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An Indigenous Critique of The Green New Deal

PacificStandard

March 4, 2019

By Malcolm Harris

 

(Photo: Ron Whitaker/Unsplash)

The most common introductory example we use when we teach kids about interdependent ecosystems is insects. They may seem gross and small compared to the charismatic megafauna, we say, but insects play all sorts of important roles: pollinating plants, breaking down organic matter, feeding bigger animals. Without insects the whole web would collapse. I don’t think many of us who have given this lesson actually contemplated the mass death of the world’s insects as a possibility, imminent or otherwise. We should have.

A new study in the journal Biological Conservation takes a look at the global status of entomofauna (insects), and the picture is not good. The topline finding is that over 40 percent of insect species are threatened with extinction. That’s a situation hard to describe without sounding like a heavy metal concert billing. (Megadeath, Ecocide, etc.) And the lesson about the ecosystem wasn’t wrong: Without insects, Earth’s environment as we’ve become familiar with it is toast. Even our apocalyptic thought experiments are coming true.

The trouble with combating climate change, we’re often told, is that it’s hard to imagine, hard to see. The philosopher Timothy Morton calls climate change a “hyperobject”: It’s so widely distributed and conceptually sticky that we can’t really perceive it except in partial local instances. “When you feel raindrops falling on your head, you are experiencing climate, in some sense. In particular you are experiencing the climate change known as global warming,” Morton wrote in 2010. “But you are never directly experiencing global warming as such.” Humans don’t have the right sensory faculties.

Maybe it was possible to think that way in 2010, but, less than a decade later, I think many of us have developed the ability to see global warming. We are no longer empiricists who route information through our senses to our brain for analysis; we’re conspiracy theorists, every raindrop or sunbeam encountered as hyperobject. Now the totality hits us first. At the beginning of this essay, I didn’t say the insects were being killed off by global warming—but didn’t you assume it?

To people who don’t feel the omnipresence of global warming, people like me sound off. Not necessarily because they refuse to believe the data, I think, but because some of us are no longer bothering with the scientific method. We’re not analyzing evidence to develop a theory; we are convinced of what’s happening before we hear the particulars. Our question is not whether today’s forecast reflects climate change, but how. And we’re not wrong.

Since global warming is a fact and in one way or another an imminent threat to the well-being of every living thing known to mankind (including us), I think our increased ability to perceive it represents progress. The positivist method is not the only way to produce knowledge, and though “science” gets a lot of credit for sounding the alarm on climate change, it has been comparatively slow on the uptake. If we pay any attention at all, we can see and feel and hear that nature’s cycles are broken, and some peoples have understood for centuries that a society built on extraction and accumulation would burn the whole planet alive. Western science has a lot of nerve showing up just as we’re on the precipice of a biospheric death spiral to brandish some graphs and offer to block out the sun just a little.

“Indigenous peoples have witnessed continual ecosystem and species collapse since the early days of colonial occupation,” says Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, an activist/scholar from the Nishnaabeg nation and author most recently of the book As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance. “We should be thinking of climate change as part of a much longer series of ecological catastrophes caused by colonialism and accumulation-based society.”

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.

(Photo: Courtesy of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson)

From this perspective, it’s a mistake to think of global warming in historical isolation, as merely the carbon cycle gone awry thanks to an excess of CO2 emissions. Climate change is the name we’ve given to the constellation of ecological crises that emerge as capitalist modernity runs out of new places to despoil.

For the insects, today’s crisis stems not just from temperature change (which is, of course, a contributing factor) but also from other associated environmental practices: the conversion of land for intensive agriculture, the widespread use of pesticides, and the reckless introduction of invasive species. Matt Shardlow, chief executive officer of the conservation non-profit Buglife, told the Guardian that unconsidered factors like light pollution could be more harmful to insects than we’re imagining. These aren’t problems that can be solved by decarbonization, no matter how many green jobs are attached. Our whole way of life has to change.

Insofar as mainstream American society reckons with indigenous intellectual/scientific practices, it’s as “non-overlapping magisteria,” i.e. if they’re true then they’re not true in a way that would directly challenge our truths. So when Simpson speaks of the need for “ethical systems that promote the diversity of life,” I think most Americans would understand “diversity of life” as an unquantifiable abstraction that we can translate into liberal ideals like interpersonal tolerance and non-conformity. But what if we took it literally instead?

The mass death of insects is an observable and measurable disrespect for the diversity of life on Earth, to which we can and should compare other patterns of human practice.

“Indigenous knowledge systems are rigorous, they pursue excellence, they are critical and comprehensive,” Simpson says. “The global roots of the climatic crisis and the exploitation of natural resources are issues indigenous peoples have been speaking out against for hundreds of years.” The proof is in the pudding: Colonists were warned by word and weapon that a system of individual land ownership would lead to ecological apocalypse, and here we are. What more could you ask from a system of truth and analysis than to alert you to a phenomenon like climate change before it occurs, with enough time to prevent it? That is significantly more than colonial science has offered.

The devaluation of indigenous political thought has nothing to do with its predictive ability. The ruling class produced by accumulation society simply will not put its own system up for debate. Thus the climate change policies we discuss—even and perhaps in particular the Green New Deal—take for granted not just the persistence of commodity accumulation, but its continued growth. As the economists Enno Schröder and Servaas Storm complain in their analysis of proposals for “green growth”: “The belief that any of this half-hearted tinkering will lead to drastic cuts in CO2 emissions in the future is plain self-deceit.” Economic output as we understand it, they say, must shrink.

If the indigenous critique sounds like an anti-capitalist one, it should. Drawing on the work of communist Glen Coulthard from the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, Simpson recognizes the language of Marxism as her own. “There is an assumption that socialism and communism are white and that indigenous peoples don’t have this kind of thinking,” she writes. “To me, the opposite is true.” In As We Have Always Done, Simpson makes a gentle case for non-native comrades to follow this lead. For their part, contemporary Marxist scholars like Silvia Federici and Harry Harootunian have been reassessing doctrinaire ideas about the progressive nature of capitalism and the supposed backwardness of indigenous societies, a line of revision that’s supported by recent changes to anthropological assumptions regarding the sophistication of pre-colonial technology and social organization.

Green growth, even in its social-democratic versions, isn’t going to save the insects. But there exist alternative examples for the left, and for the world. While America’s beehives are bare, Cuba’s are thriving, which led to the tragicomically western Economist headline: “Agricultural backwardness makes for healthy hives.” “We” are just now reactivating the millenia-old Mayan practice of harvesting from wild stingless bees (“meliponiculture”), which used to produce an unimaginably large variety of honeys. These entomological examples support Nikitah Okembe-RA Imani’s audacious claim about the history of African thought: Those who study what has been suppressed can see the future.

As for what is to be done about climate change, there’s no real mystery. “The issue is that accumulation-based societies don’t like the answers we come up with because they are not quick technological fixes, they are not easy,” Simpson says. “Real solutions require a rethinking of our global relationship to the land, water, and to each other. They require critical thinking about our economic and political systems. They require radical systemic change.”

To this end, Simpson has called for a shift in focus from indigenous cultural resurgence to the anti-colonial struggle for territory. That unsurrendered conflict has continued for hundreds of years, and we should view our living history in its firelight. The best environmental policy America can pursue is to start giving back the land.

 

[Malcolm Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia and the author of Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials.]

Catastrophism, Disaster Management and Sustainable Submission

libcom

March 27, 2019

Originally published in April, 2008

 

 

In this book first published in 2008, Jaime Semprun and René Riesel examine the attempt by predominantly First World governments and NGOs to utilize the specter of an environmental apocalypse as an alibi to save “industrial civilization” by imposing a rationed form of “survival”, justified by a terroristic propaganda campaign based on fear, enforced by an expansion of the state’s coercive powers, and facilitated by the mass conformism and resignation that “industrial society” has induced in the population by creating an “anxiogenic environment” of “insecurity and generalized instability”; “[f]or the fears proclaimed by the experts … are in reality nothing but orders”.

Catastrophism, Disaster Management and Sustainable Submission – René Riesel and Jaime Semprun

“Even if liberty had entirely perished from the earth, such men would invent it. For them slavery has no satisfactions, no matter how well disguised.”

Étienne de la Boétie
Discourse on Voluntary Servitude

Preliminary Clarifications

The final extinction to which we are being dragged by the perpetuation of industrial society has over the last few years become our officially recognized future. Whether considered from the point of view of energy shortages, climate disruption, demographics, refugees, the pollution or sterilization of the environment, or the artificialization of life, from all of these points of view simultaneously or from a few others too, since there is no shortage of categories of catastrophism, the reality of the ongoing disaster or, at least, of the risks and dangers posed by this process, is no longer only grudgingly admitted; today, it is constantly being reported in detail by government and media propaganda. As for us, who were so often accused of apocalyptic complacency due to the fact that we took these phenomena seriously, or were branded as “passé” for having noted the impossibility of choosing between the reality and the promise of industrial mass society, we hereby announce that from this very moment on we shall desist from adding anything to the hideous scenes of total ecological crisis that are being depicted from so many angles by so many certified experts, in so many reports, articles, television programs, films and books, whose data is diligently compiled by government or international agencies and the relevant NGOs. These eloquent warnings, when they come to the chapter about how to respond to such pressing dangers, generally address their appeals to “humanity” and exhort it to “radically modify its aspirations and its way of life” before it is too late. Note that these injunctions are actually addressed, if one wants to correctly translate their pathetic moralizing into a somewhat less ethereal language, to government leaders, international institutions, or even a hypothetical “world government” that the situation will require. After all, mass society (that is, those who have been integrally formed by it, whatever their illusions in this respect may be) never talks about the problems it claims to “manage” except in terms that make its perpetuation a sine qua non. Thus, while the collapse is underway, it can only try to postpone for as long as possible the dislocation of the ensemble of desperation and madness that this society has become; it can conceive of no other way to do this, whatever anyone may say, than by reinforcing all means of coercion and making individuals submit more completely to the collectivity. This is the real meaning of all those appeals to an abstract “humanity”, the old disguise of the social idol, even if those who voice them, taking advantage of their experience in the University, industry or management (which are all the same thing, of course), are motivated for the most part by less lofty ambitions and only dream of someday being able to get a leadership position in an ad hoc group; meanwhile, significant parts of the population are prepared to volunteer for the dirty work of decontamination or the protection of goods and people.

We expect nothing from a putative “general will” (which is assumed to be good by those who invoke it, or at least susceptible to becoming good as soon as it is subjected to a severe enough reprimand to correct its illegitimate inclinations), any more than from a “collective consciousness of the universal interests of humanity” which at such a level has no way to form, not to speak of being put into practice. We therefore direct this text at individuals who are already opposed to the increasing collectivism of mass society and who have not ruled out associating with others in order to fight against this oversocialization. In this way we believe that we are being faithful, in our opinion more so than if we were to have ostensibly perpetuated its rhetoric or its conceptual framework, to the most authentic qualities of the social critique in the context of which we came of age forty years ago. Thus, regardless of its deficiencies, so abundantly evident in hindsight, or, if you prefer, in view of the disappearance of the movement which it sought to penetrate, the principle quality of that critique is the fact that it was the work of individuals without any specialty or authority backed by an ideology or by a socially recognized career (“specialized knowledge”, as they say now); individuals, therefore, who, having chosen a side, did not express themselves, for example, as representatives of a class that was preordained to carry out its revolution, but as individuals who sought the means of mastery over their lives and only expected others, likewise “without qualities”, to know how to act on their own account to re-appropriate control over the conditions of their existence.

Since we only rely, for the purposes of deflecting this sinister course of affairs in a more felicitous direction, on what individuals will do of their own accord—and perhaps most importantly on what they will refuse to do—we shall make no predictions. Prophecies proclaimed in an oracular tone, which so often inflicted such harm on the old revolutionary critique, are less appropriate today than ever. We have often been criticized for allegedly having a predilection for the morbid, when all we were trying to do was to faithfully describe the changing world, which is a necessary prerequisite for any attempt to transform it. The few quotations that will be encountered in notes are for the purpose of demonstrating the continuity of our reflections, to further develop the ones that are still relevant now or to correct, where necessary, erroneous or imprecise formulations. This one, in any event, can be left as it stands: “We do not reject […] what exists and is breaking down in an increasingly noxious manner in the name of a future that we claim to represent more faithfully than its official owners. We think, to the contrary, that they represent the future perfectly, the entire future that can be extrapolated on the basis of the present degradation: it is, furthermore, the only future they represent and we can leave it to them in its entirety” (“Preliminary Discourse”, Encyclopédie des Nuisances, November 1984).

I

In just the last few years, the parallel between the environmental collapse that took place on Easter Island long ago, and the one that is currently unfolding on a planetary scale, has become a perfect summary of our historic situation. It would appear that the exhaustion of that island ecosystem was effectively due to the foolish pursuit of a particular kind of productivism: in that case it involved the construction of those sinister statues known the world over, symbols of a desolation their manufacture augured; just like the monumental esthetic of today’s megacities. Popularized by Jared Diamond, we shall soon become acquainted with this image of our planet spinning in infinite space, just as stripped of resources in its disaster as Easter Island was, lost in the middle of the Pacific, even in the propaganda of Électricité de France about the “energy sources of tomorrow”, among which, of course, nuclear has its place; which, redeemed by climate disruption, will be so useful for us in order to power, for example, the already indispensable desalination plants; or even to produce via hydrolysis the hydrogen that will so advantageously replace petroleum as the fuel of motorized alienation.

So the mystery of Easter Island is solved; but there is no mystery at all concerning the future of world society, which can be made totally clear thanks to scientific knowledge: that is the real message being disseminated by the propaganda. The currently exhaustive knowledge of the catastrophe that overwhelmed a small group of primitive people utterly lacking any idea of an ecosystem to preserve, serves to guarantee the knowledge that we possess concerning our own ongoing catastrophe. All kinds of well informed experts hardly prone to paranoid hallucinations thus inform us with all the authority at their disposal that “the old millenarian fears” now have, “for the first time, a rational basis” (André Lebeau, L’Engrenage de la technique. Essai sur une menace planétaire, 2005).

II

Günther Anders’ theory of the “world-laboratory”, according to which the “laboratory” became co-extensive with the planet at the time of the first nuclear weapons tests, has been positively recuperated, without any rebellious or critical intention whatsoever: as a bland confirmation of our confinement in the experimental protocol of industrial society. There once was history, but now there is only integrated “resource” management. Duly modeled, with all the required parameters, the historical process is reduced to a calculable result; and all this, coincidentally enough, precisely at the moment when the experts possess an unequaled and constantly growing power of calculation. The fate of humanity is therefore scientifically sealed: all that remains is to optimize the preservation of its fragile terrestrial biotope. That has been the program of scientific ecology and it is becoming the program of all governments.

III

Musil observed that “the peculiar predilection of scientific thinking for mechanical, statistical and physical explanations that have, as it were, the heart cut out of them”, gave rise, under the pretext of a love of truth, to “a predilection for disillusionment, compulsiveness, ruthlessness, cold intimidation, and dry rebuke”. And Adorno pointed out a little later, concerning “the activities of science, which is on the point of bringing the last remnants of the world, defenseless ruins, under its yoke”, in which intellectual energy has certainly been prodigiously displayed, but only in particular socially controlled directions: “The collective stupidity of the research technicians is not simply an absence or regression of intellectual faculties, but a proliferation of the thinking faculty itself, which consumes thought with its own strength. The masochistic malice of young intellectuals springs from the malignance of their disease”.

In all the discourses of scientific catastrophism what clearly stands out is the same delight they all display when it comes to telling us about the unavoidable constraints that will from now on burden our survival. The technicians of the administration of things rush to announce with a triumphant air the new misfortune, the one that finally renders otiose all disputes concerning the government of men. State catastrophism is an openly avowed endless propaganda campaign in favor of planned survival; that is, for a version that is managed in a more authoritarian manner than the one that currently exists. Ultimately, after so much data is evaluated and so many deadlines are estimated, its experts have only one thing to say: that the immensity of what is at stake (of the “challenges”) and the urgency of the measures that must be adopted nullify the idea that the burden of social coercion could be lightened, so natural has it become.

You can always count on the old leftists, the most strident of all when it comes to denigrating the revolutionary aspirations of forty years ago. On the pretext of having renounced their former beliefs, they are still marking time, with the same passion with which they once intoned the slogans of their former groupuscules, disseminating the new slogans of submission: “The era does not incite the invention of another providential utopia to make the world a better place. It only forces us to submit to the imperatives of life so that the planet can remain viable” (Jean-Paul Besset, Comment ne plus être progressiste … sans devenir réactionnaire, 2005). For the imperatives of life certainly deserve the sense of history to justify “the dictatorship of the most knowledgeable, or those who consider themselves to be the most knowledgeable”; and it surely shows a certain realism when one expects the ecological state of emergency to give rise to, rather than a revolution, the establishment of a finally effective bureaucratic collectivism.

In these calls to submit to the “imperatives of life”, freedom is systematically slandered in the image of the remorseless consumer, whose incorrigible individualism, propelled by the hedonism of ’68, has, as everyone knows, ravaged the planet with complete impunity. To respond to the threat—particularly that of the “climate crisis”, which the promoters of catastrophism like to compare with “the shadow of fascism that spread over Europe during the thirties”—the only choice will be to either submit penitently to the new directives of ecological collectivism, or pure nihilism; anyone who refuses to take responsibility, to participate with enthusiasm in this citizen-based management of planetary waste, thus exhibits the profile of the potential terrorist.

IV

Since we have been so often accused of defeatism, and above all precisely of catastrophism, it is perhaps surprising that we are now, when the catastrophe is like a movie trailer that is projected again and again on every screen, with regard to the future, declaring our hostility to what could nonetheless seem to be an accession to consciousness, or at least incipient lucidity. But such surprise would be groundless, because it would imply a kind of double entry bookkeeping: with regard to both what we said in the past, and what the experts who have become such alarmists are saying. We are not talking about the same catastrophe,1 and the total catastrophe they are talking about is nothing but a fragment of the real catastrophe.

V

In order to prevent any misunderstanding, we must nonetheless make it clear that the critique of catastrophist representations by no means implies that we view them, as is sometimes done, as mere inventions without the least basis, spread by governments in order to assure submission to their orders, or, more perversely, by groups of experts who have an interest in advancing their careers by disproportionately dramatizing their “field of research”. Such a denunciation of catastrophism is not always the affair of people who defend one or another sector of industrial production that is particularly implicated, or even industry as a whole. Thus, we witness the case of curious “revolutionaries” who maintain that the ecological crisis concerning which we are now inundated with information is ultimately nothing but a spectacle, a decoy by which domination is trying to justify its state of emergency, its authoritarian consolidation, etc. We can clearly discern the motive for such an expedient skepticism: the desire to salvage a “pure” social critique, one that only wants to take reality into account insofar as it gives a new lease on life to the old schema of an anti-capitalist revolution condemned to appropriate, of course by “superseding it”, the existing industrial system. As for the “proof”, the syllogism goes as follows: given that media information is obviously a form of propaganda for the existing social organization and that said information now concedes a great deal of attention to various terrifying aspects of the “ecological crisis”, therefore this crisis is nothing but a fiction invented to disseminate the new slogans of submission. Other deniers, as will be recalled, applied the same logic to the extermination of the European Jews: given that the democratic ideology of capitalism obviously was only a false disguise of class domination and that said ideology made ample use during the postwar years of Nazi horrors in its propaganda, therefore the extermination camps and gas chambers can only be inventions and staged frame-ups. In that case it was also largely a matter of salvaging the canonical definition of capitalism by refusing to acknowledge its “aberrant” development (that is, a development that was not foreseen by their theory). And even before that, during the Spanish Civil War, there were intransigent extremists who blamed the revolutionaries for confronting fascism without first having abolished the State and wage labor.

VI

Just as we do not have any intention of adding anything to the catastrophist inventories of a “total ecological crisis”, we shall not undertake an assessment of the elements upon which they are based, nor shall we quibble regarding the details of one aspect or another of the ravages they catalog. For the essential points of this infernal catalog of threats has finally been authenticated by “the entire scientific community”, as documented by the States and international institutions; they are also promoted by the media, quite pleased at the prospect of exploiting such a fruitful “gold mine”, and consecrated by industrial investment in “sustainable development”. Their conclusions, that is, in everyday language, the choices that should be addressed or the nature of the challenges that will have to be faced, will from now on be debated without interruption. Since the admitted ambition of these catastrophist experts is to initiate such “debates”, it should not be surprising that they see this as involving something like “consciousness raising”. What is more surprising is that people who are not experts look at it the same way, and that these people sometimes venture to declare themselves enemies of industrial society.

If we do not see it this way at all, but to the contrary, as an augmentation of false consciousness, this is not due to an excessive taste for paradox or some perverse spirit of contradiction. For it is something that we have been forced to admit, despite our convictions, and for some time now.

The irreversible degradation of terrestrial life due to industrial development has been described and denounced for over fifty years. Those who explained the process, its cumulative effects and the predictable points of no return, thought that consciousness-raising would put an end to it by leading to some kind of change. For some, this change would take the form of reforms actively implemented by governments and their experts; for others, it was principally a matter of a transformation of our way of life, the precise nature of which remained generally somewhat vague; finally, there were even those who thought, more radically, that it was the entire existing social organization that had to be overthrown by a revolutionary transformation. Regardless of their differences concerning the means that should be employed, all shared the conviction that knowledge of the magnitude of the disaster and its unavoidable consequences would lead at least to a certain questioning of social conformism, or even to the formation of a radical critical consciousness. In short, they expected that the spread of such knowledge would not be a vain undertaking.

Contrary to the implicit postulate of all “critiques of harmful phenomena” (and not only that offered by the Encyclopédie des Nuisances), according to which the deterioration of the conditions of life are a “factor of rebellion”, we are compelled to state that the increasingly more accurate knowledge of this deterioration was easily integrated into submission and above all became a component of adaptation to the new forms of survival in an environment of extremes. It is true that, in the so-called “emerging” countries, from the very moment they are engulfed by the industrial disaster, there are still mass uprisings of the peasant communities in defense of their way of life against the brutal pauperization that economic development is imposing on them, but such uprisings can dispense with the kind of knowledge and “ecological consciousness” with which the NGOs seek to enlighten them.

When the official recognition of the ecological crisis (especially in the form of “global warming”) led to alleged “debates”, the latter were strictly delimited by the grossly progressivist representations and categories that even the least insipid catastrophist discourses uncritically pronounce. It never occurs to anyone to consider catastrophism for what it really is, to understand it based on what it is saying now about present reality, its causes and the deterioration that it seeks to anticipate.

VII

In all the representations disseminated by catastrophism, in the way they are elaborated as well as in the conclusions they inspire, we see above all an astonishing accumulation of denials of reality. The most obvious is the one that refers to the ongoing, and already consummated, disaster, which is hidden behind the image of the hypothetical catastrophe, when it is not calculated or extrapolated. In order to be able to understand the extent to which the real disaster differs from the worst scenarios announced by catastrophism, we shall attempt to define it in a few words, or at least specify one of its principle features: by utterly ruining all the material foundations, and not just the material ones, on which it is based, industrial society creates such conditions of insecurity and generalized instability, that only an increase of organization, that is, of submission to the social machinery, can still cause this collection of terrorizing uncertainties to pass for a habitable world. This will give you a good enough idea of the role actually played by catastrophism.

“Another world” was, after all, “possible”: our world, concerning which one must ask just what it has in common, in any sense, with the more or less humanized world that preceded it and of which, once the latter became a clean slate, this world declared itself the heir because it vitrified the corpse of the old world.

VIII

To provide examples of precocious lucidity with regard to the process whose culmination we are now witnessing, the same sublime authors are always quoted, whom nobody otherwise ever actually reads; otherwise the claim that the disaster has already been practically consummated would not seem so extraordinary. We shall cite a relatively little known example, which proves in any case that defining modern history as a continuously advancing process of imprisonment within industrial society is no abstraction, a posteriori reconstruction or fantasy steeped in a noxious defeatism. Narrating his travels through Spain between 1916 and 1920, Dos Passos recounts the words spoken in a café by a “syndicalist” who had recently escaped from prison (it is to be understood that in the Spain of those years a syndicalist was something very different from what goes by that name today; and that Spain’s neutrality during the First World War proved to be favorable for an economic “take-off”): “We are buried under industrialism just like the rest of Europe. Our people, even our own comrades, are rapidly acquiring the bourgeois mentality. We are in danger of losing all our hard-fought gains…. If we had been able to seize the means of production when the system was young and weak, we would have developed it gradually for our benefit: we would have been able to make the machine a slave to man. Every day that passes renders this more difficult” (Rocinante vuelve al camino, 1923).

IX

In connection with its implicit postulate which holds that the accurate knowledge of the deterioration of the environment would necessarily be a “factor of rebellion”, the critique of harmful phenomena has tended to concede an exorbitant role to concealment, the lie and the secret: according to an old schema, if the masses knew, if the truth was not hidden from them, they would revolt. Modern history, however, has not been unproductive of examples of the contrary, which instead illustrate, in said masses, a rather consistent determination on their part not to rebel in spite of what they knew and even—from the extermination camps to Chernobyl—a refusal to understand despite the evidence; or at least to behave, in spite of all the evidence, as if they did not understand. Against the unilateral explanation by way of “secrecy”, we must recall that the “French nuclear power program” was approved and implemented publicly (unlike the “final solution”). Does anybody really believe that transparency, if it had been extended from the very start to the millirems and picocuries, to the calculation of the “maximum allowable exposures” and debates on the effects of “low doses” of radiation, would have prevented universal support for civilian nuclear energy, for “atoms for peace”? You did not have to have a PhD in nuclear physics to have had more than enough information to get a fair idea of what the development of the nuclear industry was and what it implied. The same goes for genetic engineering. On the other hand, since the principle mechanisms of the “ecological crisis” have been recognized, confirmations of its effects continue to accumulate, and new factors come to light, and “positive feedbacks” are defined; and all of this is explained and broadcast without being concealed from the public, in fact, quite the opposite is true. However, the apathy with regard to these “problems” is even greater today than it was thirty or forty years ago. Could anyone imagine a demonstration the size of the one at Malville (1977) taking place today against the ITER project, which is even more senseless than the Superphoenix? The cyberactivists would rather dress up like extras and perform as the backdrop to the summit meetings of heads of State. The explanation for this absence of any reaction, even as the winds blowing from Chernobyl were leaving their mark, is very simple: in the seventies, France was still feeling the impact of the effects of ’68. One must therefore conclude that rebellion, the taste for freedom, is a factor of knowledge, and not the reverse.

It is of course true that concealment and the lie have been utilized a thousand times by industries and States; this is true now and it will be even more true in the future. There are all kinds of operations that must be conducted with the greatest discretion and which are best brought to light only as faits accomplis. But since the principle fait accompli is the very existence of industrial society, submission and its imperatives can calmly proceed to introduce increasingly more extensive zones of transparency within this society: the citizen perfectly inured to his work as consumer is eager for information in order to establish his balance sheet of “benefits and risks”, while, for their part, each and every polluter engages likewise in an attempt to escape blame by slandering the competition. Thus, there will always be raw material for “revelations” and “scandals”, as well as merchants prepared to process it: alongside the dealers in poisons, the dealers in journalistic exclusives, the indignation of the citizenry and sensationalist investigative reports.

Under these circumstances, the essential aspects of the disastrous course we have embarked upon have never been secret at all. Everything necessary to understand where “development” is leading us has been at our disposal for decades: its magnificent results spread everywhere, at the speed of an oil slick or the construction of a “new city” next to the highway. The fetishism of quantitative knowledge has made us so stupid and so short sighted that anyone who says that a little esthetic sense—as long as it is not acquired in art school—is all it takes to pass an informed judgment on such matters is considered to be a dilettante. In reality, it was largely artists and writers who were the first to declare their revulsion at the “new world” that was being established. But rather than criticizing them and the sometimes ridiculous narrowness of their points of view—which was precisely what allowed them to concentrate on this aspect of the world—in order to discount them in advance by defining them as “reactionaries” (more recently, certain Young Turks of postmodern radicality—We shall mutate together in the chaos and ecstasy of barbarism!—have rehabilitated this polemic in the form of a parody, attacking a hypothetical “man of the Ancien Régime”), it would be more correct, and more dialectical, to accuse the adepts of social critique of being quacks who were blind to such symptoms, as if the ugliness of everything was nothing but an insignificant detail, and only offended the bourgeois esthete. Even the best representatives of social critique, obeying a kind of progressivist superego, almost always refrained, and did so for a very long time, from any critiques that could have exposed them to the charge of being “old fashioned”. The celebrated Situationist International did not expel the neo-urbanist Constant for his hideous plexiglass models, which are so highly esteemed today, of cities with buildings made of titanium and nylon, roof-top airports and suspended plazas from which one could enjoy “a splendid view of the traffic on the highways below” (I.S., No. 4, June 1960).

Stendhal’s aphorism is still valid, but reversed: ugliness is the promise of unhappiness. And the decline of esthetic sensibilities goes hand in hand with that of the capacity for happiness. One must be quite hardened to misfortune, desensitized like a person who has been repeatedly bludgeoned by duties, in order to be able, for example, to contemplate without anguish, in an old photogravure book, photographs of the landscapes of the Mediterranean shoreline before that focal point of civilization was extinguished, back in the days when no one ever spoke about the environment. (It is of course true that life then was not “idyllic”, we shall happily concede this fact to imbeciles: it was better than idyllic, it was a life that was alive.) One begins to torture oneself into being convinced that the brutally imposed dynamism of production possesses its own beauty that one must learn to appreciate (now, that is estheticism!), and one rapidly descends to a condition of being absolutely incapable of perceiving what is terrifying about this brutality and this display of power. For there is no need for Geiger Counters or toxicological analyses in order to understand just how deadly the world of the commodity is: before suffering from it as a consumer, everyone must endure it as a worker. The catastrophe hypostatized and projected into the future has already taken place here, in everyone’s everyday existence, in the form of “details … which are anything but minute details”, in the words of Siegfried Kracauer, who also said: “We must rid ourselves of the delusion that it is major events which most determine a person” (Die Angestellten. Aus dem neuesten Deutschland, 1929. English translation published under the title, The Salaried Masses: Duty and Distraction in Weimar Germany, Verso, 1998).

X

Faced with the spectacle offered by our contemporaries it is sometimes hard to avoid the impression that they have ended up loving their world. Obviously, this is not the case; they are only trying to adapt to it; they have to “get a grip” and are helped along in this by being prescribed tranquilizers, while they have the vague feeling that their body is falling apart, that their spirit is lost, that the passions they surrender to miscarry. However, since they can no longer love anything but this parasitic existence that is now proclaimed to be without any alternative, they cling to the idea that, since the society that subjects them to the tortures of permanent competition also supplies them with the psychotropic drugs that allow them to endure those tortures and even to enjoy them (in conformance with the model of the Stakhanovites of hedonist-careerist heroism that the spectacle holds up for emulation), it will also be capable of perfecting the compensations in exchange for which they have resigned themselves to depending on it for everything.

This is why, well trained in the sophisms of resignation and the consolations of impotence, they can remain unperturbed amidst the cascade of sinister predictions in which they are inundated. One might think that the apparent urgency and significantly mandatory nature of their official sanction, as much as their content, would arouse at least some anxiety in even the most confident citizen. And this anxiety would have plenty of reasons to turn into panic when confronted by the inability to imagine any practical solution for the emergency, one that could lead one to have faith in the incongruous hodge-podge of principled petitions, moral injunctions and appeals to renounce certain techno-commercial conveniences (in exchange for other more sustainable ones) which describes practically everything that can be explicitly opposed to the perspective of a “final extinction” or, more correctly, of an end of the world that is rationally predicted this time. The fact that this is not the case, that catastrophism is being tranquilly disseminated throughout the social body, is denounced precisely for being a form of denialism by the most extreme catastrophists, those who supplement “scientific” prediction with the hope for social renewal, or even a “change in our way of life”. But they think that this denialism affects only the “threats” whose list they update on a daily basis, when it consists principally in representing as threats, which is just what they are doing, what is in fact a present reality: social practices and relations, managerial and organizational systems, harmful phenomena, toxic chemicals, pollution, etc., which have produced and continue to produce in the most tangible way deleterious effects on living beings, the environment and human society. This can be proven without resorting to statistical indices: it is enough to breathe the air of the cities or to watch a group of sports fans.

In the light of the long journey that we have undoubtedly travelled along the roads of the end of the world, it will be conceded that it is impossible to take catastrophism and its threats seriously; it is just as impossible as judging the disaster of world society by what the latter says about it. The representation of the catastrophe is the offspring of established power: praise for its technical resources, for its scientific qualities, for its exhaustive knowledge of the ecosystem that now allows for the best possible regulation of the latter. But since it was precisely these intellectual and material means that served to build this world that is now threatened with destruction, this giant with feet of clay, and which are now being employed to make the diagnosis and prescribe the remedies, it does not seem too bold to suggest that both are equally dubious, and that both are condemned to failure.

XI

Any reflection on the state of the world and on the possibilities for intervening to change it, if it begins by recognizing that its point of departure is, hic et nunc, an already fully consummated disaster, encounters the need, and the difficulty, of discerning the depths of this disaster where it has produced its principle destruction: in the minds of men. For this task there is no accurate instrument of measurement, no dosimetrical files, and no statistics or indices to which reference can be made. This is probably why so few have ventured to explore this terrain. There is a lot of talk going around about an “anthropological” catastrophe, concerning which it has not been decided whether this catastrophe must be situated in the death throes of the last “traditional” societies or in the fate that awaits the poor people of modern societies, perhaps because there is still some hope that the former can be preserved and the latter integrated. However, it is thought that the last word on this subject has been pronounced when it is denounced as a product of “neoliberal” perversity, seemingly recently invented by the famous “economic globalization”: this makes it possible to avoid acknowledging the fact that, after so many years and so many “anti-imperialist” slogans, this aspect of the disaster has something to do with a logic of universalization that has been underway for a long time and which implies much more than a simple “westernization of the world”.2 The innumerable syncretisms—halfway between local idiocy and the universality of the market—that contribute to such a powerful acceleration of this machinery of standardization (the Indian, Chinese, etc., economic booms, which benefitted from regional particularities, that is, from the human material that previous forms of oppression have so effectively prepared) prove that there is no servitude, ancient or modern, that cannot be harmoniously combined—in that special meaning of the word harmony for which post-bureaucratic Russia provides such a magnificent example—with submission to total society; not to speak of the absolutely unprecedented monstrosities that are produced as soon as this modernity clashes with those regions of the world which have yet to experience their economic booms: one need only think of the spread of AIDS or the child-soldiers of Africa. Generally speaking, however, no one dares to cast a furtive glance at what is happening there with regard to the possibilities and desires of real men. Speaking plainly, although using the usual terminology: in the “North” as well as the “South”, the middle class, the “marginalized” and the “excluded” think and want the same things as their “elites” and the “owners of the world”.

A hackneyed cliché, used in an attempt to provide a dramatic illustration of the “dead ends of development” and to call for repentance, asserts that in order to guarantee an average American lifestyle for the world population, we would have to have six or seven planets just like Earth. Obviously, the real disaster is, instead, the fact that this “lifestyle”—in reality a parasitic, shameful and degrading life whose stigmata, easily visible in those who bear them, receive their finishing touches with the facelift of cosmetic surgery—seems desirable to and is effectively desired by the immense majority of the world’s population. (This is why the vulgarity of the nouveau riche can be displayed with such complacency, without preserving any trace of bourgeois composure and discretion: they arouse envy—despite everything they still need bodyguards—but not the hatred or the contempt that were the prelude to the revolutions of the past.)

Furthermore, certain advocates of the “curtailment of economic growth”, probably not entirely convinced of the feasibility of their recommendations, sometimes refer to the need for a “cultural revolution” and finally call for nothing less than a “decolonization of the imagination”! The vague and soothing nature of such pious wishes, concerning which nothing is said about how they are to be fulfilled, besides evincing an orientation towards state and neo-state recruitment that is certainly consubstantial with the anti-growth proclamations, appears to serve the purpose of repressing the intuition of the serious conflict that will inevitably be entailed by an attempt to destroy or even to seriously consider destroying the totalitarian society, that is, the technological macrosystem to which human society has been reduced.

Ever since medical science has made available the machinery that ensures a kind of maintenance service for semi-corpses, and thus indefinitely prolongs their last days, it is often said, with respect to the decision that has to made regarding these living dead, the decision—which, whether you like it or not, you will have to make some day, whether for financial reasons or perhaps ethical reasons—to interrupt this semblance of survival; it is said, then, with great eloquence that they will have to be disconnected. The transposition to total society, where all of humanity finds itself subject to connections and intubations of all kinds, is in this case applied to the lone individual. But it also illustrates why it is nearly impossible for the inhabitants of this closed world to imagine being disconnected from the machinery of artificial life: if some of them, among the most over-equipped, enjoy, if the opportunity arises, as an experience, material scarcity, it takes the form of an vacation on an organized trekking expedition, with its cell phone and the certainty of the flight home in a jet. And one could truly ask oneself, and justifiably so, what ruinous condition this human species would come to if it were to be definitively deprived of the impulses transmitted by its machinery. So that the improvement of its connective apparatus is for many the most realistic solution: “The only escape for our children: to put on a suit implanted with all the biosensors that Moore’s law has been able to supply us with in order to feel, see and touch virtually, to swallow a good dose of euphoric drugs and to go at the end of each week to the country of their dreams with their favorite star, to a beach from before the sixth extinction, with their eyes fixed on their visor screens, without a past and without a future.” This is not an excerpt from some homage to the visionary genius of the Philip K. Dick of The Days of Perky Pat; it is the conclusion of a very well documented work (Jacques Blamont, Introduction au siècle des menaces, 2004) written by one of the members of the scientific establishment who, having come to the end of his professional career and settled into retirement, sings like a canary.

XII

The belief in techno-commercial rationality and its benefits has not collapsed under the blows of the revolutionary critique; it has only been obliged to moderate its pretensions with regard to the few “ecological” realities that it has no choice but to admit. Which is to say that most people still support it, along with the kind of happiness it promises; and that they will only accept, by degree or by force, self-discipline, minor constraints, etc., in order to preserve this survival concerning which they now know there is not an unlimited supply; this survival that will instead be rationed. The catastrophist representations that are so massively disseminated are certainly not conceived to induce a renunciation of such an enviable way of life, but to induce acceptance of the restrictions and regulations that will allow it, so it is hoped, to last forever.

How can you believe in something like “peak oil”? When what you see is, for the most part, a shocking multitude of motors, machines and vehicles of every type, to speak in terms of necessary rationing, low emission cars, renewable energy thanks to the ethanol industry, etc., is to desert the side of the truth.

What all these catastrophist representations have in common is the persistent ideal of technical rationality, the determinist model of objective knowledge; it consists, then, of conceding more reality to the representation that the instruments of mediation allow to be constructed than to the reality itself (what is “directly lived”); it consists, in fact, of granting the status of knowledge only to that which has passed through the filter of quantification; it consists in believing, now and forever, despite so many denials, in the efficiency promised by such knowledge. The determinist postulate of a future that is calculable by extrapolation is, in its current version of black futurology, just as illusory as it was in its rose-colored, euphoric version of the fifties (a version that makes us laugh today when we compare it with what has actually transpired). In the scenarios and models of the catastrophe, those parameters are privileged whose development and effects appear to be measurable, in order to save at least the idea of some possible action or adaptation. But in reality, the scientists know nothing, or at least nothing certain, about the processes they insist on modeling; neither about the depletion of petroleum reserves, nor about future demographic trends, or even about the timing and the precise effects of a process of climate change that is nonetheless not very far advanced. (What can be known in the last instance, and there are those who have already done so, is to quantify—in billions of dollars—the contribution of biodiversity to the world economy.) The same is true with respect to pollution and contamination of all kinds: the inventory of their combined and cumulative effects reflects, after a long delay, and only vaguely, the complex and terrible reality of the generalized poisoning, which is actually impossible to apprehend with techno-scientific means.3

If we say that the reality of the disaster is incomprehensible by using the very means that contributed to bringing it about, we do not thereby mean to say, as will be understood, that this reality is any less overwhelming than the way it has been depicted for us by those same means.

XIII

The two principle traits of the progressivist mentality, in its heyday, were the faith in the capacity of science and technology to rationally dominate the totality of the conditions of life (natural and social) and the conviction that in order for them to do so, individuals had to submit to a collective discipline capable of ensuring the smooth functioning of the social machine, so that security would be assured for all. We see that these traits, far from having been erased or attenuated, are even more marked in that shamefaced progressivism comprised by catastrophism. On the one hand, the latter expresses its firm belief in the possibility of acquiring a precise knowledge of all the “parameters” of the “environmental problems” and therefore in the possibility of controlling them and “solving them”; on the other hand, it accepts as obvious that this can only be achieved by means of coercive measures imposed on individuals.

No one, however, can ignore the fact that, in the image and semblance of the always-lost war waged by the deranged public health establishment against microbes, every step forward in securitization has brought in its wake new dangers, previously unknown risks and never before suspected plagues; whether with regard to urbanism, where the “criminogenic” spaces spread along with increasing control, segregation and surveillance; or in industrial livestock farming, the sterilized environment of hospitals and the laboratories of catering, where, from Legionnaire’s Disease to SARS, new epidemic illnesses prosper. The list is too long to recount here. But none of this discourages the progressivist. It would seem, to the contrary, that each new failure of securitization gives him reassurance in his belief in a general tendency “towards improvement”. As a result it is completely useless to attempt to reason with him, as the naïve souls do who enumerate for him the “ravages of progress”.

The way that certain texts of a critical inspiration have defined modern technology as “totalitarian” has at times seemed unfair. Modern technology could indeed be totalitarian, if one takes the prophecies of propaganda literally, which announce a perfect control, a definitively securitized world; in short, the perfected police utopia. (In this sense, for example, the accusation has been leveled against biometric control that, as it develops, it will render “all critique and all dissent” “impossible”; it is, however, the other way around: the resignation of all thought is what allows for and requires the establishment of this control as well as all the other kinds.) In reality, totalitarianism (in a precise historical sense) has never itself attained the police perfection to which it aspired and which its propaganda always presented as being on the verge of realization, after another round of executions (where it came closest to this achievement, in Maoist China, it was only at the price of the chaos with which we are all familiar). It is in precisely this aspect, however, that an essential trait of totalitarianism as perpetual motion resides; that of projecting a perfectly chimerical goal: the way it removes its delirious assertions to control from the present, by pretending that only the future will reveal their merits, guarantees that as long as it maintains its most organized apparatus in full force, the Party, its members will be incapable of being influenced by either experience or argument. The militant who has accepted this first assassination attempt against common sense will accept anything: no fiasco, no refutation of the ideology by reality will ever disturb him. His identification with the movement and with absolute conformism seems to have extirpated his faculty of being affected by his most direct experience. In this sense, in any case, it can be said that modern science and technology are, as organizations, like a totalitarian mass movement; and not only (as Theodore Kaczynski pointed out) because the individuals who participate in them or identify with them obtain a sense of power, but also because once they have accepted this profoundly insane goal which is the total control over the conditions of life, once all common sense has been abdicated in this way, no disaster will be big enough to make these fanatical progressivists see the light. To the contrary, they will perceive such a disaster as one more reason to reinforce the technological system, to enhance securitization, to enforce denominations of origin for food products, etc. This is how one can become a catastrophist without ceasing to be a progressivist.

XIV

As a form of false consciousness spontaneously born from the soil of mass society—that is, from the “anxiogenic environment” that has been created everywhere—catastrophism thus expresses first of all the fears and sad hopes of all who expect their salvation from a securitization based on the reinforcement of coercive measures. It is also perceived, however, sometimes clearly enough, as an expectation of a completely different kind: the aspiration for a break with the routine, for a catastrophe that would really be a culmination that would clear the air, casting down, as if by magic, the walls of the social prison. The taste for this latent catastrophe could be satisfied by means of the consumption of the numerous products of the entertainment industry that were manufactured for just such a purpose; for the bulk of the spectators, this discharge of anxiety-pleasure will be enough.

Outside the market, however, some propose other fictions, more theoretical or political, that “make them dream” of the downfall of a world. These speculations concerning the redemptive catastrophe have their more sophisticated versions in the ideologues of “curtailing economic growth” who speak of a “pedagogy of catastrophes”. But the most intrepid Marxists also want to believe that the “self-destruction of capitalism” will leave a “vacuum” that will constitute the tabula rasa upon which we might at last feast at the banquet of life. They remain in the orbit of denial, since they do not recognize the unified ruin of the world and its inhabitants except in order to immediately get rid of it by grace of “self-destruction” and to deceive themselves with this fantastic fairy tale: a humanity that emerges intact from its collapse into industrial modernity, more ready than ever to revive its innate love of freedom, without getting at all entangled—maybe because it uses Wi-Fi?—in the cables of its connectedness.

There are, however, harder theories, truly extremist in their idea of salvation through catastrophe, in which not only is the catastrophe given the job of producing the “objective conditions” of emancipation, but also its “subjective conditions”: the kind of human material that such scenarios require to personify a revolutionary subject. The whole range of fictions of this kind can be found in the Vaneigem of 1967: “When a water pipe burst in Pavlov’s laboratory, not one of the dogs that survived the flood retained the slightest trace of his long conditioning. Could the tidal wave of great social upheavals have less effect on men than a burst water pipe on dogs?” The only difference, certainly noteworthy, is that the “miracles” that were then attributed to the “battle for freedom” are now expected from a catastrophic collapse, that is, from harsh necessity. The proponents of such theories believe that even more deteriorated conditions of survival will lead, in the most devastated, ravaged and polluted zones, to such an absolute degree of poverty and to such misfortunes that what will then happen, on a universal scale, at first chaotically and sporadically, and later, with the multiplication of those enclaves where the insurrection will become a matter of life and death, is that an “authentic catharsis” will take place, thanks to which humanity will be renewed and will accede to a new consciousness, one that will be simultaneously social, ecological, living and unitary. (This is not a caricature, but a faithful summary of the last chapter of Michel Bounan’s book, La folle histoire du monde, 2006.) Others, who proclaim that they are more interested in the organization and the “experimentation of the masses” already see the decomposition of all social forms as an “opportunity”: just like Lenin, for whom the factory trained the army of the proletarians, for these strategists who are betting on the reconstitution of unconditional solidarities of the clan type, the modern “imperial” chaos is training the gangs, fundamental cells of their imaginary party, that will combine into “communes” in order to join the insurrection (The Coming Insurrection, 2007). These catastrophilic fantasies all agree in their declared gratification with the disappearance of all forms of collective discussion and debate by means of which the old revolutionary movement had tried to organize itself: the one makes fun of the workers councils, the others make fun of the general assemblies.

To get a more precise idea of what we can expect from a collapse of the material conditions for survival, as well as a return of the clan-forms of solidarity, it would seem advisable to take a look at the testing ground of the Middle East, a kind of infernal incubator where each agent takes turns sowing his monstrous seeds on a foundation of runaway ecological and human disaster.

XV

We might easily, after the manner of a certain semi-critical sociology, relate the various modalities of catastrophism with hierarchically distinct social milieus, and point out how each one of them develops its corresponding false consciousness, idealizing as a “solution” the professional or voluntary managerial activity each performs in disaster management. Such myopic perspicacity, however, leaves out the most salient point: the fact that there is almost no one who refuses to endorse the authentic proscription of freedom that the diverse catastrophist scenarios unanimously declare, regardless of their differences in other respects. For even where they are not directly interested in regimentation and they speak of emancipation, it is only in order to postulate that this emancipation will be imposed as a necessity, not as something desired in itself and consciously pursued.

Such is the power of industrial enclosure, and the scale of the unified deterioration of thought that it has achieved, that those who still have the courage to fight against being completely swept away by the current and proclaim their willingness to resist, seldom escape, however much they condemn progress or technoscience, the need to justify their denunciations—or even their hope for a saving catastrophe—with the data supplied by the bureaucratic experts and with the determinist representations that such data allow them to uphold. All of this is undertaken to disguise the laws of History—the very same ones that are going to ineluctably lead us from the reign of necessity to that of freedom—as scientific proofs; according to which, for example, Carnot’s theorem will put an end to industrial society, once the exhaustion of fossil fuels requires it—or at least its managers—to embark upon a convivial curtailment of economic growth and the enjoyment of life.

Our epoch, which is otherwise so obsessed with the resources we are all so familiar with, and with the hypothesis of their exhaustion, has never bothered to make forecasts about those other resources, which are inexhaustible by their very nature, to which freedom can provide access: beginning with the freedom to think contrary to the ruling representations. The trite objection will be raised that no one escapes the prevailing conditions, that we are not any different, etc. And, of course, who can boast that they are doing anything but adapting to the new conditions, “getting by” in the face of such overwhelming material realities, even if one does not become so unconscious as to feel satisfied with it except for this or that detail? Instead, no one is forced to adapt intellectually, that is, to accept the fact that they have to “think” using the categories and the terms imposed by managed life.

XVI

At the beginning of his Reflections on History, Burckhardt observed that knowledge of the future, if it were possible (which, in his opinion, it was not), would imply “a confusion of all desire and endeavor. For desire and endeavor can only unfold freely when they live and act ‘blindly’, that is, for their own sakes and in obedience to inward impulses”. Our epoch, when it refers to itself, believes it can read the future in its computer models, on whose screens the calculus of probabilities, if not the laws of thermodynamics, traces its Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. But it will probably see it, to return to Burckhardt’s intuition, as the effect rather than the cause of the torpor of historical energy, of the loss of the taste for freedom and for autonomous intervention; or at least it will have to consider that where humanity has lost a certain vital courage, where it has lost the impulse of acting directly on its fate without certitudes or guarantees, it is no longer fascinated and shocked by the projections of official catastrophism.

XVII

To once again parody a celebrated incipit, we may say that the whole life of world industrial society now presents itself as an immense accumulation of catastrophes. The success of the propaganda advocating authoritarian measures (“Tomorrow it will be too late”, etc.) is based on the fact that the catastrophist experts present themselves as simple interpreters of forces that can be predicted. But the technique of infallible prediction is not the only one that was recuperated from the old revolutionary prophecy. This scientific knowledge of the future effectively serves to introduce the old rhetorical device of the crossroads, according to which “humanity” is confronted by a choice that is thus posed on the model of “socialism or barbarism”: the salvation of industrial civilization or collapse into barbarous chaos.4

The trick in this propaganda consists in simultaneously asserting that the future is the object of a conscious choice, one that humanity can supposedly make collectively, as one man, with full knowledge once instructed by the experts, and that this future is ruled by an implacable determinism that reduces this choice to that of life or death; that is, living in accordance with the orders of the organizers of planetary salvation or dying because we have not abided by their warnings. A choice like this is therefore reduced to an imposition, which resolves the old problem of knowing whether men love servitude, since from now on they will be compelled to desire it. As Latouche so poignantly asserts, with a simplicity that might not be intentional: “Ultimately, who rebels against the protection of the planet, the preservation of the environment, the conservation of fauna and flora? Who supports climate change or the destruction of the ozone layer?” (Le pari de la décroissance, 2006). According to Arendt, the problem of totalitarian domination was “to fabricate something that did not exist, namely, a kind of human species resembling other animal species whose only ‘freedom’ would consist in ‘preserving the species’” (The Origins of Totalitarianism). On a devastated Earth, which will be effectively transformed, by means of the technical artificiality of the survival that will still be possible, into something like a “spaceship”, this program will cease to be a chimera of domination so as to become instead a demand on the part of the dominated.

“Enlightened false consciousness”, as it was called by a certain author who came to such a bad end that there is no point mentioning his name, was obliged to submit daily to such a quantity of overwhelming information with regard to the dangers that threaten industrial society and the life of those who are imprisoned within it—all of us—that it accepted with obvious relief the hypothetical scenarios supplied by the experts and disseminated by the media. For, no matter how bleak they may be, they at least allow for the organization, in accordance with a coherent plan, of a disaster which it would otherwise refuse to understand. We have long known that, in the countries that are called, by default, democratic, since they are not totalitarian, the information that is so excessively abundant, and now the “society of knowledge” of the internet, due to the need created by explanation, is an essential aspect of propaganda. Therefore, in the current mobilization to “save the planet”, the catastrophist representations transmit, together with their explanatory schemas, positive slogans: they dictate the new rules of behavior and disseminate correct thinking. For the fears proclaimed by the experts (“If we do not radically change our lifestyle”, etc.) are in reality nothing but orders.

This has allowed the manufacture of consensus to concede the title of “ecological consciousness raising” resulting from its own operations, to the docile readiness to repeat its slogans and submit to its requirements and prescriptions. It celebrates the birth of the reeducated consumer, the eco-citizen, etc. And just as in the epoch when it had to inculcate the rules of behavior required by abundant consumption, nowadays, when it is necessary to get people to adopt the rules of rationed and rationalized survival, children are the first targets of the propaganda, those who must scold their parents like the television commercials have taught them (“Without your help, the antibiotics will no longer work”). One hesitates, of course, to continue to speak of children when speaking of these beings who are so precociously well versed in all technological operations and disciplines, and who are now so uniformly informed regarding biodiversity and its degradation, the rate of increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, etc. They zealously memorize the testimony of the campaigns to inculcate a sense of responsibility (“The whole is what counts”) and vigilantly prosecute the correction of their progenitors. Aware of the fact that the latter, and adults in general, will have to render accounts concerning what they have done to “preserve the planet that they will receive as their inheritance”, they do not refrain from demanding that starting this very moment they must respect the slogans. Trained in this fashion as a militant citizenry, they will denounce to the green police the non-compliant whom they detect among their friends and family. And this is hardly an extrapolation in view of a very official pamphlet that, several years ago, instructed the youth with recommendations like these: “I separate my garbage, I report on any water leaks…. I take note of any restrictions issued by the town council in case of drought and transmit them to my parents…. I will not let my parents smoke in dry brushland….”

XVIII

However closely they may be interwoven, we shall distinguish, for the purposes of a quick summary, the principle catastrophist representations of the future that are spread by propaganda and we shall see how they lead us not only “to swallow the poison of servitude without finding it bitter”, but also to find it delicious and redemptive.

We shall rapidly pass over the apocalyptic school, which speculates on a possible annihilation of the human species whose model remains the nuclear holocaust. A salaried philosopher could of course have an interest in perpetuating a tedious commentary—a pathetic rehash of the most obsolete Anders—on the need to “think in the shadow of the future catastrophe” (Jean-Pierre Dupuy), but it is primarily due to its nature as a diffuse representation of a horrifying end, nourished by diverse fictions produced by the culture industry, that this apocalypticism influences the most common form of resignation with the carpe diem of the reprieved death sentence, thus reinforcing acceptance with the feeling of an unexpected new lease on life.

The school of global warming is obviously the one that counts the largest number of supporters, since it is the one that benefits from the most constant media support. What is effectively tranquilizing about this “inconvenient truth” is the fact that it attributes the multiple dangers and hazards to which we are now exposed to a single factor (the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases). Although the exact course of the warming is still quite uncertain both with regard to its tempo and its effects—while we are all nonetheless educated enough to be capable of speaking about permafrost, albedo and even clathrates and the “oceanic conveyor belt”—the scenario of climate change allows for the promotion of a whole range of “solutions” that simultaneously rely on the State, industry and the individual discipline of the conscious and responsible consumer: fiscal, industrial-ecological (including nuclear), planetary geo-engineering, imposed but also voluntary rationing measures, and even those modern indulgences purchased by those who fly in passenger jets who pay for “emissions credits”.

The school of resource depletion, which is often associated with the warming school because of its appeal to rationing and its advocacy of alternative energy, speculates above all on the depletion of reserves of fossil fuels, but also on the depletion of reserves of water, arable land, biodiversity, etc. This multiple catastrophe is debated and subjected to the most precise measurements every day because knowledge is accumulating as fast as its object is disappearing. Here, too, in order to impose “a change of course”, a “more austere society”, etc., resort is had to the State, industry, good citizenship, etc.

The school of pollution is represented by a wide array of experts and counter-experts who form the great battalion of the “watchdogs”. Strictly specialized by virtue of their positions, they record in detail, according to scientific criteria, the already observable or foreseeable effects of the innumerable forms of pollution (agro-industrial processes, hormone disruptors, genetic damage, nanotechnologies, electromagnetic waves), without forgetting the “classics” (chemical and nuclear), and are usually careful not to trespass beyond the limits of their specialties, except to denounce a “public health threat”. Such precaution with regard to critique has not been enough, however, to prevent the spread of a feeling, based on experience but fully documented thanks to them, of the practically definitive contamination of the environment. And although the protean reality of a pathogenic environment is inconsistent with the hopes for salvation from technology and with the fervent appeals of the citizen’s movement for managerial vigilance, it is nonetheless very advantageous for the multiplication of hygienic and sanitary obsessions, in the service of which everyone has to work constantly in order to preserve a health that is almost entirely beyond our reach. This false, privatized “narcissistic” consciousness of very real dangers now supports a vast sector of commodity production (from “organic” foods to nutraceuticals). It is only by understanding the fact that this obsessive form of taking responsibility allows one to remain blind to the disaster is it possible to explain, for example, the fact that the city council of Naples, the capital of a region of Italy that is world-renowned for its varied toxic waste dumps managed by the Camorra, could decree in November 2007 the prohibition of smoking in its public parks without provoking universal ridicule (this measure, to the contrary, seemed so wise that the city of Verona in turn adopted a similar one on the following day).

Finally, the school of chaos emphasizes social and “geopolitical” dislocation. Unlike the most common catastrophist representations, this school does not conceal the fact that the “great ecological crises” will not take place in a climate of universal peace and the relaxation of international tensions. It is not satisfied, unlike the “geostrategic” reflections of certain media journalists and analysts, with compiling the inventory of the zones of breakdown of the stillborn “new world order”, and is at the same time aware of the dispersal of the means of destruction, the end of the State monopoly on violence and the various forms of emerging “brutalization”. It has even provided evidence of a process of dehumanization that is not without its connections to the universal spread of the new technological environment. Completely incapable of proposing anything that would even resemble a solution, since it does not call for “correct worldwide governance”, it obviously does not generate much of an echo.

XIX

It might seem excessive, or even absurd, to assimilate the dominant catastrophist representations to a propaganda campaign. Just consider, however, the discrete way the nuclear industry and its notable contribution to the quality of our environment have been blurred together—in preindustrial epochs we would have said, “dovetailed”5 —in the catalogue of threats elaborated by the catastrophist experts. The so-called civilian nuclear industry, concerning which we know how easily it can cease to be civilian in order to return to its original military vocation, is sometimes mentioned by the heralds of the school of chaos with reference to the risks of “dissemination” and “proliferation” it poses in the matter of armaments; less frequently, it is mentioned by other observers due to the proven release of contaminants after various “incidents”. Most often, however, it acquires a much more honorable place in the arsenal of technological remediations, thanks to which it is alleged that we will overcome the looming difficulties in order to reach the Promised Land of a sustainable economy. Some wax enthusiastic over fusion, a true panacea that will usher us into that “hydrogen economy” that the illuminati of revolution via industrial progress have even come to see as the sole prerequisite still lacking for the realization of communism. Others, more prudently, point out that it will take at least a century, in the best case scenario, to master this marvelous energy source; and that, in the meantime, the only solution for reducing greenhouse gases is to immediately start building new nuclear power plants, with the so-called “Third Generation Reactors”, which might be a little less safe than their successors, of the “Fourth Generation”, but which are already available. These propagandists who characterize actually existing nuclear energy as clean energy, or almost clean, are among the most active boosters of the scenario of climate crisis. And for this job they do not need to be officially accredited by the Atomic Energy Commission or discretely in the pay of the nuclear industry: it is enough for them to have a realistic view of the period of “energy transition” through which industrial society must pass. Besides the ecologist-cyberneticist Lovelock, there are many catastrophist experts who emphasize the particularly irresponsible character of continuing the debates over the virtues and inconveniences of nuclear energy, when China is building one coal fired power plant each week and is planning to add several tens of millions of cars to its roads each year. Other experts, more numerous yet, are content not to broach this controversial topic of the indispensable resort to nuclear energy, which might somehow mar for them the panorama of a future sustainable society. As for the rest, none of them bother to point out the derisory contribution of nuclear energy to total energy production, whether with regard to today’s situation—France included—or in the event of an eventual intensive resurgence of nuclear energy. The same kind of silence is applied to the question of the availability over the next century and a half of coal reserves and the conditions that might facilitate overcoming the objections (cost, “capture” of CO2) against the utilization of so-called coal to liquid technologies and that would allow for the production of fuel by the liquifaction of coal.

XX

After having dared to point out that “the accurate diagnoses of Lester Brown, Nicolas Hulot, Jean-Marie Pelt, Hubert Reeves and many others, which inevitably conclude with an appeal to ‘humanity’, are nothing but watered down sentimentalities”, the journalist Hervé Kempf recently invited us to “understand that the ecological crisis and the social crisis are only two faces of the same disaster” (How the Rich Are Destroying the Earth, 2007). In a way, what he is proposing is therefore the elaboration of a social critique of harmful phenomena. We shall pass over the hardly novel nature of this theoretico-journalistic scoop. However old this news is, his intention is laudable and meritorious, coming from someone who is such a beginner on this terrain. One is therefore curious to discover just what this “environmental specialist” of the newspaper Le Monde means when, during the course of his “radical political analysis of the current relations of domination” he feels compelled to address “ecological anxiety” without delay: “Within the next ten years we will have changed course.” Because despite everything Kempf is an “optimist”: “solutions are appearing”, “from Seattle and the protest against the World Trade Organization”; “the social movement has awakened” and the oligarchy could be divided (and one sector of it “might be clearly shifting towards support for civil liberties and the common good”); “journalism could awaken”; and the “prostrate” left could be renewed by “uniting the causes of inequality and ecology”. As we shall see, there is no chance that social critique and the analysis of the relations of domination will lead to nothing more radical than the denunciation of the villainies of the predatory oligarchy and the greed of the “mega-rich”.

Although none of this is any more convincing or enlightening than an anthology of the best of Le Monde Diplomatique of the last twenty years, Kempf is interesting, and even instructive, for what he does not say. Since his critical enterprise omits, in an exemplary fashion, any analysis or even any mention of the most important and certainly the most visible aspect of the “current relations of domination”, the one that a 20th century devastated by the “transitional totalitarianisms”, in Mumford’s formulation, has bequeathed to our century: the bureaucracy. In this way, as always happens in the inoffensive substitutes for critique that seek to question economic development without ever taking the State’s responsibility into account, the best contributions of a century of social critique are, innocently and quite conveniently, condemned to oblivion.

Without going all the way back to the anarchist polemic against Marxist statism, it is in the organized workers movement, that is, in the political and social framework of the workers struggles, where the formation of a modern bureaucracy was first observed and analyzed, one that was different from the old bureaucracy of State officials. Michels and, before him, Machajski (Le Socialisme des intellectuels) quickly identified some features of what would soon, in Russia, become a new class by way of the totalitarian seizure of power. In parallel with this development, in the countries where the relations of production were still dominated by private capitalists, the rationalized organization of mass production and consumption (the need to coordinate the labor that an increasingly more comprehensive division of labor was smashing into tiny pieces) was gradually giving birth to a bureaucracy of managers; at the same time, the Great Depression compelled the United States to regiment private capitalism, establish regulatory economic mechanisms, undertake vast public works projects to absorb unemployment, etc., the inception of a system of planning which become known as the New Deal. This tendency towards the bureaucratization of the world, within which the renovation of totalitarian methods of rule by fascism and Hitlerism seemed to be foreshadowed, was theorized by Rizzi, and later by Burnham, in an apparently objective form but in actuality in the form of apologetics (in the name of the “sense of history”), which, applied to such repugnant realities, was original enough at the time. After the Second World War and the defeat of the fascist form of totalitarianism, a defeat brought on by extremely irrational strategic choices (the Stalinist form, although more irrational in terms of economic management, owed its membership on the winning team to the fact that it had managed to survive for several decades), the development of a managerial bureaucracy was continued, together with that of a “scientific research” establishment that had undergone an equal degree of bureaucratization during the war and was afterwards put directly at the service of industry: the organization and division of labor in the factory itself were extended everywhere with commodity abundance. But it was primarily in the State bureaucracies (first in nation-states, and then, perhaps even more so, in the supranational organizations) where the influence of the planners, managers and other technocrats, who are considered to be, and who view themselves as, the embodiment of the superior rationality of capitalism understood as a “system”, flourished. The cybernetic ideology—from which, we should recall, the notion of an ecosystem is derived—corresponds to this ascendant phase of the bureaucracy of experts and expresses their anti-historical illusions, just like structuralism, which is its offshoot in the “human sciences”.

During the late sixties, and above all during the seventies, in response to the critique that so many people, and particularly the youth, directed against the production and consumption of commodities, a program of bureaucratic-ecological stabilization of the economy began to take shape among the planners, who were forced to admit that we were now immersed in an “out of control race” to catastrophe. During that epoch a Marxist could have correctly expressed ironic disdain for this new manifestation of false consciousness on the part of a handful of experts who, after having deceived themselves regarding the real scope of their activity when they were planning an infinitely organized growth, were now content to reverse that ideological representation by now expressing their belief that they could impose a program of “zero growth” on capitalism that is incompatible with its very essence; our Marxist could have also pointed out, and with no less accuracy, that “the ecologists refrain from specifying exactly what social and political forces they think they can rely on in order to carry out such a revolution in the machinery of the capitalist State” (Pierre Souyri, La dynamique du capitalisme au XXè siècle, 1983). This same author would go on to add some extremely sensible observations, which bring us to the heart of our argument: “The alarmist campaigns regarding the planet’s resources and the pollution of nature by industry do not actually portend any intention on the part of capitalist circles of putting an end to growth. Rather the contrary. Capitalism is now up to its neck in a phase in which it will be forced to mobilize a whole range of new technologies of energy production, mineral extraction, recycling of wastes, etc., and to transform a part of the natural elements essential for life into commodities. All of this heralds a period of intensified technological research and innovation that will require enormous investments. Scientific data and ecological consciousness are used and manipulated in order to construct the terrorist myths whose purpose is to cause the efforts and sacrifices that will be indispensable for the new cycle of capitalist accumulation that it is proclaiming to be accepted as absolute imperatives.” (Ibid.). The perspective thus outlined—in a posthumously published work that was written before 1979, when the author died—had the merit of conceiving the possibility that, without going beyond the limits of the capitalist mode of production, the contradiction between the latter’s objective dynamic and an authoritarian regulation of the economy in the name of ecological rationality could be overcome.

In consideration of the fact that a permanent regime of “crisis management” has now been established, one might ask if it is the bureaucracy of experts that has risen to power or whether it is power that, amidst the collapse of industrial society, descended to within the reach of the experts. This would most likely be a mistaken way to understand the issue. For who assumes the responsibility for disaster management, or is prepared to do so? They have never ceased to ply the waters of power, and to cross them. It would be tiresome to provide a detailed description of these networks, since it is not our purpose to write a sociology of organizations. In the final accounting, no one who is even slightly aware of what planet he lives on will be surprised by the connivances, the cooptations and the exchanges of favors that ensure the recruitment of new staff members for the teams and bureaus. It was here, among the designers and agents of the development programs that were implemented in the post-war era, where a minority of dissident insiders—some would even declare themselves “opponents of growth”—would begin to “raise the alarm” without losing their foothold, or their influence with their friends, within the institutions, the seminars, and think tanks, which pragmatically incorporate the advocates of an ecological critique purged of any connection to social critique. A “win-win” scenario: the so-called dissidents provide the technoscientific arguments that the institutional mainstream elements are eager to hear so they can speak the same language; the latter, joined by the mainstream environmentalists who are even more eager to find someone who will listen to them in the big international organizations, embody that representation of “civil society” that is so indispensable for all institutional lobbying strategies.

In any case, contrary to the views of the devotees of a melodramatic and conspiratorial fiction-critique, this changing of the guard in “the coopted cast that manages domination” is carried out in the full light of day and orchestrated with a great deal of fanfare, “displayed on the stage of the spectacle”; and the least that can be said about it is that it is not perceived like the bolt of lightning, “which is only seen when it strikes”. It will soon be forty years since it was first announced, through the mouths of wise oracles, that time is running out, that we have no more than ten years to change course, and to confront this radically new, “magnificent but terrible” challenge, etc.6 (In 1992, 1,600 scientists, among whom were 102 Nobel Prize winners, issued a “warning to humanity” in which they claimed that “we only have one or two decades before we lose any chance to escape the threats that menace us and the perspectives for the future of humanity will be drastically curtailed”.) One could laugh at a state of emergency that was declared with such a distant deadline, but the explanation for it is quite simple. All that is required is that, once a certain threshold has been crossed in the violations of natural equilibriums, the so-called “negative externalities”, the capitalist management should learn to recognize their positive potential and should come to see them, in the form of the only “consciousness raising” that can be activated by the catastrophist experts, as a perpetually profitable gold mine which in order for it to exploit, it only needed to convince customers and shareholders.

XXI

In response to those beautiful souls who were offended when an American manager hastened to define the tsunami of December 2004 as a “marvelous opportunity” (“which has been very profitable for us”), it is relevant to point out that by saying this he was only expressing, although in a rather inopportune manner, a reality of capitalism (see Naomi Klein, “The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”, The Nation, May 2, 2005). It does, however, demonstrate a certain ingenuousness to trace the beginnings of this “disaster capitalism”—a formula which is itself a variety of pleonasm—to the devastation of Central America by Hurricane Mitch (October 1998) and to give first place under this rubric to the foreign operations of the U.S. government and the World Bank, planned to simultaneously prepare the next military interventions and the reconstruction of countries slated for destruction. (In this connection, however, we have seen how New Orleans, devastated by a hurricane, was delivered over to the same firms as Iraq and Afghanistan, so as to be rebuilt prettier and cleaner, more quaint and less black.) The unleashing of innumerable calamities, with their unforeseen combinations and brutal escalations, is universally inaugurating a fabulous opportunity for construction projects for the planetary trusts of capitalism.

Regarding global warming it is occasionally said, in order to provide the indispensable note of optimism, that grapes will soon be cultivated in Great Britain, wheat will be grown in Siberia, or that with the melting of the Arctic ice new sea routes will open up and make it possible to search for the oil that surely lies beneath the Polar ocean. But these corroborative reports only very partially explain what kind of Northwest Passage is being opened up by the debacle of nature for the benefit of economic rationality, especially when it will be necessary to manufacture everything from scratch, an entire artificial life, with its increasingly more expensive, that is, profitable, technological surrogates and palliatives. On the model of the “Terraforming” projects conceived for creating more or less survivable conditions on those planets accessible to space travel, so-called “geo-engineering” techniques have been proposed, since it is the Earth itself which has now become a hostile and uninhabitable planet and thus the location for the first experiments in territorial management on the scale of the solar system. NASA and the major American research labs have thus discovered the opportunity to promote an “environmental version” of the anti-ballistic missile defense program known as “Star Wars”. (Edward Teller, the same man who engineered the downfall of Oppenheimer and directed the development of the Hydrogen Bomb, and later inspired the “Strategic Defense Initiative”, was one of the first people—in 1997—to publically advocate geo-engineering.)

These grandiose projects, which the most reasonable climatologists reject due to the “unpredictable effects” they could set in motion, call to mind the ravings of a mad scientist. There are also other more prosaic, although no less representative examples of the “marvelous opportunities” offered by an Earth that has now become unlivable. Industrial ecology now has plans for sustainable cities or eco-cities “with zero emissions”, waste recycling, solar energy and all the electronic conveniences. These new colonial cities will be built—in an architectural style that will of course be respectful of local traditions—first of all in China or Abu Dhabi, model cities for the technological imperialism that has earned a certificate of environmental quality. But the research departments of the engineering firms have set to work everywhere in expectation of the new rules that ecological governance will dictate. In his euphoria after “la Grenelle de l’environnement” (“The Grenelle Environment Round Table”) which sought to establish market quotas, a certain businessman naturally adopted the martial airs of the Kolkhoz director proclaiming the goals of the Five Year Plan and the slogans of the Great Leap Forward of the sustainable economy: “national mobilization … ecological emergency … defense of our planet … our children’s future”; without forgetting to emphasize that “the political will for the renovation and the construction of ecological houses, neighborhoods and even cities represents for industry a formidable growth opportunity” (Gérard Mestrallet, president of Suez, “L’environnement, catalyseur d’innovation et de croissance”, Le Monde, December 21, 2007). To put the finishing touches to this picture and also in the interests of parity, we shall also quote a directive on sustainable development issued by the group Veolia-Environnement that is no less enthusiastic: “‘Green’ construction and renovation are in progress, it is an immense, abundant, thrilling and very promising market, so much so that the new El Dorado of today is clean tech construction, that is, clean technologies with reference to the imperious need to reduce the carbon footprint of all the world’s buildings, in conformance with the established road map” (Geneviève Ferone, 2030, le krach écologique, 2008).

XXII

The role that has always been played by wars over the course of modern history to accelerate the fusion of State and economy is well known. And it is precisely a war that must be waged in order to conquer a nature that has been ravaged by the previous operations of economic rationality and replace it with a integrally produced world that is better-adapted to alienated life.7 One of the American propagandists for the ecological-bureaucratic reconversion of capitalism (less hallucinatory than Rifkin with his end of work and his hydrogen economy), Lester Brown, has explicitly called for a “wartime mobilization” and has proposed the model of the reconversion of the productive apparatus that was carried out during the Second World War; he did, however, highlight the difference that, since this time it is a question of “saving a threatened planet and a civilization in danger”, the “economic reconstruction” must not be temporary but permanent. Recalling “the year 1942, which witnessed the greatest expansion of industrial production in the country’s history” (an American poet who had served as a soldier in the European theatre summarized it this way: “For every artillery shell that Krupp fires, General Motors returns four”), he is thrilled by the memory of such a total mobilization, with its rationing and its authoritarian organization: “That mobilization of resources showed in a matter of months that a country and, in fact, the world could rebuild its economy quickly if it was only convinced of the need to do so”. Excited by the example of the vast massacre provided by the industry of that era, he expressed in the style of public relations what the previous era had expressed through indoctrination: “We have the technology, the economic instruments and the financial resources necessary […] to steer our society away from its declining course and to put it on a path that would allow it to continue to pursue economic progress” (Plan B 2.0: Rescuing A Planet Under Stress And A Civilization In Trouble, 2006).

This almost perfect prototype of the ecolocrat, a catastrophist expert for almost forty years, is certainly not the only person who “has a plan” (others speak, for example, of a “Climate Marshall Plan”), but his has the incontestable merit of being formulated in the American style, with a straightforward brutality and an absolutely clear conscience, without the rhetorical precautions and the circumlocutions that entangle the left wing statists and the members of the more or less anti-growth civil society movement here in Europe. Written according to the standards of bureaucratic management (graphs, tables, statistics and calculations of financing various projects; we can even acquaint ourselves with the cost, “due to the loss of potential income”, of the “diminution of the Intellectual Coefficient linked to prenatal mercury toxicity”: 8.7 billion dollars), it does not attempt to conceal the fact that it is calling for a concentration of power: “What the world needs now is not more oil, but more government”. This “road map” for an ecologically correct disaster capitalism has not, however, offended anybody, so advanced now is the education of the public recommended by this same road map (“The need for media governance also ushers in the parallel need for political governance”). So Lester Brown can be quoted favorably, by Latouche for instance, at the same time that he brags about being aware of a hypothetical threat of “ecofascism”.

An almost universal consensus has been established, then, in just a few years, among the defenders of “our civilization” regarding the need for reinforced governance to confront the total ecological crisis; and it is necessary to deduce from this fact that the “neoliberal” detour is coming to an end, during which capitalism restored the profitability of its investments by drastically reducing not only its wage bill but also its “extraordinary state expenditures”. It has at times been attempted to precisely date this change of course, placing it in retrospect in the year 2005, since after that date the signs of an ideological aggiornamento (modernization) in the sphere of power began to multiply; in particular, the “Stern Report” of October 2006: “This document removes ecology from the political arena, occupied for thirty years by the NGOs and the anti-liberal [sic] leftist parties, and definitively inserts it into the heart of the development of contemporary capitalism” (Jean-Michel Valentin, Écologie et Gouvernance mondiale, 2007). But in reality the open collaboration of environmentalist groups, NGOs, corporations and government officials goes back in certain sectors to the nineties.

The attempt at an ecological-bureaucratic reorganization that is currently underway is by no means a cold-blooded “rationalization” procedure. It is taking place in the midst of the catastrophe, since in the heat of the burning world the various bureaucracies responsible for the specialized management of each sector of mass society are approaching their fusion point. The already initiated process can only be accelerated by the financial crisis that is putting an end to a speculative cycle, but which is, in itself, more a manifestation of the fact that the approach of the ecological deadlines announced so often will dissuade capitalism (much more effectively than any grandiloquent denunciations of “financial madness”) from giving itself too much credit. (In this way, the collapse of real estate speculation in the United States is also an effect of the end of cheap oil.) The project of capitalism’s ecological adjustment arrives in time for the reorganization of production, especially that of the vast sector of “public works”—which includes “civil engineering”—the heavy industry of a “new industrial revolution” whose utopian model is Dubai, “which produces its water through desalination, regulates its temperature, filters the sun’s rays, controls all the parameters of life in order to realize the ideal oasis; where time, climate and the world tarry in a perfect present” (Hervé Juvin, Produire le monde. Pour une croissance écologique, 2008). In this post-historical utopia, the dream of an “escape from nature” (“The supreme achievement is in our grasp: that nothing will ever happen, anywhere, ever, that we have not decided ourselves”, ibid.), survival, organized and regulated as a whole by disaster management, will be sold to us at retail prices in the production of commodities.

XXIII

The bureaucracy of experts that emerged with the development of planning, manufactures for all the managers of domination a common language and the representations thanks to which the latter understand and justify their own activity. With its diagnoses and forecasts, formulated in the neo-language of rational calculation, it cultivates the illusion of a technoscientific control of “problems”. Defending the program of an integrally managed survival is its job. It is this bureaucracy that regularly issues alerts and warnings, counting on the emergency it proclaims to enable it to be more directly associated in the management of domination. In its campaign for the establishment of a state of emergency, it has never lacked the support of all the left wing statists and other citizenists, and will henceforth hardly encounter any resistance from the managers of the economy, since most of them view the perspective of an endless disaster as a permanent resurgence of production through the quest for “ecocompatibility”. One thing that is now certain is that when the time comes for the application of the old Keynesian recipe of public works programs, summarized in the formula “digging holes in order to fill them up again”, there will be enough “holes” already dug, devastation to repair, wastes to recycle, pollution to clean up, etc. (“We will have to repair what has never been repaired, manage what no one has ever before had to manage”, ibid.).

The training of this new “labor corps” is already on a war footing. Just as the New Deal obtained the support of practically all the leftist intellectuals and militants in the United States, the new ecological course of bureaucratic capitalism is mobilizing on a world scale all the “kind-hearted apparatchiks” of environmental and humanitarian just causes. The latter are young, specialists, enthusiastic, competent and ambitious: trained in battle, in the NGOs and other associations, in leadership and organization, they feel capable of “driving things forward”. Convinced that they embody the higher interests of humanity, and of having history on their side, they are equipped with an absolutely clear conscience and, as if that were not enough, the knowledge that the laws are on their side: the laws that are already on the books and all those which they hope to promulgate. For they want more laws and regulations, and this is where they agree with the rest of the progressives, “anti-liberals” and militants of the State party, for whom “social critique” consists, in the style of Bourdieu, in calling upon the “ruled” to “defend the State” against its “neoliberal dismantling”.

Nothing is more indicative of the way the catastrophism of the experts is something different from a “becoming conscious” of the real disaster of alienated life than the way it strives to make every aspect of life and each detail of personal behavior into an object of state control, subject to rules, regulations and prohibitions. Every expert converted to catastrophism knows he is a depository of a fragment of the true faith, of the impersonal rationality that is the essential ideal of the State. When he directs his accusations and recommendations at political leaders, the expert is aware of the fact that he represents the higher interests of collective management, the imperatives of the survival of the mass society. (He will speak of the “political will” that is required when referring to this aspect of the issue.) The management of the experts is Statist not only because of its habits, because only a reinforced State can apply its solutions: it is structurally Statist, in all its methods, its intellectual categories and its “membership criteria”. These “Jesuits of the State” have their idealism (their “spiritualism”, as Marx called it), the conviction that they are working for the salvation of the planet; but this idealism often reverts in everyday practice to a vulgar materialism, in the eyes of which there is not one single spontaneous manifestation of life that cannot be reduced to the status of a passive object susceptible to being administered: in order to impose the program of bureaucratic management (“producing nature”) it is necessary to combat and eliminate everything that exists independently, without the aid of technology, and which therefore must be irrational (as were, until just yesterday, the critiques of industrial society that proclaimed its foreseeable disaster).

The cult of impersonal scientific objectivity, of knowledge without a subject, is the religion of the bureaucracy. And among its favorite devotions is, for obvious reasons, statistics, the State science par excellence, which effectively attained this status in the militarist and absolutist Prussia of the 18th century, which was also the first society, as Mumford observed, to apply on a grand scale to education the uniformity and impersonalism of the modern public school system. Just as at Los Alamos the laboratory was transformed into a prison, what the world-laboratory is now announcing, as the experts represent it, is a barracks ecology. The fetishism of data and the puerile respect for anything that can be presented in the form of an equation has nothing to do with the fear of error, but rather with the fear of the truth, which the non-expert can formulate without any need for numbers. This is why the non-expert must be educated and informed so that he can submit in advance to the ecological-scientific authority that will dictate to him the new rules, which are so necessary for the smooth functioning of the social machine. In the voices of those who passionately repeat the statistics that are disseminated by catastrophist propaganda, it is not revolt that resounds, but submission in advance to the states of emergency, the acceptance of the disciplinary regimes to come, and support for the bureaucratic power that pretends, through the use of coercive measures, to assure collective survival.

XXIV

If we were to subscribe to the formula of Nougé (“Intelligence has to have teeth, because it attacks problems”), we would be tempted to concede only a very mediocre intelligence to Latouche, the leading thinker of the “anti-growth” movement, that ideology that presumes to be a radical critique of economic development and its “sustainable” products. He provides evidence of a distinctly professorial talent, which verges sometimes on genius, of being able to make a mess of everything he touches and to transform any critical truth, by translating it into the neo-language of the anti-growth tendency, into an insipid and sanctimonious vulgarity. We must not, however, assume that he deserves all the credit for a suave and edifying dullness that is the result of a certain kind of politics: the one the left-wing experts use to attempt to mobilize their troops by recruiting all those who want to believe that we can “escape from development” (that is, from capitalism) by remaining within it. We shall therefore refrain from judging the writings of Latouche as personal works (in this respect, the genius of language is more cruel than any judgment could ever be: his prose faithfully reflects the content of his works). That such a stew, in which all the clichés of eco-compatible citizenism float, could be presented as the bearer of any kind of subversion—even if it were only of a “cognitive” sort—itself gives you an idea of the reigning conformism. On the other hand, with regard to our present topic, Latouche is perfect: he is a master when it comes to flattering the good conscience and nourishing the illusions of the subordinate personnel who still cling to “the social fabric” and who will soon be hired for jobs in the disaster management industry. This is what he calls, at the beginning of his most recent breviary (Petit traité de la décroissance sereine, 2007), supplying “a useful working tool for any executive director of any group or any committed politician, particularly at the local or regional level”.

It should be recalled that the program of those who want to “curtail economic growth”, as it is conceived by Latouche as well as both the decaying citizenism and ecologism in search of a way to rebuild, is reminiscent of the one sketched in 1995 by the American Rifkin in his book The End of Work. Even then he intended to “announce the transition to a post-commodity and post-wage labor society” by way of the development of what Rifkin calls the “third sector” (which roughly translates into French as the “associative movement” or “social economy”); and by the encouragement towards that end of a “mass social movement” “capable of putting pressure on both the private sector and the public authorities” “to achieve the transfer of a part of the enormous benefits of the new information economy towards the creation of social capital and the reconstruction of civil society”. But the anti-growth movement is instead counting on the harsh necessities of the ecological and energy crises, on the basis of which they propose to found so many other virtues, in order to put “pressure” on industrial corporations and the States. Meanwhile, the militants of the anti-growth movement must practice what they preach and show how pedagogically austere they are, in the vanguard of a kind of rationing baptized as “voluntary simplicity”.

Precisely because the advocates of curtailing economic growth present themselves as the bearers of the most resolute will to “escape from development”, it is among them that one can best measure both the depth of the guilt they have to feel (inverted in self-flagellation and commandments to virtue) and their lasting imprisonment in the categories of “scientific” argumentation. The thermodynamic fatum fortunately exempts us from having to choose which road to take: it is the “law of entropy” which constitutes the only alternative to the road of curtailing economic growth. With this Egg of Columbus, laid by their “great economist” Georgescu-Roegen, the supporters of the anti-growth movement are confident they have the irrefutable argument that cannot but convince at least businessmen and leaders of good faith. If not, the consequences, which are predictable and calculable, will compel them to make the inevitable decisions (as Cochet says, whose book Pétrole apocalypse often quotes Latouche: “At one hundred dollars a barrel for petroleum, civilization will have to change”).

Defining society as thermoindustrial likewise permits the discounting of everything now taking place in regard to coercion and recruitment, and everything that does not contribute, or only makes a small contribution, to the exhaustion of energy resources. All such factors are happily passed over, especially when one is an accomplice in public education or other forums. Attributing all our problems to the “thermoindustrial” nature of this society is therefore easy enough, as well as simplistic, for the purpose of satisfying the critical appetite of arriviste fools and cretins, the last remnants of ecologism and the “associative movement”, which comprise the grassroots of the anti-growth movement. The care taken not to offend these grassroots with overly crude truths, by flattering them with a smooth transition to “the joyous rapture of shared austerity” and the “paradise of a convivial curtailment of economic growth”, leads Latouche, who is not after all an idiot, to such voluntary poverty, words of wisdom on the electoral circuit or papal encyclical as the following: “It is becoming increasingly more likely that, beyond a certain point, the growth of GDP translates into a reduction of well-being”; or even, after having dared to impute the desolation of the world to the “market system”: “All of this confirms the doubts we have expressed about the incompatibility of capitalism with a society of the curtailment of economic growth” (Le pari de la décroissance, 2006).

Although most advocates of the curtailment of economic growth feel that it is premature or inadvisable to formally create an “Anti-Growth Party” and that it is preferable at this point to attempt to “influence debate”, it is nonetheless the case that there is a kind of party waiting in the wings, with its informal hierarchy, its rank and file militants, its intellectuals and experts, its leaders and its smooth-talking politicians. All of this works marvelously in the virtuous conventions of a citizenism which it is careful not to upset with any sort of critical excess: above all, it is crucial not to offend anyone at Le Monde diplomatique, to be nice to the left and parliamentarism (“The radical rejection of representative ‘democracy’ has something excessive about it”, ibid.) and, more generally, to progressivism, by not giving the impression of indulging in nostalgia, technophobia, or anything that might be considered to be reactionary. The “transition” to the “escape from development” must be conducted vaguely enough so as not to impede the scams and con games that are ritually denounced as “professional politics”: “The compromises that may have to be made regarding the means of transition must not lose sight of the goals with respect to which we must not make any compromises” (Petit traité de la décroissance sereine, 2007). Latouche recites these goals in a style worthy of the schools for Party cadres: “We must recall these eight objectives that are capable of unleashing a virtuous circle of serene, convivial and sustainable curtailment of economic growth: reevaluate, reconceptualize, restructure, redistribute, relocate, reduce, reuse, and recycle” (ibid.). With regard to what is to be reused and recycled, Latouche is the first to set an example, repeating again and again from one book to another the same pious wishes, statistics, indices, references, examples and quotations. Going around and around in his “virtuous circle”, he nonetheless tries to innovate and has thus enriched his catalog with two more Rs (reconceptualize and relocate) since the era when the glorious proposal to “undo development, rebuild the world” was issued under the aegis of UNESCO (Survivre au développement : De la décolonisation de l’imaginaire économique à la construction d’une société alternative, 2004). What is not so easy to understand is the absence of a ninth commandment, to reappropriate, having cleansed the word of any revolutionary taint (the old “Expropriate the expropriators!”); thus decontaminated, it nonetheless fits like a glove on the expedited enterprise of recuperation to which the anti-growth movement has devoted itself in order to supply itself in the blink of an eye with a gallery of presentable precedents (where we now find “an anarchist tradition within Marxism, rejuvenated by the Frankfurt School, councilism and situationism”, Petit traité de la décroissance sereine).

According to Latouche, the “gamble of curtailing economic growth […] consists in thinking that the attraction of the convivial utopia combined with the pressure of the requirements for change is capable of creating a situation that is favorable for a ‘decolonization of the imagination’ and arousing sufficient ‘virtuous behaviors’ that are conducive to a reasonable solution: ecological democracy” (Le pari de la décroissance). But, with respect to the “requirements for change”, we see clearly just what the advocates of the curtailment of economic growth are good for—to take over, with their calls for self-discipline, from the propaganda for rationing, so that, for example, industrial agriculture will not run out of water for irrigation—but on the other hand it is harder to understand just what attraction could be exercised by a “utopia” whose “semi-electoral” program claims to make room for happiness and pleasure by proposing to “stimulate the ‘production’ of relational goods”. Certainly, no one would precipitously put their faith in lyrical outbursts about shrinking futures;8 but there is hardly any danger that such a thing would happen when these beggars appear with their funereal faces and begin to declaim, with the enthusiasm of a socio-cultural emcee, their promises of the “joy of life” and convivial serenity. The unfortunate attempts to inject a little fantasy into their austerity are as inspired as those of Besset, who sings of the beauty of surrealism as a prefect at the inauguration of the René Char library in a certain provincial city. Happiness seems to be such a new idea to these people, and the idea that they have of it is so similar to the joys promised by a macrobiotic banquet, that there is no other remedy than to suppose that they will die of boredom or that some casseur de pub9 has called their attention to this fact. Now they are basically devoted, particularly in their “theoretical” journal Entropy, to proving that they are big fans of art and poetry. So now we are seeing this in posters and flyers (“On Sunday afternoon at the offices of the groups of Moulins-sur-Allier, from 3:30 to 5:00, the club of local poets and the association of Breton sculptors will present an entertaining performance, followed by an ecological snack”).

The ideology of the curtailment of economic growth was born in the milieu of experts, among whom, in the name of realism, they would like to include in a “bio-economic” accounting those “real costs to society” incurred by the destruction of nature. It preserves the indelible stamp of its origins: despite all the usual talk about the “re-enchantment of the world”, its aspiration, in the style of any technocrat of the Lester Brown type, remains that of “internalizing the costs in order to achieve an improved management of the biosphere”. It preaches voluntary rationing to the rank and file, to set a good example, but demands from government measures from the highest levels: redistribution of the tax burden (“ecotaxes”), subsidies, regulations. If on occasion it ventures to profess anticapitalism—in total contradiction of proposals such as that of a “universal basic income”, for example—it never dares to profess antistatism. Its vaguely libertarian tint only serves to placate part of the public, and to provide a touch of very consensual and “anti-totalitarian” leftism. In this manner the unreal alternative between “ecofascism” and “ecodemocracy” serves primarily to avoid any mention of the bureaucratic reorganization currently in progress, in which one serenely participates by agitating in favor of consensual regimentation, hyper-socialization and conflict resolution. The fear that is expressed in this childish dream of a “transition” without struggle is much more a fear of some disorders in which freedom and the truth could be embodied and cease to be academic questions, rather than a fear of the catastrophe the threat of which it brandishes in order to make their leaders repent. Which is why, quite logically, this curtailment of the growth of consciousness ends up finding what it was looking for in the virtual world, where one can, without feeling guilty, travel “while having only a limited impact on the environment” (Entropy, No. 3, Fall 2007); as long as, however, one forgets that in 2007, according to a recent study, “the information technology sector, worldwide, has made just as much of a contribution to climate change as air transport” (Le Monde, April 13-14, 2008).

XXV

However much Latouche manages to refrain from excess in carrying out his “iconoclastic duty”, the movement to curtail economic growth also has its revisionists, who invite it to dare to appear for what it really is and to once and for all beware of that subversive attire that is so unbecoming to it: “An initial proposal for consolidating the idea of a peaceful curtailment of economic growth would be to clearly and unequivocally renounce revolution as a goal. To damage, destroy or overthrow the industrial world seems to me to be not only a dangerous folly, but also an open appeal to violence, just like the project of overthrowing the social classes was in Marxist theory” (Alexandre Genko, “La décroissance, une utopie sans danger?”, Entropy, No. 4, Spring 2008). Even Besset himself, despite the fact that he is the spokesman for Hulot and a supporter of “la Grenelle de l’environnement” as “a first step in a project of transition towards an ecological, social and cultural transformation of society”, finds it difficult to follow this up with a more moderate caveat: “Considering the magnitude and the complexity of the task, long-winded proposals or doctrinaire catechisms will not exactly be of much help…. However much we accompany the curtailment of economic growth with sympathetic adjectives—convivial, equitable, happy—the thing will not be pleasant … the transition will be terrible, and the break with the past will be painful” (ibid.). These bitter warnings make it clear enough in their own way why the recommendations of the movement for the curtailment of economic growth by no means constitute a program whose content will provide an opportunity for debate, and concerning what kind of compulsory musical score will determine how they play their minuet (decrescendo cantabile), by way of an swan song for an epoch of industrial society: a “new art of consumption” among the ruins of commodity abundance.10

The image of what was not so long ago referred to as the “free world”, has actually hardly varied at all since Yalta: that democratic conformism, armored in its certainties, its commodities and its enviable technologies, was certainly somewhat shaken for a moment by the revolutionary unrest of 1968, but the “fall of the wall” seemed to assure it of a kind of eternal life (some then spoke expeditiously of the “end of history”) and it thought it could congratulate itself that its poor relatives would want to have their turn, and as soon as possible, at access to such delights. Later, however, it had to begin to experience unease at the number of cousins it had, especially the most distant ones, and to ask itself if they were really related, when they recklessly set about increasing their “carbon footprints”. What disturbs the whole world is no longer only the classic scenario of overpopulation, where, despite the increase in productivity, food supplies would prove to be insufficient for meeting the needs of a growing population, but an unprecedented situation in which, with a stable population, the threat is an excess of modern people living modern lives: “If the Chinese or the Indians have to live like us….” Faced with this “catastrophic reality”, the technological panaceas with which we still want to deceive ourselves (nuclear fusion, human transgenesis, colonization of the oceans, space exodus to other planets) hardly bear the aspect of radiant utopias, except for a few enlightened ones, but instead look like palliatives that will in any event come too late. It will therefore be necessary to continue to preach about “hard sacrifices” and “painful breaks” to populations that are going to have to “decline by several stages in the scale of food, mobility, production and lifestyle” (Besset); and, with respect to the new industrial powers, there will have to be a return to protectionism in the name of the fight against “ecological dumping”, in the hope that as a result there would be a more conscious appraisal of the “environmental costs” and the measures that should be adopted to deal with them (a reorientation that is currently embodied in China by Pan Yue).

The “urgent requirements” that the realism of the experts takes pleasure in repeatedly proclaiming are exclusively those that impose the preservation and planet-wide generalization of a condemned industrial way of life. The fact that they can only be applied within a system of needs whose dismantling would allow us to confront, amidst the insane complications of the managed society and its technological orthopedics, the vital problems that only liberty can address and solve, and the fact that this rediscovery of material obligations confronted without intermediaries could be, in itself, in the activity itself, a form of emancipation, are ideas that none of those people who speak to us of the immense dangers created by our entry into the anthropocene era dare to openly and clearly expound. When someone ventures to timidly suggest something of this kind—that depriving ourselves of the comforts of industrial life might not be such a painful sacrifice, but rather the contrary, an immense relief and a sensation of finally returning to life—he is generally pressured to retract his statements, and he is aware of the fact that he would otherwise be tarred with the brush of antidemocratic terrorism, or even of totalitarianism or ecofascism, if he were to follow his argument to its logical conclusions; this explains the proliferation of works in which certain pertinent observations are diluted in an ocean of reassuring considerations. Almost nobody conceives of the advocacy of their ideas not as a banal strategy to win over public opinion on the model of lobbying but rather as a commitment within a historical conflict, in which one strikes without seeking any other ally than an “offensive and defensive pact with the truth”, as a Hungarian intellectual said in 1956. For this reason one cannot but feel terrified at the unity of points of view, the absence of any independent thought and of any really dissident voice. If we take modern history into account, even if it were only the last century, it is dizzying to note, on the one hand, the variety and the audacity of so many positions, hypotheses and contradictory opinions, of whatever kind, and, on the other hand, what has now replaced all of that. In response to the brainwashing to which so many still living protagonists have voluntarily delivered themselves, in the best cases they will sometimes respond reasonably to these historical works, but they will feel that they belong to paleontology or the natural sciences, so far removed are these authors from imagining that the elements they bring to light could have any critical use today.

The taste for respectable conformism, and the hatred and the panic-stricken fear of history, except as a univocal signpost, have reached such a point that compared to what today passes for a member of the civil society movement—with his moderate and polite indignations, his priestly hypocrisy, his cowardice in the face of any direct conflict—any left wing intellectual of the fifties or sixties would almost seem like an indomitable libertarian brimming over with combativity, imagination and humor. Seeing such mental standardization, one could very well believe that one is seeing the result of the activities of a thought police. In reality, support for consensus is the spontaneous product of the feeling of powerlessness, of the anxiety that it implies and the need to seek the protection of the organized collectivity via a complete abandonment to the total society. To cast any doubt whatsoever upon the certainties democratically sanctioned by general consent—the benefits of internet culture or those of high tech medicine—could cause one to be suspected of a deviation with respect to received opinion, it could even lead to independent thought or even a judgment passed against alienated life as a whole. And who can be allowed to do such a thing? All of this cannot but bring to mind the motto of the militant’s submission, perinde ac cadaver, as it was formulated by Trotsky: “The Party is always right”. But whereas in the totalitarian bureaucratic societies coercion was perceived as such by the masses, and it was a terrible privilege of militants and apparatchiks to have to believe in the fiction that a choice was possible—for or against the socialist fatherland, the working class, the Party—that is, to have to constantly put to the test an orthodoxy that was never really secure, that privilege has been democratized today, although with less dramatic effect: no opposition to the good of society, or to what society declares to be necessary. It is a civic duty to be healthy, to be culturally up-to-date, to be connected to the net, etc. Ecological imperatives are the latest irrefutable argument. Who is not, of course, opposed to pedophilia—but, above all, who is opposed to the preservation of the social organization that will allow humanity, the planet and the biosphere to be saved? Here is the real mother lode for an already vigorous and widespread “citizen” personality.

In France, what is especially noteworthy is that this frightened submission adopts a particularly oppressive, almost pathological form; but in order to explain it there is no need to resort to a psychology of national character: it is simply because here conformism has had to work overtime in order to shore up its certainties. Since it is necessary for it to condemn in advance the denial that was inflicted on it forty years ago, that critique of modern society and of its “system of illusions” delivered by the revolutionary uprising of May 1968, and which fleetingly penetrated the collective consciousness, inscribed on the ephemeral public space that gave rise to its wild existence. A rival of Latouche in the movement to curtail economic growth, who emphatically declared himself to be “republican” and “democratic”, that is, statist and electoralist, thus expressed his fear that “extremist and maximalist theories and practices” would reinforce in the youth those defects that appear to come natural to them, “such as hatred of institutions or the wholesale rejection of society” (Vincent Cheynet, Le Choc de la décroissance, 2008).

XXVI

Subjected to a campaign of exaggeration every ten years, and this time converted, to put an end to it once and for all, into a deafening racket, the scandal of the “cultural revolution” that the French May supposedly was recuperates, augmented by the contributions of a multitude of false witnesses, the interpretation of the events which was immediately offered at the time by those who did not deny that they were reactionaries. Although the relative restraint shown in the repression that followed the crisis certainly did not in any way resemble the Bloody Week,11 there was no lack of either sociologists (some of whom were quite mistreated in the agitation that preceded the uprising) or commentators and journalist-cops who rapidly vomited up their bile. Concerning that movement without either leaders or representatives (but which some individuals sought to manufacture as soon as possible), in which the most insignificant public buildings were occupied and which, nonetheless, was so lacking in rationality that no one ever even thought of investing the Champs-Élysées or the National Assembly, what can be said about it that will deprive it of its ability to frighten people, except that it was in reality nothing but a pantomime, a psychodrama of baby-boomers playing at revolution, a recreational release valve that the “consumer society” offered its spoiled children, that is, a non-event in the final analysis? It is an enduring irony that “the May events” has become the usual name given to the obsessive vacuity of this non-event.

Piling up on this inaugural falsification that was the stupid journalistic image of the “student commune”, the successive layers of false representations confidently deposited on the occasion of each commemoration tell us instead about the epoch that produced them, and about the persistent difficulty in assimilating the insult that the uprising inflicted on the acuity of the analysts of that era, including all its intellectuals as well as its PhDs in revolution. But it likewise shows that what had led to so much effort and so much controversy over so many years had not ceased to be perceived as a vague threat of dissolution of the entire existing order: it had finally come to discussing, following the model of revisionism a la Furet—for whom the French Revolution unfortunately went wrong because of the existence of revolutionaries—a “demonization of power which is corroding the pillars of coexistence and discrediting the very possibility of a transformative politics” (“Mai 68, quarante ans après”, Le Débat, March-April 2008). Since the irritating “mystery of ‘68” still involves the question of how, starting with a very restricted agitation, whose declared goal was the destruction of the University, so many people enthusiastically participated in the critique in acts of “everything that can be criticized”, it will be understood that almost all of its historical enemies—certified experts or actors credentialed by their frequent appearances on TV—will henceforth join a reassuring consensus in favor of the idea that it is finally nothing but an “impossible legacy”, according to the judicious formula of one of these experts. One could not be more faithful to the truth nor is there any better way to express it than to say that that attempt to reject all the different forms of alienation, old and new, has left nothing for the use of those who, in order to condemn it or to praise it, have ever more confidently proclaimed that the main effect of the movement was to overthrow the archaisms that still restricted French society and which prevented it from carrying out its comprehensive modernization.

This capitalist modernization, well advanced under Gaullism, probably would have been carried out anyway, but the various leftist sects played a supporting role in it that was falsely attributed to the uprising. It is known that only after the end of the uprising, and during the early days of the return to order, once their organizations were reconstituted which had been dissolved by a State that was looking for an enemy whose motives it could understand—and which it opportunely discovered in these sectarian and hierarchical groups, whose methods and goals were radically opposed to the essence of what the occupations movement was and what it had attempted to accomplish—these leftist groupuscules acquired, in just a few years, an influence and a visibility of which they could have only dreamed previously. What they did with this influence was invariably grotesque and revolting; some, who had not all become senators, believing that May was a dress rehearsal of the seizure of the Winter Palace, while others, convinced that they were the embodiment of a new Resistance and that they were on the road towards civil war, dreamed of popular tribunals and summary executions. All of this collapsed very quickly, but by way of the decomposition of all their political illusions and ambitions, which they renounced without, however, renouncing their style and their worst methods, the leftists managed to create a new identity for themselves in a kind of “cultural leftism” whose impact, and whose unequalled contribution to our finally liberated and truly modern customs, is recognized by the whole world. There are those who often express how fortunate it was that, in its stage of delirious mimicry with regard to the military imagination of bureaucratic regimentation, French leftism did not join the flight forward into terrorism, as occurred shortly afterwards in Italy and Germany. One can, however, frame the question somewhat differently and discern that its sectarianism, its ideological dementia, its sacrificial militantism, in short, the whole ensemble of the practices and effective reality of these groups was sufficient, without the need to proceed to the propaganda of the deed, to produce the same effects, by destroying a revolutionary generation in the making, infecting it with ideology and inducing it to loathe subversion as a result of its repugnant play acting. This was the first contribution made by leftism, as negative as it was decisive, to the success of the modernization project whose course had been led to a temporary detour by May ‘68.

XXVII

Gustav Janouch relates Kafka’s disappointed comments after watching a workers demonstration pass by, its flags flying in the wind: “These people are so convinced and so sure of themselves, and are in such a good mood…. They rule the street and think therefore that they rule the world. But they are mistaken. Behind them are the secretaries, the officials and the professional politicians, all the modern sultans, for whom they are paving the way to power…. The revolution is evaporating and all that remains is the mud of a new bureaucracy”. (It was later in the same passage that he would state: “The chains of a tortured humanity are made of office paper”.) Although very muddy, what will be left after the evaporation of the revolution this time cannot be defined as a “new bureaucracy”. The replacement of the personnel of domination took place, of course, but in the usual way of a new generation taking the place of the old in the framework of the existing society. (This was at least understood by the Minister of the Interior during the period of the reestablishment of order when he said, sarcastically enough: “All of these young leftists will end up as deputies or mainstream journalists”.) If the revolution was lost in the muck, this was due to the promotion of new customs, propagated by those same people who had devoted their principle efforts to containing and channeling the flood and which were rapidly adopted by those who had been their spectators to the end; what is most significant is the fact that this spread of pleasant customized freedoms that constitute the customs of the slaves of an advanced society is presented by most commentators, even when they attempt to be critical of such a “market individualism”, as the specific content of that unfinished revolution; not as one of its effects, in conformance with a “classic” process of recuperation, but as its essence and its most profound meaning.

Ever since social revolutions have existed and ever since they have been defeated, we have witnessed restorations that have employed the most varied methods; but we have never before seen them succeed, so rapidly and with such little repression, in carrying out such a disarmament of consciousness. Anyone who took part in the revolutionary unrest of May and then saw Paris in the autumn of 1968 would understand immediately, unless he preferred to deceive himself, what a variety of faces the counterrevolution adopted on that occasion, and would get a sense of just what they all had in common. Along the endless vistas of asphalt streets, it was not so much the ubiquity of the police that characterized the reestablishment of order as the murky happiness of the Directory: a kind of revanchist binge dictated their liberated behaviors to the Muscadins et Merveilleuses12 of a relieved middle class, all the more prepared to surrender body and soul to the revolutionary fashion, and especially to that of the liberation of lifestyles, insofar as it had aspired for several years to enjoy a lifestyle that was more in keeping with the various appliances it had been able to acquire. This was the occasion when leftism made its second contribution, this time a positive one, to modernization. But it was first necessary for its most extremist variants in the microbureaucratic imposture to reach, by way of demagogy and deception, their point of putrefaction.

Concerning the manner in which part of that “untamed youth”—which was the only fragile “heir” of May—joined the manipulative activism of leftism, it has been characterized as “a kind of ‘after the fact’ Leninism” (Kristin Ross, May ’68 and its Afterlives, 2002). Nonetheless, for such a recruitment campaign to be successful, leftism had to add a great deal of adventurism and spontaneist demagogy to its Leninism; or should we say, its Leninism-Stalinism, since it was primarily the Maoists who excelled in this genre, as they would later with regard to media repentance, the promotion of youth culture and festive makeup. At the vanguard of this process of decomposition, an unprecedented “anarcho-maoist” current attempted, as early as 1970, to diversify its range of influence and to confer a more pop culture image on the squalid routine of the militant, adapting the idea of a “revolution of everyday life” to the sinister blindness about the “liberation” of Vietnam on the part of the local Stalinists and other monstrosities regarding the “Cultural Revolution”. At the same time, the importation of the American-style “counterculture” spread the worst clichés of a slovenly consumption, spiced up with the drugs of transgression, in an ideological melting-pot that here in France, and perhaps also in its country of origin, in any case signified an impressive step backwards. All of this culminated during the course of the seventies in a mass hedonism, conventional insofar as it was proudly displayed, to which the most fragile element of the modern social critique contributed its touch of complacent “subjectivity”.13 The renunciation on the part of the leftists of their most draconian ambitions for revolutionary leadership was utilized above all, in the name of certain conveniently rediscovered “individual liberties”, to make up for the time wasted in militant mortification in order to adopt the effervescent style of consumption that would from then on be customary. In this way, the obscene safety valve of the “slave festival” gave way after a few years, as it spread to more and more layers of society, to a festive slavery patronized by the government.

The suddenness and the historical violence of the French May implied the requirement that the “reestablishment of order” would be, more than just a restoration, the accelerated perfection of the new order of the commodity against which May had rebelled. In order to be complete, this brief sketch of the role that the various leftisms played in this respect must also mention the manner in which the latter, by recruiting the bulk of their troops from the student milieu, applied to their future cadres, who were manufactured as quickly as possible to respond to certain growing needs, techniques of training and manipulation that anticipated those that now prevail in the world of the “enterprise” and in much of social relations. In fact, by imposing a kind of interdisciplinary program, the leftists in effect contributed, where the University still lacked such expertise, to the inculcation of new aptitudes and to the forging of the necessary character traits for the graduates of this dual degree program, preparing them for the optimal execution of the tasks that would henceforth be their responsibility in the continuation of the modernization process; the flexibility they were made to display in order to submit to the tortuous political lines pronounced by their respective leaderships could finally be fully utilized. Some sociologists, who had passed from a “critical sociology” to a “sociology of critique”, more attentive to the positive dimensions of the social bond, have attempted long after the fact to give a theoretical form to the phenomenon and have discerned in it a new spirit of capitalism. The trick consists in situating libertarian assertions and the critique of alienation under the ad hoc category of “artistic critique” and in presenting this as something that is quite different from a pure “social critique” that refers exclusively to exploitation and hierarchy, which authorizes the accusation of the “artistic critique” for “playing the game of a particularly destructive liberalism”. It should not be surprising that Jean-Claude Michéa has proclaimed as “definitive” the “analysis” of that pair of pedants (Boltanski-Chiapello), but curiously he was not the only one, for there were some from whom we could have expected more lucidity regarding such a claim to re-found social critique ex cathedra.

XXVIII

If we have engaged in this quick summary of the falsifications of the French May—deliberately attending to just this one aspect—it is not because we feel absolutely compelled to do so by some “duty to memorialize” dictated by the ten-year commemorative celebrations. What, in our view, justifies these retrospective observations is the recent appearance, after so many years of slanders or slanderous eulogies, of a new wave of commentators who claim to defend ’68 even in its most anti-bureaucratic aspects, and who continue to slander it, since according to them we must interpret (in the style of the book by Kristin Ross quoted above, which was published in France by Le Monde diplomatique)14 the “social movement” of December 1995, Seattle and other rejections of “the liberal new world order” as a continuation, an “afterlife”, of “May”. We would only like to point out that, contrary to one of the most admirable features of the occupations movement (its matter-of-fact rejection of the State, of legality and of any “social dialogue”), the “anti-liberal” protests do nothing but deplore the disappearance of the “social State” and its “culture of public service”, stooping so low as to demand its restoration. Nor is it irrelevant to point out that the post-’68 era has witnessed—in addition to a “festivism” that, now that the storm has put out the fires of the party, no longer requires a great deal of boldness to attack—a diversified supply of segmented egalitarian protests, all of which are unified by their reformist conformism which, when not engaging in apologetics for, avoids any criticism, even of a purely verbal nature, of the central realities of technological and commercial alienation. This is of course true of the statist metastases called associative movements. But it is well known that protests like neo-feminism or the homosexual movements that at least fought against the persistence of particularly repugnant ancient alienations, have been able to embody, by means of French theory, a very effective vanguard of normalization and social conformism in which it is hard to discern, with regard to everything from equal rights to gay marriage, just which prescriptions belong to the domain of the politically correct and which to that unitary thought whose expression until not so long ago aroused such passions. In the mouths of its volatile anti-liberal, another-world-is-possible and anti-growth avatars, the civil society movement formulates and uniformly develops “the social demand for protection from the catastrophe”. Its discouraging example thus contributes a useful complement to the classical critique of bureaucracy. The latter applies to the way the State imposes its rules and its control over society. From now on, it is society itself—by means of any men whatsoever who mobilize to combine their various anxieties and to manufacture the image of an alleged “civil society”—which also demands rules and control. It cannot be overemphasized, everything else being equal, how much this muddy land exhibits disturbing similarities with what Primo Levi, in The Drowned and the Saved, designated as the grey zone of the Lager.

XXIX

In his critique of the works in which Burnham first popularized Rizzi’s theory of the bureaucratization of the world, Orwell pointed out how the fascination with the spectacle of force had led Burnham, before he ended up following the crowd and joining the anticommunist propaganda of the Cold War, to overestimate the efficiency of the organization that he called “managerial”, although at the risk of attributing this same irresistible efficiency to Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia due to the circumstances of the time. Orwell noted that this way of predicting the linear continuation of what was then taking place and speaking of “processes which have barely started are talked about as though they were already at an end”, without sufficiently accounting for the slowness of the whole historical process and what we would today call “sociological inertia”, “is bound to lead to mistaken prophecies, because, even when it gauges the direction of events rightly, it will miscalculate their tempo” (“James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution”, 1946). In a later text (“Burnham’s View of the Contemporary World Struggle”, 1947), Orwell once again addressed this tendency “to reduce history and its complex processes to a pure logical schema” and to that kind of “realism” that falsifies the perception of reality, and which in this case leads Burnham to attribute an ineluctable character of necessity and unstoppable efficiency to the bureaucratic concentration of power. An effect similar to that of the “power worship now so prevalent among intellectuals” may be observed in the fascination with regard to the technological system, its rapid growth and its “Blitzkriegs” against nature: they are the same monotonous delusions of infallible rationality, of sudden and brutal transformations, of historical destiny that is sometimes terrible but always grandiose.

For its part, social critique, even when it deserved the name, often succumbed to some of these mistakes: it either indulged in irony regarding the blunders and mistakes of the leaders, made fun of the incoherence and ridiculous failures of their projects, gloated over the “internal contradictions” which, inevitably, undermined the existing society; or else, on the contrary, as a result of a desire for lucidity with respect to the progress of alienation and thus wanting to emphasize, against all the revolutionist illusions, the perfection of domination, conceded to the latter an efficiency, and sometimes even a rationality, that was capable of allowing it to appear to be indestructible. Obviously, the danger always exists that one could fall prey to exaggeration and simplification when one is describing an ongoing process, in this case one that is leading to the establishment of a “green bureaucracy”. But in reality it was almost indispensable to exaggerate in order to make people see precisely in what sense the “new course” of domination cannot be considered a simple face-lift, what the Anglo-Saxons call greenwashing. We are not unaware, however, of how far the bureaucratic project of the sustainable management of disaster, from the moment when it goes beyond a call for taking responsibility when brushing our teeth by turning off the tap or for car-pooling when going to the ecological supermarket in order to reduce our carbon footprint, runs into too many obstacles, both external and internal, to effectively achieve any kind of stabilization on a world scale. (After all, according to its own confession, only on that scale can any results be obtained.) The disaster management whose broad outlines we have attempted to trace will achieve its most striking successes in the countries that are already the most civilized, and most accustomed to over-socialization. And even there it will not, like every bureaucracy, obtain more than a simulation of efficiency. However rapid bureaucratization may develop, precipitated by the states of emergency that it will have to decree, it will “resolve” nothing: it will have to confront, with its enormous means of coercion and falsification, the spread of all kinds of plagues and their unforeseeable combinations. But the intellectual satisfaction of knowing that it is condemned to failure is not much of a consolation for us, especially since this outcome promises what may be a long period during which industrial society will be collapsing on top of us. There is thus no place for any computations regarding its possibilities or any speculation regarding what comes “later”. For the time being it is already successfully stifling, and is doing so with an incomparable efficiency, any attempt to sustain a social critique that must be both anti-state and anti-industrial. In this respect we may venture to draw a parallel with the historical situation of the revolutionaries between the two world wars, at a time when one had to be both anti-fascist and anti-stalinist; the use of the fascist threat by the Stalinism of the popular front is similar in many ways to the statist propaganda now being disseminated regarding the risks of ecological collapse: the same concealment of the real historical causes, the same blackmail of urgency and efficiency, the same manipulation of universally acknowledged noble sentiments.

XXX

The obstinate refusers who attempt to cast doubt upon the benefits, whatever they may be, which the propaganda for oversocialization insists on imposing against all the evidence, and who refuse to enlist with the Sacred Union for the salvation of the planet, can prepare to be treated in the near future as deserters and saboteurs were in times of war. The “state of necessity” and the shortages that will accumulate will first of all force the acceptance or demand for new forms of servitude, in order to preserve what can be preserved of guaranteed survival even if it is only partially successful in this endeavor. (And everyone knows how things stand where no one can boast of such historical conquests.)

The course of this strange war, however, will not fail to create opportunities to engage in the critique in acts of the bureaucratic blackmail. Or, to put it slightly differently: one can predict entropy, but not the rise of something new. The role of the theoretical imagination is still that of discerning, in a present crushed by the probability of the worst-case scenario, the diverse possibilities which nonetheless remain open. Trapped like everyone else within a reality that is as unstable as it is violently destructive, we shall not overlook this datum of experience, which seems to us to be appropriate for resistance: that the action of a few individuals, or of very restricted human groups, can have, with a little luck, effort and will, incalculable consequences.

April 2008

Translated from the Spanish edition: René Riesel and Jaime Semprun, Catastrofismo, administración del desastre y sumisión sostenible, Pepitas de Calabaza, La Rioja, Spain, 2011, 131 p.

  • 1. “The most profound and most real historical catastrophe, the one that in the last instance determines the significance of all the others, resides in the blind persistence of the immense majority, in the resignation of all will to act on the causes of so much suffering, in the inability to even subject them to lucid examination. This apathy will be shattered, over the course of the next few years, in an increasingly more violent manner, as a result of the collapse of all guaranteed survival. And those who represent and support that survival, cultivating a fragile status quo of reassuring illusions, will be swept aside. The emergency will be imposed on everyone and domination will have to speak at least as loudly and as clearly as the facts themselves. It will all the more easily adopt the terrorist tone that is all the more natural for it the more it will be justified by effectively terrifying realities. A man suffering from gangrene is in no position to discuss the causes of his illness, or to oppose the authoritarianism of amputation.” (Encyclopédie des Nuisances, No. 13, July 1988).
  • 2. “One would have to be a Marxist from the Collège de France to be unaware of the fact that the commodity is essentially, in its quality as a social relation, the annihilation of all qualitative particularity and all local uniqueness in favor of the abstract universalization of the market. If one accepts the commodity, one must accept its world-in-becoming, of which each particular commodity is an agent, even before they were manufactured in Taiwan” (Encyclopédie des Nuisances, Remarques sur la paralysie de décembre 1995, March 1996).
  • 3. “The first and most important of these necessary conditions for scientific knowledge was to draw a hard and fast line between the artificial environment of observation and experimentation on the one hand, and the confusion of the world on the other…. The procedures and techniques which have been implemented in the artificial environment of experimentation have so profoundly penetrated the world, they are so completely mixed with it to such an extent that it has become impossible to disentangle even the causes from the effects and there is nothing left that one can know through observation; neither the functioning of a mechanical system that is closed on itself, nor any nature that is not altered by artificialization. Therefore, we can say that science, which in order to be built had to ‘sacrifice’ the world in theory, has ended up by sacrificing it in practice, and has in the process also destroyed itself, since the position of the pure observer that was that of the scientist has by all considerations become unsustainable” (Encyclopédie des Nuisances, Remarques sur l’agriculture génétiquement modifiée et la dégradation des espèces, February 1999).
  • 4. “Ecologism recuperates all of this and adds its technobureaucratic ambition to supply the measure of everything, to reestablish order in its way, transforming itself, as a science of the generalized economy, into a new mode of thought of domination. ‘Us or chaos’, the ecolocrats and recycled experts say, those promoters of a totalitarian control they seek to exercise, in order to overtake the catastrophe in progress. It will therefore be them and chaos” (Encyclopédie des Nuisances, No. 15, April 1992).
  • 5. An untranslatable play on words involving estomper (“to blur, to tone down”) and the double meaning of the verb gazer (“to veil, to dissimulate, to wrap in bandages”, but also “to poison with gas, to gas”). (Note from the Spanish translation.)
  • 6. “Ecologism, otherwise, has not been remiss in becoming political; such a good predisposition could not go unused. From 1972 forward, a multitude of summits and reasonably specialized and alarmist reports were coming to the rescue […]. This is how, after 1987, the international community began to speak of a commitment to sustainable development, a clumsy chimera whose universal success in itself summarizes the progress attained by the imprisonment in the industrial mentality” (René Riesel, Los progresos de la domesticación, 2003).
  • 7. “The ecological state of emergency is simultaneously a war economy that mobilizes production in the service of common interests as defined by the State, and an economic war against the threat posed by protest movements that might unequivocally criticize it” (“Appeal to All Those Who Would Rather Do Away with Harmful Phenomena than Manage Them” [1990], Encyclopédie des Nuisances, No. 15, April 1992).
  • 8. “ … lendemains que décroissent”, an allusion to the “singing futures” (“des lendemains que chantent”), an old slogan of the French Communist Party. (Translator’s note from the Spanish edition).
  • 9. Casseurs de pub (“Destroyers of Advertising”) is a French magazine edited by Victor Cheynet whose views are similar to the postulates of the movement for the curtailment of economic growth. (Translator’s note from the Spanish edition).
  • 10. “Thus, at the very moment that the flight forward of industrial society is irreversibly leading it to collapse, it has chosen to privilege the exchange of Jesuitical arguments about control—scientific, or perhaps civil—over the merits of the public management of this collapse or over the precautions that will have to be adopted in order to make this collapse bearable. How is it possible to see this as anything but a controversy over the customs or table manners that one has decided to observe in the pool of Medusa?” (René Riesel, “Communiqué” of February 9, 2001, at Montpellier, Aveux complets sur les véritables mobiles…, 2001).
  • 11. May 21-27, 1871, when the Paris Commune was crushed and thousands of its supporters were executed by the troops of Versailles. (Note from the Spanish edition.)
  • 12. Muscadins (“dandies”) et Merveilleuses (“fabulous divas”); Fops, Incredibles … names given during the French Revolution to the realists, who called attention to themselves by their affected and elegant attire that verged on the ridiculous, and who made their first appearance in the counterrevolutionary Paris of the Directory. (Note from the Spanish edition.)
  • 13. “The true vanguard of adaptation, leftism (and especially where it was least connected to the political lie) preached, then, practically all the impostures that are now the common currency of alienated behavior. In the name of the struggle against the routine and against boredom, it denigrated any persistent effort, and any appropriation, which requires patience, of real abilities: subjective excellence was supposed to be, like the revolution, instantaneous” (Jaime Semprun, L’Abîme se repeuple, 1997).
  • 14. Published in the United States by the University of Chicago Press.

Greenwashing the Climate Catastrophe

Counterpunch

By Kenn Orphan

 

“With “capitalism in danger of falling apart” (a rare, cryptically honest quote from Al Gore), and years of stagnant global economic growth now in a free fall, the Greta campaign must be understood for what it is. An elaborate distraction that has nothing to do with protecting the natural world, and everything to do with the manufacturing of consent. The required consent of the citizenry that will unlock the treasuries and public monies under the guise of climate protection.” –– Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer, from The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – For Consent: The House is on Fire & the 90 Trillion Dollar Rescue, 2019

 

“One might think that if someone were conscious enough to recognise that global ecology was compromised and that pollutants were destroying fresh water, and the land, and that global warming was quite possibly going to make huge swatches of land non arable — you might think that person would look for solutions in a political frame. After all it was global capital that had brought mankind to this historic precipice. But instead, many if not nearly all the people I speak with, frame things in terms of personal responsibility. Stop driving big diesel SUVs, stop flying to Cabo for vacation, stop eating meat, etc-. But these same people tend to not criticize capitalism. Or, rather, they ask for a small non crony green capitalism. I guess this would mean green exploitation and green wars? For war is the engine of global capitalism today. Cutting across this are the various threads of the overpopulation theme. A convenient ideological adjustment that shifts blame to the poorest inhabitants of the planet.” –– John Steppling, Trust Nothing, 2019

 

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” –– Noam Chomsky, The Common Good, 1998

 

“Modern business must have its finger continuously on the public pulse. It must understand the changes in the public mind and be prepared to interpret itself fairly and eloquently to changing opinion.” –– Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda, 1928

It is hard not to notice a stirring of consciousness regarding humanity’s dire ecological predicament beginning to seep into the mainstream these days. How can it not? Year after year records are shattered. Month after month scientists continue to be shocked and demoralized by more and more evidence of rising seas, a climate careening into a chaotic and terrifying unknown, and countless species succumbing in a biosphere perpetually under siege. Even the corporate media which has been designed as a mouthpiece of capitalist interests cannot completely veil our collective crisis. Unsurprisingly, the ruling class has begun to react, not in a way that meaningfully addresses the death cult of the current socioeconomic order, but to ensure its survival albeit with a greener face. Their cynical approach to what is the biggest existential crisis of our age is using youthful optimism and justified outrage and terror to cloud their machinations.

 

 

One such prominent youth these days is Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish girl who delivered a rousing speech at the UN Climate Change Conference and before the world’s wealthiest at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Indeed, her speech was inspiring and I do not doubt her passion or honest devotion to climate activism for a minute, but to ignore the powerful machine looking to co-opt her message would be a grave mistake. For instance, Thunberg has been given interviews in the corporate press, has been endorsed by a tech start-up company (We Don’t Have Time), and has been lauded by industry for promoting “sustainable development.”

Now certainly Thunberg is not the one manipulating any of these actors, and she should not face any kind of criticism for her part in addressing the greatest existential issue of our times. But it should be clear that most people who get interviews in the corporate media are generally not deemed to be a serious challenger to the status quo political/economic order. Corporate approved dissent is a form of censorship that gives the illusion of a lively debate, but essentially establishes a firm line in the sand when if comes to radically questioning or opposing the capitalist framework itself. And if finance companies are behind something we can be pretty sure that they are primarily in it for the money. In addition to this, the term sustainable development is a meaningless on a planet that is literally on the edge of a cliff, but under the dominant economic dictatorship of money the co-opted mainstream environmental movement has pumped out these tropes making them a form of collective social conditioning.

And this ties into the notion of personal responsibility. Solutions to our environmental crisis have been reduced to “life style changes” which have also become the en vogue activism of the day. It is a line of thinking that is accepted and even endorsed by corporations, banks and neoliberal governments because it poses no real challenge to their power or their ongoing destructive practices. To the mainstream, tweaking one’s lifestyle is all that is needed. Buy an electric vehicle or use a bicycle. Don’t take a plane on your vacation. Buy reusable bags. Choose organic only. Go vegan. Buy reusable straws. While there is nothing wrong with doing these things in general, they must be understood as individual choices that are based on privilege and that have little impact in addressing urgent crisis our biosphere is facing right now.

What they do manage to do is deliver an added punishment on the poor and working class, people who are struggling to make ends meet. It places an unfair level of guilt on ordinary people whose impact on the environment is relatively negligible compared to the enormous destruction caused by the fossil fuel industry, mining companies, plastic and packaging production, shipping and the military industrial complex. Seldom (if ever) questioned are the basic foundations of the current economic order which is driving the decimation of the biosphere for the benefit of the wealthy Davos jet set.

It has in fact become only about “sustainability” despite the contradiction of sustaining a system that is at its core omnicidal. Corporations have been actively branding themselves with empty greenwashing euphemisms like “green” or “earth friendly” in the decades following the first Earth Day. It is as if our species were somehow alien visitors to this planet and being friendly to it was merely a diplomatic concern. Certainly a handful of corporations did in fact change some of their practices under public pressure and for the sake of image. Some of those changes had beneficial effects for certain species and areas. But the primary engine of capitalism that has led us to the brink of devastation is never questioned. It is sacrosanct.

With this in mind political solutions, like the Green New Deal, are being trotted out by democratic socialist and neoliberal politicians that merely cloak the problem, never identifying the root of it all: Capitalism. In fact, many of these policies are weak on protecting nature and are simply designed to keep capitalism afloat. At its core this is a system that is incapable of even beginning  to address climate change or biospheric degeneration. Its principles are based upon the exploitation of the environment for the material gain of the ruling class, kept alive through institutions of repression and corporate state violence. Under this rubric environmental causes may be soothed for some; but the poor and working class are continually battered and raped by industry and the corrupt governments that house and protect them. Indigenous peoples, who face the worst exploitation, continually see their lands desecrated and denuded by state policing factions at the behest of powerful corporations. And militarism, which is of course wedded to capitalism, ensures that all of this exploitation can continue and expand virtually unopposed by bourgeois society.

It may be a hard pill for many to swallow, but there are simply no viable answers to be found in Washington, or the hills of Hollywood, or the board rooms of Wall Street, or even at the United Nations which generally capitulates to the demands of the ruling class. They have molded each of these institutions, media industries and government bodies to fit their censorious narrative in order to suppress dissent against the current economic order, under which they so handsomely profit. And one would be wise to approach whatever they offer with great caution. After all, they have been labouring for years to dismember the commons, grow their inordinate wealth through plunder, and maintain their dominance through corruption, militarism and distraction. The sacredness of the public sphere has been defiled by the inviolable liturgy of free market dogma. And they have manufactured a culture of cruelty, devoid of character and predicated on colonization and the commodification and exploitation of everything and everyone that exists. In this way neoliberalism, the last and most ruthless stage of capitalism, has become the most elaborate and successful form of brainwashing and social control the world has ever known, convincing hundreds of millions of people of the absolute necessity of its economic tyranny and omnicidal madness.

But despite the machinations of the ruling class to obfuscate, infiltrate and co-opt movements, there remains a genuine longing for connection to the ever besieged living planet and solidarity with one another that transcends the indifferent and sadistic brutality of the capitalist order. This is especially true as capitalism begins to implode and the biosphere continues to degrade. Therefore the most coherent response to what we are witnessing will always come from ordinary people in community, especially the poor and especially indigenous peoples who are on the front lines of a war being waged by governments serving the interests of the wealthy ruling class and global capitalism. But we can be assured that anything that emanates from the halls of power will be merely another ploy to maintain their control and fill the coffers of the uber-rich at the expense of the rest of us and the living earth itself. And they have no problem using the innocent passion of a 16 year old girl to hide all of their crimes.

 

[Kenn Orphan is an artist, sociologist, radical nature lover and weary, but committed activist. He can be reached at kennorphan.com.]

Greenwashing? The Green Marches are Mute on the “War Factor”

Publico

March 17, 2019

By Nazanín Armanian

[*Translated from Spanish to English via Google Translator.]

 

February 23, 2019: “French president Macron received Swedish climate girl Greta Thunberg (right to Macron) and a delegation from Youth for Climate, including Anuna De Wever (second from the right) and Kyra Gantois (first from the left).” [Source]

On March 15, the Day of the Popular March for Climate, tens of thousands of young people from several countries, followers of the Swedish student Greta Thunberg, showed their indignation at the indifference of world leaders towards climate change. Since last August, 16-year-old Greta demonstrates every Friday before the Swedish Parliament calling for greater commitment in the fight against the alarming deterioration of the oceans and glaciers.

Surprising (or not) that while environmental activists of the stature of the Honduran Berta Cáceres or the Iranian professor Kavous Emami who have been killed for their struggle against the powers that benefit from the destruction of the environment, the Swedish teenager is presented as leader of the fight to save the planet.

According to Global Witness, in 2017, at least 207 environmental activists were murdered in 22 countries. A year earlier, there were another 200, eight more than in 2015. It is unknown why she, a native of one of the world’s top arms sellers, and her fans concerned about the CO2 that seeps into her lungs, have not included the “No to war” and the businesses that revolve around the arms industry in its claims to save the battered planet. It is incomprehensible that they are more afraid of breathing contaminated air, but not of the very real threat of a nuclear war that would kill billions of living beings, and cause long and hard suffering for the survivors. A year ago Trump broke the nuclear agreement with Iran , and last month he did the same with the agreement with Russia, while he ordered to invest 1.2 billion dollars to make new atomic bombs in order to “make the world safer “.

In the slogans the “March” did not see any mention of the consequences of the open wars in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya (which have destroyed the lives of nearly 150 million people), nor those that imperialism can start against Venezuela and Iran, or the deadly contamination of the Palestinians’ habitat, which besides being bombed almost daily by Israel, they live an ecological catastrophe: millions of their olive trees have been uprooted by the occupiers, the fields of Fruit trees and farms in Gaza have disappeared; its people breathe the asbestos of demolished houses, and untreated sewage pollutes the Mediterranean because of the destruction of infrastructure.

The same “amnesia” happens with television ads, which invite us to recycle to protect the land, but silence the degree of responsibility of large companies always protected by the states, which commit 80% of the aggressions against the environment .

The lack of policies on the part of the capitalist governments to avoid a greater ecological disaster is simply a policy.

Other false environmental heroes

 

Greenwashing “greenwashing” or pseudoecologism is the term created to denounce makeup on the face of a system that continuously generates and reproduces the foundations of the destruction of nature.

Former US Vice President Al Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 ” for his efforts to build and disseminate on climate change “, despite the fact that the Clinton-Gore administration bombed Yugoslavia, Albania, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq , Haiti, Zaire, and Liberia, using all kinds of destructive munitions including projectiles that contained depleted uranium, causing the death of tens of thousands of civilians and causing irreparable damage to their lands, airs, and waters. He was also one of the promoters of the campaign to expand raw material for biofuel, trying to convert the pancakes of the poorest Mexicans into ethanol from the cars of the well off. It was the fear of the rebellion of millions of hungry people who filed away, in part, this occurrence.

Years later, in September 2014 and on the eve of the UN Climate Summit, Wall Street bankers paid about $ 220,000 to announce the march organized by companies like Avaaz and 300 other organizations against the New York subway. the pollution of the planet. The participation of the World Bank or the Clinton Global Initiative in these initiatives, rather than being due to the “mainstreaming” of the environmental movement, is to take control of it, as well as a marketing operation to “whitewash” the most predatory elites without scruples of the world, the same that presents, for example, to NATO as the sister of charity : if you download tons of bombs on defenseless nations it is because the arms industry goes out of its way for the well-being of the Sudanese lord,the Afghan lady .

The movement for “climate justice” is a very profitable capitalist business line that turns the sensible struggle of people worried about the agony of our planet into a commodity, creating the illusion that the manufacturers of cluster bombs or white phosphorus are going to give up their benefits, at the stroke of “signatures” or demonstrations with music and dance.

One of the examples of the trickery of capitalism is, for example, that 1) the stock markets lower the price of carbon in order to sell the largest amount, 2) the banks do not exclude the most polluting companies from their offers of credits, and 3) governments give incentives to this sector to reduce their polluting emissions. The business of “Saving the Earth” is very all-encompassing.

Devastate the environment with war

It is said that the army of ancient Rome, to ensure the present and future capitulation of its enemies, covered the surface of its arable land of salt; Centuries later, we have witnessed how US aviation sprayed the forests and crops of Vietnam with 20 million gallons of Agent Naranja herbicide (produced by Monsanto). Today, 44 years later, there are 500,000 blind children, without limbs and with other serious malformations. A few years before, Harry Truman’s atomic bombs turned Hiroshima, Nagasaki and 240,000 of his neighbors into ashes.

The wars, in addition, produce massive displacements of the population, erode the soil, desert the forests. Among the scant data on the environmental stress caused by the military aggression of the US and its allies to Iraq, started in the Persian Gulf War of 1991 and continues to this day , news like this is showing:

  • In “response” to the fire of 736 Kuwaiti oil wells by Iraqi troops, Anglo-American forces bombed Iraq’s refineries and oil fields that burned for months, producing millions of tons of carbon dioxide, sulfur, mercury, which produced rain Acid on a large surface removed vegetation and animals.
  • The use of 320 tons of depleted uranium by the US, which killed thousands of people, produced strange diseases and malformations in babies born later, in addition to polluting hectares of cultivated land.
  • Tens of thousands of birds died, some by drowning in oil spilled in the waters of the Persian Gulf, and others by falling water temperature, creating a toxic micro-layer on its surface.
  • In 2015, Iraq experienced the highest temperature in the world, because of the destruction in the vegetation cover and the reduction of the water surface. The severe dust storms that are born in this country and spread throughout the area, cause conditions that kill hundreds of people each year.
  • Fishermen and Iraqi kids who bathe in the Tigris River still find bodies in their waters.

 

In Yemen, the “non-televised” bombing of the US-Saudi-led coalition and the planned destruction of crops, farms, and their infrastructure, including wastewater treatment plants and hospitals, has caused the most brutal humanitarian crisis of the world, and an epidemic of cholera that has killed thousands of people, leaving half a million more seriously ill.

In Myanmar, the army uses the “scorched earth” tactic against the Rohinya, burning their homes and crops, in order to make it impossible for the victims to return to their homes.

In Sudan, the war has caused the elimination of thousands of animals, hunted to feed the armed men. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the population of white rhinos, an endangered species, was reduced to 31 in 1996 because of the conflict; 5,000 elephants disappeared, as well as half of the hippos.

With a few open wars in the Middle East, and the US threat to provoke others to seize the natural resources of other peoples, the environmental movement must strengthen the weak movement for peace , and include the reduction of military spending in one of its main demands.

We need you to support critical voices.

 

[Nazanín Armanian: I left half of my life in my Persian lands, and when I landed on this peninsula of welcome, a lovable platform for the reclamation of bread and peace for all, I began to exercise the puzzling office of exile: to know, to learn, to admire, to transmit, to reveal and denounce, the latter taking advantage of the University classes, the media and a dozen books such as ‘Robaiyat de Omar Jayyam’ (DVD editions, 2004), ‘Kurdistan, the nonexistent country’ (Flor del viento, 2005), ‘Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, 40 responses to the conflict in the Middle East’ (Language of Rag, 2007) and ‘Islam without veil’ (Bronze, 2009).]

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex [ACT I]

WATCH: Anti-poaching Militias Backed by WWF Inflict Violence on Baka Men & Women

Survival International

2018 Testimonials

 

“In southeast Cameroon, Baka and their neighbors continue to be illegally evicted in the name of conservation, most recently for a game reserve set up last year with the support of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

In these latest video testimonies, Baka men and women reveal the violence they have suffered at the hands of anti-poaching militias backed by WWF. This debunks WWF’s claims that the situation seems to have improved.

Other victims have written open letters to protest at their unfair treatment.”

Testimonial published October 29, 2018:

 

 

“Paulette describes abuses against Baka people committed by park rangers backed by WWF”

Testimonial published November 15, 2018

 

 

“Suzanne explains how Baka people are being excluded from the forests they rely on to survive”

Testimonial published November 9, 2018:

 

 

“In the Congo Basin, the Baka, Bayaka and dozens of other rainforest peoples are being illegally evicted from their ancestral homelands in the name of conservation. “Their health is plummeting as a result.” [Further reading]

The big conservation organizations that support these conservation projects, like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), refuse to abide by basic international standards and secure their consent.”

Testimonial published October 29, 2018:

 

 

“Some of the world’s largest logging groups are destroying the Baka’s ancestral forests in the Congo Basin.

This Baka man lives near logging concessions run by the French giant Rougier, one of the World Wildlife Fund’s main partners.

Despite claiming it never partners with logging companies without the Baka’s consent, it has done precisely that for over 15 years.”

Testimonial published October 29, 2018:

 

 

“Baka “Pygmies” are being illegally evicted from their ancestral homelands in the Cameroon and Congo.

This man explains the importance of the forest to Baka life, and recounts how a young girl and elderly man died when their community was attacked by an anti-poaching squad funded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).”

Testimonial published October 29, 2018:

 

 

“A Baka father talks about how an anti-poaching squad beat his young daughter, who was just 10 years old, in 2016.

Djami’s community are being illegally evicted from their ancestral homelands to make way for a national park, and face arrest and beatings, torture and death at the hands of these squads, which are supported by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).

He sadly died shortly after this video was taken.”

Testimonial published October 29, 2018:

 

 

“A Baka man, interviewed in 2015, reports abuse by Cameroonian wildlife guard Mpaé Désiré.

Mpaé Désiré was arrested in 2016 on suspicion of involvement in the illegal wildlife trade.

The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) has funded wildlife guards in this region since at least 2000, despite frequent reports of abuse.”

Testimonial published October 29, 2018:

 

 

“Powerful video testimonies of Bayaka “Pygmies” in the Republic of Congo highlight their intimate connection with their lands and the abuses they face at the hands of wildlife officers and forest guards – who are often funded by large conservation organizations like the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Wildlife Conservation Society. © Jin Lewis/Survival International

The lives of thousands of Baiga tribespeople in India were destroyed after being forcibly and illegally evicted from Kanha Tiger Reserve – home of the “Jungle Book”. Their communities have been scattered and left without land, but tourists are welcomed into the reserve.”

Testimonials published October 29, 2018:

 

Amnesty Turns Truth on its Head in Nicaragua

Morningstar

February 26, 2019

By Louise Richards

 

OUR report, dismissing_truth, lays bare the biased and flawed nature of Amnesty International’s reporting on Nicaragua.

As the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign’s report states, Amnesty International has a history of producing controversial and unbalanced reports on Nicaragua which began soon after the Sandinista revolution defeated the Somoza dictatorship in 1979.

The organisation’s bias has continued for decades, to such an extent that Amnesty should now give up all pretence to be an impartial source of information about human rights in Nicaragua and indeed in the region as a whole.

A cursory glance at the Twitter feed of Amnesty’s director for the Americas, Erika Guevara-Rosas, shows that — during the crisis which engulfed Nicaragua last year — she openly sided with the opposition, regularly tagging the virulent opposition group #SOSNicaragua and retweeting reports from Fox News.

As early as 2016, prior to the Nicaraguan presidential elections, Guevara-Rosas wrote a piece telling her readers about four things they should know.

One was a direct attack on the government’s record on maternal mortality — this at a time when the Pan American Health Organisation stated that maternal mortality had been cut by more than half since the Sandinistas returned to power in 2007.

In 2017, the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group (NSCAG) wrote a detailed response to another Amnesty report — Nicaragua: Danger: Rights for Sale.

The report was largely, if not exclusively, based on testimony from a minority group of activists opposed to Nicaragua’s proposed interoceanic canal and linked with the local right-wing opposition.

As with Amnesty’s later reports, it presented a completely inaccurate and unrecognisable picture of Nicaragua.

We commented at the time that Amnesty had again fallen victim to the agenda of Nicaragua’s marginal right wing and its campaign to destabilise the Nicaraguan government.

In September last year, in yet another attempt to demonise Nicaragua, Amnesty launched an “urgent action” campaign denouncing the “wave of detentions of students and activists in Nicaragua,” and calling for the release of those it dubbed “political prisoners.”

In doing so, Amnesty completely ignored the fact that those detained were not victims but perpetrators of violent crimes, including kidnapping, torture and murder.

Amnesty has relied heavily for much of its reporting on local newspapers, social media and so called “independent” Nicaraguan human rights organisations such as the Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights (Centro Nicaraguense de Derechos Humanos/CENIDH).

In a detailed analysis of CENIDH’s biased and misleading reports, local investigator Enrique Hendrix accused CENIDH of having a “specific objective of stoking people’s emotions so as to create discord and delegitimise the government.”

In all of its reporting, attributing all human rights violations to the government, CENIDH consistently ignored the violence perpetrated by the opposition.

This included such horrific crimes as kidnapping, torture and murder of municipal workers and teachers, targeting Sandinistas in their homes and burning of their property, killing police officers and setting their bodies alight in the street.

None of these cases have been documented, let alone investigated, by CENIDH, or indeed by Amnesty International.

Camilo Mejia, a Nicaraguan now resident in the United States, is a former Amnesty “prisoner of conscience” for his stance as in refusing — as a US soldier — to return to duty in the Iraq war after his initial bitter experience of the US war.

In a foreword to our report, Mejia points out that Amnesty is helping to destabilise not just Nicaragua but also Venezuela.

It has said that “the authorities under Nicolas Maduro are trying to use fear and punishment to impose a repulsive strategy of social control against those who demand change.

“His government is attacking the most impoverished people that it claims to defend, but instead it murders, detains and threatens them.”

The United States now has its eyes firmly fixed on regime change first in Venezuela, then in Cuba and Nicaragua.

Only last week, US National Security Adviser John Bolton stated that “Ortega’s days are numbered” and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has promised that the US intends to “help the people of Nicaragua to resist the non-democratic regimes in their countries.”

What happened in Nicaragua last year was without doubt a US-inspired attempted coup, something which Amnesty also denies.

Although the attempt failed, it is clear that pressure from the US and the right-wing opposition for regime change will continue.

It is to be hoped that President Daniel Ortega’s renewed call for dialogue will succeed. For the vast majority of Nicaraguans, the desire is for life to return to normal and for peace and stability to be restored.

At a time when Amnesty International should be supporting such moves, it is instead fuelling the flames of conflict and providing succour to those who support US intervention and the overthrow of democratically elected governments.

In doing so, an organisation which claims to stand up for human rights is in fact trampling on the human rights and dignity of millions of people who only want to live in peace. It is surely time for Amnesty to put its own house in order.

 

 

[Louise Richards is with the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group.]

Scurrying Fascist Cockroaches

Dissident Voice

February 25th, 2019

 

 

Suppose it was discovered tomorrow that the greenhouse effects has been way underestimated, and that the catastrophic effects are actually going to set in 10 years from now, and not 100 years from now or something. Well, given the state of the popular movements we have today, we’d probably have a fascist takeover-with everybody agreeing to it, because that would be the only method for survival that anyone could think of. I’d even agree to it, because there’s just no other alternatives right now.
— Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power, 2002

 

We’re under attack from climate change—and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII.
— Bill McKibben, The New Republic, 2016

 

…the survival of National Socialism within democracy (was potentially more dangerous than )the survival of fascist tendencies against democracy.
— Theodor Adorno, quote by Enzo Traverso, The New Faces of Fascism

The question of the appropriation of Environmental movements by Capital is one that has been resisted even more than I had anticipated. So, right off the bat I encourage you to read Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer’s Wrong Kind of Green…especially now, part four.

Now this stuff links directly with the rise of the newest wave of sheepdogging Democratic Party hopefuls. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and now, Ilhan Omar, are the darlings of liberal media and punditry. Omar read (haltingly) from a prepared text as she questioned war criminal Elliot Abrams. She essentially called him a liar, which he is, but which is also what the US government itself already calls him. And she mentioned El Mozote. But, when push came to shove, as they say, Omar like Ocasio Cortez, signed on for regime change in Venezuela.

Now, Ocasio Cortez is floating something she calls the Green New Deal (which, in another form, was already promoted by Green Party candidate Jill Stein) and which is a nakedly pro capitalist bit of three card monte that will provide a boost to the nuclear power industry and line various corporate pockets. It’s capitalism. Omar and Ocasio Cortez also signed the odious Code Pink letter condemning US involvement in coups while at the same time slandering and fabricating stories about Maduro. The logic of the letter was that US proxy forces and covert activities had a counter productive effect and only helped to shore up the credibility of the Maduro government. In other words, fascism is OK, is just fine, only please do it in ways that will not bruise my delicate sensitivities.

Now please note: Ocasio Cortez and Omar are nearly identical physical types. Both are wildly telegenic (until they open their mouths, but maybe that’s not as a big problem as I make it out to be) and both are sort of pixie like, lithe and slender. When I point this out I am told there is nothing wrong with being slender. At which point I silently scream and tear the flesh from my face. The point is only to describe the similarities in presentation of these two political products. In other words, they are manufactured political commodities. And as Madison Avenue knows, such marketing works, even when everyone is on the manufacturing process.

The spectacle is capital to such a degree of accumulation that it becomes an image.
— Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle

All life is theatre, to some degree of other. I have written before that theatre did not come out of religion but rather religion came out of theatre. And the short explanation is that our psychic formation is tied to a self narration that must take place on stage…even if just in our heads. The scene of the crime. It is Ur-theatre. So in contemporary life I am constantly reminded of just how caught up in the spectacle.. or rather…in the streaming of the spectacle, is everyone, and that it is one that occurs 24/7. And even when the smarter among us notices this facsimile existence, nothing happens. For it is ever harder to crawl up and out of capital. Out of accumulation. Out of the spectacle.

And set against this is the rising tide of Fascism. Global fascism. Chomsky, long a suspect figure and sort of the honorary chair of political gate-keeping emeritus, openly and none too timidly advises fascism as perhaps (!) the solution to “getting things done”. As in, the environmental crises — let’s use that term for now — is dire and suddenly (as they say in Hollywood story conferences) there is *a clock on it*. Meaning there is exactly no time to spare. In fact, it’s too late. Etc. I read recently a headline that said insects were going extinct. That struck me as, I don’t know, unlikely on the face of it. And sure enough it was a pure sensationalized headline for a sensationalistic article. Bugs are the most diverse creatures on earth. There are more kinds of just one variety of wasp than there are kinds of mammals. And, yes, Monsanto is killing honey bees. And it’s pretty dire. But it’s not led to honey shortages yet, at least that I have noticed. But it has raised prices! And colony collapse disorder (CCD) is the result of a number of factors, including pesticides and fungicides, which among other things render bees susceptible to the Nosema ceranae parasite. Capitalism kills life. Socialism protects life. But in general the bugs are not going extinct in thirty years. Still, what is driving this apologia for fascism? And why would Chomsky equate fascism with ‘getting things done’? Socialism…as in Cuba, for example, gets things done. Ask earthquake survivors around the globe. Ask whose doctors are first on the scene. But the rehabilitation of fascism is gaining momentum.

Now, there is a clear necessity for western societies to change how they live. Just a ban on the manufacturing of plastics, or pliable plastics even, would do an enormous amount of good. But that means a lot of very big and rich plastic manufacturing businesses would go out of business. Hence there is no movement toward that. Instead you get The Green New Deal. And what, you might ask, is this going to really achieve?

Today’s climate emergency mobilization must be recognized for what it is: a strategically orchestrated campaign financed and managed by the world’s most powerful institutions – for the preservation of capitalism and global economic growth. This is the launch of a new growth industry in the Global South coupled with the creation of new and untapped markets. Leading up to this precipice, The B Team, the Open Society Foundation, Oxfam, and many others that serve as the human face of capitalism, have moved their offices or set up new divisions in both Africa and Latin America.
— Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer, “Wrong Kind of Green”, Part IV

and…

the above plan and language mirrors that in the strategy document “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement” being led by organizations whose affiliations with the Democrats, the Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez campaigns are publicly disclosed. Second, we must recognize that behind large institutions and media outlets such as Grist, branded as both “left” and “progressive”, are power structures subservient to capital. Grist CEO is Brady Walkinshaw. Prior to his role of CEO in 2017, Walkinshaw a former US State representative, worked as a program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Before his tenure at the Gates Foundation, Walkinshaw, a Fulbright scholar of the US State Department, worked as a special assistant to the World Bank. Within the Grist board of directors is 350.org founder, Bill McKibben – defacto foot soldier for Bernie Sanders and the Democrats in general.

Read the entirety of the breakdown here….

The same fingerprints are always found. The Gates Foundation, 350.org, the US state department and an assortment of varied NGOs of the moment (all based in the West). Western capital is in transition phase. And riding along in the propaganda wing is a clear new focus on fascist iconography and symbol, and on metaphors of war and the military. Getting things done!!

The rehab of fascism is laying the groundwork for various states of emergency to come. Most will be given a token coat of green paint. The worst thing you can be…even worse than an apologist for Harvey Weinstein or something, is a climate denier. It has already superceded Conspiracy theorist as most toxic appellation available today. Pedophile, Conspiracy Theorist, and at the top…Climate Denier.

“School children hold portraits of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in front of a giant picture of Gates during celebrations to mark his 60th birthday inside the school premises in Chennai, India, October 28, 2015.”

In a society in which public education is a shell of its former mediocre self, and one in which science is not much emphasized, it is amazing how many times I have had complex statistics and calculus quoted in regard to global warming or rising sea levels or methane bubbles etc. It has become a kind of incantatory recital of belief. And it is about shaming and stigmatizing. And about self righteousness. And again, the trouble with all this is that there IS a climate crisis. There is massive environmental decay and pollution. And there is, in the U.S. certainly, a crumbling material infrastructure. Clean water will be ever more of a problem. There is ample but very general evidence for all of this. But I am not a scientist. And I have to say I have a healthy suspicion of professional science overall. The planet is very very very complex. And again, I may have missed it, but where are the scientists pointing fingers at the military? I ask that one sincerely. I’d like to know. For there is one thing I do feel pretty confident about: And that is..the military produces pollution, kills sea life, poisons the ground and humans both. And on a massive massive massive scale. So why is that never a target do you suppose?

As a major turning point in the history of Europe, total war introduced mass violence into everyday life, ‘brutalized’ societies, and accustomed them to industrial massacres and anonymous mass death. As a nationalist political movement, fascism grew out from this trauma. Mosse sees it as a product of the ‘nationalization of the masses’ that was powerfully accelerated during the war. In fact, anti-communism characterized fascism from the beginning to the end of its historical trajectory. It was a militant, radical, aggressive anti-communism that transformed the nationalist ‘civil religion’ into a ‘crusade’ against the enemy.
— Enzo Traverso (The New Faces of Fascism)

The rehabilitation of fascism cannot find traction without a concomitant anti communist platform. And the spike in anti-communism has been acute. I wrote on my blog about Liam Neeson…

The normalizing of fascist mythology and sentiments preceded what is now open expressions of fascist ideology. And it appears in codes appropriate to the celebrity driven individuality of the Marvell Comix era of entertainment. Liam Neeson’s recent comments (as part of a marketing tour for his next film… a *revenge* thriller..{sic}) about having once wanted to find a black man to beat to death is a rather good example. There is no moral to Neeson’s story, interestingly, beyond it taking him a week, in his words, to figure out “what the fuck am I doing”. This is a form of white masculine bragging now. It’s another celebrity search for authenticity. Oh, he also was thrilled as a lad to listen to the speeches of Ian Paisley. Not much more is said about this beyond it inspired him to take up acting. So again the fascist rehabilitation is open. And again, there is a racist underpinning, as Paisley actively campaigned against the civil rights movement and organized gangs of club-carrying thugs to block pro civil rights protestors. The inherent acceptability of fascism. No celebrity A-list actor would ever admit to having been thrilled by the speeches of Fidel Castro.

When Trump said “Make America Great Again”, what he meant, of course, was make America white again. But not just white, but a fascist white. For the very idea of *greatness* resides in that exceptionalism that is connected at its roots to manifest destiny and slave owning. The appeal to a manufactured nostalgia of greatness is an appeal to a white hierarchical martial heroism that is today reflected in Marvel and DC comic super hero movies. And this rehabilitation is neo-colonial as well. Communism fought against the colonial European powers, while the US and western capital fought on the side of apartheid and colonial powers. Make America colonial again. Make America a land of plantations, again. Make it a land of *Indian killers*. All of this is running through popular culture today. The masculine panic of Liam Neeson is the same one, on a cruder level aesthetically, found at Trump rallies, but also found on Wall Street and in the industrial usage of escort services those brokers are known to indulge — and in fraternities at universities across the U.S. It is tied to a virulent misogyny. And it is, indeed, tied to Harvey Weinstein — though, problematically, it is also found in much of the lynch mob mania of #metoo.

…fascism comes to power in stages, beginning with attacks on the democratic rights of working people, the imprisonment of communists and trade unionists, hostility to national minorities and immigrants, and the gradual erosion of democratic institutions. It relies on its mass supporters, mostly from the middle class but also including workers and intellectuals, to carry out these policies. Once fascism has consolidated power, it begins to build up the fascist state and engages in expansionary imperialist wars. The terrorist dictatorship of finance capital is only fully established when all opposition has been outlawed and a fascist state machinery has been completely developed.
— Fabian Van Onzen, Monthly Review, February 2019

There is a constant drum beat that compares communism to fascism. And it has taken a quality of desperation. So insistent are the authors of this familiar trope of “totalitarian” societies ‘all being the same’ that it is sort of now in another phase that might be labeled *secondary conflations*. And it is important to observe the liberal and urban educated bourgeoisie and their emotional connectivity to Green ideas and policy. This is the collaborationist class Gramsci wrote about so trenchantly. But the level of emotional attachment and reaction to questions of Climate Change or Global Warming (and related environmental issues) needs to be explored a bit more.

For it is as if suddenly the bourgeoisie deeply “cares” about Nature and mother earth. About the planet, about saving mankind. The emotional responses one finds here are not only disproportionate to the specific issues that arise, but they are psychologically prophylactic mechanisms that seem to keep actual political analysis buried. There are knee jerk responses that look to stigmatize those now demonstrating insufficient environmental awareness. Those not invested enough, or in the right way, with Green policy. These are going to be the people who line up behind Ocasio Cortez and The Green New Deal. This outrage is almost never displayed against US bombing “errors” when, say, a wedding party is olbiterated and a half dozen children are killed. But maybe it’s a genuine personal fear. Maybe this is a class now afraid and that is a new experience for them.

What haunted them {the Frankfurt School thinkers} was the evidence, everywhere to be found in the Federal Republic of Germany to which Adorno returned in 1949, that the fascist era was being airbrushed from history, erased from collective memory in an act of repression. The fear was not only that it was being forgotten in itself, but that if not remembered, it was likely to resurface in unpredictable forms.
— Stuart Walton, “Theory from the Ruins”, Aeon Magazine 2017

The Democratic field is forming for the 2020 run at Trump. Think about who is running. I mean, let’s do a quick survey…very quick.

Bernie Sanders is another glaring example of the cognitive dissonance operating at the collective level. Sanders who famously referred to Hugo Chavez as “that dead communist dictator” was also the guy who demanded the Saudi’s “get their hands dirty”. One of the things that seems not to register on the public, both pro Sanders and contra Sanders, is that Bernie just isn’t very smart. He is not a particular fluid speaker nor does he do very well off script. But Bernie has never seen a defense contract he didn’t want a piece of. Never.

Paul Street wrote back in 2015 {from an article in 2017}….

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (“I”-VT) is not the independent left politician many progressives claim he is. He’s a Democratic Party company man. That has been clear from his long Congressional record of voting with the neoliberal, dollar-drenched Democrats and accepting their seniority-based committee assignments. [1]

But Bernie is, again, not in it to win (I don’t think). He is too well fitted to his one specific role; sheepdog for the DNC. But Beto O’Rourke, another youthful Democratic pseudo leftist who, like AOC is telegenic and comely — his hair alone is pure Madison Avenue stuff. Vote for the hair! Which might be a useful slogan for O’Rourke because his voting record is appalling and deeply reactionary. But Beto is looking to find traction as the new JFK or RFK, and is in it to win.

O’Rourke has also gone out of his way to praise Israel and promise fidelity to “our shared values”. None of this is any sort of surprise. At some point the public has to learn being a Democrat means being pro war and an Imperialist.

The Fasci di combattimento were born in the aftermath of the war. They were imbued with the petit-bourgeois character of the various veterans associations which arose at that time.

 

Due to their trenchant opposition to the socialist movement they obtained the support of the capitalists and the authorities. This aspect of the Fasci was inherited in part from the conflict between the Socialist Party and the ‘interventionist’ associations during the war years.

 

They emerged during the same period when the rural landowners were feeling the need to create a White Guard to tackle the growing workers’ organisations. The gangs that were already organised and armed by the big landowners soon adopted the label Fasci for themselves too. With their subsequent development, these gangs would acquire their own distinct character – as a White Guard of capitalism against the class organs of the proletariat.

 

Fascism still conserves this trait of its origins. But until very recently, the fervour of the armed offensive kept a lid on the tensions between the urban cadre – who are predominantly petit-bourgeois, orientated on parliament, and ‘collaborationist’ – and the rural cadre, which consist of the big and medium landowners and their tenant farmers.”
— Antonio Gramsci, The Two Fascisms, 1921

Now O’Rourke is another supporter of the Green New Deal. Quelle surprise.

Kamala Harris is the former DA from San Francisco, and later AD for the state. She used to date (his words) Willie Brown. And she is married to attorney Doug Emhoff, formerly of Venable LLP — a firm whose lawyers included Asa Hutchinson (former Governor of Arkansas, former Undersecretary of Homeland Security and former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration). Also a number of former state’s ADs and a couple other governors (John Marhsall Butler for one). Just sayin’. Kamala no doubt has the deepest rolodex of anyone who has so far declared (unless you count Gentlemen Joe Biden, and I don’t because Joe has almost ZERO chance to go anywhere in this thing).

Margaret Kimberley wrote of Harris….

One of her more disgraceful policies was to victim shame black mothers for their children’s school truancy. They were fined and when most of them could not pay, were put in jail and separated from their children.This action is the epitome of modern day chattel slavery and Harris cannot be given a pass.{ } Harris has spent her career locking up Black and brown people. She should not be allowed to shake hands, kiss babies or walk into black churches without being taken to task. [2]

Kirsten Gillibrand will likely declare. A favorite daughter of Wall Street and the tobacco industry Gillibrand is heavily entrenched in the bowels of the DNC. She once authored a bill that would criminalize ‘boycotts’ by individuals or groups seeking to express disapproval of Israel. Gillibrand’s stance against protests and ‘boycotts’ included her co-sponsoring the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S 720). Her parents are both attorneys. She attended Dartmouth and her maternal grandmother Polly Noonan was a key player in Estes Cornings powerful political machine in Albany from the 40s through the mid-80s. One of the last great political machines in the United States, in fact.

Tulsi Gabbard is the *identity* candidate. A pacific islander, and a Hindu. On the plus side she spoke positively about US enemies like Assad… except for when she was, you know, calling him a brutal dictator. And she was at least mildly respectful of the DPRK. Sort of. And she was right about the murder, by the US, of Gaddafi. But in all this she is still on the side of the Imperialist overlords. In a sense, Gabbard is the new Obama. The comprador candidate. Oh, and she is an aggressive supporter of Israel and highly critical of the BDS. She is the rational Imperialist. I know it’s a buzz kill to point out all these things, but she also happens to be a major in the US Army, a member of the Hawaiian National Guard, and significantly, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. She also did TWO tours in Iraq. Not one, but two. Meaning she volunteered to go back and do it again. She has also praised the BJP party in India, and its neo-fascist president. Richard Spencer admires her (sic) for what that is worth. And Gabbard also signed to enforce sanctions on Iran and Russia. But so bankrupt is the electoral landscape in the U.S., that Gabbard is routinely described as a radical voice.

The worker, the peasant, who for years has hated the fascism that oppresses him believes it necessary, in order to bring it down, to ally himself with the liberal bourgeoisie, to support those who in the past, when they were in power, supported and armed fascism against the workers and peasants, and who just a few months ago formed a sole bloc with fascism and shared in the responsibility for its crimes. And this is how the question of the liquidation of fascism is posed? No! The liquidation of fascism must be the liquidation of the bourgeoisie that created it.
— Antonio Gramsci, Neither Fascism nor Liberalism: Sovietism! 1924

The Green New Deal is the fig leaf that provides material for this manufacturing of a new fascist narrative. The green fascism of these new ‘products’ from the Democratic Party laboratories is pretty much in line with what Bill Clinton ushered in and what Obama sort of perfected.

There is no potential for change in electoral movements in the U.S. That system is closed. Any radical third party would be quickly stopped, on that Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi both agree. And the idea of an American gilets jaunes (or Occupy redux) would likely lack both leadership and, more importantly perhaps, a narrative. The disaffected in the U.S. have no way to imagine an end to the system that oppresses them. And this is partly where the Soviet Union is so acutely missed. But one senses this is also why Maduro and Venezuela must be shut down. Sure oil, that’s a nice bonus, but the threat is, even if partly unconscious for the ruling class, an ideology where the slaves revolt. Same as Milosevic had to go. Same as they tried for decades to eliminate Fidel. Independence is not tolerated.

Luc Boltanski and Arnaud Esquerre noted (for France) that for what they call the *post fascist* ….“The ‘bad’ people— the immigrants, the Muslims and Blacks of the suburbs, veiled women, junkies, and the marginal—merge together with members of the leisure classes who have adopted liberal mores: feminists, the gay-friendly, anti-racists, environmentalists, and defenders of immigrants’ rights. Finally, the ‘good’ people of the postfascist imagination are nationalist, anti-feminist, homophobic, xenophobic, and nourish a clear hostility toward ecology, modern art, and intellectualism.
— Quoted by Enzo Traverso, Vers l’extrême: Extension des domaines de la droite, Paris: Editions Dehors, 2014; Gérard Mauger, ‘Mythologies: le “beauf” et le “bobo”

And here is also where Green issues become a kind of fulcrum around which the NGOs and marketing firms fully understand the ambivalences. The sudden compassion about the Earth and Global Warming is a narrative that is being appropriated very rapidly right now. For the bourgeoisie ‘going green’ is a cause they can get behind, and one that costs them almost nothing. It also provides cover for their new tough love of the underclass (meaning they get to be more openly racist and contemptuous of the poor). The educated urban liberal is borrowing heavily from the Health Food Co-op back room.

For the right, bad people are those with environmental concerns; i.e., the affluent urban liberal who is experienced as the class looking to take away the working class and poor’s small pleasures. First all those *sin* taxes, on tobacco and booze, and then restrictions on muscle cars, and all sort of stuff is given a crude story line by folks like Steven Bannon. Good people are those who deny any of this environmental stuff. Thereby in their Evangelical piety the flyover state working poor (and unemployed) justify their ignorance and more to the point, can stop having to wrestle with complicated and often ambivalent ideas to which a destroyed public education system never exposed them.

Because of this mutual disconnect, the emotional cathexis of the liberal educated classes in both Europe and the U.S. identify with their ‘superior’ concerns, their belief in science, which they understand no better than those sitting in the seats at NASCAR races, but who are encouraged to practice what they see as “sober” thinking, “tough love”, and “responsible” telling of hard truths. What this means is they increasingly are now finding permission to express more openly what they have kept silent about (cue Liam Neeson). And that is a virulent racism, but one now more tilted toward antisemitism, and most significantly Islamaphobia. The affluent bourgeois class is experiencing great relief in being given permission to vent their buried xenophobia. The Muslim is a structural replacement (though not really a replacement so much as an addition but in perception management terms it’s a replacement) for Jew in this new liberal antisemitism. It is not expressed in quite the same way as those in the flyover states, but it’s there all the same. And yet these classes recognize nothing of themselves in the other.

The idea of a healthy and prosperous Green New Deal (part and parcel of the fourth industrial revolution) for the world – is a lure to keep you believing in the system.
— Cory Morningstar (in conversation).

When Gramsci wrote of hegemony he never forgot that bourgeois rule, even when it advanced behind ‘mere’ coercion, still had physical violence as an option. The increased surveillance state and police militarization are linked, in the end, to policing of the inner cities (black and latino neighborhoods) and to US imperial policing and pacification of the global south.

But in looking at the narratives today, the ruling class and their collaborationist allies in the bourgeoisie, have refashioned environmental concerns so that its truth is always about protecting capital and capitalism while the narrative is about their own virtues. It’s an investment opportunity. Nothing more. And part of the problem (often a large part) is transferred to the victims of capital; the very poorest in the world, the very people who consume the least and pollute the least. This is the logic (and always has been) of eugenics and its contemporary trope “overpopulation”. And the cruelty and ruthlessness of the overpopulation meme is given a cosmetic make-over to resemble compassionate white saviour stories. The superior white expert come to stop the savages from having too many children.

To fix or at least manage, to some degree, the worst environmental problems will actually require drastic socialist programs. Not fascism as Chomsky suggests…or as Bernie or AOC or any of the rest of these capitalist sock puppets….but socialist. And nothing, NOTHING of any good is ever going come out of the Democratic Party. And nothing of any significance can happen via the US electoral theatre. The amount of energy wasted in endless debate about the virtues or “electability” (sic) of Elizabeth Warren vs Bernie Sanders or Kamala Harris vs Tulsi Gabbard etc is breathtaking. Imagine that time spent on something useful. Like, oh, how to prevent more war and carnage. And how to create a sustainable form of human development.

Socialism, in its most radical form, is about substantive equality, community solidarity, and ecological sustainability; it is aimed at the unification—not simply division—of labor.

Once sustainable human development, rooted not in exchange values, but in use values and genuine human needs, comes to define historical advance, the future, which now seems closed, will open up in a myriad ways, allowing for entirely new, more qualitative, and collective forms of development. This can be seen in the kinds of needed practical measures that could be taken up, but which are completely excluded under the present mode of production. It is not physical impossibility, or lack of economic surplus, most of which is currently squandered, that stands in the way of the democratic control of investment, or the satisfaction of basic needs—clean air and water, food, clothing, housing, education, health care, transportation, and useful work—for all. It is not the shortage of technological know-how or of material means that prevents the necessary ecological conversion to more sustainable forms of energy.103 It is not some inherent division of humanity that obstructs the construction of a New International of workers and peoples directed against capitalism, imperialism, and war. All of this is within our reach, but requires pursuing a logic that runs counter to that of capitalism.
— John Bellemy Foster, Monthly Review, February 2019

 

  1. Counterpunch, April 2017. [?]
  2. Black Agenda Report, January 2019. [?]

 

[John Steppling is an original founding member of the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival, a two-time NEA recipient, Rockefeller Fellow in theatre, and PEN-West winner for playwrighting. He’s had plays produced in LA, NYC, SF, Louisville, and at universities across the US, as well in Warsaw, Lodz, Paris, London and Krakow. He has taught screenwriting and curated the cinematheque for five years at the Polish National Film School in Lodz, Poland. Plays include The Shaper, Dream Coast, Standard of the Breed, The Thrill, Wheel of Fortune, Dogmouth, and Phantom Luck, which won the 2010 LA Award for best play. Film credits include 52 Pick-up (directed by John Frankenheimer, 1985) and Animal Factory (directed by Steve Buscemi, 1999). A collection of his plays was published in 1999 by Sun & Moon Press as Sea of Cortez and Other Plays. He lives with wife Gunnhild Skrodal Steppling; they divide their time between Norway and the high desert of southern California. He is artistic director of the theatre collective Gunfighter Nation. Read other articles by John, or visit John’s website.]

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – A Decade of Social Manipulation for the Corporate Capture of Nature [ACT VI – Crescendo]

February 24, 2019

By Cory Morningstar

 

This is ACT VI of the six-part series: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

 

The final act of this series is dedicated to Greta Thunberg and the youth she has inspired across our fragile planet. The upper echelons of power have every intention to capture and channel this energy – and use it to maintain the current power structures. They are already in the process.

We have reached the Brave New Moment where there is no longer a distinction between our “movements” and the corporate forces that have been created to further our oppression and servitude – all in compliance to economic growth and capitalism for the world’s ruling class. All of this to be achieved on the backs of the most vulnerable – our youth. Hegemonic forces are salivating over the global waves of youth mobilization demanding action on climate change.

The paradox is this – the youth are their vehicle. Their resistance sequestered and redirected directly back into the very system that will destroy the same future they march to save. When children from even the wealthiest of families (monetary wealth being the epitome of “success” in the West) are part and parcel of an epidemic of depression in our society – we need to question why we would do anything that would prop-up a failing system that benefits so few – at the expense of so much.

Let this knowledge serve as a weapon for resistance.

+++

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent has been written in six acts. [ACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT VACT VI] [Addenda: I]

In ACT I, I disclosed that Greta Thunberg, the current child prodigy and face of the youth movement to combat climate change, served as special youth advisor and trustee to the burgeoning mainstream tech start-up, “We Don’t Have Time”. I then explored the ambitions behind the tech company We Don’t Have Time.

In ACT II, I illustrated how today’s youth are the sacrificial lambs for the ruling elite. Also in this act I introduced the board members and advisors to “We Don’t Have Time.” I explored the leadership in the nascent We Don’t Have Time and the partnerships between the well established corporate environmental entities: Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, 350.org, Avaaz, Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In ACT III, I deconstructed how Al Gore and the Planet’s most powerful capitalists are behind today’s manufactured youth movements and why. I explored the We Don’t Have Time/Thunberg connections to Our Revolution, the Sanders Institute, This Is Zero Hour, the Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal. I also touched upon Thunberg’s famous family. In particular, Thunberg’s celebrity mother, Malena Ernman (WWF Environmental Hero of the Year 2017), and her August 2018 book launch. I then explored the generous media attention afforded to Thunberg in both May and April of 2018 by SvD, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers.

In ACT IV, I examined the current campaign, now unfolding, in “leading the public into emergency mode”. More importantly, I summarized who and what this mode is to serve.

In ACT V, I took a closer look at the Green New Deal. I explored Data for Progress and the targeting of female youth as a key “femographic”. I connected the primary architect and authors of the “Green New Deal” data to the World Resources Institute. From there, I walked you through the interlocking Business & Sustainable Development Commission and the New Climate Economy – a project of the World Resources Institute. I disclosed the common thread between these groups and the assignment of money to nature, represented by the Natural Capital Coalition and the non-profit industrial complex as an entity. Finally, I revealed how this has culminated in the implementation of payments for ecosystem services (the financialization and privatization of nature, global in scale) which is “expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020.”

In the final act, ACT VI [Crescendo], I wrap up the series by divulging that the very foundations which have financed the climate “movement” over the past decade are the same foundations now partnered with the Climate Finance Partnership looking to unlock 100 trillion dollars from pension funds. I reveal the identities of individuals and groups at the helm of this interlocking matrix, controlling both the medium and the message. I take a step back in time to briefly demonstrate the ten years of strategic social engineering that have brought us to this very precipice. I look at the relationship between WWF, Stockholm Institute and World Resources Institute as key instruments in the creation of the financialization of nature. I also take a look at what the first public campaigns for the financialization of nature (“natural capital”) that are slowly being brought into the public realm by WWF. I reflect upon how mainstream NGOs are attempting to safeguard their influence and further manipulate the populace by going underground through Extinction Rebellion groups being organized in the US and across the world.

With the smoke now cleared, the weak and essentially non-existent demands reminiscent of the 2009 TckTckTck “demands” can now be fully understood.

Some of these topics, in addition to others, will be released and discussed in further detail as addenda built on the large volume of research. This includes stepping through the looking glass, with an exploration of what the real “Green New Deal” under the Fourth Industrial Revolution will look like. Also forthcoming is a look at the power of celebrity – and how it has become a key tool for both capital and conformity.

 

 

 

A C T   V I

 

 

March 10, 2014:

“… the divestment campaign will result (succeed) in a colossal injection of money shifting over to the very portfolios heavily invested in, thus dependent upon, the intense commodification and privatization of Earth’s last remaining forests, (via REDD, environmental “markets”  and the like). This tour de force will be executed with cunning precision under the guise of environmental stewardship and “internalizing negative externalities through appropriate pricing.” Thus, ironically (if in appearances only), the greatest surge in the ultimate corporate capture of Earth’s final remaining resources is being led, and will be accomplished, by the very environmentalists and environmental groups that claim to oppose such corporate domination and capture.” — McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part II of an Investigative Report, The “Climate Wealth” Opportunists]

 

The Chaperone

chap·er·one Dictionary result for chaperone: 1. a person who accompanies and looks after another person or group of people. Synonyms: companion, duenna, protectress, escort, governess, nursemaid, carer, keeper, protector, bodyguard, minder.

For the final segment of this series, let’s circle back to where we began. With Greta Thunberg.

During the January 2019 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Thunberg’s celebrity was fully utilized to give those in the public realm an  illusion of a newfound “compassionate capitalism”. This was especially true for WEF Ocean Day Programme in which Thunberg was featured on the panel “What Will a Changing Ocean Mean to Us, Our Jobs and Markets?” While those on the panel (including Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) spoke of the ocean as a market at risk (“if we don’t save the oceans that is a 24 trillion dollar loss”), Thunberg’s innocence created a veneer of legitimacy over the grotesque objectification of nature. Meanwhile, Al Gore, sat on the “Taking Action for The Ocean” panel (“the “ocean economy” is estimated to account for 3%-5% of global GDP, with assets worth $24 trillion. How can the world tap into the ocean economy while protecting it from environmental collapse?”) discussing the global climate strikes (as a pivotal sign of change – approx. 30m:10s in) and the necessity to assign monetary value to nature. Of course, the key pivotal moment for the exploitation of Thunberg (and the very purpose of her global construct) came at the moment she spoke her much-publicized words “Our house is on fire. I’m here to say, our house is on fire.” These words  echoed the outlined text in the strategy paper entitled “Leading the Public Into Emergency Mode” almost verbatim. The strategy authored by the Climate Mobilization Project, outlines a “wartime-style mobilization, akin to the American home front effort during World War II”. [ACT IV]

The Climate Mobilization Project: “Al Gore calls for WWII-scale climate mobilization” [0m:53s]

+++

Above: World Economic Forum panel: “What will a changing Ocean mean to us, our jobs and markets?”  From left to right: Haley Edwards, moderator, correspondent, TIME Magazine, Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation, Katherine Garrett-Cox, Gulf International Bank and Greta Thunberg



Above: January 25, 2019, twitter

The above photograph of Thunberg on her way home from Davos, was shared on social media on January 25, 2019.  The woman accompanying Thunberg in the photo, as well as the person who shared the photograph, is not Thunberg’s mother nor her grandmother. Rather, she is Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International. And this is where all the pieces of our elaborate puzzle finally fit into place.

Above: January 25, 2019, twitter

Above: January 22, 2019, twitter, tagged users: Al Gore, World Economic Forum, Sharan Burrow,  Greenpeace International

During the gathering, while Thunberg’s presence was being exploited in multiple ways, one being an attempt to add both legitimacy and diplomacy to  the Oceans conference, Morgan was present at far more intimate discussions – those that focused on the “New Deal for Nature”.

Above: World Economic Forum YouTube Chanel: “Davos 2019 – A New Deal for Nature”, published February 9, 2019

Above: January 24, 2019, twitter, New Deal for Nature, Global Shapers, World Economic Forum, Davos

Above: “22-25 January 2019. We’re rallying world leaders to act for the planet, our one home. Add your voice to demand for a sustainable future for all. – WWF AT WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM – ADD YOUR VOICE” [Source]

One not familiar with the inner workings and functions of the non-profit industrial complex might wonder why the executive director of Greenpeace International be invited to attend a discussion regarding the implementation of “payments for ecosystem services” (PES), global in scale. That is, monetary value being assigned to all nature, under the guise of environmental protection. That is, the financialization and privatization of all nature – on the entire Earth.

And here we must pay attention.

Morgan is the former global climate change director of Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G). Prior to E3G she led the Global Climate Change Program for the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF). Morgan has worked for the US Climate Action Network (USCAN), the European Business Council for a Sustainable Energy Future and for the Federal Ministry of Environment. She served as senior advisor to the German Chancellor’s chief advisor, advised former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and currently serves on Germany’s Council for Sustainable Development.

Above: 1998: “Jennifer Morgan, Climate Policy Officer, WWF, seated with Andrew Kerr, WWF, who presented the WWF report on Climate Change and Human Health” UNFCCC COP-4, THE FOURTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UN FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE, BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA, 2 – 13  November 1998 [Source]

But more importantly than all the above job titles is Morgan’s role in relationship to the upper echelons of power: her prior position as the global director of the climate and energy program at the World Resources Institute. [Bio][Source]

The 2019 World Economic Forum (which features Morgan’s publications and blog posts on its website) was not the first instance of Morgan’s involvement in the coming “New Deal For Nature”. During the closing remarks of the Global Landscapes Forum on December 9, 2018, at COP24, Morgan stressed that in addition to shifting global focus from the oil and transportation sectors to land and forests, that additional cooperation was required to reach consensus on the New Deal for Nature:

“We also need much improved cooperation for a new deal for nature to be agreed on at the next CBD cop in 2020 setting decisive biodiversity guidelines for climate action.” — Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International – Closing remarks, Global Landscapes Forum, COP24, Dec 9, 2018

The truth is that Morgan’s career as a darling and confidante of the elite establishment has been long established. Her perseverance and sound navigation within the interlocking directorate of the non-profit industrial complex has brought her to this very moment.

Above: May 14, 2013, Jennifer Morgan, Rainer Baake, Lutz Weischer, Carol Browner, World Resources Institute, Flickr

Above: January 25, 2019, World Economic Forum, Davos, Greta Thunberg

Above: Former Vice President of the USA Al Gore (Climate Reality Project and Generation Investment) and Executive Director of Greenpeace International Jennifer Morgan at the ClimateHub at COP24 in Katowice, Poland. [Source]

Above: Al Gore, New Deal for Nature via the UN Sustainable Development Goals, WEF, Davos, 2019

Above: November 28, 2018, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Facebook [Source]

Above: January 23, 2019, Green New Deal

Above: November 3, 2015, Jennifer Morgan (@ClimateMorgan), World Resources Institute, The Climate Group, The Climate Reality Project

Here it is critical to recognize that World Resources Institute is a founding partner of Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA) and that the New Climate Economy – a project of Global Commission on the Economy and Climate launched in 2013 – is also founded by the World Resources Institute.

What the New Climate Economy is expressing when it states that “the shift to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy is only one – potentially small – part of a much broader economic transition that is under way” is this: the transformation of global finance via the economic valuation and payment for environmental services.

“The failure to price our natural capital, on which our wealth and well-being depends, is a serious failure in the global capital market. Worth many trillions of dollars in financial assets, the global capital market shapes the world we live in, and which our children will inherit.” — Kitty van der Heijden, Director, World Resources Institute (WRI) Europe and Africa, Finance for One Planet, 2016

Birds of a Feather: World Resources Institute, World Wildlife Fund  & Stockholm Environment Institute

“Unfortunately, many environmental non-governmental organisations have bought into this illogical reasoning and justify their support as being pragmatic. Neoliberal language is rife across their reports and policy recommendations and their adoption of natural capital, ecosystems services, offsetting and market trading. These new environmental pragmatists believe, without justification, that the financialisation of Nature will help prevent its destruction.” — from the paper This Changes Nothing: The Paris Agreement to Ignore Reality authored by Clive L. Spash, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria

 

Above: November 14, 2017, “Stronger Together for Climate Action”: L-R: Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever; Pascal Canfin, CEO, WWF France; Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International;  Ramiro Fernández, Avina; Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Global Leader, WWF Climate and Energy Practice; and Edmund Gerald Brown, Jr., Governor of California, Photo: IISD/ENB | Herman Njoroge Chege [Source]

“We need the CBD [Climate Change and Biodiversity] to attain the highest political relevance and develop a far higher shared vision if we are to reach a New Deal for Nature and create a Paris-style moment for biodiversity in 2020.” — November 15, 2018, media release,  WWF Rallies Behind the Call for a New Deal for Nature and People [Emphasis added]

As discussed in ACT V of this series, the board of directors overseeing the World Resources Institute represent the very upper tiers of the ruling class.

Also disclosed was that Helen Mountford is the program director for the New Climate Economy project and director of economics at World Resources Institute. Prior to this appointment Mountford served as deputy director of Environment for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Beyond its formal research partnerships, the New Climate Economy is aligned with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, International Energy Agency, regional development banks, UN agencies and the OECD.

World Resources Institute is a key co-founder in the social engineering apparatus, GCCA (TckTckTck), which officially launched in 2008. Long before the elite forces declaration of a climate emergency that we witness unfolding today, scientists and academia had already recognized that the industrial scale of our collective objectification and destruction of nature had proceeded to such scale, it threatened the collapse of industrial civilization (exploiting and enslaving most – for the benefit of few). Of course, long before this, the Indigenous could see the writing on the wall as the European pursued his conquering of nature in blind earnest.

Markets having finally conquered the Western world. Our society is now maxed out on debt and economic growth has not only stagnated, it is on a downward spiral. Today, we find ourselves in a culture so disconnected from reality that it considers economic growth far more valuable than the planetary ecosystems that sustain all life.

As this series has and will further demonstrate in this closing segment, the GCCA coalition was designed, financed and orchestrated by the same entities now set to unlock 100 trillion USD and simultaneously implement the privatization/financialization of nature via the New Deal for Nature (payments for ecosystem services) to be agreed upon by 2020. As demonstrated in ACT IV – the urgency we bear witness to today, is due to a fear far greater than the collapse of the planetary biosphere, that is – the collapse of the capitalist economic system.

[Background reading on both the World Resources Institute and the New Climate Economy: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The New Green Deal is the Trojan Horse for the Financialization of Nature, February 13, 2019]

World Resources Institute, World Wildlife Fund, and the New Climate Economy are at the helm of the financialization of nature. Also at the helm is the Natural Capital Coalition (collaborating with both World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund), which represents over 300 of the world’s most powerful and egregious corporations while engaging “many thousands more“.

The New Climate Economy research partner, the Stockholm Environment Institute has a well-oiled revolving door between itself and the World Wildlife Fund. The institute has generous funding to the tune of 260 million SEK in 2017 (approx. 28 million USD) including almost ten million SEK from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As a side note, we can add that the Stockholm Environment Institute gave a presentation at a climate function on May 4, 2018 (“Welcome to the Power of Capital“) with both Ingmar Rentzhog, CEO of We Don’t Have Time and Malena Ernman (WWF Environmental Hero Award, 2017, and Thunberg’s mother.]

On November 21, 2017 it was announced that Pavan Sukhdev was appointed as President of WWF International: “Pavan Sukhdev, former director of the UN Environment Initiative for a Green Economy, has been appointed President of WWF International.” Sukhdev, former managing director of the Markets Division of Deutsche Bank, would launch the findings of the TEEB study in 2010, the acronym standing for ‘The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity,’ an initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The Natural Capital Coalition was formerly the TEEB for Business Coalition.

“Stockholm is home to two institutions, the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Stockholm Environment Institute, which have done a great deal of research to better understand and apply the concepts of Natural Capital to the way we manage ecosystems and the economy.  Johan Rockström, Executive Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and a group of 28 academics proposed a new Earth system framework in 2011 for government and management agencies to use as a tool to support sustainable development.” — Stockholm: Natural Capital of the World, September 23, 2019

On February 13, 2019 The Guardian published the article School Climate Strike Children’s Brave Stand Has Our Support – “We are inspired that our children, spurred on by the noble actions of Greta Thunberg and other striking students, are making their voices heard, say 224 academics”. Those endorsing the letter included Annemarieke de Bruin, researcher, Stockholm Environment Institute, Dr Alison Dyke, Stockholm Environment Institute, Dr Jean McKendree, Stockholm Environment Institute and Corrado Topi, ecological economist, Stockholm Environment Institute.

 

  • April 17, 2015, Jennifer Morgan, World Resources Institute, The Climate Reality Project, The Climate Group

A Decade of Strategic and Methodical Social Engineering

Citizen protests and legal actions against companies, governments and individuals will undoubtedly become an increasing leverage opportunity in support of this emergency approach and have already begun.” — Club Of Rome The Climate Emergency Plan, launched with We Don’t Have Time and Global Utmaning, December, 2018

Above: TckTckTck Flickr: “The Press Conference of the ‘Beds are Burning’ Launch in Paris was well attended as Kofi Annan, David Jones, Mélanie Laurent, Manu Katché and many other supporters of the campaign made their appearance.”

“The objective was to make it become a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit.” — TckTckTck Havas Pager

GCCA (TckTckTck) was founded by a small group of NGOs, including World Resources Institute (WRI), 350.org, Greenpeace, Avaaz and World Wildlife Fund. It is partnered with over 470 members, including ClimateWorks (founded in 2008 by the Hewlett, Packard, and McKnight foundations), which is discussed further on in this segment. Climate Week NYC 2014 (September 22nd-26th), an annual initiative of the Climate Group, was marketed in conjunction with the People’s Climate March event that took place on September 21, 2014. Climate Week NYC was founded in 2009 as a partnership between The Climate Group, the United Nations, the UN Foundation, GCCA/TckTckTck, the Carbon Disclosure Project, the Government of Denmark and the City of New York.

The march was organized by GCCA/TckTckTck, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Climate Nexus (a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors), 350.org (incubated by the Rockefeller Foundation), the Rasmussen Foundation and USCAN.

The Climate Group business campaigns “are brought to you as part of the We Mean Business coalition.” [Source]

Video: We Mean Business Momentum – Catalyst for the 2014 “People’s Climate March” [Running time: 1m:39s]:

 

“The Strategic Plan 2018-2022 lays out WRI’s approach and priorities for the next five years. WRI’s approach is to help catalyze and advance non-incremental shifts in policy and behavior, unusual political, social and corporate partnerships, to be understood in the context of “movements” rather than policy shifts.” — Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Concept Note, Support to World Resources Institute, Implementation of the Strategic Plan 2018-2022

Through the GCCA/TckTck coalition a decade of social engineering went unnoticed. The September 21, 2014 People’s Climate March and the global marches that would follow, such as Rise Up mobilizations, “Work Parties”, Power Shift gatherings, etc. etc. had multiple purposes with multiple desired effects which were incredibly successful for those at the helm. To “Change Everything we Need Everyone” was a signal. A behavioural engineering cue that would coalesce a camaraderie between the citizenry and corporate power to become “stronger as one”. All focus would be kept far away from the key drivers of climate change (militarism, the capitalist economic system dependent on infinite growth and exploitation, industrial agriculture, etc.) which could be made to be, like the Indigenous led 2010 People’s Agreement of Cochabamba, invisible. Instead, this energy would be  directed to the discourse of “clean energies” as the singular most important solution for our multiple ecological crises. The belief in two objects was sufficient for an entire populace to be reassured that there would be zero sacrifice. The Western lifestyle could continue unabated. The solar panel and wind turbine directive took centre stage. The crowd roared in applause. The singular focus of “renewable energy” became an eco-fetish of the Western populace, the targeted demographic.

The ten-year social engineering effort also led to a transition from environmentalism into full-blown yet undetected anthropocentrism. Over a ten year span, “environmentalism” moved from that of protecting nature, to demanding a roll-out of green technology, industrial in scale, that would further plunder nature. The natural world became irrelevant as the desire for green technology superseded environmental protection. Wind turbines and solar panels replaced images of trees and insects as the new symbols of our natural world. Saving the industrial civilization that is killing off all life became paramount to saving the ecosystems that all life depends on. These ideologies slowly took hold until “movements” become nothing more than lobby groups for green energy. Volunteers marching for capital, global in scale. To suggest that Edward Bernays would be impressed would be an understatement. Such is the beauty of social engineering and behavioural change.

Yet to fully understand the how we arrived at today’s dismal precipice, we must first revisit the past.

In 2009, over a span of five months GCCA/TckTckTck and affiliated partners registered 15.5 million names worldwide on its online petition for a ” fair, ambitious and binding climate change agreement.” Many marketing firms outside of Havas helped achieve this including the corporate communications and public affairs agency Hoggan & Associates of which DeSmogBlog co-founder Jim Hoggan is president and founder. Hoggan’s client list includes corporate creation TckTckTck, Canadian Pacific Railway, Shell and ALCOA. DeSmogBlog may “expose” Shell on occasion, yet Hoggan & Associates has no problem raking in Shell cash to perhaps, in their own words, “…help clients identify the optimum frame and establish it in the public mind. [Source]

“THE MOST PRESSING ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM WE FACE TODAY IS NOT CLIMATE CHANGE. It is pollution in the public square, where a smog of adversarial rhetoric, propaganda and polarization stifles discussion and debate, creating resistance to change and thwarting our ability to solve our collective problems.” — Jim Hoggan, co-founder of DeSmogBlog [Source: Hoggan & Associates]

[Further reading: EYES WIDE SHUT | TckTckTck exposé, January 6, 2010]

The day before the international climate negotiations kick off in Cancun, the global TckTckTck campaign and its partners presented UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres Photo: Ivan Castaneira/tcktcktck

 

Kelly Rigg, Executive Director of Tck Tck Tck, speaks during the opening ceremony of Climate Week NYC in New York, on Monday, September 20, 2010. (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images)

 

In 2014, Kelly Rigg, executive director of TckTckTck from 2009–2014, was credited as the key organizer for the 2014 People’s Climate March:

“Large groups, like 350.org, Avaaz or the Sierra Club, and the numerous grassroots organizations (1,300 by some estimates) don’t just start magically working together to rent buses, secure police permits and make signs specific to their interests. There has to be a vision into which they all buy, a big enough umbrella under which everyone can stand. Building that umbrella—particularly for the international organizations—was Rigg’s work, work that includes important leadership lessons relevant to anyone trying to mobilize large groups with diverse interests and agendas. Her work can be seen as a road map for how to herd cats. Forbes, Sept 25, 2014: Leadership Lessons from The People’s Climate March [Emphasis added.]

Prior to her role at GCCA/TckTckTck Rigg served as deputy campaigns director for Greenpeace International from 1998-2003, and as its project coordinator from 1982-1993. [Source] In addition, Rigg is founding director of the international consultancy  Varda Group co-founded in 2003 with Rémi Parmentier. GCCA/TckTckTck is identified as a Varda client, as is Greenpeace, divestment partner Ceres, Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth, WWF, Nature Conservancy, WCBSD, UNEP, etc. [Client List]

Having started his career at Friends of the Earth France, Parmentier also holds an extensive history with Greenpeace spanning 27 years, as well as extensive relations with multilateral bodies:

“Rémi Parmentier has been involved in the process of Rio +20 from the start. He participated in the intersession meetings and the Preparatory Committee in New York with “informal consultations” on behalf of various international organizations and alliances. Previously, as the Political Director of Greenpeace International, in the Summit of Johannesburg in 2002, Parmentier was the negotiator and protagonist of the agreement between the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Greenpeace International on the Kyoto Protocol.” [Source] [Emphasis added]

Parmentier also served as Deputy Executive Secretary for the Global Ocean Commission (2013-2016) which was launched in February 2013. Inés de Águeda who serves as the communications officer for the Global Ocean Commission is also an associate at the Varda Group.

Commissioners of the Global Ocean Commission include/have included José María Figueres (co-chair), President of Costa Rica from 1994 to 1998, brother of Christina Figueres, former President of the Carbon War Room, David Miliband, John Podesta (chair of the Center for American Progress and a former White House Chief of Staff ), Sri Mulyani Indrawati (Managing Director at the World Bank), Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation and other high profile individuals.

Here we can add that José María Figueres served as a director of the World Wildlife Fund, the World Resources Institute, and the Stockholm Environment Institute. He was also the first CEO of the World Economic Forum and later served as  CEO of Concordia 21. [Source]

[Further reading: Under One Bad Sky | TckTckTck’s 2014 People’s Climate March: This Changed Nothing, September 23, 2015]

And the following information would too come as no surprise, if only the populace could see through the fog of faux environmentalism.

Alnoor Ladha is a founding partner and the Head of Strategy at Purpose. With its expertise in behavior change, Purpose is most renowned for its White Helmets campaign – a 21st century hybrid-NGO serving NATO states. Ladha is a founding member and the executive director of the Purpose project, The Rules. Ladha serves on the board of Greenpeace USA where its executive director, Annie Leonard, has co-founded Earth Economics. Yet another institution created to aid, abet, and, most importantly, profit off the financialization of nature scheme, now well underway as demonstrated in this series. Leonard’s Earth Economics [4] is a member of divestment partner CERES, which is in turn a partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Purpose (PR arm of Avaaz) manages The B Team (co-founder of We Mean Business) the official address of which, is the office of Purpose.

The link between most, if not all of these NGOs, institutions, and high-level individuals is the shared desire for carbon markets and/or the implementation of payments for ecosystem services (PES).

“Since the 1970s, several waves of privatization have swept the world. In 2017, the Privatization Barometer concluded that “the massive global privatization wave that began in 2012 continues unabated”. According to the rights expert, that wave has been driven not only by Governments and the private sector, but also by international organizations, especially the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the United Nations.” — Human rights at risk from tsunami of privatization, Third World Network, November 16, 2018

Above: Kelly Rigg, Founding Director, Varda Group, US: The Economics of Sustainable Development, 16-19 June 2012 | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Photo: International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) website

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“The second issue is the issue of reductions of emissions. There must be radical reductions of emissions starting from now. In our view, by 2017 we should cut, developed countries must cut by 52%, 65% by 2020, 80% by 2030, well above 100 [percent] by 2050. And this is very important because the more you defer action the more you condemn millions of people to immeasurable suffering.” Lumumba Di-Aping, chief negotiator of the G77, December 11, 2009, COP15

In 2008, as the global climate change director for E3G,  Jennifer Morgan (executive director, Greenpeace International) played a central role and lead catalyst in the formation and launch of the GCCA – the aforementioned coalition first conceptualized in 2006. [1] With extensive experience in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process, Morgan was the ideal choice.

“With an overall budget of USD 6.8 million—over 95 % of which came from foundation funding—the GCCA was undoubtedly the most well-funded global climate campaign of 2009.” Grants for the 2009 GCCA/TckTckTck campaign (created by Havas Worldwide/Euro RSGG in collaboration with Kofi Annan‘s Global Humanitarian Forum) morphed to eleven million USD. [2]

In 2013, the International Policies and Politics Initiative (IPPI) was established in 2013 by five foundations – the European Climate Foundation (ECF), ClimateWorks Foundation, Oak Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and the Mercator Foundation. The initiative would act “as a platform where foundations and grantees meet to strategize on how international political and policy levers can catalyse more ambitious policies at the domestic level.” The ClimateWorks Foundation was largely operated by the McKinsey & Company, an acting advisor to Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room. [3]

The GCCA would greatly benefit the IPPI:

“The GCCA and the TckTckTck campaign offer a potent example of how foundation funds—and most significantly those of the Oak Foundation—were mobilized for capacity building purposes in the run-up to Copenhagen.” — [Source, p. 73]

Morgan, by this time serving with the World Resources Institute, was the ideal person to coordinate the IPPI platform in the run-up to and during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) held in Paris. Morgan was chosen to lead IPPI due to her vast experience in the international climate realm coupled with her World Resources Institute (WRI) affiliation. In essence, this was a signal to corporate power that its interests would be protected. [“The WRI, given its director’s links with governments and international institutions like the World Bank, was seen as a legitimate partner in the eyes of the funders.”] [Source: The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, 2016, p. 101]

And while IPPI and GCCA controlled the “movement”, the same forces also controlled the message via the Carbon Briefing Service (CBS). The news service was launched by Jennifer Morgan (WRI) and Liz Gallagher (E3G) in late 2014 with additional funding by the ClimateWorks Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Oak Foundation, the Villum Foundation and Avaaz. [Source]

The description on the E3G website describes CBS as “a joint E3G-WRI Platform providing political analysis and intelligence to a wide range of actors in the run up to the Paris 2015 climate change negotiations”. Consider that the communications distributed via the CBC “ownerless” network began with the following  notice: “This briefing is confidential and not for public circulation. You have received it due to your relationships with CBS members and networks.” Invitation only CBS participants included: Iain Keith (Avaaz), Jamie Henn (350), Camilla Born (E3G), Liz Gallagher (E3G), Mohamed Adow (ChristianAid), Monica Araya, Martin Kaiser (Greenpeace Germany), Farhana Yamin (TrackO), Wael Hmaidan (CAN International), Bill Hare (Climate Analytics), Pascal Canfin (WRI), Michael Jacobs (Grantham), Alden Meyer (UCS), Tim Nuthall (ECF), Alix Mazounie (RAC-France). [Source]

IPPI is focused on using the ‘Paris moment’ to increase the scale and pace of change.” — Jennifer Morgan World Resources Institute, [Source, p. 5]

By utilizing GCCA, IPPI, CBS and outside “progressive media”, in conjunction with collaborating NGOs and institutions that comprise the non-profit industrial complex, the creation of the “Paris moment” would be achieved.

Havas Worldwide (creator of the TckTckTck campaign) was recognized as a convening partner of the COP21 Earth to Paris campaign with collaborating partners identified as 350.org and Avaaz (GCCA/TckTckTck founders), Ceres, The Climate Reality Project, The Nature Conservancy, We Mean Business, the World Bank (via Connect4Climate) and a host of others. Long before the conference had even concluded it was announced that during a live-streamed summit on December 7th and 8th, the Earth to Paris partners would deliver “a new universal climate change agreement.”

“Earth To Paris, a coalition of partners helping to drive awareness about the connection between people and planet as well as the need for strong climate action, announced it will host “Earth To Paris—Le Hub” a two-day, high-impact, live-streamed summit on 7 and 8 December in Paris during COP21 — the United Nations climate conference to deliver a new universal climate change agreement.” — Dec 1, 2015 [Source]

United Nations Development Programme Press Release, October 29, 2015:

“Earth To Paris, a coalition of partners helping to drive awareness about the connection between people and planet as well as the need for strong climate action, announced it will host “Earth To Paris—Le Hub” a two-day, high-impact, live-streamed summit on 7 and 8 December in Paris during COP21 — the United Nations climate conference to deliver a new universal climate change agreement.”

The fact that anew universal climate change agreement” was announced on October 29, 2015, a month prior to the conference actually taking place, was lost on the populace. [From TckTckTck, to Air France, to “Earth To Paris”, Havas Worldwide Continues to Hypnotize]

“As the establishment rave in Paris winds down, the chimera of clean energy propels industrial societies toward nuking the future. The new age ghost dance, as an expression of social despair, has led to progressive self-delusion that promises us the world, if only we believe. Stepping through the looking glass, one can examine the metrics of messaging by establishment social media and philanthropy, that, combined, is the driving force of the non-profit industrial complex. — Jay Taber, Rave New World

IPPI, as coordinated by Morgan, was created as a “discrete ECF programme” which would “work behind the scenes.” “While the ECF had given rise to the original idea and while it housed its dedicated staff, IPPI was very much presented as an autonomous and “unbranded” initiative (“unbranded” as in not linked to any particular organization”). [Source, p. 101]

Video: Beyond Davos, 2015 – Mobilizing consumers and ownerless movements as explained by Avaaz/Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans. Introduction by Paul Hilder (Avaaz, Here Now/Purpose). [Running time: 3m:39s]:

 

“Although civil society groups are assumed to be normatively motivated […] they are nonetheless embedded in a global capitalist economy and have quite specific material requirements that must be fulfilled in order to operate successfully.” — Lipschutz and McKendry, Social Movements and Global Civil Society, August, 2011

Lipschutz and McKendry (quoted above) further elaborate: “to be successful, an organization must survive and, in a marketbased environment, this means finding ways to generate the funds necessary to sustain operations”. [5] Yet, it is more than this. Those at the helm, as this series has demonstrated, share the same ideologies and Western mindsets as the capitalists and corporations whose interests they serve.

The IPPI brought together the influential players including Greenpeace, WWF, 350.org, Avaaz, CAN International, Oxfam, E3G, The Climate Group and World Resources Institute. The formation of GCCA was one commonality between many of these NGOs and think tanks coupled with extensive involvement in the international climate arena coupled with strong affiliations with negotiators and the UNFCCC secretariat. [Source: The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, 2016 [p. 101 and p. 118]

“The role of Avaaz is particularly revealing in this respect. In other words, it was not a case of promoting one approach among many but of making sure that the IPPI approach was the only approach while maintaining a false sense of pluralism both inside and on the margins of the climate negotiations. Core contributors to the IPPI strategy went to extraordinary lengths to prevent fellow non-state actors from “getting in the way” of a positive diplomatic outcome in Paris.” — The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, 2016, Edouard Morena] [p. 133]

The Key Foundations

To be clear, the IPPI is not the only case of foundation involvement and influence in the climate policy realm. However, it is one of the most “successful” given how influential it has proven to be. Most (if not all) are driven by corporations via the largest and most influential foundations and think tanks created and financed by profits from these very same corporate entities.

The field of climate philanthropy regroups a fairly small number of large players.  A 2010 study for the Foundation Center, showed that in 2008, 25 foundations accounted for over 90% of all climate change funding. More recent data from the same source discloses that six foundations—Oak, Packard, Hewlett, Sea Change, Energy, Rockefeller—accounted for approximately 70% of climate change policy funding in 2012. [Source, p 10]

In 1989, Environmental Defence Fund, WWF and Greenpeace, with foundation backing, launched the Climate Action Network (CAN) which Morgan also presided over in her career (USCAN). One foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which financed regional offshoots of CAN, would comment in its 1993 annual review that these “global preachers” “played a central role beginning in the early days of the climate change debate”. [Source, p. 32]

It is here that we must jump forward to the present day.

In the article “Philanthropy Teams Up With Institutional Investors to Fight Climate Change,” published on September 7, 2017, the need for a new approach that will unlock capital for new climate infrastructure at scale is highlighted:

“[B]ecause climate change represents such an extraordinary threat, it’s imperative we compress the dynamics of innovation and scale through new approaches. That’s why Planet Heritage Foundation… a global investment advisory firm that works with institutional investors to channel capital into “climate infrastructure” sectors such as clean energy, water, and waste-to-value. These investors — sovereign funds, pensions, endowments, insurance companies, family offices, and foundations — represent more than $80 trillion in assets and are the only stakeholders other than governments with the capacity to invest at a scale… After only a year, the Aligned Intermediary model is already demonstrating promise in this regard…

 

“In partnership with Sarah Kearney (PRIME) and Alicia Seiger (Stanford University), we initially attracted grant funding totaling $500,000 from four philanthropies — the Hewlett Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the ClimateWorks Foundation, and Planet Heritage Foundation — for research that demonstrated the potential of our model.” [Emphasis added]

One year later, at the One Planet Summit in NY on September 26, 2018, the Climate Finance Task Force, a group  coordinated by the Task Force on Philanthropic Innovation and Aligned Intermediary, announced the new instruments for unlocking capital at scale:

“Efforts to blend capital in order to engage and mobilize large-scale institutional capital toward climate solutions took a notable step forward on September 26 at the One Planet Summit in New York, when French President Emmanuel Macron and BlackRock’s Larry Fink announced the Climate Finance Partnership (CFP). The CFP consists of a unique combination of philanthropies, governments, institutional investors, and a leading global asset manager. The parties, including BlackRock, the Governments of France and Germany, and the Hewlett, Grantham, and IKEA foundations, have committed to work together to finalize the design and structure of what we anticipate will be a flagship blended capital investment vehicle by the end of the first quarter, 2019.

 

The partnership, coordinated by the Task Force on Philanthropic Innovation and the Aligned Intermediary, an investment advisory group, was designed and structured specifically to use a layer of government and philanthropic capital to maximize private capital mobilization toward climate-related sectors in emerging markets.” [Emphasis added]

The Blended Finance Taskforce (ACT IV of this series) is comprised of fifty icons of finance including the MacArthur Foundation (World Resources Institute), the Rockefeller Foundation and ClimateWork Foundation. [Full list]

The same article sheds light on the “violent agreement” to unlock $100 trillion USD:

“A detailed analysis by the World Bank found that while $100 trillion is held by pension funds and other institutional investors, these same investors allocated less than $2 trillion over a 25 year period into infrastructure investment in emerging markets. And the fraction of that investment that could be considered green, clean, or climate-friendly was negligible.

 

So, what can be done? Whether you choose to look through the lens of unprecedented challenge or unprecedented opportunity, there is violent agreement that institutional capital needs to be “unlocked” (a favorite word on the climate conference circuit) and mobilized quickly and at scale.” [Emphasis added]

The foundations involved in climate policy from inception, that continue to work hand-in-hand with select NGOs and NGO leaders, are the same foundations to benefit from the Climate Finance Partnership. The roadmap to unlocking 100 trillion dollars is identified in pension funds. The roadmap to the privatization and financialization of nature, global in scale, is the interlocking directorate of the non-profit industrial complex, a matrix of overlapping highways of hegemony.

On December 12, 2017, at the One Planet Summit, Frank Bainimaramai, COP23 President and Prime Minister of Fiji, stated:

“…after all when we talk about tapping into the vast amounts of institutional capital for climate solutions we are largely talking about the retirement savings of ordinary hard-working citizens and we need to honor the expectation a big being good stewards with the money…”

To be clear: The money for multi-billion-dollar corporations – to create privatized services and industries, under the guise of environmental protection, is going to be PAID FOR BY THE PUBLIC – BUT THE PUBLIC WILL NOT OWN THEM (for this would be communism – a detestable idea in the Western world). For the corporate sector, it’s no risk – all profit. Anything that fails – the public is on the hook.

John D. Rockefeller once stated that “the ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee and I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun.” Truer words were perhaps never spoken.

The skill and precision in achieving the protection and expansion of the capitalist economic system is today nothing less than extraordinary. By utilizing the non-profit industrial complex, the world’s most powerful oligarchs need not force their will onto society. Rather, akin to what Aldous Huxley prophesized in his fictional novel Brave New World, we have been manipulated and engineered to demand the very “solutions” that will further empower those that destroy us.

“The climate Glitterati, such as, M. Bloomberg, L. DiCaprio, N. Stern, C. Figueres, A. Gore, M. Carney. All of these people have huge carbon footprints, and they fly around the world in private jets to inform us what to do about climate change. They are supported by a whole cadre of senior academics promoting offsetting, negative emissions, geo-engineering, CCS, green growth, etc. These are all ‘an evolution within the system.” — Kevin Anderson, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research [Source]

 

 

 

Underway: The Monetization of Social Capital

André Hoffmann is a Swiss industrialist belonging to one of the wealthiest dynasties in Europe. He served as vice-president of WWF from 2007-2017 and as WWF honorary chair from 1998-2017. He is president of the MAVA Foundation (a key funder of the Natural Capital Coalition) and vice chairman of the board for Roche, the pharmaceutical and chemical giant founded by his family. [Bio]

Roche is the world’s largest Biotech company. It is headquartered in Switzerland and has operations in over 100 countries. As one of the early adopters of the Natural Capital Protocol, the pilot summary report made mention that “an important point raised by the study was the fact that Roche generates considerable unaccounted for positive social value from use of their products and other socially responsible activities, which likely far outweigh any negative environmental impacts.” [Source] [Emphasis added]

The above disclosure opens up yet another layer of depravity. If nature can be assigned monetary values – so can societal values. Enter the assigning of monetary value to “social capital” in the language of “social capital markets”. [Social Capital Markets website: “dedicated to catalyzing world change through market-based solutions.”]

NextBillion was launched in May 2005 by the World Resources Institute. The “development through enterprise” project  shares an interest in the development of social capital. In 2010 The William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan joined the World Resources Institute as partners in ownership of NextBillion. As of December 4, 2012 NextBillion is managed exclusively by WDI, which is focused on providing private-sector solutions in emerging markets.

“Social Capital Markets is Dedicated to Accelerating a New Global Market at the Intersection of Money + Meaning”.  — Social Capital Markets Website

The 2017 Social Capital Protocol states that “integrating approaches between social and natural capital” are driven by the same purpose and based on the same concepts and principles as the Natural Capital Protocol developed by the Natural Capital Coalition. [p. 6]

Although the social capital concept is still in its infancy [“the measurement and valuation of social capital is a relatively new concept”], its goals are clear: “Over the coming years, the Social Capital Protocol initiative will shape and drive collaborative action to achieve four goals.” The last goal can best be described as what will be the coup de grâce for the last vestiges of human normality: “Enable companies to capitalize on their implementation of the Social Capital Protocol by ensuring the finance community and capital markets recognize and reward social value creation.” [p. 5]

Again, as with the Natural Capital project/coalition, World Resources Institute plays a key role: “These principles align with the current principles of the Natural Capital Protocol, which itself builds on guidance from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the World Resource Institute (WRI)/WBCSD Greenhouse Gas Protocol, and the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB).” [p. 10]

A new financial system that allows a corporation such as Roche, the world’s largest biotech company, to measure and account for positive social value” as a means of offsetting “negative environmental impacts” is a great tool indeed. It is little wonder that Hoffman would have invested in its development.

Hoffman also serves as senior adviser at Chatham House and numerous other boards, including the World Economic Forum, the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and SYSTEMIQ.

Here it can be noted that Jeremy Oppenheim, the lead and former programme director of the New Climate Economy, is the founder and managing partner of SYSTEMIQ: “While giving full value to the natural ecosystem, these alternatives need to be economically viable and able to replicate at scale… We envisage successful models rapidly becoming a ‘bankable asset class’ for regular investors.” [Source] Oppenheim also serves as chair of the Blended Finance Task Force. John E. Morton who serves as senior advisor to the Blended Finance Taskforce is a Fellow to the European Climate Foundation. Two SYSTEMIQ associates serve as the project leads to the Blended Finance Taskforce. [Source] Suffice to say, all roads lead to the Climate Finance Partnership and New Climate Economy.

André Hoffmann’s father, Luc Hoffmann served on the first international board of the WWF (co-founders include Goddfrey Rockefeller). In addition to his contributions to the founding of WWF, Luc Hoffman also founded WWF France and WWF Greece. He served as honorary vice president to WWF until his death in 2016. [Source]

In addition to the support provided to the WWF, Luc Hoffmann served as director of Wetlands International, was vice-president of the IUCN (World Union of Nature Conservation) and established the International Bank of Arguin Foundation in Mauritania. This is important to recognize as in 2013 this project received the “first international payment for marine ecosystem services” [Source: The case of the Banc d’Arguin National Park, Mauritania]

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October 29, 2018, WWF Press Release, “WWF Report Reveals Staggering Extent of Human Impact on Planet”:

“A global deal for nature, similar to the Paris Climate Agreement, can ensure that effective conservation methods continue, and more ambitious goals are set.”

The report states that “the biggest drivers of current biodiversity loss are overexploitation and agriculture, both linked to continually increasing human consumption.” Yet, nowhere does it mention the ecological impacts of militarism. As a collective, we have become so conditioned to this incredible “oversight”, that we no longer take notice of its omission. The report draws attention to agriculture, but not to industrial livestock with its staggering ecological impacts coupled with its grotesque cruelty. It draws attention to increasing number of mountain gorillas – just prior to Jane Goodall’s promotional support of a fourth industrial revolution in January of 2019 in Davos. A revolution that consequently demands fivefold the minerals and metals we are already using as fast as we can. The very same metals that cause the conflict and resulting death of Congolose men, women and children – and gorillas. Here we can only conclude what those in the Global South have always known: technological “progress” is always intended to serve the West at the expense of what life and what resources remain.

As we peel back the layers, the “New Deal for Nature” is even more egregious than the Green New Deal. Yet, if the NGOs can create enough collective hype around the Green New Deal, in servitude to their funders, the more sinister deal can be brought into legislation without opposition. This bears resemblance to the anti-pipeline NGO campaigns. While Americans were hypnotized by a single pipeline, American business magnate Warren Buffett built a 21st century rail dynasty to ship oil via rail, and the oil continued to flow – only even faster.

Storytelling

“… and I will say this to our colleagues from Western civil society — you have definitely sided with a small group of industrialists and their representatives and your representative branches. Nothing more than that. You have become an instrument of your governments.” Lumumba Di-Aping, chief negotiator of the G77, December 11, 2009, COP15

Above screenshot: In the 2012 David Blood lecture (video), “Breakthrough Capitalism Forum – David Blood”, one can view the sponsorship in the background. At the top of the screen, we can identify speakers/sponsors Jeremy Leggitt of Solar Century & Carbon Tracker, and Jennifer Morgan of WWF, to name two. [See full list of Breakthrough Capitalism partners.] [Source]

To demonstrate an example of “storytelling” employed to appease the public and feign opposition to those destroying our planet, we can look at the following Greenpeace International press release: January 25, 2019, “Profit, Not People, Clearly Remains Davos Elites’ Priority. As the World Economic Forum in Davos draws to a close, Greenpeace International Executive Director, Jennifer Morgan, stated:

Greenpeace came to Davos looking for moral, business and political leadership, and we did not find it. It is deeply disturbing that, as the world tinkers on the brink of a climate catastrophe, avoiding further temperature rise is not at the very centre of all of the meetings of CEOs and world leaders. The solutions are in front of them and they need to prioritise solving this crisis, join the youth who are leading the way forward and thus be on the right side of history.

 

Yesterday there were 32,000 school strike students on the streets of Belgium and today children are taking to the streets of Berlin clamouring for an early coal phase-out. The youth are demanding to be heard, the question is, why isn’t the Davos elite responding with the scale and pace required? Short-term business interests and making a greater profit, whatever the cost to others, clearly remains the Davos elites priority. We have no time to waste. In the powerful words of Greta Thunberg, we need to ‘get angry, and form that anger into action.'”

An excerpt from the January 16, 2019 press release by Morgan a week prior, as a lead-up to the WEF in Davos, stated:

“Make no mistake we are in a climate emergency and that emergency must dominate next weeks annual World Economic Forum gathering in Davos…. The Fourth Industrial Revolution could totally reimagine the way we approach solutions to the climate crisis. But only if this revolution is in service of solving climate change.” [Source]

This is very much the green light for the climate strikes in which Greenpeace plays the leading role – in the background.

Above: February 7, 2019, UKYCC tweet. Tagged users: Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace, Greta Thunberg, People & Planet (The UK’s largest student network), UKSCN, YouthStrike4Climate and Friends of the Earth

Voice for the Planet

 

“Voice for the planet was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2019 by the Global Shapers. The aim, to showcase the growing movement of people around the world calling for a new deal for nature and people: urgent global action  to address the current crisis for nature.” [Source: Voice for the Planet website]

The twenty-two organizations supporting the campaign (registered to WWF-UK) include The Climate Reality Project, World Resources Institute, WWF, Conservation International, the Nature Conservancy and UNDP. [Accessed February 20, 2019] [Full list]

Global Shapers

Voice for the Planet leads us to Global Shapers, a global community of “change-makers” – supported by grant and community partners. Founded in 2011 by Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, Global Shapers is a defacto training center for young people under the age of 30 that can shape the world as envisioned by WEF, Al Gore, Jack Ma et al. With more than 7,000 members, the Global Shapers community spans 369 city-based hubs in 171 countries.

Here again we have the youth being trained to destroy their own futures as sacrificial lambs to capitalism.

Serving on the Global Shapers board of directors is David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of the  Carlyle Group, and Jack Ma, executive chairman of the Alibaba Group and co-founder of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

Partners include The Climate Reality Project, Coca-Cola, Salesforce, Procter and Gamble, Reliance Industries, Oando, GMR Group, Hanwha Energy Corporation, Rosamund Zander and Yara International.

“Lastly, thanks to collaboration with the Climate Reality Project, more than 292 Global Shapers were able to join U.S. Vice President Al Gore at the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training. Global Shapers joined the training that took place in Berlin, Pittsburgh, Mexico City and Los Angeles, as well as during regional SHAPE events, to learn how to lead the global fight for climate solutions.” — Global Shapers Annual Report 2017

The Global Shapers is a grotesque display of corporate malfeasance disguised as good. As an example, under the heading “accelerating change,” is the “Coca-Cola Shaping a Better Future Grant Challenge”. In 2017 the award was given to the Bogotá Hub in order to “foster peace and reconciliation in conflict-torn areas of Colombia.” What the youth enraptured by Global Shapers will not be told is that Coca-Cola has a long and sordid history of murdering union leaders in Columbia.

As discussed in the addendum “The Branding of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – By Any Means Necessary” (February 15, 2019), more and more, youth are being recognized and targeted as key drivers of economic growth and influence:

“We are becoming increasingly aware that solutions to our global challenges must purposefully engage youth, at all levels – locally, regionally, nationally and globally. This generation has the passion, dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit to shape the future.” —Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum [Emphasis added]

This growing body of research is not lost on the power elite that gather annually at Davos, nor on the World Economic Forum that hosts them. Nature Conservancy, January 4, 2019, Ten Groups to Watch in 2019:

The Revolution Will Be Snapchatted. Forget your John-Hughes-movie stereotypes. Today’s teens are civically active, globally minded —and they nearly unanimously agree that we need to do more to address climate change. A study of 31,000 youth from 186 countries found that climate change is their number one concern (surpassing terrorism, poverty and unemployment.) Over 90% agree that science has proven that humans are causing climate change, and nearly 60% plan to work in sustainability.” [Emphasis in original]

The survey Nature Conservancy highlights has been conducted by Global Shapers. This has nothing to do with goodwill or the well-being of youth. This is simple metrics in order to identify, understand, and ultimately exploit, the targeted  audience.

In the polling conducted for the 2017 Global Shapers annual survey report, one area of interest is the section concerning “sense of responsibility and responsiveness.” When asked who has the greatest responsibility in making the world a better place and thereby the power to address the most important global and local issues, the first choice is ‘individuals'(34.2%)”. Compare this to 9% of votes feeling the responsibility is with “global and large national companies”. [“The top choice is constant regardless of gender, age, regions, Human Development Index, Corruption Perceptions Index or income level.”]

In essence, we have youth – many from states whose contribution to climate change is almost nil – who have been convinced to believe their own impact is far greater to ecological devastation than corporations, the economic system itself, or even the global war industry.

Another insight garnered from the survey: “Does the feeling of responsibility translate into any concrete actions? Young people were asked whether they would be willing to change their lifestyle to protect nature and the environment, to which 78.1% responded “yes”.” And this is the primary reason for feigned concern by the world’s most powerful capitalists – how the youth can be exploited as consumers.

Meanwhile, on the “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode” Front

“IF THERE’S NO ACTION before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.” — Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Nov. 17, 2007

 

“We still have a chance to turn things around, though. A major body of research led by The Nature Conservancy shows it is still possible to achieve a sustainable future for people and nature—if we take massive action in the next 10 years. – January 4, 2019

Meanwhile, in terms of the authorities in the “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode” front, we have the very same groups that brought us into the fold of the 2009 TckTckTck campaign for COP15 (“a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit”) – that were then able to “herd the cats” for the People’s Climate March orchestrated in 2014 – and are now tasked with mobilizing the populace again for the final crescendo, requiring even larger unprecedented numbers. Hence, we have headlines such as “The Human Survival Summit: The Next Wave Of Climate Change Protests Is Coming – Greenpeace and Amnesty International unite in push for greater civil disobedience.” [January 25, 2019]

The irony here is that both Greenpeace and TckTckTck threw all the world’s most vulnerable citizens under the bus in 2009 during the tenure of Kumi Naidoo who served as executive director of both organizations. Today, a decade later, Naidoo) now leads Amnesty International as its secretary-general. In 2011, Amnesty International, by utilizing the behavioural economics of hatred, was instrumental in leading the illegal war on the sovereign nation of Libya – Libya being the most prosperous country in Africa under the leadership of Libyan revolutionary Muammar Gaddafi. Libya quickly became a war torn nation in a permanent state of chaos as hundreds of thousands of citizens perished (and continue to do so to this day). Yet, the elite institutions and oligarchs that finance it, control it and wield it as a weapon in the service of imperialism and patriarchy, would like you to believe that they actually have concern over the climate and human rights:

“Greenpeace International, which has traditionally focused on environmental issues, and Amnesty International, which has concentrated on human rights, are co-launching a Summit for Human Survival later this year to encourage nonviolent protests and other interventions that force greater action on climate change.

 

The idea of the Summit, said Naidoo, is not for it to dictate or try to coordinate centralized actions but rather to unite individuals and organizations so that they can collaborate in pushing for change. He pointed to new forms of protest such as the Extinction Rebellion movement, one of the many youth-driven civil disobedience movements focused on climate change. It began in the U.K. and is now launching chapters across the globe, including in the United States. Naidoo added that big international NGOs aren’t organizing this mobilization and that this sort of decentralization should be encouraged.”

And this too is a lie.

Having initially intended to write extensively in this segment about Extinction Rebellion, the need to do so is no longer paramount. It is simply sufficient to point out the fact that The Climate Mobilization NGO (whose founder is the author of the aforementioned paper “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode,” that collaborates with 350.org, The Leap and many others) has been working with Extinction Rebellion since at least last September [6]. This reveals why Extinction Rebellion group was catapulted into international super stardom by The Guardian et al while far greater actions by land defenders in the Global South go ignored for eternity.

If that is not sufficient substantiation for some readers, it is fact that 350.org, Avaaz, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace have all been in dialogue with the Extinction Rebellion co-founders, whom, with The Climate Mobilization, are very much in favour of such collaboration. [Interview with ER co-founders by Climate Mobilization founder, December 6, 2018]:

 “…at the start of this campaign in back in early October we did an occupation of Greenpeace as offices. It was very friendly.  We took cake and flowers and everybody hid the horns from Roger so it couldn’t go around blowing the horns because we wanted to keep it really lovely…

 

We are having conversations with organizations as conversation with some of,  some of the big, bigger online platforms even than 350.org. It’s always an important balance to figure out how you have a relationship with any kind of NGO so that there’s not big compromises being asked for and watch this space on that. I think I shouldn’t pre-announce things on here that aren’t being agreed yet with everybody else but we yeah we are definitely talking to other organizations.

 

…so this is a very serious sort of proposition that we’re putting to some of them more like NGOs which are, I think a lot of the people in the NGOs know this as well. I mean a lot of people know what’s coming and I think this opens up a really interesting space in progressive culture in the countries we’re in.  For the first time for a generation or two is to basically create a united front as it were people working together on a common agenda and I’ve been personally really surprised by how open some of the people have been at Greenpeace and Avaaz and various other organizations to the notion that, yes, we need to have as much participation in civil disobedience [as possible].”

The NGO relationships formed with Extinction Rebellion explain the deliberately vague three demands behind the Extinction Rebellion “movement” – a vagueness that goes largely unnoticed – while one particular demand is as clear as the light of day. While imperialism, capitalism and militarism – the main drivers of ecological devastation and climate change are nowhere to be found, there is something that is found buried in the FAQ section:

Question: “WHY HAVEN’T YOU GOT MORE TANGIBLE WINNABLE STEPPING STONE GOALS THAT WOULD BUILD MORAL[SIC] AS YOU WIN?”

Extinction Rebellion: “We have. We say the Government must reverse current policies inconsistent with acknowledging the climate emergency – there is much to be achieved there. For example banning fracking and dropping plans for a third runway at Heathrow. And reversing their decision to crush renewable energy investment while doubling down on fossil fuels. A massive Green New Deal is absolutely vital, possible and necessary.”

Here one must ask why a UK group would identify a US campaign as a primary focal point of its demands. The answer is that not only were US NGOs already officially involved with Extinction Rebellion as early as September 2018 while simultaneously being aggressive proponents of the New Green Deal, but even more importantly, these NGOs, at the bequest of their benefactors, also had global designs for Green New Deals. The New Deal For Nature would be helped along after popularizing the language of “new deal” in order to mask its ugly intent. The New Deal for Nature, saturated with holistic linguistics and emotive hooks, lies in the dark shadows of the Green New Deal and climate strikes – waiting.

In the October 31, 2018 article covering the very first Extinction Rebellion action, published by the aforementioned DesmogBlog, a reference to a “new deal for nature” goes undetected:

“Extinction Rebellion’s declaration of rebellion comes a day after a report by the WWF found that many species’ populations have declined on average by 60 percent between 1970 and 2014 largely due to human activity.

 

The report said: ‘Decision makers at every level need to make the right political, financial and consumer choices to achieve the vision that humanity and nature thrive in harmony on our only planet.’

 

The WWF called for ‘a new global deal for nature and people’ to halt wildlife decline, tackle deforestation, climate change and plastic pollution and is backed by ‘concrete commitments from global leaders and businesses.'”

The fact that Extinction Rebellion does not include capitalism, imperialism or militarism – the primary drivers of the ecological assault against the Earth, in conjunction with the omission of other underlying structural causes, has raised important questions on if this vehicle can perhaps still be utilized to organize and build community.

Here the question must be, why would we choose to lend our name to strengthen a BRAND that cites “a massive new deal is absolutely vital,” yet deliberately omits the fact that stopping capitalism, imperialism and militarism and other forms of oppression that are just as vital. This is worse than an oversight. It is a disgrace. Even more tragic is the fact that collectively we’ve been conditioned to such an extent, we are no longer even cognizant of such blatant hypocrisies.

As an ongoing coup against the sovereign state of  Venezuela led by the US and Canada accelerates – Extinction Rebellion fails to mobilize their groups, now international in scope. They not only fail to mobilize, they fail to speak of it. With its arms opened to imperial NGOs such as Avaaz and Amnesty International, the writing was already on the wall before the first action took place.

Adding to this, is the fact that Extinction Rebellion is yet another group that chooses to stay absolutely silent on the commodification and objectification of nature – another tell-tale warning sign.

We must lend our support and engage in small but connected resistance groups that work together to tear down the structures oppressing not only ourselves – but foremost, our brothers and sisters in the Global South. This means crushing the drivers of imperialism.

[Essential reading for youth: CHE GUEVARA TALKS TO YOUNG PEOPLE. “Between 1959 and 1964, freedom fighter Che Guevara delivered a number of speeches to youth groups and students to inspire and educate them about the revolution. This is a collection of these speeches – a collection of thought as iconic as Che Guevara’s image. He remains a hero to many, and represents a form of socialism that is hard to deny.”] [Download]

The Last Vestiges of Ethics and the Corporate Capture of Nature

This series has disclosed very ugly truths. It is our ethical and moral duty to share this knowledge. Only then, can the tide turn. The era of “green shaming” must come to an end. [Trust Nothing – John Steppling] It has been used as a weapon to ensure our silence for long enough.

This is 350 – born out of The Rockefeller Foundation. This is Avaaz – an instrument of empire – up to its neck in the blood of Libyan and Syrian men, women and children while campaigning for climate action as it creates acquiescence for wars. This is Greenpeace that cited the world must not exceed a global temperature increase of  1°C in 1997 only to demand a full 2°C in 2009. This is Friends of the Earth, who has served on the board of Ceres, since its inception – that also cited 1°C in 2001 as the global temperature that the Earth must not exceed. This is a cabal that has placed capital and corporate interests over environmental protection and Indigenous rights – time and time again.

“Many of you equally, and I will say this, and I would have never thought that one day I will accuse a civil society of such a thing. Dividing the G77, or helping divide the G77, is simply something that should be left to the CIAs, the KGBs and the rest [not the NGOs]. Lumumba Di-Aping, chief negotiator of the G77, December 11, 2009, COP15

Clive L. Spash, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria, writes: “The Paris Agreement signifies commitment to sustained industrial growth, risk management over disaster prevention, and future inventions and technology as saviour. The primary commitment of the international community is to maintain the current social and economic system. The result is denial that tackling GHG emissions is incompatible with sustained economic growth. The reality is that Nation States and international corporations are engaged in an unremitting and ongoing expansion of fossil fuel energy exploration, extraction and combustion, and the construction of related infrastructure for production and consumption. The targets and promises of the Paris Agreement bear no relationship to biophysical or social and economic reality.” [This Changes Nothing: The Paris Agreement to Ignore Reality, Globalizations, 2016 Vol. 13, No. 6, 928–933]

Thunberg has stated repeatedly that her strike will continue “until Sweden is aligned with the Paris Agreement.” Therefore, by her own statements, this is the singular, overall purpose and goal of the strikes, now global in scale. A Paris Agreement that unlocks everything which has been disclosed in painstaking detail within this series.

On February 21, 2019, the European Commission was the latest to embrace and promote Thunberg: “The teenager opened a European Commission event in front of President Jean-Claude Juncker where she told politicians to stop ‘sweeping their mess under the carpet for our generation to clean up.'” Here again, Thunberg’s demands, on behalf of the youth participating in the climate strikes, are identified:

“We want you to follow the Paris agreement and the IPCC reports we don’t have any other manifests or demands. Just unite behind the science. That is our demand.” [Video]

Here we have three key players of capitalist hegemony, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum and the European Commission – all promoting Thunberg in unprecedented fashion. Institutions housing individuals that systematically pillage the planet in exchange for economic growth, power and profits have been magically moved to protect the planet.

What is unbeknownst to the populace is the fact that all three of these institutions are founding partners of the Climate Finance Partnership’s Blended Finance Taskforce. The Climate Finance Partnership was formed under the leadership of French President Emmanuel Macron who announced the partnership on September 26, 2018 at the One Planet Summit held in New York. Partners include the Governments of France and Germany.

February 23, 2019: “De Franse president Macron ontving het Zweedse klimaatmeisje Greta Thunberg (rechts naar Macron) en een delegatie van Youth for Climate, onder wie Anuna De Wever (tweede van rechts) en Kyra Gantois (eerste van links).” [Source]

The Climate Finance Partnership was created in order to propel forward the New Climate Economy. Both being key vehicles to unlock the 100 trillion dollars identified in pension funds while simultaneously implementing the economic valuation and payment for environmental services (payments for ecosystems services) hidden within the Sustainable Development Goals. The privatization of nature will transform global finance. Those most responsible for the destruction will be assigned as the new “stewards of national natural capital.”

One can only hope that this series has  finally divulged once and for all who and what such powerful NGOs represent: oligarchs, corporate finance and capital. The NGOS at the helm of non-profit industrial complex must be recognized as the world’s most powerful lobbying arm for green technology. This comes at the expense of nature, not for the protection of nature. Again, reality turned on its head. This is why the non-profit industrial complex must be starved out of commission – by withdrawing our consent. Up to this point its power stems from its false claim of representing civil society. We must make it clear that it does not.

We have planetary boundaries that we must live within if life on Earth is to continue in some shape or form. These boundaries are non-negotiable. We can lie to ourselves all we want, in all of our anthropocentric glory, but it won’t change the reality. We can paint it green, we can share our illusions in glossy brochures and make them go viral on shiny screens – the biosphere does not give a flying fuck. If our society was actually sane, we would recognize these said “solutions” as delusions – but sadly that is not the case. Disconnected from nature – and more and more, disconnected from each other – we are lost.

Nature doesn’t deal.

“And that’s the real question facing the white activists today. Can they tear down the institutions that have put us all in the trick bag we’ve been into for the last hundreds of years?” — Black Power by Stokely Carmichael, 1966

We can end this grim instalment by reflecting upon what Indian author Arundhati Roy so articulately summarized almost fifteen years ago on August 16, 2004: “The NGO-ization of resistance.” We can say that tragically, yet unequivocally, the NGO-ization of resistance in the West is a fait accompli.

The NGO-ization of resistance, Arundhati Roy, August 16, 2004 [Running time: 5m:51s]:

 

 

End Notes:

[1] “Officially launched in 2008, the GCCA’s origins date back to April 2006 when representatives from some of the largest environmental and developmental groups—Oxfam, Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Brazil, WWF International, WWF India, the World Council of Churches, Friends of the Earth and the Union of Concerned Scientists—convened in Woltersdorf (Germany) to discuss the possibility of developing a common platform to mobilize the wider public and thereby bolster the climate negotiations.” [p. 70]

“In 2009, its core funders were the Oak Foundation, the Sea Change Foundation, the Turner-affiliated Better World Fund, the Prince Albert II Foundation of Monaco and the Government of Québec. With a total contribution ofUSD 5 million in 2009, the Oak Foundation was by far the GCCA’s main donor (the Sea Change Foundation coming second with USD 1.5 million). [p.69]

It was founded on “[connecting] the intelligence gathering and sophisticated advocacy provided by numerous NGOS in order to target and maximize the collective impact of groups on every continent” (GCCA 2009).” [p.71]

[Source: The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, published in 2016 by Edouard Morena]

[2] The GCCA made over USD 3 million worth of grants to partner organizations in support of their communications and campaigning activities. As they explain in their 2009 Annual Report, ‘most grants were awarded to support national and regional campaigning (including for rapid response actions and national hubs), with the remaining funds for global campaign and communication actions’. In other words, the GCCA, while not a foundation per se, acted as a de facto regranting organization, selectively distributing funds to push through a common message. What is more, GCCA grants had a leveraging effect by enabling partners to mobilize further funding—both internally and externally—for GCCA-related activities. According to its 2009 Annual Report, ‘partners reported a further total of more than eight million in funds leveraged from their own organisations plus additional sources for activities carried out with financial support from the GCCA’. [Source: The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, published in 2016 by Edouard Morena] [p.72]

[3] “IPPI is presented as “a new platform for philanthropic cooperation to catalyse greater ambition on climate through activities and processes taking place at an international level” (ECF 2014, 26). It is “designed to help philanthropy identify opportunities for international collaboration, develop joint strategies, and pool and align grant making to achieve greater overall impact.” It acts as a platform where foundations and grantees meet to strategize on how international political and policy levers can catalyse more ambitious policies at the domestic level. [Source: The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, published in 2016 by Edouard Morena] [p. 5]

[4] “Earth Economics, with the support of our Community Partners and Advisors, maintains the largest, spatially explicit, web-based repository of published and unpublished economic values for ecosystem services. With generous funding from our sponsors, in 2012 Earth Economics began porting our internal database to a web-based service. The Ecosystem Service Valuation Toolkit (EVT) portal was launched at Rio +20 in June 2012. The Researcher’s Library and SERVES were previewed at the ACES Conference in December 2012.”

[5] Funds are required to both finance participation and facilitate lobbying activities— through joint initiatives, platforms, dialogues, reports, campaigns, outreach activities, and the creation and upholding of informal relationships of trust between NGOs and the UNFCCC secretariat and/or members of government delegations (Caniglia et al. 2015 , 241; Caniglia 2001 ; Dodds and Strauss 2004 ). [Source: The Price of Climate Action-Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate, published in 2016 by Edouard Morena] [p. 6]

[6] Gregory Schwedock, NY, NY, USA is the director of digital organizing for the Climate Mobilization Project (2014-present). He identifies himself as  coordinator for Extinction Rebellion from September 2018 – present. [Source: LinkedIn]

 

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can support her independent journalism via Patreon.]

Edited with Forrest Palmer, Wrong Kind of Green Collective.

 

The Branding of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – By Any Means Necessary [Addendum]

February 15, 2019

 

By Cory Morningstar

 

[ADDENDUM to ACT V: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The New Green Deal is the Trojan Horse for the Financialization of Nature]

[An investigative series in six acts:  The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex:  ACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT VACT VI]

 

 

Marketing to a key “femographic”, the Green New Deal is both literally and figuratively in Vogue.

The following Teen Vogue makeup tutorial slash Ocasio-Cortez promotional video can only be understood through the lens of today’s incredible infatuation with superficial self-improvement. The makeup tutorial, now a new industry in itself, has been made popular (bordering on obsessive) with teenagers/youth by mainstream pop idols and celebrities, such as Western culture icons Kylie Jenner and music artist Rihanna.

The tutorials further enrich the multi-billion dollar cosmetic industry. [Fortune, July 11, 2018: “How 20-Year-Old Kylie Jenner Built A $900 Million Fortune In Less Than 3 Years”] Rihanna’s net worth in 2018 was a reported 210 million USD having launched her cosmetic line Fenty Beauty with Kendo in 2017. Kendo is a subsidiary of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury group. The unprecedented covetousness for cosmetics lauded by celebrity, is also a reflection of unobtainable beauty expectations being marketed to young women.

“According to the report, global cosmetic products market was valued at around USD 532 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach approximately USD 863 billion in 2024, growing at a CAGR of slightly above 7% between 2018 and 2024… In the U.S, growing Hispanic population is propelling demand for luxurious personal care brands and will escalate during the forecast years.” — Zion Market Research, June 22, 2018

The following statistic taken from the Ocasio-Cortez campaign team (written by Data for Progress, author of “The Future  of the Party” policy report commissioned by the Justice Democrats) reveals how segments of the Ocasio-Cortez Latinx volunteer base could be effectively exploited to further her popularity with the aforementioned constituency:

“In particular, Latinx voters are especially concerned about global warming compared to non-Latinx voters—78 percent to 56 percent—and think it should be a priority of Congress–70 percent compared to 52 percent. 45 Across the board, Latinx voters appear to take the issue and the response to global warming more seriously.” — Data for Progress, A Green New Deal policy report, September, 2018 [p. 24]

Although media is quick to hype Rihanna’s vast combined fortune, few references are made to the fact she is a minority shareholder in her company. Hence, the astronomical profits (the brand grossed $72 million USD in its first month) go to those who own the majority of her company. By marketing black power and feminism, those that garner the vast amount of wealth garnered by Rihanna are Anglo billionaire men at the top of the pyramid.

Further, although Ocasio-Cortez is presented as the celebrity Latina superstar in the political domain, she too, is placed there, only to serve capital belonging to the power elite. With a documentary film that recounts Ocasio-Cortez’s meteoric rise to stardom having just been purchased by Netflix for a cool ten million, we can expect cosmetic endorsements and cosmetic lines in the not-so-distant future. [February 7, 2019: ” Netflix just bought a film about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It might be the most ever paid for a Sundance documentary.”] In this day and age becoming a brand for corporate merchandise is no longer the death of cool – rather, it is the epitome of cool. It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that in the near future one’s bid for presidency may have more to do with who has the best makeover tutorials on social media than anything to do with housing, healthcare, education or the environment.

+++

MSN, February 7, 2019: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared her skincare routine on social media. Sit with four young Latinx campaign volunteers from her congressional district in the Bronx and Queens as they try her detailed instructions and talk about AOC’s impact in their lives.” [Teen Vogue]

Video: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Campaign Volunteers Try Her Skincare and Beauty Routine | Teen Vogue [5m:48s]:

 

[Further reading: Barclays: Gen Z: Step aside Millennials, November 8, 2018]

 

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can support her independent journalism via Patreon.]

Edited with Forrest Palmer, Wrong Kind of Green Collective.

 

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The New Green Deal is the Trojan Horse for the Financialization of Nature [ACT V]

This is ACT V of the six-part series: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

 

February 13, 2019

By Cory Morningstar

 

In ACT I of this new body of research I opened the dialogue with the observations of artist Hiroyuki Hamada:

 

“What’s infuriating about manipulations by Non Profit Industrial Complex is that they harvest good will of the people, especially young people. They target those who were not given skills and knowledge to truly think for themselves by institutions which are designed to serve the ruling class. Capitalism operates systematically and structurally like a cage to raise domesticated animals. Those organizations and their projects which operate under false slogans of humanity in order to prop up the hierarchy of money and violence are fast becoming some of the most crucial elements of the invisible cage of corporatism, colonialism and militarism.”

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent has been written in six acts. [ACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT VACT VI] [Addenda: I]

In ACT I, I disclosed that Greta Thunberg, the current child prodigy and face of the youth movement to combat climate change, served as special youth advisor and trustee to the burgeoning mainstream tech start-up, “We Don’t Have Time”. I then explored the ambitions behind the tech company We Don’t Have Time.

In ACT II, I illustrated how today’s youth are the sacrificial lambs for the ruling elite. Also in this act I introduced the board members and advisors to “We Don’t Have Time.” I explored the leadership in the nascent We Don’t Have Time and the partnerships between the well established corporate environmental entities: Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, 350.org, Avaaz, Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In ACT III, I deconstructed how Al Gore and the Planet’s most powerful capitalists are behind today’s manufactured youth movements and why. I explored the We Don’t Have Time/Thunberg connections to Our Revolution, the Sanders Institute, This Is Zero Hour, the Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal. I also touched upon Thunberg’s famous family. In particular, Thunberg’s celebrity mother, Malena Ernman (WWF Environmental Hero of the Year 2017), and her August 2018 book launch. I then explored the generous media attention afforded to Thunberg in both May and April of 2018 by SvD, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers.

In ACT IV, I examined the current campaign, now unfolding, in “leading the public into emergency mode”. More importantly, I summarized who and what this mode is to serve.

In ACT V, I take a closer look at the Green New Deal. I explore Data for Progress and the targeting of female youth as a key “femographic”. I connect the primary architect and authors of the “Green New Deal” data to the World Resources Institute. From there, I walk you through the interlocking Business & Sustainable Development Commission and the New Climate Economy – a project of the World Resources Institute. I disclose the common thread between these groups and the assignment of money to nature, represented by the Natural Capital Coalition and the non-profit industrial complex as an entity. Finally, I reveal how this has culminated in the implementation of payments for ecosystem services (the financialization and privatization of nature, global in scale) which is “expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020.”

In the final act, ACT VI [Crescendo], I wrap up the series by divulging that the very foundations which have financed the climate “movement” over the past decade are the same foundations now partnered with the Climate Finance Partnership looking to unlock 100 trillion dollars from pension funds. I reveal the identities of individuals and groups at the helm of this interlocking matrix, controlling both the medium and the message. I take a step back in time to briefly demonstrate the ten years of strategic social engineering that have brought us to this very precipice. I look at the relationship between WWF, Stockholm Institute and World Resources Institute as key instruments in the creation of the financialization of nature. I also take a look at what the first public campaigns for the financialization of nature (“natural capital”) that are slowly being brought into the public realm by WWF. I reflect upon how mainstream NGOs are attempting to safeguard their influence and further manipulate the populace by going underground through Extinction Rebellion groups being organized in the US and across the world.

With the smoke now cleared, the weak and essentially non-existent demands reminiscent of the 2009 TckTckTck “demands” can now be fully understood.

Some of these topics, in addition to others, will be released and discussed in further detail as addenda built on the large volume of research. This includes stepping through the looking glass, with an exploration of what the real “Green New Deal” under the Fourth Industrial Revolution will look like. Also forthcoming is a look at the power of celebrity – and how it has become a key tool for both capital and conformity.

[*Note: This series contains information and quotes that have been translated from Swedish to English via Google Translator.]

 

A C T   V

 

March 10, 2014:

“…the divestment campaign will result (succeed) in a colossal injection of money shifting over to the very portfolios heavily invested in, thus dependent upon, the intense commodification and privatization of Earth’s last remaining forests, (via REDD, environmental “markets” and the like). This tour de force will be executed with cunning precision under the guise of environmental stewardship and “internalizing negative externalities through appropriate pricing.” Thus, ironically (if in appearances only), the greatest surge in the ultimate corporate capture of Earth’s final remaining resources is being led, and will be accomplished, by the very environmentalists and environmental groups that claim to oppose such corporate domination and capture.” — McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part II of an Investigative Report, The “Climate Wealth” Opportunists]

 

A Green New Deal – for Mobilization

November 12, 2018,  A New Global Architecture: Børge Brende [Far left of panel], President, Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum and panel [1]. “Shaping a New Global Architecture” session at the World Economic Forum, Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils 2018. Copyright by World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell

The “New Deal” of the 1930s has always been a point of pride in the American psyche since its implementation by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during his four terms in office after the Great Depression. Since that time, various people and programs have attempted to appropriate this term in furtherance of diverse platforms as a means to portray the concept as beneficial to a populace. In that regard, a fairly recent phrase that has borrowed from this terminology is the “Green New Deal”. This term first surfaced during 2007 by the NY Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman and was then used by London accountant Richard Murphy to describe a full scale change in our economy to an environmentally sound capitalist system. As the term has never been fully embraced by the establishment, it still resided right below the surface of mainstream economic discourse among many people, as it serves as a potential improvement within the current economic system. Only recently though, in 2019, has the “Green New Deal” reached apoplectic proportions as far as its usage and reached a fevered pitch by those who are touting its ability to shift the paradigm from fossil fuels to a pancea of “green technologies” in the near future.

Prior to 2018, the term had become most recognized and associated with the Green Party as part and parcel of its platform. By June 2018 however, traces of how this would soon serve to be the vehicle that would launch Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez into the stratosphere of a superstar would start to surface.

On June 27, 2018, Democracy Now, a popular mouthpiece for the halls of power in the domestic psuedo-left movements reported the following:

“In a stunning upset and the biggest surprise of the primary season this year, 28-year-old Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat 10-term incumbent Representative Joe Crowley in New York in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. Crowley is the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, and he’d outraised Ocasio-Cortez by a 10-to-1 margin. Crowley was widely viewed as a possible future House speaker. Yet Ocasio-Cortez defeated Crowley after running a progressive grassroots campaign advocating for “Medicare for All” and the abolition of ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.”

Following her victory on June 26, 2018, Cortez would acknowledge that the only reason she ran for the seat, was at the bequest of the Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress who had approached Cortez a year and a half earlier, in 2016. [Video interview, June 27, 2018, 9m:42s in]:

The Young Turks: “Last, two things real quick. You’re among the first Just Democrat candidates ever in history. Umm, how much of a, of a help was that organization to you?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: It was enormously important. I wouldn’t be running if it wasn’t for the support of Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress. Umm, in fact it was it was these organizations, it was JD and it was Brand New Congress as well, that both, that asked me to run in the first place. They’re the ones that called me a year and a half ago after I left Standing Rock and said ‘hey would you be willing to run for Congress?’ So I wouldn’t be here, um, and I wouldn’t have run if it wasn’t [for them].”

October 26, 2018: Brand New Congress, Green New Deal

Most of the people involved in founding the Justice Democrats (launched in January 2017) and Brand New Congress (founded in 2016) came from the aftermath of the Bernie 2016 campaign. As an example, Saikat Chakrabarti co-founder and former executive director of Justice Democrats, as well as a co-founder of Brand New Congress, served as the campaign chair during  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 2018 campaign. Today, Chakrabarti serves as Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff. Prior to co-founding Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress, Chakrabarti was the director of organising technology for the Bernie 2016 Campaign.

Our Revolution, a political organization launched by Bernie Sanders in 2016, [touched upon in ACT III of this series] also endorsed Ocasio-Cortez. On January 23, 2017, it was reported that Justice Democrats would partner with Brand New Congress.

One name that sparks curiosity is Zack Exley. In addition to serving as current advisor to US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Exley is a co-founder of both Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress. Previously, he served as the senior advisor to the Bernie 2016 campaign and the organizing director for MoveOn. Exley, Open Society Fellow, is co-founder of the New Consensus public relations and communications firm and the ascribed “policy arm of Justice Democrats.” [Source] New Consensus, co-author of  The Green New Deal document with the Sunrise Movement and the Justice Democrats, is identified by Think Progress as “the muscle supporting Green New Deal efforts”.

Exley, co-author of “Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything”, was also co-founder of the New Organizing Institute (launched in 2005) which recruited, trained and supported US political candidates. New Organizing Institute, funded by Open Society Foundations and the Ford Foundation among others, partnered with MoveOn.org (co-founder of both Avaaz and the New Organizing Institute) and several other NGOs in 2011 before the institute was dissolved in 2015.

It is worth noting that Avaaz first polled its members on a Green New Deal in 2009.

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One day after Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic nomination for her congressional district on June 27, 2018, a New Green Deal led by Ocasio-Cortez was highlighted by Grist in which they referenced an email interview between HuffPost and Ocasio-Cortez the week prior:

“What sets Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal apart is her plan to meet the target by implementing what she called a “Green New Deal,” a federal plan to spur “the investment of trillions of dollars and the creation of millions of high-wage jobs.”

 

Though the slogan harks back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1930s New Deal program of infrastructure spending and labor reforms, she compared the program she envisions to the tens of billions of dollars spent on armaments manufacturing and the rebuilding of Europe after World War II.”

 

‘The Green New Deal we are proposing will be similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan,’ she told HuffPost by email last week. “We must again invest in the development, manufacturing, deployment, and distribution of energy, but this time green energy.”

On June 30, 2018, Grist would reference the Green New Deal as proposed by Ocasio-Cortez again:

“The Green New Deal we are proposing will be similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan’, she said by email. “It will require the investment of trillions of dollars and the creation of millions of high-wage jobs. We must again invest in the development, manufacturing, deployment, and distribution of energy but this time green energy.”

Here we must pause for a moment to deconstruct the above. First, the above plan and language mirrors that in the strategy document “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement” [laid out in ACT IV of this series] being led by organizations whose affiliations with the Democrats, the Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez campaigns are publicly disclosed. Second, we must recognize that  behind large institutions and media outlets such as Grist, branded as both “left” and “progressive”, are power structures subservient to capital. Grist CEO is Brady Walkinshaw. Prior to his role of CEO in 2017, Walkinshaw, a former US State representative, worked as a program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Before his tenure at the Gates Foundation, Walkinshaw, a Fulbright scholar of the US State Department, worked as a special assistant to the World Bank. Within the Grist board of directors is 350.org founder, Bill McKibben – defacto foot soldier for Bernie Sanders and the Democrats in general.

Climate Nexus: A New Green Deal is Coming

November 7, 2018: Climate Nexus (a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors), Green New Deal

On February 7, 2019, Climate Nexus (a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors) [2] announced via its “TOP STORIES” that a “New Green Deal is Coming”:

“Here It Comes: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) will unveil a landmark resolution calling for a transition to renewable energy and the creation of thousands of new jobs today in Washington, DC. The highly-anticipated Green New Deal legislation follows months of protest and calls for an aggressive and just transition off fossil fuels from young activists in groups like the Sunrise Movement.”

From 2013-2016, the MacArthur Foundation awarded Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors ten million dollars for Climate Nexus.

The Blended Finance Taskforce [see ACT IV of this series] is comprised of fifty icons of finance including the MacArthur and Rockefeller Foundation.

As touched upon in act IV of this series, the People’s Climate March, which took place  on September 21, 2014, was led and financed by the Rockefeller Foundation, Climate Nexus, 350.org, Avaaz/Purpose, Greenpeace, US Climate Action Network (USCAN) and GCCA/TckTckTck (founded by twenty NGOs with 350.org, Greenpeace, Avaaz and Oxfam at the helm). In relation to the current set of circumstances, 350.org (incubated by the Rockefeller Foundation) would again serve to be an instrumental vehicle to propel the Green New Deal as the catalyst to unlock the 100 trillion dollars required to unleash the “fourth industrial revolution”. This project, of unparalleled magnitude, is the vehicle to save the flailing global capitalist economic system and bring in the financialization of nature.

Green New Deal – Data for Progress

“A Green New Deal is popular among American voters and can mobilize them in 2018.” — A Green New Deal Policy Report by Data for Progress, September, 2018 [Emphasis in original]

Data for Progress Website

“Key Finding 7: The kids are alright – Though some of the proposals we examine are currently unpopular nationally, that may change in the future. We find that four of the most radical proposals we analyzed are vastly more popular with younger voters than they are with the general public.” — Data for Progress, Polling the Left Agenda

In July 2018, polling conducted by Data for Progress, a partner in the Green New Deal with the Sunrise Movement and 350.org, showed a whopping 41% of people under the age of thirty would support a candidate that campaigned on a jobs guarantee and clean energy. The support exhibited by this age bracket constituted approximately twice that of the group comprised of people age 45 and above. [“Forty-eight percent of voting eligible adults said they would be more likely to support a candidate who was running on 100% renewable energy by 2030. Notably, this is significantly faster than even the most progressive legislation currently in Congress.”] By targeting the youth, in addition to its 30-45 demographic, the promise of green jobs and clean energy were the clear winners.

“In this case, at least, time could be a weapon for the Sunrise Movement. Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center projected that millennials were poised to overtake baby boomers as the largest adult generation in the U.S., as well as its biggest eligible voting bloc.” [Source]

 

“What year were you born? (Sunrise is building a movement led by young people; we ask for the year you were born so that we can help you find the best opportunities to engage. You can answer “prefer not to say” as well, but knowing this really helps us!)” – Sunrise Movement Website

September 6, 2018: 350.org, Green New Deal, Data for Progress

“All electricity consumed in America must be generated by renewable sources, including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, sustainable biomass, and renewable natural gas, as well as clean sources such as nuclear and remaining fossil fuel with carbon capture.” — New Green Deal Policy Report by Data for Progress, September, 2018 [p. 5]

For the Green New Deal’s foray into the American consciousness, a new movement would be required. This would be the Sunrise Movement. A youth movement created under the direction of the Sierra Club from which it received a $50,000 grant. Par for the course of “youth grassroots activism” Sunrise already has a hefty budget and a full time staff: “In relation to other environmental groups, the Sunrise Movement is relatively small. Its officials said they have about 16 full-time staff and that they’ve raised about $1 million since its founding.” [December 3, 2018]

Sunrise Movement is the rebranded US Climate Plan (now defunct) founded by Evan Weber and Matt Lichtash.

Lichtash is a strategy and executive office specialist at the New York Power Authority. He is the founder of Carbon Capital.

WESLEYAN,  ISSUE 2,  2017

In 2017, Weber was named by Grist as one of “50 emerging green leaders to watch for” citing his work with U.S. Climate Plan, the organization founded by he and Lichtash in 2013 under the direction of Michael Dorsey.

SustainUS alumni [“WE TRAIN YOUNG PEOPLE TO LEAD“] Dyanna Jaye would be identified as one of the Sunrise Movement co-founders following the April 2017 rebrand, as would Varshini Prakash and Sara Blazevic from the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network.

“Sunrise is a movement led by young people and young people will be prioritized for housing, travel support, and other needs, as people typically left out of the political process by our institutions. That being said, we welcome people of all ages to participate in Sunrise actions in different ways.” — Sunrise website

The president and executive director of the Sunrise Movement is Michael Dorsey. Having served eleven years on the Sierra Club national board, Dorsey is co-founder and principal of Around the Corner Capital—an energy advisory and impact finance platform. He serves as an advisor to ImpactPPA, equity partner in the solar firm Univergy-CCC, co-founder and director of Univergy-CCC’s India division (Univergy/ThinkGreen), and a full member of the Club of Rome. His political background is extensive having served under the US administrations of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He also served on Senator Barack Obama’s energy and environment presidential campaign team. [3]

“We must end all emissions from fossil fuels. The full U.S. economy can and must run on a mix of energy that is either zero-emission or 100 percent carbon capture by mid-century* [*citation].” — New Green Deal Policy Report by Data for Progress, September, 2018 [p. 5]

Sunrise received a collaborative grant from USCAN with Power Shift Network, SustainUs and the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice. Another primary funder thus far of Sunrise is the Sustainable Markets Foundation. The Sunrise address is shared with US Climate Action Network and Sierra Club (50 F St NW, Washington, DC 20016), where Sunrise trainings have been held by USCAN board members.

“One factor working in their favor was that the group didn’t start from scratch. Some of the architects of the Sunrise Movement included activists from organizations such as 350.org — which also provided some early financial support.” Inside the Sunrise Movement (it didn’t happen by accident), December 3, 2018

Prior to the Sunrise Movement, the framework of a youth led mobilization in service to capital expansion had already been identified by those at the helm. In that role, people such as Jamie Margolin, youthful founder of Zero Hour were developed by the establishment. In being trained by the likes of Al Gore (founder of Generation Investment with Goldman Sach’s David Blood), Margolin was propelled to celebrity status in a mere few months by utilizing magazines that feed the insatiable American appetite for celebrity fetish (Vogue, People, Rolling Stone). This exposure, coupled with social media recognition by “eco celebrities” (individuals with grotesquely indulgent lifestyles yet lionized as environmental stewards due to their comparatively menial philanthropic endeavours, such as Leonardo DiCaprio) is a tried and true method of manufactured celebrity.

November 6, 2018: Vanity Fair, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Across the Atlantic Ocean, more celebrities and groups that would lead “the public into emergency mode” would soon follow.

In June 2018, a Twitter account and an Instagram account were created under the name Greta Thunberg.

In July 2018, a Twitter account was created under the name Extinction Rebellion.

[Further reading: The Increasing Vogue for Capitalist-Friendly Climate Discourse]

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The Green New Deal is Vogue

Marketing to a key “femographic” – the Green New Deal is in Vogue.

Vogue, November 2, 2018: “Bria Vinaite Explains the Green New Deal: ‘Let Vinaite fill you in on the rest of the details—and make sure to find out if your candidates support a Green New Deal when you head to the polls. If they don’t, maybe you can ask why.'” [“The foundation of Vogue’s leadership and authority is the brand’s unique role as a cultural barometer for a global audience.”]

As this series will demonstrate, young females are the key #femographic for the #AOC campaign. [See forthcoming addendum]

Green New Deal Commercial: Bria Vinaite Explains the Green New Deal [02m:19s]

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It is here where the machinations for the Green New Deal – the vehicle for unlocking 100 trillion dollars, and the long-awaited financialization of nature, begins to unfold.

“Liking” the Vinaite tweet was Greg Carlock, architect of the Green New Deal, Green New Deal research director and senior advisor to Data for Progress, [4] and Manager for Climate Action and Data for World Resources Institute (WRI) where he leads the development of the WRI Climate Program’s flagship platform—Climate Watch. [Source] Prior to joining WRI, Carlock worked at USAID on greenhouse gas accounting and data.

Also crafting the Green New Deal is Emily Mangan, policy adviser for Data for Progress and  research analyst at World Resources Institute. Mangan  provides research support and analysis for the Green New Deal. Prior to joining WRI, Mangan worked at the Council on Foreign Relations. [Source]

Here it must be made clear that the Ocasio-Cortez and Green New Deal frenzy, is part and parcel of the strategy of “leading the public into emergency mode” launched in 2018. In reality, the Green New Deal is window dressing for what is in store. All decisions regarding all “new deals” will not be made by Ocasio-Cortez, the Democrats or any other party. Rather they will be made (and already have been made) by those that comprise the absolute ruling class.

  • September 6, 2018, 350.org, Green New Deal

World Resources Institute

December 11, 2009: World Resources Institute

April 7, 2011: World Resources Institute

September 12, 2014: World Resources Institute

The World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research non-profit organization that was founded in 1982 by James Speth [5] with a fifteen million dollar grant from the MacArthur Foundation. It is an international powerhouse “that works in more than 50 countries, with offices in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States. WRI’s more than 500 experts work with leaders to address six urgent global challenges at the intersection of economic development and the natural environment: food, forests, water, climate, energy and cities.”

The WRI advisory board represents the absolute upper echelons of power within the matrix of the non-profit interlocking directorate – with a staggering amount of overlap with the hegemonic powerhouse, the Council on Foreign Relations.

 

With USD 98.5 million in funding in 2017, the exhaustive list of WRI donors [6] represent many of the most powerful and influential entities on Earth, including Alcoa Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Cargill, Caterpillar Foundation, Citi Foundation, ClimateWorks Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Oak Foundation,  Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Rockefeller Foundation, Shell Foundation, USAID, and the World Bank. [WRI 2017 Annual Report]

The WRI board of directors [7] include:

  • David Blood: Co-founder and senior partner of Generation Investment
  • Felipe Calderón: Former president of Mexico, chair of the Global Commission that oversees the New Climate Economy, honorary chairman of the Green Growth Action Alliance
  • Christiana Figueres: Executive secretary of the UNFCCC, The B Team leader, vice-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, board member of ClimateWorks, World Bank Climate Leader,  Mission2020 Convenor, member of the Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health, credited with delivering the Paris Agreement [Full bio]
  • Jennifer Scully-Lerner: Vice president, private wealth management at Goldman Sachs
  • James Gustave Speth: Founder of WRI, former administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, honorary director at the Natural Resources Defense Council and WRI, serves  on the board of The Climate Reality Project, advisory board member at 350.org, member of the Council on Foreign Relations
  • Andrew Steer: President and CEO of the WRI. Formerly with the World Bank, serves on the sustainable advisory groups of both IKEA and the Bank of America, serves on the Executive Board of the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy For All Initiative
  • Kathleen McLaughlin: Senior vice president and chief sustainability officer at Walmart Inc., president of  Walmart Foundation;
  • Nader Mousavizadeh:Co-Founder and partner of Macro Advisory Partner, former chief executive of Oxford Analytica, a leading global analysis and advisory firm, former investment banker at Goldman Sachs, member of the Council of the European Council on Foreign Relations, member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Geopolitics, WEF Global Leader for Tomorrow
  • James Harmon: Chairman and CEO of Caravel Management, member of the Council on Foreign Relations
  • Afsaneh M. Beschloss: Founder and CEO of RockCreek. Former managing director and partner at the Carlyle Group and president of Carlyle Asset Management, treasurer and chief investment officer at the World Bank, formerly with Shell International and J.P. Morgan, member of the World Economic Forum’s Investor Governors, member of the Council of Foreign Relations, recognized as one of American Banker’s Most Powerful Women in Banking
  • Joke Brandt: Secretary General of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands
  • Jamshyd N. Godrej: Chairman of Aspen Institute – India. He is the Vice President of World Wide Fund for Nature – International and was the President of World Wide Fund for Nature – India from 2000 to 2007
  • Caio Koch-Weser: Chairman of the Board of the European Climate Foundation. Former vice chairman of Deutsche Bank Group, held high-level positions in the World Bank, member of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate(NCE) and a Member of the Board of the Centre for European Reform (CER) in London

[WRI Global Leadership Council][WRI Board of Directors – Full]

WRI donors include the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, IKEA Foundation – in partnership with Agence Française de Développement, the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment and BlackRock – led the Climate Finance Partnership (announced September 26, 2018 at the One Planet Summit in NYC by French President Emmanuel Macron and BlackRock’s Larry Fink). The accompanying Blended Finance Taskforce, an embodiment of the world’s most powerful and financial institutions, is well represented at WRI.

April 27, 2017: World Resources Institute

The Blended Finance Taskforce was launched by Paul Polman’s Business & Sustainable Development Commission in 2017.

The efforts put forward by the Business & Sustainable Development Commission taskforce led to the Climate Finance Partnership announced on September 26, 2018.

Polman is the CEO of Unilever, and chair of both the International Chamber of Commerce and The B Team (co-founder of We Mean Business). Polman has also been closely involved in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). [8] The Blended Finance Taskforce was established in order to identify barriers to the effective use and scaling of blended finance. It is now implementing an ambitious plan of action to increase mainstream private investment for the SDGs. [Full list of Business & Sustainable Development Commissioners including Avaaz co-founder Ricken Patel.]

Unilever is a member of WRI’s Corporate Consultative Group. WRI member companies include; Abbott Laboratories, Bank of America, Cargill Corporation, Caterpillar, CitiGroup, Colgate-Palmolive, DuPont, General Motors, The Goldman Sachs Group, Google, Kimberly-Clark, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Shell, Walmart , Walt Disney Company, and  Weyerhaeuser. [Full list] [WRI CCG Advisory Board]

On November 15, 2018, the Climate Markets and Investment Association reported that the parties that comprise the Climate Finance Partnership would “work together to finalize the design and structure of what we anticipate will be a flagship blended capital investment vehicle by the end of the first quarter, 2019.” All media inquiries pertaining to this announcement were to be directed to Climate Nexus (People’s Climate March) or the European Climate Foundation. The task of the Blended Climate Finance is to unlock 100 trillion to rescue  the current economic system that has now entered the late stage of “freefall”. [Disclosed in ACT IV of this series]. The required maximization and mobilization of public monies for private profits, to save the capitalist economy and further privatization, will be achieved through the climate emergency strategy that has been put into action.

Here it is critical to recognize that the New Climate Economy is a project of the WRI.

  • The Founding NGOs Behind GCCA (Global Campaign for Climate Action - TckTckTck) officially launched in 2008

The New Climate Economy

January 20, 2015: World Resources Institute, New Climate Economy Team

October 6, 2016: New Climate Economy, World Resources Institute

The New Climate Economy project is led by Helen Mountford, program director for the New Climate Economy project and director of economics at WRI. Other team members from WRI include Milan Brahmbhatt, senior fellow at WRI, and Molly McGregor, research coordinator in the president’s office at WRI. [New Climate Economy Global Project Team]

The New Climate Economy project is being “conducted by a team of economists and policy and business analysts drawn from, and supported by, a partnership of nine leading global economic and policy institutions” under the direction of WRI.

Research partners for the initiative are as follows: Climate Policy Initiative, Ethiopian Development Research, Institute, Global Green Growth Institute, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science, Overseas Development Institute, Stockholm Environment Institute, and Tsinghua University.

The New Climate Economy initiative works with global institutions including the International Monetary Fund, International Energy Agency, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and UN agencies. It is overseen by a global commission comprised of former heads of government, finance ministers, a plethora of the crème de la crème of economics, business and finance. [Economic Advisory Panel] [Emeritus Commissioners]

The New Climate Economy Global Commission members include Felipe Calderón (honourary chair), Paul Polman (co-chair), Angel Gurría, Nicholas Stern (co-chair), Sharan Burrow and many other members overlapping with the WRI, Climate Finance Partnership, Blended Finance Taskforce, etc. A cabal so entrenched in corporate power that it can easily make ones head not only spin, but explode. [9] The demand for citizen groups is ironic seeing as the financialization of nature is happening behind closed doors – with a promissory note of silence from the non-profit industrial complex.

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The New Green Deal is tied to WRI. WRI is the New Climate Economy. The last and the most important piece of the puzzle is the Natural Capital Coalition.

Here it is imperative to note that the Natural Capital Coalition is comprised by those at the helm of the New Climate Economy and WRI.

  • January 26, 2014, World Resources Institute, New Climate Economy, Stockholm Institute

“New Deal for Nature” – Assigning Monetary Value To All of Nature 

January 26, 2019: “New Deal For Nature”, WWF

“The financial value at stake is mind-boggling – and the business opportunities likely to be created by the shift in the prevailing market paradigm are astonishing…. Who will be the Bill Gates of ecosystem services?” — The Biosphere Economy, 2010

In tandem with orchestrating a frenzy over a Green New Deal via the non-profit industrial complex and media mechanisms, WWF et al were quietly pushing forward with a “New Deal for Nature”. The Green New Deal conjures up images of wind turbines and solar panels that are miraculously perceived as natural and holistic. [The fact that a solar panel and wind turbine has become more strongly associated with nature and environment than an actual tree, insect or animal, is in itself, quite terrifying and a stark indicator in the power of social engineering conducted on the citizenry over the last two decades.] This feat, achieved via powerful branding and NGO association, serves as the bright green mask for the even more sinister deal – the financialization of Nature – reframed as the “New Deal for Nature”.

Yet, it’s not new at all, with the Natural Capital Project (NatCap) having been launched in 2006 and its affiliate, the Natural Capital Coalition, which was formerly the TEEB for Business Coalition (prior to 2014). NatCap and its two NGO partners—WWF and The Nature Conservancy – were involved in the Natural Capital Coalition from the onset. [Source]

NatCap was founded by Stanford University [Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Department of Biology], The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, and the Institute on the Environment of the University of Minnesota. The scope of it’s global network includes corporations such as Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical, and institutions such as the US Department of Defense and the World Bank.

The scope of the Natural Capital Coalition is a massive conglomerate of corporate power, including many NGOs and so-called conservation bodies.

Here we can add that “Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth”, published by the World Economic Forum’s “System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security” is a partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. [Source]

“Taken all together, the value of the total global ecosystem services has been estimated at USD 125 trillion per year, which is almost twice the world’s gross domestic product.”—Natural Capital Coalition, July 12, 2018

The development of the Natural Capital Protocol Project was made possible with generous funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, International Finance Corporation (World Bank) with the support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Netherlands, The Rockefeller Foundation, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The Coalition is hosted by The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Other funders include; World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, the Google Foundation, the Inter-American Development Bank, Unilever, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, U.S. Department of Defense and the World Bank [Source]

World Resources Institute provided the technical insights and review for the Natural Capital Protocol. The protocol was developed by Conservation International, The B Team, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sustain Value, ACTS, Arcadis, eftec, Environmental Resources Management (ERM), Imperial College, ISS, Natural Capital Project, Synergiz, WWF, Accenture, CDSB, Deloitte, Dow, eni, GIST Advisory, Kering, LafargeHolcim, Natura, Nestlé, Roche, Shell, and The Nature Conservancy. The protocol was led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) consortium. [Source]

Today, the final frontier for the corporate capture of the Earth as a whole, has finally arrived. Other terms thrown into the ring for public acceptance are a “New Deal for Nature and Humanity” and a “New Deal for Nature and People”.

“The New Deal for Nature is expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020.” — Biodiversity International, November 30, 2018

On January 23, 2019 the Natural Capital Coalition released an announcement stating that “In 2020, We Need A New Deal for Nature.” This article was part of the 2019 World Economic Forum “Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security” system initiatives. The authors of the article were Marco Lambertini, Director-General, WWF International, Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, and Børge Brende, former Foreign Minister of Norway (2013-2017) and president and member of the managing board of the WEF. [WEF Board of Trustees, 2017] [WEF Leadership and  Governance]

The urgency in accelerating the plan forward is made clear:

“Against this backdrop, we need 2019 to be the year that sees a step-change in mobilising a wider public-private biodiversity action agenda. We need a “New Deal for Nature” to emerge.”

To make this happen, a movement is identified as the vehicle:

“A movement has the combined power and influence to be able to identify a simple set of targets for action on nature that everyone can aim for – so-called “science-based targets” to which every business, investor, NGO, city and government can contribute by 2030, such that meeting them will slow down the damage we are doing to nature, and ultimately restore it to the level science says we need.”

Over and over we are inundated with the “simple set of targets” that “everyone can aim for”. Hence, we witness the creation of mobilizations, global in scale, with no rational demands whatsoever.

The implementation of the New Deal For Nature will lay the groundwork for payments for ecosystem services (PES). This will create the most spectacular opportunity for monetary gain that the financial sector has ever witnessed. New markets offer speculation that promises unimaginable profits. The commodification of most everything sacred, the privatization and objectification of all biodiversity and living things that are immeasurable, above and beyond monetary measure, will be unparalleled, irreversible and inescapable.

In order to manufacture consent from the populace, those rolling out a “new deal for nature” are utilizing the power of  holistic language. They are strategically exploiting the very real contempt that we, the public have for externalities (pollution, etc.) – only to sell the financialization of nature back to us as a society. This is very much the same method we witness today as the power elites masterfully exploit the discontent of the youth and the population at large.

Image: Costing the Earth Interactive Game, “Play to find out the financial value of Nature”, BBC, October 8, 2015

The New Deal for Nature is the gentle easement of the mental acceptability of the financialization of nature into the public psyche, which is quite rapidly becoming a global phenomenon. So hideous is the payments for ecosystem services (PES) scheme, masked under the holistic phrase “natural capital”, that it is barely mentioned outside of closed doors. But if we look closely, we can find it hidden in plain sight.

May 21, 2018: Science Can Help Forge a New Deal for Nature:

“The global community has a unique window of opportunity to define the post 2020 global biodiversity framework. It will need bold commitment and determination, innovative approaches and transformative processes to ensure that such a New Deal will be effective. At this historical juncture, let us leverage science to help forge a New Deal for Nature.” — Christiana Pasca Palmer, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

November 22, 2018: A New Deal for Nature and Humanity:

“WWF strongly supports the call for a new deal for nature and people. By 2020, in just two years, we need an agreed roadmap that recognizes the intrinsic link between the health of nature, the well-being of people and the future of our planet.”

November 29,  2018: UN Biodiversity Conference Agrees on a Process Towards a New Deal for Nature and People in 2020 But Ambition is Weak:

“The 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) ended today with an agreement on the preparatory process for a post-2020 global framework, moving us closer to a transformational New Deal for Nature and People in 2020 – a vital step to ramp up global efforts to halt today’s unprecedented and dangerous biodiversity loss.

 

WWF urges member countries to develop a far higher shared vision and political ambition if we are to reach a New Deal for Nature and People and create a Paris-style moment for biodiversity in 2020.”

Welcome to the Green New Deal, New Deal For Nature, Next System, Regenerative System, New Economy, New Climate Economy, Biosphere Economy, etc. A fusion of rhapsodic and mellifluous language that creates a sublime chrysalis to further expand capital markets. The second verse is the same as the first.

A genuine rebellion against ecological devastation does not – and cannot – turn its back on capitalism, imperialism, militarism, sexism (patriarchy, misogyny) and racism (white supremacy). The main drivers of our accelerating environmental crisis. Marching for capital under the guise of marching for revolution is a fool’s game. All roads lead to the corporate capture, theft and pillage of what remains of our already decimated planet.

We end this segment with a lecture by Clive Spash (one of the very few economists with the moral courage to speak honestly on “pricing the environment”. [“The Economics of Biodiversity Management and the Problems of the Current Ecosystems Services and Market Based Policy Approaches”, Vienna, 6th December 2010]

 

 

[Further reading: Building Acquiescence for the Commodification of the Commons Under the Banner of a “New Economy”]

Endnotes:

[1] A New Global Architecture, November 12, 2018: Børge Brende, President; Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum and panel, Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation; Young Global Leader, Helen E. Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999 – 2008), New Zealand, Roland Paris, University of Ottawa, Canada, Jean-David Levitte, Adviser, France; Former Ambassador of France to the UN and United States Hilary Cottam, Author and Entrepreneur, Centre for the Fourth Social Revolution; Young Global Leader during the Session “Shaping a New Global Architecture” at the World Economic Forum, Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils 2018. Copyright by World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell

[2] “Climate Nexus, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, helps local, national, and international media recognize climate science and clean energy’s role in addressing climate change. This is accomplished by building a broad network of influential, persuasive messengers, and creating a clear, compelling narrative about climate change and ways to address its impacts.”

[3] “A former Dartmouth College professor, Dorsey is a serial organization builder & leader in for-profit, non-profit & governmental realms. In the for-profit arena, Dorsey co-founded and heads Around the Corner Capital—an energy advisory and impact finance platform. Thru Around the Corner he actively invests & advises several pools of private equity finance on renewable energy & related matters globally. Dr. Dorsey is an equity partner in the Spanish-Japanese solar firm: Univergy-CCC; and a co-founder of its India division: Univergy/ThinkGreen, based in Hyderabad.

In the non-profit arena Dr. Dorsey sits on many boards, including Food First & the Center for Environmental Health–the latter he co-created in 1997. Dorsey co-founded IslandsFirst.org. He served 11 years on the Sierra Club national board.” [Source]

[4] “Greg is Green New Deal Research Director at Data for Progress. He holds a Masters in Environmental Policy and is a researcher in climate action and data based in Washington D.C. He specializes in greenhouse gas accounting, U.S. climate and energy policy, and online data platform development. Greg uses his brain for analysis and leaves the data science to the experts.’ [Source]

[5] “Professor Speth currently serves as honorary director at the Natural Resources Defense Council and World Resources Institute and is on the boards of the Climate Reality Project, the Center for a New American Dream, and the New Economy Coalition. He is an advisory board member at United Republic, 350.org, EcoAmerica, Labor Network for Sustainability, New Economy Working Group, SC Coastal Conservation League, Environmental Law Institute, Vermont Natural Resources Council, Southern Environmental Law Center, Heinz Center, Free Speech for People, Vermont Institute for Natural Science, the Northwest Earth Institute, and the Carbon Underground.” [Source] Speth also serves on the advisory board of The Climate Mobilization [Featured in ACT IV of this series]

[6] “Acknowledging Our Donors | Major Donors: Grants and gifts of $750,000 or more, includes revenue received 10/1/16 – 1/15/18 and older grants still open as of 10/1/16” : Alcoa Foundation • Bloomberg Philanthropies • C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group • Cargill, Incorporated • Caterpillar Foundation • The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation • Citi Foundation • ClimateWorks Foundation • Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy of the United Kingdom • Department of Fo reign Affairs and Trade of Australia • DOB Ecology • DOEN Foundation • Energy Agency of Sweden • European Climate Foundation • European Commission • Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ) • Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany (BMU) • FedEx Corporation Ford Foundation • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation • German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) • Good Energies Foundation • Google Inc. • William and Flora Hewlett Foundation • IKEA Foundation • Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) • Irish Aid – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade • Johnson Controls International plc • Linden Trust for Conservation • The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France • Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy of the Netherlands • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (Danida) • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands (DGIS) • Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands • Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation • The Nature Conservancy • Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) • Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) • Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment • Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs • Oak Foundation • Open Society Foundations • Michael Polsky Family • Rockefeller Brothers Fund • Rockefeller Foundation • Stephen M. Ross Philanthropies • Shell Foundation • Skoll Global Threats Fund • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) • Ruth McCormick Tankersley Charitable Trust • The Tilia Fund • U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) • U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UKFCO) • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) • U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) • Villum Foundation • The World Bank • Anonymous

[7]

  • Susan Tierney: former Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Energy;
  • Pamela P. Flaherty: Former president and CEO, Citi Foundation, former director of corporate citizenship, Citi;
  • Harriet C. Babbitt: Former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization;
  • Tammie Arnold: formerly with Generation Investment Management;
  • Frances Beinecke: Former President, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), United States;

Other members include Stephen Brenninkmeijer, Robin Chase, William Chen, Tiffany Clay, Dino Patti Djalal, Alice F. Emerson, Jonathan Lash, Joaquim Levy, Kathleen McLaughlin, Nader Mousavizadeh, Michael Polsky, Bill Richardson, Stephen M. Ross, William D. Ruckelshaus and Roger W. Sant.

[8] “Since 2009, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever; leading the company to set out an ambitious vision to decouple its growth from overall environmental footprint and increase its positive social impact. Actively seeks cooperation with other companies to implement sustainable business strategies and drive systemic change. Has been closely involved in global discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and action to tackle climate change. Former Member: High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, presenting recommendations on behalf of the private sector; International Council, Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, under former Mexican President, Felipe Calderon. 2016, asked by the UN Secretary-General to be Member, SDG Advocacy Group, tasked with promoting action on the 2030 Agenda. Chairman, World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Member: International Business Council, World Economic Forum; B Team; Board, UN Global Compact; Business and Sustainable Development Commission. Recipient of numerous awards, including: Climate Visionary Award (2017); Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur (2016); UN Foundation’s Champion for Global Change Award (2014); Oslo Business for Peace Award (2015); UN Environment Programme’s Champion of the Earth Award (2015).” [Source]

[9] Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chad O. Holliday, Suma Chakrabarti, Helen Clark, John Flint, Kristalina Georgieva, Jamshyd Godrej, Stephen Green, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, Naina Lal Kidwai, Caio Koch-Weser, Ricardo Lagos, Frannie Leautier, Patricia de Lille, Carlos Lopes, Takehiko Nakao, Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, Kristin Skogen Lund, Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Maria van der Hoeven and Chen Yuan.

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can support her independent journalism via Patreon.]

Edited with Forrest Palmer, Wrong Kind of Green Collective.