If you accept the principle of an army - a collection of military technologies and people to run them - all gathered together for the purpose of fighting, overpowering, killing and winning, then it is obvious that the supervisors of armies will be the sort of people who desire to fight, overpower, kill and win, and who are also good at these assignments: generals. The fact of generals, then, is predictable by the creation of armies. The kinds of generals are also predetermined. Humanistic, loving, pacifistic generals, though they may exist from time to time, are extremely rare in armies. It is useless to advocate that we have more of them.
If you accept the existence of automobiles, you also accept the existence of roads laid upon the landscape, oil to run the cars, and huge institutions to find the oil, pump it and distribute it. In addition, you accept a sped-up style of life, and the movement of humans through the terrain at speeds that make it impossible to pay attention to whatever is growing there. Humans who use cars sit in fixed positions for long hours following a narrow strip of gray pavement, with eyes fixed forward, engaged in the task of driving. As long as they are driving, they are living within what we might call “roadform.” Slowly, they evolve into car-people. McLuhan told us that cars “extended” the human feet, but he put it the wrong way. Cars replaced human feet.
If you accept nuclear power plants, you also accept a techno-scientific-industrial-military elite. Without these people in charge, you could not have nuclear power. You and I getting together with a few friends could not make use of nuclear power. We could not build such a plant, nor could we make personal use of its output, nor handle or store the radioactive waste products which remain dangerous to life for thousands of years. The wastes, in turn, determine that future societies will have to maintain a technological capacity to deal with the problem, and the military capacity to protect the wastes. So the existence of the technology determines many aspects of the society.
If you accept mass production, you accept that a small number of people will supervise the daily existence of a much larger number of people. You accept that human beings will spend long hours, every day, engaged in repetitive work, while suppressing any desires for experience or activity beyond this work. The workers’ behavior becomes subject to the machine. With mass production, you also accept that huge numbers of identical items will need to be efficiently distributed to huge numbers of people, and that institutions (such as advertising) will arise to do this. One technological process cannot exist without the other, creating symbiotic relationships among technologies themselves.
If you accept the existence of advertising, you accept a system designed to persuade and to dominate minds by interfering in people’s thinking patterns. You also accept that the system will be used by the sorts of people who like to influence people, and are good at it. No person who did not wish to dominate others would choose to use advertising, or choosing it, succeed in it. So the basic nature of advertising, and all technologies created to serve it, will be consistent with this purpose, will encourage this behavior in society, and will tend to push social evolution in this direction.
And so it is with television.
Far from being “neutral,” television itself predetermines who shall use it, how they will use it, what effects it will have on individual lives, and, if it continues to be widely used, what sorts of political forms will inevitably emerge.
Jerry Mander, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television
Activism & Awareness: A Reading List For The Holidays
It’s been a tough year, and many of us are trying to figure out where to go next. But education is essential before we take informed action, so do a deep dive into some of the issues we face in America with these books.
(A/N: Dedicated to @esparza-scanavino ,@rumerlilarose and the numerous anons that have been waiting for this. I’m sorry for the wait. And I hope you all enjoy but those above in particular enjoy this instalment of this tiny saga. Sorry for making you wait so long. I’ve come to realise I’m great at starting but not so great at finishing at these multiple part imagines. I’m working on it)
“Your honour, may I say something?” you said, standing up and walking down the isle towards her honours desk.
“District Attorney Y/L/N, please proceed.” she returned, slightly surprised by your sudden presence but allowed you to continue.
You strode until you reached in between councils desks. Looking directly at her honour, not looking at anyone else, especially not Rafael.
“On behalf of the DA’s office, I’d like to request the all charges against the defendant, Mr Whitingham, be dropped and for his immediate release. I’d like to apologise to both the court and to Mr Whitingham for wasting everyone’s time and any inconvenience caused. We extend our sincerest apologies.” you requested, commanding the attention of the whole courtroom.
“Why isn’t ADA Barba, making this request?” Defence Council suddenly questioned broadly to the court, you couldn’t remember his name.
“ADA Rafael Barba has been taken off the case,” you informed, still not looking directly in his direction but tiring your head towards it, “Effective immediately. “
“I’m assuming Defence Council has no objections?” her honour questioned.
“None your Honour.” he agreed.
“Case dismissed. The defendant is free to leave. Court is now in recess” the said, the sound of the gavel echoing through the room as she got up and left.
The whole court suddenly started piling out. As you turned to leave yourself, you caught the confused and surprised eye of Rafael Barba. You ignored him for the most part. You shot him an intense glare as he remained in your eye-line as you began to walk out yourself. His expression was one of shock,horror, confusion…anger. That made two of you. You ignored it as you did him as you marched out the courtroom.
It was done.
The corridor was bustling. And you let out a sigh. You weren’t happy about what you had just done but it needed to happen. You never liked exerting your authority over your ADAs. Everything worked better when you treated them equals and your subordinates. On the rare occasions you did have to show dominance, you made sure they weren’t ever to question it again. You had a meeting with the Mayor in an hour,so you were about to head to it. Just another thing you had to chuck off your list as well as what happened in court just then.
You were about to make a move when somebody suddenly grabbed your arm, you turned around defensively. Rafael was standing there, his face mirroring the one you had observed in court. You were slightly surprised. You knew that he would confront you about your actions in there but you had expected him to wait until you go back to the office. He must be angrier about it than you had originally suspected. Then again after what he did, you weren’t that surprised. You didn’t have any expectations of him. Nothing he did was a surprise anymore.
Guardians of life: The indigenous women fighting oil exploration in the Amazon November 8, 2014
On Oct. 12, 2013, a group of nearly 300 women from seven indigenous nationalitiesmarched to Quito, Ecuador, arriving in the capital four days later with their children in their arms, the sharp angles of their faces — young and old — decorated with vegetable ink designs, covered in the same strength and determination with which they began their journey. They were marching to Quito to ask the central government to respect their ancestral lands, to refrain from exploiting the oil that lies beneath his Kawsak Sacha, aliving jungle. In November of that same year, a smaller delegation of women peacefully protested during the 11th Oil Licensing Round, an auction of 6 million acres of ancestral indigenous land for oil exploitation. The protests, however, turned sour when oil executive and politicians scolded protesters, and Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa subsequently demanded the closing of the NGO Fundación Pachamama and indicted 10 indigenous leaders on charges of terrorism.
While women have always played an active role in historic marches that marked the struggle for the rights of indigenous peoples in Ecuador, this was the first walk organized and led by women.
Felipe Jacome’s set of photos Amazon: Guardians of Life documents the struggles of indigenous women defending the Ecuadoran Amazon through portraits combined with the powerful written testimonies. The words across each photograph are a self-reflectionof the lives of women, their culture, history and traditions, and especially about the reasons for fighting oil drilling on their ancestral lands. The color designs framing eachportrait use the same natural dyes found in face paint to expand on the symbols and designs that reflect their personalities, courage and struggle.
“My name is Alicia Mosco. If oil enters our territory, my kids and I — we’re going to die. We get sick, and there is no cure for us.”
“My name is Nancy. We want to defend our lands, forests, rivers, mountains and trees where spirits live. We do not want to get hurt, so women have to go to defend the forest. The president does not value and does not know the forest and wants to destroy it. Our children know the life of our ancestors through conversations with elders, so they learn to love the jungle.”
“My name is Jimena. As a Shiwiar woman, I love my country. To my nature, I love my animals, my monkey, my fish, my rivers, air that gives us life. For this reason, we do not want to exploit the oil in our territory.”
“My name is Simona. This is our land. These drawings symbolize wealth that exists in the forest. This government has no conscience. Why do they mistreat us? Our community is not going to stop fighting, though we are the last to continue the fight standing strong.”
Those least responsible for climate change are worst affected by it.
Vandana Shiva, ecofeminist, anti-globalization, pro-environmental justice activist, author of “Soil Not Oil”, “Biopiracy”, “Water Wars”, “Earth Democracy” and so on. She’s an amazing, brilliant woman.
[T]he question of what constitutes European modernity is a complicated story of genocide, slavery, ecocide, and, most strikingly, the production of a new world not just for those colonized and enslaved but for those engaged in the project of expansion as well. The New World moniker is not a sentimental or history-denying term, but it does reference the brutal realities of life in the Americas as the bedrock of European modernity and its satellite campuses like Canada. The Enlightenment’s naming and ordering of peoples, places, and things has bequeathed to us those namings and orders as the very terms through which it might be challenged. The Haitian revolution of 1791 took up liberty as its central rallying cry from the same French Revolution that sought to crush it. In our time we have become Black and Aboriginal, among other names we have been forced to take on, and internalized them out of the very cartographies of Europe’s global expansion since the fifteenth century. It is indeed these names that only partially make sense in the logics of, and appeals to, the invented genres of European Man that apologies are meant to assuage. The question we are often faced with is: how are we to make other conceptions of being human and of traversing the globe appear? What intellectual, political, and cultural—not to mention economical—space do different conceptions of human life have to offer our present globalized, networked humanity?
In my view the politics of reconciliation throws these questions up without offering answers. The politics of reconciliation ask us to come into the apology as the people Europe invented, not as people we once were. And one cannot be romantic about a past, given that how history has intervened to be a part of the conversation often means one must in some way work with Europe’s violently profound re-ordering of the globe and the peoples within. Thus, one is often left asking: what is being reconciled, with whom, and to what?
Reconciliation suggests a past action. It suggests that some wrongdoing has been done for which the possibility of forgiveness is an act of coming together again. Reconciliation suggests a significant rupture of some kind has occurred. Above I have suggested that European colonial expansion from the fifteenth century onwards produced a rupture in the Americas, which in part produced the settler colonial nation-state of Canada, which also produced new states of/for being indigenous peoples and belatedly African peoples. Those kinds of collective namings—Indigenous, African, Indian, Asian, and even European—are the cataloguing evidence of the historical rupture for which European Man comes to overrepresent itself as if it was indeed Man. As Paul Gilroy suggests, the “[b]lood–saturated histories of colonisation and conquest are rarely allowed to disrupt that triumphalist tale,” and one that apologies and the politics of reconciliation attempt to make invisible in the contemporary moment. Thus reconciliation also suggests a certain kind of suturing is possible in the aftermath of the brutalities that makes it a necessary response in the first place. But what reconciliation does not appear to do is dismantle the institutional basis of the present arrangements of human life. Reconciliation does not ask us to rethink where we are; it asks us to accept the present as an accumulation of injuries for which apologies must suffice as the entry into the flawed ecocidal, genocidal, anti-human, late-modern world still premised on Europe’s partial conception of the human as the only option for being human in this world. Reconciliation might provide us a view towards new and, or more, hopeful human relations, but it does not allow us to seriously grapple with the brutalities that have brought us together in these new geo-political zones and their multiple disadvantaged relations of Europe’s invented Others.
“Into the Ranks of Man: Vicious Modernism and the Politics of Reconciliation”, Rinaldo Walcott
(Yes, you’re the devil’s advocate, you’re “just sayin’”, you “just want to understand”, you “just think that…” etc. etc. and that’s you on a good day. But this is MY LIFE you’re batting around, friend. This is my daily, consuming lived experience.)
Feminists want collaboration. Deep down, I think that’s what pretty much all of us want. The masculine, competitive beat-you-up-and-dominate-you approach to culture hasn’t been kind to women over the millennia, and that’s the entire approach the pernicious debate culture that sprouts up all over online forums depends upon. Competition is what all the sickest aspects of the patriarchy are built on; war, greed, socioeconomic hierarchy, ecocide, all of these things are about stomping out competition, whether it’s enemies on the battlefield, competitors in the market, or the natural world needing to be conquered and subjugated, all society’s greatest ills can be traced back to its patriarchal bias toward competition over collaboration.
Men, we want your curiosity, not your combativeness. We want you to understand the way we see our predicament, not explain to us how our perspective is wrong. By engaging us from a desire to out-debate us, outwit us, and beat us into submission, you’re already starting the interaction off on the wrong foot.
This is subtle stuff we’re dealing with here. Female subjugation is to our culture as water is to fish; it’s so pervasive and ubiquitous that it’s almost impossible to see unless you know what you’re looking for. But it’s there. And we can’t show you it’s there if you’re leaning back demanding that we somehow debate you into seeing it; it doesn’t work that way. We need to take you by the hand, walk you through it, we need you leaned-in and open-hearted, not pulled back and critical, otherwise you won’t be able to come to these subtle understandings we’ve spent the entire history of feminism trying to figure out ourselves.
No one can debate you into understanding their point of view. It will never happen, and I think we all know that, if we’re honest with ourselves. All we can really do is keep extending the invitation for you to give us your sustained curiosity, and hope that you accept that invitation someday. Until then, you can hold out in your unassailable “debate us or be wrong” fortresses for as long as you’re determined to.
Kevin Bales, author of Blood and Earth, spoke to Fresh Air’s Dave Davies about the connection between modern slavery and environmental damage:
“This whole book for me is about exploring and illuminating that relationship between slavery, environmental destruction and climate change. … I was amazed to discover the role that slavery plays in CO2 emissions and in the simple and basic fact of how global warming takes place. …
When we calculated up, very conservatively, how much CO2 is coming from slavery, it worked out like this: That if slavery were a country it would have the population of Canada, but it would be the third largest emitter of CO2 after China and the United States. …
I can point to … the gigantic mangrove forests at the bottom of Bangladesh, India, Thailand and Burma, that’s called the Sundarbans forest, and it’s the largest carbon sink in Asia, in other words, a place where carbon is taken out of the air and sequestered by the trees, both into the sea and into the trees themselves, so this is a very important forest for removing atmospheric carbon. This is also a place where slaveholders are using slaves to clear cut these mangrove forests, to put in shrimp farms, to put in rice patties, to burn the wood, to do a lot of different things with it, but it’s almost all slave-based deforestation.”
Photo: A child gold miner in Watsa, northeastern Congo. 2004 Marcus Bleasdale courtesy of National Geographic
Ecuador issues permit to drill in pristine Amazon reserve May 26, 2014
Ecuador’s government has issued an environmental permit for oil drilling in the pristine Amazon reserve that President Rafael Correa initially offered to exempt from exploration if rich countries would pay his government.
Correa abandoned that effort last year due to insufficient interest and has spurned pleas by environmentalists to spare the Yasuni reserve.
Earlier this month, Ecuador’s electoral council declared invalid a petition drive seeking to prevent drilling in the 6,500-square-mile Amazon reserve.
Environment Minister Lorena Tapia said on state television that with Thursday’s signing of the permit camps and access roads can now be built. Production could begin as early as 2016.
Two indigenous groups living in voluntary isolation inhabit Yasuni, which the U.N. in 1989 declared a biosphere reserve.