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A Critique of Green Growth -Simplicity Institute

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Dear friends and colleagues,

In late 2015 the CSIRO - Australia's most prominent scientific organisation - published the 'Australian National Outlook Report' which argued that Australia can grow its economy and achieve sustainability without questioning consumerist values. In response to that report, the Simplicity Institute has just published a new paper called 'A Critique of the Decoupling Strategy: A "Limits to Growth" Perspective', which was co-authored by Samuel Alexander, Jonathan Rutherford, and Josh Floyd.

A summary of the report is available here:

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-02-08/the-csiros-case-for-green-growth-is-flawed/

And the full report is available here:

http://simplicityinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Critique-of-Decoupling-Strategy-SimplicityInstitute.pdf

best wishes
Simon Ussher
Co-director of the Simplicity Institute













Discussion 42 Comments

  • Bat Chainpuller 10th Feb 2017

    I must admit I do not and have never really liked this notion of consumerism or consumer fetishism or whatever you wish to call it. It's not really in my vocabulary. Yes it happens but there is always, no matter how carefully it is put, a patronising element to it. A condescending and somewhat arrogant attitude towards all those apparently somewhat stupid unthinking human zombie-robots going about their business buying shit. Lefties, smartarse-like having a go at those who like to buy shit...who continue buy shit with their stiff middle finger erect because they are not offered up much else in the way of alternatives, really, and because the driving institutional structure of markets, coupled with capitalism, force people into modes of behaviour that are devastating to one another and the planet. A system based on competitive behaviours, to try and sell for profit, to out-complete competitors, through voracious marketing procedures, that drag most into a world of hell, anxiety and stress which they then try to deal with as best they know how with a fuck you at the "do gooders".

    A simple life or simpler life is a reasonable idea, but only for some and doesn't really push further into much wider economic ramifications, other than perhaps in hodge podge or vague incoherent pluralistic ways. And in fact, most of the population of the developed countries who are at the end of the consumerist slap across the face by those proffering a more "meaningful life" through a simpler one, coupled maybe with a little meditation here and there, don't even know about or get to see these more complex visions that people like Ted Turner put up, let alone the more coherent ones. They are completely unaware of the multitude alternative visions out there, and most certainly don't believe that markets are any problem.

    Yeah, some may be attracted to a simpler way, and start to reduce their own negative ecological footprint, see the virtue of the tiny (now commercialised) house, bicycles and walking, and that's great but...As far as I see it, degrowth and contraction, while probably a must, often comes without clear coherent alternative institutional structures that foster an ecologically sound economy that also, at the same time, don't undermine but foster equality, solidarity, diversity and self-management across large regional and cultural areas, that show the possibilities of a non-market participatory planned (something Richard Smith has been arguing for for a while now), steady state from each to each economy, that people gain confidence in as a possible destination, and therefore, attacks on consumerism, consumers and growth just constantly fall short.

    Voluntary simplicity is just too simple but a necessary part and player in the debate and discussion which is still yet to reach an audience of critical mass.

    • Rod 11th Feb 2017

      I'm attracted to and value the message of simpler living. It's not perfect though and it doesn't give a complete picture of the problem (as you point out). So I agree with your last point, it should play a part in a more comprehensive vision but be complemented with other viewpoints.

      I don't believe we can change the world through consumer choices alone, but we also can't change it by only focusing on institutional change. Our daily lives and understanding of the world shape the larger human systems (and there are more normative systems than just the political-economic) and the other way around.

      It's impossible for me to deny that we are in a state of overshoot and that this presents a significant danger. So there's no way around the fact that we need to reduce pressures due to overconsumption and/or overpopulation. How to best deal with that problem I don't know, but one of the ways is to figure out a less impactful lifestyle that can still be as valuable or even more so than the lives most people are living now. I don't see any other way to figure that out than to emerge oneself in the subject and ultimately to try it out.

      That to me is the main value of something like voluntary simplicity. It gives some guidelines that can help a small minority of interested people to figure reducing their footprint out for themselves and in the process collectively work out a diverse and living model that might serve as a reasonable way out to do with less. Something that can be pointed to as a remedy when demanding institutional limits on consumption (such as a carbon tax).

    • Rod 11th Feb 2017

      Please ignore the random words and signs of temporary dyslexia ('emerge' should probably be read as 'immerse').

    • Bat Chainpuller 11th Feb 2017

      Hey zrod, i'm the one finger dyslexic typist frpm hell. Look hw I spelled (or is that spelt) Rod? Oh, and hw! Shit did it again? And I'm shoukd have a capital 'I' snd should should have an 'l' not a 'k' and and shound have an 'a' at the start of it not an 's'. And that last should should have an 'l' not an 'n'.

    • Bat Chainpuller 11th Feb 2017

      Oh, just noticed that first 'from'. An 'o' not a 'p'.

    • Rod 11th Feb 2017

      I seem to be joining you more and more. Perhaps it's contaigious...?

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 11th Feb 2017

      Perfectly put, Rod. Both-and, not either/or.

  • Caragh - 10th Feb 2017

    Your news skills are wonderous Bat,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2TbrtCGbhQ

  • Lambert Meertens 12th Feb 2017

    When Steve Hatfield-Dodds (the “coordinating lead author” of the ANO 2015 report) uses the term “consumerism”, it is not in a negative light. He appears to consider it one of “our values” that fortunately won’t need a shift. As in, “Phew, that was a narrow escape!” (Wipes sweat from forehead.)

  • Lambert Meertens 12th Feb 2017

    Let’s define being able to live comfortably as enjoying conditions under which you are assured of having shelter (including your own bed in a weather-proof house), never need to worry that there might not be enough food, have access to good health care and educational and cultural facilities, are free to travel, meet and have fun with friends and family, and live and raise kids with whoever chooses to hang out with you. Nothing particularly luxurious, but you are free to pursue your interests and don’t have to worry about daily survival — although natural disasters can always strike and in the end we all die. But (for example) the Internet or some even better successor is at your service. And these carefree conditions also apply to your loved ones; you don’t have to worry for them either.

    Now consider a world in which poverty has been eradicated world-wide. Everyone can live comfortably. We know that this is unsustainable with the present size of the world population and under the current irrational mode of capitalist production. But now imagine that, moreover, all production is strenuously optimized for sustainability, making everything as reusable and recyclable as possible, with minimal waste. Here is then a question: under such an optimally rational production regime, is such a world possible with the present world population? If not, how large is the world population that can sustainably be supported?

    Is anyone aware of serious research that has been done that could help to answer that question?

    • Bat Chainpuller 12th Feb 2017

      This to me is a pretty good question and I am not aware of any.

      I guess there is still the question as to what one considers necessary for the two conditions of comfortability and eradication of poverty to be met as they are intimately connected. This is where differences can be considerable. When one just thinks about good health care and the internet or a better successor, in a modern sense, and what they would be, one thinks about fairly serious and complex modes of production. It kind of requires this optimal rational production regime to be pretty clearly described and matched with what the majority of people are willing to bear.

      See, now I am confused thinking about this. I'm not too bright when it comes to these things but willing to enter the conversation. Is the most optimal rational production regime a possibility? Is it an objective matter? What would its institutional structure be? Is, and I am serious when I say this, not just trying to be a biased smartarse, Parecon an attempt at such a thing? Can a system based on "values" be objective? Could such a thing just emerge out of present day alternative practices without long term theoretical considerations? Is emergence the sort of thing the human race can rely on considering we have arrived at this situation pretty much via such a process? Can one even answer the question without having clearly mapped out this theoretical optimal rational production regime? If we can't then we had better figureout what the optimally rational production regime is going to be and soon,no? And as I said above, it would still require consensus or some majority agreement as to what comfortability without worry would be which bear on what the eradication of poverty actually means, yes, no?

      Sorry Lambert, I go round in circles and get repetitive with these things but find spewing forth my thoughts as they appear to be the only way to go, otherwise I kind of just stare into space frozen like a computer until rebooted.

    • Lambert Meertens 12th Feb 2017

      The notion of comfortability has strong cultural dependencies and will, moreover, very likely change in time. If we can reach a society in which aiming at sustainability is not a mere exercise on paper but has become reality, then the decision what counts as "comfortable" – not only the level, but also what goes into the mix – is ultimately a political one and will be the result of social negotiations leading to a compromise.

      There is no ready definition, so if people have done useful research in this area, they will have had to produce their own definitions. But even when different researchers use somewhat different definitions, I expect their results to be in the same ballpark. The hard part of the research is in figuring out the effect of rationalizing production if the bottom line is not profit but sustainability.

      My interest in the question is that I think we need a different message, depending on the answer. If people in the affluent West must accept a serious reduction in comfort to allow the rest of the world to be comfortable, it will be a much harder sell than if we can say, ”OK, you can maybe choose from only five types of toothpaste instead of twenty brands and you can’t have gold-plated toilet seats, but (except for the super rich) your standard of living will not be seriously impacted.”

    • Caragh - 12th Feb 2017

      I am going to be predicable here and ask what comfortable is?
      That to me seems to be the biggest question. In my first lesson of permaculture they talked about how we have been driven to be passive and so need to focus on action. She also said how much westerners struggle when they get to the tropics and dont have apples.

      Apples? Yes, apples. Now if my dream comes true and all the 'poor' countries decide to stop subsidizing the 'rich' countries, or even just the countries with nukes, imagine the outcry- no mango out of season! no mango any season!

      On the message of fruit- here is a blast from the recent past specially for other englanders - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCCEozOu5Zc

      So, what about the next level from fruit?
      I will make a jump- say we cut down ocean shipping by say 80 percent, just using mining for say medical supplies and cough- renewable energy and maybe spices.

      Random selection.

      Anyway imagine - no earings! no barbie dolls!no power ranger outfits!

      and getting distracted by fruit again- have you ever listened to an exsoviet inhabitant extoll standing in line for bananas?
      imagine! no bananas! not even in pajamas!

      oh my.

      so yes, I think this idea of comfort is something we must really look into.

      The older I get the more I think le Guin really was onto something in always coming home.Just a tech hub for every settlement.

      I was talking to this guy who does things in the townships in south africa. Anyway, in these locations they give people electricity and solar panels for the shower and charging things and also- a tv! The tv was part of the deal. All in the name of sustainability. Honest.

      Head hangs.

      I love zoning out on occasion too but is that more comfortable than comfortable?

      It is like the nowork movement. I think its cute. But I also dont understand how there can be an emancipatory movement which depends on the current set up of unequal power relationships which mean that someone else has to still work growing them food and catering to their needs and wants.

      So, there you go. Anything which will increase the comfort of the 2 billion who struggle horribly means the real sideeffect of 'discomfort'. And thats probably why the average westerner is happy to stick their head in the sand and make a charitable donation once a month. Because those people cant help being poor. And soon it will really be true that people cant help be poor as climate change makes things complicated. I mean even the raindeer are struggling because its raining instead of snowing.

      have a beautiful week everyone

      oh and on serious research- people are starting to do research into this idea of the circular economy which is fabulous, admittedly I get the urge to drag those people away from their models and polymers every now and then and make them sit in a landfill for a day so they get a bit more urgency. And then the executives as well. In fact I think pretty much everyone can get something out of sitting in a rubbish dump for a day even if it just makes them go live in an ecovillage and grow food.

      And on production its important to think about supply chains. And- gulp- distribution. Famine studies 101- distribution is main cause of famine.

      So then we get to power dynamics again. And Sens entitlements.

      One more - this one can help you percolate if I said anything too stark-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3Y0nZBWPes




    • Caragh - 12th Feb 2017

      heres the best article I could find out about plastic without trawling too much

      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/05/the-eco-guide-to-good-plastic

      would make that news but as we know the guardian has some questionable ethics- sorry bat

    • Bat Chainpuller 13th Feb 2017

      Agree about the Guardian Caragh. Cut down ocean shipping and sky flying too! No more overseas holidays, "rites of passage", so I don't have to put up with endless numbers of people reporting endlessly on their fucking wonderful travels...their fucking stories...I got no passport so no fucking stories...

    • Rod 13th Feb 2017

      Since we're going with the Guardian, here's an interesting article on shipping vs flying:

      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2010/sep/09/carbon-emissions-planes-shipping

      Probably not very reliable, but it gives a more complex climate picture. According to the article, in terms of short term impact (next 5 years) flying is 50 times worse than driving, while shipping has a cooling effect that offsets all the effects of air, bus and car travel combined. Long term gives a different picture. Coal power plants also seem to have a short term cooling effect. It makes me wonder how much warming is already built in that we may not really be aware of because of short term cooling.

      The author seems to think that short term cooling is a good thing, but I'm not sure why. To me it seems better to have a strong immediate feedback than one that is delayed in time.

    • Bat Chainpuller 13th Feb 2017

      Maybe we shouldn't go with the Guardian? Maybe we should be getting Monbiot to directly talk with his 'real' boss, not his 'real' bosses lackeys, about fronting up and admitting that capitalism is a significant problem, if nit the major player...market-capitalism at that...the elephant in the room...and then they could hatch a plan for Monbiot's 'real' boss to talk to all the 'real' bosses of shipping and flying companies/private tyrannies, to stop there bad shit and get 'real' serious about fixing this planet and its accompanying economic organisation...I mean, surely Monbiot has a direct route to his 'real' boss...his home phone or something...i mean, Monbiot's probably a good guy and all and I assume his 'real' boss loves his/her family and stuff, but I find it hard to read the guardian just like I find it hard to read any newspaper, let alone the keep it in the ground emails I get for some reason from the Guardian, who of course, won't come out and admit market capitalism is shit...even though Monbiot kind treads sort of close without really upsetting his 'real' boss....

      Shit, I don't even know what I'm talking about...

    • Rod 13th Feb 2017

      Sometimes you have to work with what you can get, but I agree it's probably not a great source. I don't know Monbiot, but I can imagine the work he does may not align perfectly with his personal thoughts. That's a problem we all have when we have to sell our goods on the market and work within hierarchical institutions. It's a real problem of lack of freedom to determine your own work and I have been pretty terrible trying to grapple with it. In comparison he's done quite fine, so can't really judge him. But the lack of critical thinking in the press is a big problem, I agree.

      I feel there are multiple elephants in the room and they all support each other. So focusing on one can be good for a bit, but not as a central strategy. Another one relating to media is the dominance of news in our media. Something most leftists might not agree with me on though. It's not just the contents of news that creates problems, but the likely tendencies and effects of news itself, regardless of the contents. It amplifies short term and lazy thinking, among others.

    • Lambert Meertens 12th Feb 2017

      As long as I can have my watermelon I can do without the apples :).

      See my answer above to The Bat. There will be negotiations. Maybe you can have some mangos, but say one a week. Or two, but then no bananas today.

      It may be true that reasonable comfort for the whole world must necessarily mean discomfort for the average Westerner. But if that is so, I still want to see a reasoned explanation of why that is so, including the assumptions that are made to reach the conclusion. If I see how much garbage I take out each week, just from all the packaging that I cannot avoid because that is how everything is sold, and how these days if something breaks it goes out with the garbage because having it fixed has become impossible, I get the feeling that the larger fraction of the whole production process is overhead that could be dispensed with if we organize things differently. Starting with designing for products being repairable, not designing for obsolescence.

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 12th Feb 2017

      Lambert et al, Ted Trainer (ex-Uni New South Wales) has been doing extensive research and publishing on these issues for many years, since his first major book 'Abandon Affluence' in the 80s. I got him to sign up to IOPS but like most he never participated.

      To summarise briefly, Ted argues, mostly quantitatively, from a Limits to Growth and Simpler Way perspective that:

      a) there are no technical 'green growth' fixes to unsustainable market capitalism and the limits to growth,

      (b) the rich 20% of the world (us) hog about 80% of the resources for our market consumerism

      (c) the whole world cannot sustainably live at our average affluent consumption levels in the global North which are already in ecological overshoot,

      (d) AVERAGE per capita consumption in over-industrialised countries will have to come down to around 10% of what it presently is to be ecologically sustainable,

      (e) even at 10% of present average consumption levels, life could be better, richer, more interesting in re-localised, largely self-reliant and self-managing communities.

      As an eco-anarchist, Ted bases his critique of the trad or main/radical left on the above arguments, as in this article:

      http://simplicityinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/LimitsToGrowthCritiqueofRadicalLeftSimplicityInstitute.pdf

      An accessible overview of his case here:

      https://theconversation.com/the-simple-life-manifesto-and-how-it-could-save-us-33081

      More in this general vein by various authors can be found at The Simplicity Institute in Melbourne:

      http://simplicityinstitute.org/why-simplicity

      There is also a lot on the net on (un)sustainable ecological footprints backing up this case.

    • Lambert Meertens 13th Feb 2017

      There are two routes by which the ecological footprint of a consumer can be reduced: first, obviously, by the consumer consuming less, living ”simpler” in the sense of a reduced living standard, with less comfort; but also by producing the same or equivalent goods in a more rational and sustainable way, using only renewable energy sources, making sure all packaging and wrapping is reusable or else recyclable, designing for durability and repairability, and so on.

      Taking the first route is up to the individual consumers. The second route requires control of production, which in a capitalist society is up to the owners of the means of production, so for taking it we will have to introduce democracy also in the economic sector.

      The analyses by the Simplicity Institute appear to consider only or mainly the first route, that of voluntary simplicity as a lifestyle choice by the individual consumer. I’m wondering, though, how much the second route, if followed to its limits, could contribute to reducing the footprint. Is it 90%, 50% or 10%? I did not see material that helps me to find an answer to that question.

    • Rod 13th Feb 2017

      I'm interested in that question as well, but it seems a hard one to answer and I don't think they can be entirely separated.

      For instance, because we accept phones to only last a few years the rate at which the technology can develop will be higher. The current software doesn't have to support phones from a few years ago, let alone twenty years.

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 13th Feb 2017

      The Simpler Way is not just about individual levels of consumption; in fact Ted would agree in seeing changing those, while good, as secondary to the task of changing the present structures of production and consumption into the form of a relocalised, largely self-reliant, self-managing society.

      Regarding the greener production/renewable energy/greater energy efficiencies aspect you mention Lambert, Ted does not agree with the prevalent Green/Left tech-fix assumption that renewable energy, greater energy efficiency etc. can allow us affluent consumers to continue consuming like we do now.

      Ted has spent many years arguing that all these, while valuable parts of an alternative society, still could not provide current levels of affluent resource consumption for all people globally.

      (Even just the issue of the hidden embodied fossil fuel energy in most hi-tech products or in food, clothing etc imported over thousands of km is one that would point to the necessity for much shorter, relocalised supply and transport chains...).

      Below are links from his own website to some of Ted's thoughts on renewable energy-as-a-saviour:

      'Can everything run on renewable energy? Outline of the negative case' (summary, 2015):

      http://thesimplerway.info/RE3p.htm

      'Questioning our renewable future, re Heinberg':

      http://thesimplerway.info/REHeinbereg.htm

      'A critical assessment of the case for 100% renewable energy' (detailed, 2017):

      http://thesimplerway.info/REcriticalreview.htm

    • Lambert Meertens 14th Feb 2017

      These studies argue – probably correctly – that the mere shift to renewable energy is not enough. But what about producing less waste (both directly and by less wasteful production methods)? A NSW Government study from 2009 (used by OECD.Stat) gives a pro capita waste of edible food of 126 kg. That is about as much as the food consumed, so eliminating wasting ''edible'', already produced food will get us close to 50%. But then we know that typical industrial agricultural production is already very wasteful by itself in the use of resources. How much can that be rationalized, for example by using aeroponics? How far can we go if we optimize every aspect for sustainability in the best possible combination? Such questions can only be approached by serious studies, which, when they are published, should make their assumptions clear.

    • Bat Chainpuller 14th Feb 2017

      There was a book I started to read by someone called Wasted Wealth...John Smith I think. Capitalism and markets are built on waste. Waste on all sorts of levels. One good example other than food I always think of is automobile tire production. All you really need is one excellent tire, not a plethora of good and bad, expensive and cheap which would also cut down massively on storage space and transport. It's just irrational and inefficient. So I guess we are talking about efficient production here. True social costs and benefits which obviously would take into consideration waste. Smith, whilst not a total anti-cap or anti-market advocate, more an economic democracy advocate, reduced the work week to about half of what it is now just through basic efficiency gains and ridding the world of waste.

      Just some thoughts along this line.

    • Lambert Meertens 14th Feb 2017

      That must be ''The World's Wasted Wealth: The Political Economy of Waste'' by J. W. Smith, or perhaps the sequel ''The World's Wasted Wealth 2: Save Our Wealth, Save Our Environment''. These books should probably have topics on The Book Shelf.

    • Bat Chainpuller 14th Feb 2017

      Yes. Not sure if you can still access them freely on line. I have a hard copy of the first one, I think.

    • Bat Chainpuller 14th Feb 2017

      Tyre production! I knew it was wrong when I wrote it but something wouldn't tell the right spelling. Friggin' English. And 'communication' not 'comminucation'.

    • Lambert Meertens 15th Feb 2017

      “Tire” is the preferred spelling in the U.S. and Canada (as in, “Bridgestone is the largest manufacturer of tires in the world, slightly ahead of Michelin.”) When Webster published his first dictionary, the British spelling was commonly also “tire”, but for some reason the old less common variant “tyre” started to gain popularity and finally became the standard form in the British Empire except for North America.

  • Bat Chainpuller 13th Feb 2017

    I'd miss playing loud amplified guitar...but I have been playing mainly acoustic lately...but then there's recording...

    It's probably likely we all have to take a cut, except those already cut...those living on those garbage dumps/slums round the globe, Caragh reckons we should all spend at least a day in...

    I read these Simplicity Institute figures all the time, Samuel Alexander and Ted et al.
    I don't doubt them but I would like to see them alongside reasoned explanations and the accompanying assumptions, Lambert's call, plus a coupling with well thought through developed serious economic institutional structural vision that may aid in achieving what's needed to foster desired ends...I want to see ongoing highly visible debates and discussions out in the open between the visionary camps and not hidden away on marginal websites or in obscure books...because it ain't the choir that needs convincing necessarily, it's that part of the worlds population that may be ripe for radical revolutionary pickings but doesn't know where to look...I just think the voluntary simplicity idea is too simple on its own. I was willing to engage with Samuel Alexander re Parecon, for my own education, but what I got was a too busy signal and links to two books for free, which I was grateful for but didn't really address my questions. One I have read, all three hundred or so pages, many of which I had read before as come chapters were published as individual papers.

    If the idea of strategy coupled with vision is actually of value and a serious necessity then surely people have to get serious about discussing and debating visions so strategy can be developed. So surely things like the Next System Project, the Simplicity Institute, the degrowthers, Pareconistas, Inclusive Democracy folk, the p2p folk et al., have to start working together and gain visibility quickly because EVERYONE is telling me we are running out of time, apparently.

    I don't want to read another fucking Paul Street essay about what we fucking need, like a revolution beyond, or that someone has written another important book. Seriously tired of it. There is something happening, some sort of convergence with the notion of automation and the need for a basic income, which surely could be a spring bored for more informed and important well known and respected activists to jump in about more revolutionary change? The NSP is about this, but is US centric and seems a little fearful of revolutionary language, like transition towners, who Ted Trainer had a shot at. Richard Smith writes about the same stuff the Simplicity Institute does, but advocates the need for a planned economy and he's over there at the System Change Not Climate Change org. We're over here at IOPS. the NSP is over there. Inclusive Democracy is over in Europe but sneaking into other places in a microscopic way, Parecon is in the US and elsewhere in tiny tiny numbers. P2p is all over the virtual world, but not really, and then there's the solidarity network, but by fuck, is there some hub where they all get together, some central place where they can discuss regularly where us normies can go to here the friggin' fighting, where we can read papers, and see debates and discussions and get involved ourselves and then ship off emails to everyone we know to spread the bad news...NUP.

    And yet, again and again I read about urgency and the need for unity and the need for a mass movement...and again and again I read nothing essays telling me shit I already know, or I see nothing other than vague and constant calls to organise and that somehow out of the struggle something good or great will kind of emerge or self-organise...

    But then perhaps I'm the idiot.

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 13th Feb 2017

      Tried the Hub idea, IOPS, Common Website, Liquid Solidarity. Sweet fa. Next.

      Love the 'spring bored' too. Maybe we need a new spring bored for the overwintering boring-as-winter left.

      Idiots unite, you have nothing to lose but your deepest assumptions!

      'It's all so beautiful...' (Donovan)

    • Bat Chainpuller 14th Feb 2017

      Don't think the 'hub' idea has been really tried, just half-arsed, Wile E. Coyote tried. Next. Maybe it'll all just emerge. But it is becoming hard to maintain interest in the notion of revolution. How many ways can you say the same thing Mr And Mrs Left before one just wants to kill oneself?

      'I'm bored. I'm chairman of the bored.' (Pop)

    • Bat Chainpuller 14th Feb 2017

      I'm thinking more major players in the visionary world. A place, a virtual symposium that never ends, mainly occupied by major visionaries. A neutral site, not any particular org like the NSP or the Democracy Collaborative or Inclusive Democracy. Richard Smith kind of agreed with me such an idea is reasonable or a worthy one. A place where visionaries, authors of well known post cap alternatives can post ongoing articles and respond and debate with others. Debates and dscussions on a site other than at ZNet where one gets accused of being a social democrat reformist or liberal for visiting it or something. Where Takis Fotopoulos can duke it out with whomever he wishes. A site where all the authors of The Accumulation of Freedom can go, all those principled anarchists holding firm. A site not run or controlled by any particular persuasion...the hard bit I guess! A site that normies and averagies can contribute, post, comment, yell and scream. Where anarchists can pester Albert and Hanel over their non-anarchist principles and his apparent liberal social democratic coordinator of coordinators, "reformist" tendencies and critique Parecon for its locking of access to the social pie with "work" and production. Where the P2P people can go and hang with the technophobes.

      I'm thinking more of an info hub rather than something like IOPS. But one where major players play a major role and contribute so I can say to Joe Blogs, here, go to this site, it's all there. They can do it, these fuckers start up websites and shit all the time, and they seem to want greater discussion and debate but do little in this regard whilst still producing books and shit that are often hard to find or stumble across.

      IOPS is just a victim of the inherently limited nature of physical organising. The bigger the meeting the more problematic it is. Face to face talking is a limited activity. It sounds good, but has all sorts of limited capacities and has, in my opinion, as many problems associated with it as virtual communication, just different. Without people communicating with others regularly, groups comminucating across their often arbitarily drawn and defining boundaries, what's the point. Nothing wrong with Samuel Alexander or Ted Trainer having easy access or direct access to people like Albert and Hahnel or Fotopoulos or Bauwens and Siefkes. Where I can go and read the discussions and participate if I like.

      But it is fairly clear to me that I am dreaming. This will never happen but I will hear constant calls to "organise" which is meaningless to me, or for the need of mass movements etc..it just goes on and on. The major players or one could say leaders in the visionary world, the ones proferring all these wonderful ideas just don't seem to want to do something like this...logistics?????? Really? Too busy?????? What difference does it make, none of those things change in regard to any friggin' idea someone has, yet I get the iimpression they all kind of would like me to get more involved in shit, regardless of my personal circumstances.

      None of it makes fucking sense to me. When I here a fairly left thinking radio host on independent 3RRR here in Melbourne say to a caller that there are alternatives to the current economic abomination it's just a matter of them reaching critical mass awareness, yet he never mentions them himself, by fucking name, with site links and shit to his listeners, most of which I have sent to him repeatedly, I just throw my hands in the air and cry, FUCK IT. Who gives a shit, really? It's not about fixing shit it's about proving one's own radicalism or revolutionary credentials. "I told you so" politics. Staying aloof and separate from people and groups to maintain this notion you're not a sheep or proving you are a principled activist or something.

      I wonder what the very small London chapter of IOPS but not really a part of IOPS international is doing now? Or the OFS? Or the NSP, or the Democracy Collaborative, or the Solidarity Network, or the P2P folk, or where Hahnel is, or Erik Olin Wright, or whofuckingever...jesus, my bookmark list is getting pretty long...fuck.

      Oh well. Who cares? It's al, too much anyway?

      Mass movements and critical mass awareness??????

      Yeah, by fuck...pull the other one,

  • Caragh - 13th Feb 2017

    Oh Bat. Yes it is annoying these calls to arms.

    I kind of decided to work on two main issues and they are both reformist. 1- To try get ecocide made a crime in peacetime
    2- To reform banks as exemplified in the uk and new zealand by positive money.

    It has taken me an achingly long time to become a reformist. But I know at least its doing something that might actually change something and the nice thing about the people who work on those kind of campaigns is that they are focused and practical.

    I really like the Trainer analysis from what I have read but it looks like the corporate-state machine is consolidating under Trump, which unfortunately had side effects for us all.

    I still like Hahnels reforms as well for a greener world but they really are not quite enough. I think its interesting how you feel the dread Bat -and others. I think thats from this weird hypernormalised state we are in now to use Curtis' word. It just seems all impossible, even though there are such good actions happening all over the place. I do believe that a different society is possible, but I do know that it requires us in the west to shift from a standard of living paradigm to one of quality of life. And that is quite a shift.

    And on aerosols-

    This is a good description of them- http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Aerosols/page3.php

    The fact that scientists rejoice in their cooling effect is mainly because it buys us some time. If they stop, it is a pretty drastic change. So while all those people travelling might drive you crazy Bat, try endure their tales and endless photographs. The aerosols are on our side. And while I dont believe in technofixes, I sure hope we will think of something to do when the fossil fuels run out. But for now I will stick to my basic reforms and getting my head around how to make stuff happen.

    I was reminded today of the suicidal camel stunt pulled off a few years ago as fake news by a situationist. On searching for it now it looks like thats become a real thing. Who knows. The world is so incredibly bizarre but when I get overwhelmed I know I can go stand underneath a cedar down the road and remember how much beauty is worth fighting for.

    • Rod 13th Feb 2017

      The link below may be interesting. Not exactly the same as making ecocide a crime, but it's similar in that the legal system is used to fight climate 'injustice'.

      http://www.urgenda.nl/en/climate-case/

      "The Urgenda climate case against the Dutch Government

      The Urgenda Climate Case is the first case in which regular citizens have managed to hold their government accountable for taking insufficient action to keep them safe from dangerous climate change. On June 24 2015, the District Court of The Hague ruled that the Dutch government is required to reduce its emissions by at least 25% by the end of 2020 (compared to 1990 levels). This means that the Dutch government is now, effective immediately, forced to take more effective action on climate change. It is also the first case in the world in which human rights are used as a legal basis to protect citizens against climate change.

      In September 2015, despite calls from top scientists, lawyers, citizens, companies and the almost 900 co-plaintiffs, the Dutch government decided to appeal the historic verdict. Urgenda is currently preparing its response."

    • Caragh - 14th Feb 2017

      Amazing- I hadnt heard of that- its really inspiring!Its like CELDF on steriods.

      Very powerful :)

    • Bat Chainpuller 14th Feb 2017

      Aerosols. Arsesols! Reading Earth Masters:Playing God With Climate by Clive Hamilton (who told me in a personal email he had never heard of Parecon...chalk one up to me for spreading the word children...even though he said he didn't really believe in those sorts of things) was scary. Come to think of it, most shit I read isn't all that not scary! Eugene Chadbourne's autobio Dreamory isn't scary, mad, but not scary and John 'Drumbo' French's book Beefheart:Through the Eyes of Magic isn't scary. Playing Giant Steps by John Coltrane at a crotchet equals 300 is scary...pass.
      People's travel stories put me to sleep, like listening to someone tell you their dream.

    • Caragh - 14th Feb 2017

      Grin -Bat - you have no idea how many times you make me chuckle at this screen :)

      Yes- it all is pretty scary but there are patches of light every now and then

    • Lambert Meertens 14th Feb 2017

      Coltrane can do anything... grab them notes by the crotchet. Scary but mesmerizing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kotK9FNEYU

    • Bat Chainpuller 14th Feb 2017

      Absolutely. Rumour has it he used to practice his sax on the bus until the driver told him to cut it out. So he built a replica one where he didn't have blow, just practice his fingerings!

  • Dave Jones 14th Feb 2017

    Yeah,Caragh, like this one: God that Failed Richard Smith is skyping in to our local high school(Missoula Montana) diversity day assembly on Tues. He will talk about why we need to abandon capitalism to save ourselves.

    Then in June these same highschool kids are holding a symposium with Smith, Chomsky, Derek Jensen, some Zapatistas and a bunch of other radicals to talk about climate change. All organized by youth in the Rocky Mountains.

    • Caragh - 15th Feb 2017

      Interesting- I hadnt come across him. And wonderful to hear about the youth revolting :) I am glad dear Chomsky is engaging with climate change more and more.

      Good luck with the radical youths- if the US had signed the rome statute with a little more commitment I would suggest you get some one to talk about ecocide law, but I am sure Celdf OR Rights of Nature people will help inspire people to take practical action on protecting the environment worldwide.

      Wow- news I get on here keeps making my day!