-liberal Machine.

Working class Dakota Access Pipeline activists are acting on the front lines, some recreating by crawling into pipes bored under the Des Moines River to serve the Bakken crude.  Mississippi Stand’s Alex Cohen sums it up, “I firmly believe that we’ve tried every other political process, from protesting to petitioning, and that stuff hasn’t worked, and our mother doesn’t have time. The only thing, I truly believe, that’s gonna stop this pipeline is direct action and civil disobedience.”

These are poor indigenous people and their working class cohorts, mostly millennials, who understand the plight of their past and future.

While I can’t imagine a Big Green crawling into a pipe to shut the line down, I can imagine the opportunity cost of $100 million spent engaging in electoral politics rather than with people on the front lines of the Climate Change movement, including a few hundred, maybe soon thousands, who need the money of the progressive oligarchs this every moment for legal fees and survival expenses as they engage in battle.

These are the “grassroots activists” who are largely working class Not In My BackYard people from everywhere who need your financial and legal support more so than a non-profit Big Green bureaucrat with a six figure income and an eight figure campaign run from Washington, New York or San Francisco. NIMBYs are not rat holes nor can they afford insider luncheons and donations to a corrupt two party system. They are largely apolitical people effectively acting locally and thinking globally, usually with everything they have. They are the people who carry the weight of #NoDAPL while Big Green comes in to muck with them, claim credit and fundraise on their backs.

In short, myopic Big Green and their progressive (lower case “p”) oligarchs should not only be reevaluating their failed $100 million 2016 electoral investment but their ethical core, as their collaborative political and financial institutional relationships at this crossroads for climate change and humanity are incongruent, devoid of moral leadership.

*  *  *

Big Green and their 1% should not be so bummed out with people asking for a carrying capacity on their ethics, morals and profits. Cynically, perhaps the sadness on their faces at the D.C. presser was all for the funding show alone.

No doubt Industrial Wreckreation still ranks high on a Trump’s list regardless of political persuasion, as business is business and all will still make money as they collaborate to extract their profits from you with joint, slick, marketing campaigns in Outside Magazine.

Only in small part funded by your working class donations (as there aren’t many working class members) the Sierra Club will still have their High Sierra Camp cities serviced and traversed by their shit carrying mules that are cherry stemmed in the Yosemite wilderness.

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Jose Manuel Martinez Gutierrez, chief executive of Esprit, speaks during the company’s first-half earnings briefing in Hong Kong in China in 2014.

In large part, REI will still sell the latest lightweight tech gear to those shitting on the glaciers at Mount Rainier and slacklining like monkeys flinging across red rock canyons.

Of course, Patagucci will take the high road and continue to sell vile capitalist apologist environmental doublespeak in its award winning catalogues while promoting its form of Deep Ecology.

And, the grey haired heirs at the NRDC and League of Conservation Voters will continue work with Democracy Alliance and donate money to placate their class and moral guilt, now combating the “anti-environmental” policies of a Trump nouveau riche government.

Indications are they will again later lament the loss of $100 million of their incestuous wealth spent on 2018/20 candidates, their parties and candidates will be as ineffectual as their elite selves in speaking out against climate change and actually acting to save the planet for our working class children.

*  *  *

When you shop at REI and buy North Face or Patagucci, contribute to the Sierra Club, NRDC or other Big Green, you are supporting industries that makes money off of the continued unlimited development and use federal lands. The Wreckreation Industry shares a social class with those who regulate our public lands, has captured the govt organizations and use them to their own benefit, akin to the traditional mining, mineral, timber extractive industries of the past and probable Trump future. It is an industry that unethically claims credit for solving a problem they created – and we sustain this symbiotic for them, parasitic for the planet, paradigm.

You guilty conscience 1% oligarchs interested in environmental causes: now is the time to put your $100+ million in places motivating and enabling people without compromise. The Empire is in ashes and the time is ripe for a new paradigm to be forged during a most critical time of great consequence.

 

[Chris Zinda is an activist and writer living in Oregon.]

Questioning Vandana Shiva

Swans Commentary

August 27, 2012

by Michael Barker

 

Vandana Shiva is an international phenomenon on the environmental scene and a well-known eco-socialist activist and writer. Ian Angus recently observed that while Shiva “isn’t a socialist,” nevertheless “she has done more to advance the cause of environmental protection and human liberation than many self-declared radicals who stand on the sidelines proclaiming their ideological purity.” (1) This is no doubt true, but given the extent of her influence across the global environmental movement it is critical to subject her ideas to ruthless criticism, especially when serious concerns have already been raised about the political implications of her work. With this in mind, this article will review the problems raised for discussion by fellow feminist, Professor Regina Cochrane, in her highly critical article, “Rural Poverty and Impoverished Theory: Cultural Populism, Ecofeminism, and Global Justice,” which was published in 2007 by the Journal of Peasant Studies and was subsequently awarded their prestigious Krishna Bharadwaj prize. (2)

Fundamentally, Cochrane takes issue with Shiva’s “left” populist notion of “culturally-perceived” poverty, which she argues “is not only elitist but also complicit with globalized capitalism and reactionary currents that are on the rise worldwide.” (3) According to Cochrane, as a highly regarded subsistence ecofeminist, Shiva attempts to make the case “that much of what is thought to be rural poverty is not poverty at all, but simply manifestations of culturally ‘other’ forms of ‘difference’.” Within feminist literature this notion was “first employed” by Shiva in her book Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development (Zed Press, 1989), and is now “widely used” by various ecofeminists and post-development thinkers aligned with the so-called anti-globalization movement. (4)

After providing a brief summary of Shiva’s ideas vis-à-vis poverty, Cochrane highlights how her work “contains many overt references that are in keeping with a post-development framework.” A framework that not only provides a useful critique of capitalist development theory, but “goes far beyond a critique to insist, as Shiva does, upon a ‘total rejection of development’ without offering any alternative other than the revival of ‘surviving [subsistence] economies’ and local traditions.” Such an approach presents a problematic and highly romantic view of the real-existing poverty of subsistence economies. (5)

In staking out a populist position, Shiva is following the well-worn path of privileged ‘Third World scholars abroad’ who, upon graduating from metropolitan capitalist universities — and sometimes even obtaining positions there — become the voice for Third World nationalism. Fuelled by a ‘radicalism [that] is cut off from the real struggles of ordinary peoples’ [Nanda, 2003: 25, 33] and thus identifying nation rather than class as the victim of a globalizing capitalism, this scholarly elite reject a socialism that is internationalist in scope for a nationalist capitalism ‘with a human face’. In so doing, they end up ‘adopting the standpoint of traditional elites who feel threatened by the new cultural attitudes and the demands of their traditional subordinates’. Given the prevalence of liberal guilt and the hegemonic identity politics of the metropolis, the ‘local knowledges’ of this scholarly elite are readily validated, explains [Meera] Nanda [2003: 131, 248, 265], as ‘”epistemologies of the oppressed” …[rather than as] part of the ruling ideologies in many non-Western societies’. Challenging this view, she insists instead that ‘Western friends of the Third World have an obligation to understand the complete social history of ideas in situ in other cultures’. (p.174)

To gain a better understanding of the evolution of Shiva’s ideas on “culturally-perceived” poverty, Cochrane determines that the “two prefiguring sources that provide Shiva the general foundation for her work are the ideas of on the one hand Mohandas Gandhi, and on the other Western feminism, especially the work of American historian of science, Carolyn Merchant, and of German sociologist and later collaborator, Maria Mies.” Here Cochrane also draws our attention to Shiva’s “‘mythical’ account of India’s Chipko — or ‘tree-hugging’ — movement which she portrays endorsingly as having Gandhian roots.” (6) Another problem identified by Cochrane is that Shiva’s critique of development draws largely upon the work of Gustavo Esteva, a writer whose more recent book (co-authored with Madhu Prakash), Grassroots Postmodernism: Remaking the Soil of Cultures (Zed Books, 1998), likewise adopts an “anti-modernist stance… reinforced by Gandhian populism.” (7)

While Shiva claims that her concept of “culturally-perceived” poverty was “derived from an ‘African writer’,” it appears that this notion “actually originated with the late East German Green, Rudolph Bahro.” With regard to this source, Shiva cites Bahro — “whose ‘intellectual’ framework is New Age spirituality” — who in turn refers to a book called Poverty: The Wealth of the People. In the interview that Shiva cites, Bahro said that the book had a “title I liked very much…” “From this remark,” Cochrane observes, “it is not clear whether Bahro — let alone Shiva — has even read the book.” Indeed, this book does not even appear to exist, and it seems more likely that the book they refer to is Poverty: Wealth of Mankind (Pergamon Press, 1979), published by “Beninese political scientist, administrator, and politician, Albert Tévoédjrè.” This oversight helps explain the “dissonance between the arguments outlined in Bahro’s text and the ones made by the ‘African writer'” who, as it happens, “actually outlines a strong critique” of “culturally-perceived” poverty. (8)

In this superbly written, carefully researched, and cogently argued text, Tévoédjrè [1979: 2-3] does distinguish poverty as ‘destitution and misery’ from ‘the rehabilitation of poverty… as a positive value’. However, instead of post-development he calls for an ‘endogenous development’.

… In keeping with his call for endogenous development rather than the rejection of development, per se, Tévoédjrè [1979: 85, 153] opts for a ‘co-operative republic’ oriented around political liberty, justice, participation, and solidarity rather than for a populist revival of tradition. Finding it ‘distasteful to hear well-fed people extolling the virtues of peoples that suffer from poverty’, he warns that a ‘religious and poetic idealizing of poverty… has been widely used and exploited by many with the aim of dominating, subjugating and becoming wealthy by making others even more wretched’ Tévoédjrè [1979: 8, 10]. (p.180)

Shiva’s sloppy scholarship maybe considered de rigueur in the corporate world, but for a radical critic of the status quo it is highly troublesome to say the least. But unfortunately this is not a one-off complaint, and Cochrane further illustrates Shiva’s “lack of intellectual rigour” by citing Richard Lewontin’s cutting criticisms of her book Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply (South End Press, 2000). Furthermore, on a more fundamental level Tina Roy and Craig Borowiak take Shiva to task for “‘remain[ing] willfully uncritical of the economic, social, and political cleavages within and across rural communities’ and of the continuities between her views and agrarian populism.” Cochrane, however, points out that a “more basic problem… is the unquestioning manner in which academic feminists and others in the West have made Shiva into the global celebrity she is while ignoring the excellent work of other Indian feminists.” (9) Yet the “situation gets considerably more complicated” when the thesis of “culturally-perceived” poverty…

…is examined in relation to the current historical conjuncture of neo-liberalism and rising fundamentalist and right-wing nationalist currents, North and South. Hence the concept of poverty as ‘culturally-perceived’, together with its populist baggage, readily lends itself to complicity with contemporary globalized capitalism in a number of significant ways. Moreover, in terms of political practice, Shiva and the main populist currents/mentors feeding into her thesis of ‘culturally-perceived’ poverty have all ended up moving onto the same ground as Hindu fundamentalism, nationalism, and/or the European New Right. (p.183)

Moreover, drawing upon the work of James Overton, Cochrane adds:

In both North and South, populist ideas like ‘culturally-perceived’ poverty can also have the unintended consequence of justifying the wage cuts associated with neo-liberalism and of helping legitimate neo-liberal discourses focusing on the issue of ‘dependency.’ All in all, by pushing most of the responsibility for solving social issues back onto the rural poor themselves, subsistence strategies can end up serving as a political safety-valve for the crises and unrest generated by neo-liberalism. (10)

Cochrane warns of the problems that can result from “the entanglement of notions like ‘culturally-perceived poverty’ with cultural identity and cultural difference…” Here she cites Tom Brass, who writes that such confusion may eventually lead to a situation whereby “[T]he rich and the powerful are simply culturally ‘different’ from the poor and powerless and the economic ‘difference’ of the latter is not merely part of their culture but much rather a form of empowerment.” (11) Such a conflation of ideas whereby “culturally-perceived” poverty is interpreted as cultural identity creates yet more problems by “facilitat[ing] the reduction of capitalist globalization to ‘globalization’ and thus to modernity.” “In this manner,” Cochrane continues, “post-development populism assists in the colonization of the ‘Anti-Globalization’ Movement by an academic poststructuralism/postmodernism with politically quietistic implications.” (12)

Additionally, while Shiva opposes some international aspects of capitalist domination, her politics are far from anti-capitalist and more closely approximate those of a nationalist, and so it is fitting that she has “worked closely with nationalist groups” in India. Likewise it is no coincidence that her close colleague and benefactor, Edward Goldsmith, “favours uniting left and right in a movement against ‘globalization'” — which, as one might expect, has led to his own dalliances with extreme right-wing nationalists. On top of this, Goldsmith, who is “a Bija guru at Shiva’s Bija Vidyapeeth (Centre for Learning) in India,” is the founder of the “elite think-tank” the International Forum on Globalization, where Shiva herself is counted as a long-serving board member. (13) The Forum is in-turn supported by Douglas Tompkins’s elitist eco-philanthropy, and as I explored in a previous article (see “Saving Trees and Capitalism Too“), the Forum is closely linked to Tompkins’s other pet project, the highly problematic Foundation for Deep Ecology. Questions clearly need to be urgently raised about Shiva’s so-called progressive credentials. Do we really need people like her providing sustenance to progressive movements all over the world, especially when there are so many other marginalized writers and spokespeople who are better placed to do so?

 

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