Tune Out, Turn Off, Un-Plug

Radical problems demand radical, not “bipartisan,” solutions. If we don’t change, the climate will. It already is changing with more rapidity than anyone dared imagine twenty years ago.

No time for Main Stream politics now, NONE AT ALL. Either we come up with radical solutions to this radical problem of Climate Change, or we swab the deck while the Corporate Elite (Republicans AND Democrats) and their aristocratic equivalents around the world, man the life-boats — Billionaires, Silicon-enhanced Women and Pure-Born Royalty first.

I don’t believe for a minute that a) humanity and all of life can sustain itself under the current system. However, the current system will use anything in its power, including Nukes and WMD, to stop the threat of even the slightest change. That’s why the whip came down in Seatle in 1999, during the halcyon days of Democrats, because the activists, however ingenuous and trusting AND unarmed, had gotten way to close to the real and only issue: accept Capitalist Civilization’s planned reduction of all living things, all wildlife into dead consumer goods, or die.

We’ve learned what damage a fist-full of Republicans can do in a few years, and it’s only marginally worse than damage done in the “good old days” by droves of Democrats.

We’ve NO TIME for Democrats! They gave up the 2000 and 2004 elections to Bush; the Democrats in Congress voted for the war and nearly every other nefarious, attack on civil rights and public assistance proposed by their Republican “colleagues” or Bush himself.

And just when were the “good old days?”

Democrats were in charge during both the Korean and Vietnamese wars, the McCarthy Period, and gave Bush nearly unanimous support after the panic unleashed by 9/11, when critical thinking, important questions and balanced observation were in order. Democrats dropped two nuclear weapons on real people, set up legislation that allowed Bush to score the “goal” of the PATRIOT ACT, not to mention killing almost a million Iraqis “softly” with sanctions. So we’re supposed to worship Roosevelt for the pennies he threw to the poor and working classes — which, like today, form a far higher, wider base of the economic pyramid than ever before or since — earning him scorn from the “business class,” though his welfare Trojan Horse effectively neutralized all “third-party threats” such as socialists and communists, from the “national debate,” which comprised, essentially, his “fire-side chats,” answered by countless letters from “citizens” voicing their opinions, which are always inspiring though irrelevant on such occasions when Power wins the battle, then generously allows you to keep your wasted farm and half-dead mule.

It might be a good idea to stop and think about things before accepting, rejecting or even responding to your next web article or blog piece, this one included (perhaps in particular).

What has this “System” called “Civilization” actually achieved beyond baubles for the very rich and famous? What has this “Civilization, now about 6000 years old and not about to change, brought to humanity? After it slaughtered and/or enslaved ALL indigenous people, Asians, Africans, Native Americans, fought a few Holy Wars after burning many “lesser” religions out of History’s prayer-book and even after “god was dead” managed two world wars in one particularly bloody century.

Here in the “land of the free,” after a bloody civil war, the chattel slave was converted into the wage slave just in time for the factories to begin “production.” See, the Civil War wasn’t about “freeing” black chattel slaves to much as ensuring the corporate wage state would be large and powerful enough to enslave YOU (if you happen to be black, that’s double-jeopardy).

For merely tinkering with the System to ensure people, in general, had at least a small income from Public Works, and social security and the rest, Roosevelt was called a “communist” and a “traitor to his class.” Meanwhile, it’s the old MLK/Malcolm X split: would MLK have gotten any concessions at all if the possibility of Malcolm X and other more militant, more violent radicals wasn’t waiting in the wings?

There were a lot of angry, desperate people during the 1930s, many of them veterans demanding rightful benefits; Communists demanding revolution; even socialists demanding permanent government sponsored food, shelter and health care (now that’s REALLY sick). According to former Marine General Smedley Butler, one of the most “decorated” soldiers in American military history and author of War is a Racket, some super rich people, you know, the folks who really run America, wanted him to lead a coup against Roosevelt, turn America into a true plutocratic oligarchy.

You can get the basics about the Climate Change issue, the ultimate and only issue at this time, by reading Rand Clifford’s three-part essay, “Perspectives on a Changing Climate,” or search the WEB for any number of articles. Or if you want to go deep into the whole shebang, read Derek Jenson’s two-volume, End Game, or Lewis Mumford’s Myth of the Machine. Or read “alternative” magazines, such as this one, to get a broader perspective than Mainstream Media. I hear Mainstream Media is starting to admit, here and there, that there “may” be a problem with the Environment that sustains all life, from the Redwood Forests to the Lower East Side. There’s really not a lot one needs to know, now that there’s one issue that must be dealt with before others, though it helps to be as knowledgeable as possible, to get a sense of the facts we’re not supposed to know, facts that make it ever more difficult for the Imperial government to pull the wool over our eyes — again. But if we remain in our state of arrested development (most American minds close in what, the fifth grade? sixth grade?), another Katrina will blow by, this time taking NYC or LA with it, and FEMA will send in the Marines — or better yet, a “private” security firm — to restore order to the desperate, starving, homeless masses. Well, I hope citizens in “high risk” areas get their gats while the gettin’s good.

Again, if you want to check out the evils of the hierarchical, plutocratic, patriarchal order that we’ve called “civilization” for the past 6,000 years (Ironic: it all began in Iraq or thereabouts; can’t say THE MAN doesn’t have a sense of humor!) It’s a mind-blower, how the broad range of greed, corruption and waste, beginning from the top down in civilization, has turned 90 percent of the planet into urban wasteland and suburban sprawl. The Natives of North America lived in the same regions for at least ten thousand years; and we’ve managed to destroy 90 percent of the earth in six millennium, mostly the last 150 years of Corporate Capitalism. And America, the “New World,” soiled its own didies, perhaps irrevocably, in a mere 500 years. If even if the remaining ten percent of the “Natural World” were saved for some possible future generation who would learn to live with Nature, not against it, the struggle will be fierce; hundreds of millions, including yours truly, will die, perhaps Billions, to get the population of humans down to a sustainable level. The Native Americans, who were almost made extinct by the “American Dream,” were a model of sustainability and ecology. Again, they lived in the same regions for over ten thousand years, always replacing, in some way, what they took from the land.

Compare the at-least-ten-thousand to the “almost 500” (really the past 150: the Industrial Revolution) and you gotta wonder: which of the “fittest” were meant to survive, or even, what exactly does the word “fittest” imply…

We’re in serious, serious trouble. “Debate” with Mainstream representatives of the Corporate/Military state was unsuccessful even in the late sixties (remember the Chicago riots, the Chicago Seven, COINTELPRO, FBI harassment of U.S. citizens?) when the business class, realizing Vietnam would ultimately be costly unless it were turned into some kind of cheap market or production site — which is exactly what happened, according to the women who work in its sweatshops) — and the Military class realizing it was not equipped to fight an “invisible” indigenous population, that it would have to take a holiday and regroup, pulled the plug on the war.

Speaking of which… I STILL see bumper-stickers urging us to “support our troops!” You think Germans and Japanese didn’t “support” their troops during WWII? What did that “support” amount to? A desire to kill Americans, if only to “get them before they got your son.” Then again, just cause they’re murdering people who posed no threat to them BEFORE they landed in Iraq (we invaded a foreign country; what did we expect, to be greeted with flowers? Oh yeah, we DID expect that, didn’t we?), and we know now what we pretended not to know before the war that Iraq had no WMD and posed about as much a threat to us as the Sandinistas allegedly posed Texas in the 1980s. It doesn’t mean that we should stop “supporting our troops,” even though some of the more faint-hearted among us might “condemn” the war itself. If we stopped supporting “our” troops, why, they might get all depressed and start reading books and smoking marijuana and learn about all the terrible things our addiction to oil is doing — the most important of which is the global climate change destroying every living thing on the planet. They might even put down their guns and stop fighting and go against ALL orders and join the surviving men women and children of Iraq in rebuilding their culture into the “cradle of civilization” it once was. As soon as that happens, who knows what’ll fall next? If their older bothers and sisters stop obeying the dictates of a deranged, psychotic “Commander-in-Chief,” who’ll eat our Aunt Jemima frozen bleached white flour waffles slathered in white corn syrup with artificial maple flavoring and caramel color, and Uncle Ben’s plantation style White-Wash rice?

What’s so horrible is that if the Iraq war ends tomorrow, and peace is declared around the globe, with all oppressors giving aid and retribution to the oppressed, and all territories shared etc. etc. we’d STILL be doomed cause someone was stupid enough to declare a war against Nature (like the war against drugs, war against smoking, war against poverty, war against racism, terrorism, ismism — wow, we’ve lost a lot of wars, haven’t we?) and kept burning the gas in greater and greater quantities and burning plants and animals to extinction, and now Nature is incomprehensibly pissed. Think about all the “odd weather” and natural disasters we’ve had in the past 20 years, then multiply it by orders of magnitude, and that’s the inheritance you’re leaving your children and, if they survive, grand children, great grandchildren, etc.

No more compromise with Corporations whose basic function is to turn life — plants, animals — into death — “products, merchandise.” We need radical action. We need a worldwide commitment to keep the population down, feed the living, and clean up. Rebuild sustainable housing, replant whatever near-gone plants we can salvage, turn this planet into something livable and beautiful, again. There will be organizers, engineers, various “officials” and plain old laborers. But even the unskilled laborers — among whom I’ll be — picking up litter, will know their work is meaningful, as opposed to upping productivity of widgets for MegaCorps so that powerful Casino called the stock market can give it a higher “earning potential” and Return on Investment (appropriately acronymed, ROI) numbers and cash Sounds like a long shot, but if humans can organize for this one 100-plus year task, perhaps the balance between humans, and nature (which means all other species and plant life) will be restored.

Of course, to reach the ideals expressed in the previous paragraph is a long shot, possibly just short of fantasy. But that’s the situation we’re in. Either the “people of the earth” take down the Current System immediately and put everything they have into cleaning the earth, air, water and planning, and creating a sustainable life, or their progeny might not survive and the last sunset humanity will enjoy will come down in about 100 years, maybe less.

Adam Engel lived for your sins -- and he lived well! -- in Fear-and-Trembling, Brooklyn, one of the last gangrenous toes of NYC not yet severed and replaced with a prosthetic gentrification device. Engel has traveled the farthest regions of cyberspace, where Dark-matter meets Doesn't-matter; and Anti-matter, despite its negative connotation and dour point-of-view, excercises rights of expression protected by Richard Stallman's GNU/Free Software Foundation and CopyLeft agreement, if nobody and nothing else. Having spent many years studying Boobus Americanus (Summum Ignoramus), allegedly the most intelligent mammal on earth -- after its distant relative, Homo Sapiens -- in various natural habitats (couch, cubicle, bar-stool, ball-game -- televised or 'real-time') -- Engel has thus far related his observations of and experiences with this most dangerous of predators in three books -- Topiary, Cella Fantastik, and I Hope My Corpse Gives You the Plague (the combined international sales of which have reached literally dozens, perhaps as many as seventy, with projected revenue to top three digits by decade's end! Truly a publishing phenomenon). Engel is Associate Editor of Time Capsule Books, a division of Oliver Arts & Open Press, published in limited editions for a tiny, highly specified, though eclectic, target-audience: people who actually read books. He can be reached at adam@dissidentvoice.org Read other articles by Adam, or visit Adam's website.

9 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. atheo said on May 13th, 2007 at 11:09am #

    Regardless of what you think about so-called climate change—if it is real or a scam—the corporate media is taking it seriously, including the neocon graven image, or at least the media medicine man of neoconism, “Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation, the media empire that encompasses Fox News, 20th Century Fox, HarperCollins, MySpace.com, and dozens of newspapers in Australia, the U.K., the U.S., and beyond,” as Grist puts it.

    “At an event held this morning in midtown Manhattan and webcast to all News Corp. employees, Murdoch launched a company-wide plan to address climate change that includes not only a pledge to reduce the company’s emissions (which has come to be expected at such biz-greening events) but also a vow to weave climate messaging into the content and programming of News Corp.’s many holdings.”

    In other words, soon enough, the neocons, including Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, will be preaching a green message, that is to say the now fashionable epistle of sacrifice …

    full article:


  2. David Alan Smith said on May 13th, 2007 at 4:57pm #

    While I am sympathetic to the general argument that it is “civilization” that is the source of our ecological problems, to claim that we have “turned 90 percent of the planet into urban wasteland and suburban sprawl” is untenable. Nor is the romanticization of the native american cultures relation with nature very helpful. And I’m not very cheered that the solution to our problem is a “worldwide commitment” to a set of goals that are antithetical to the current cultural momentum when no means of bringing about this commitment is ever mentioned. I can also dream up preferred worlds, but with out a means of moving us from here to there, such dreams are utopias of the mind only.

  3. atheo said on May 13th, 2007 at 6:41pm #

    Sadly, what they want us to accept is nuclear power. It’s bait and switch. We might see some token renewable energy thrown in here and there.

  4. Gary Corseri said on May 13th, 2007 at 6:55pm #

    Here’s a cri de coeur from an enlightened being who writes like his computer is on fire.

    And it is—it, and all of us are running out of energy so fast and so mercilessly poisoning the planet in our mad attempts to secure more of it, we need a screeching voice of wisdom to wake us up—a Zen-slap of the here-and-now to sharpen the focus, heighten the senses to alert us to the fact: WE’VE BEEN KILLING OURSELVES AND OUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN’S CHILDREN.

    When Engel writes that “Radical problems demand radical, not ‘bipartisan,’ solutions, he’s firing his opening salvo at the wheezing apologists for the “System,” the burger-chomping sleep-walkers who cheer the fiddlers at “American Idol” while Rome and the World Empire burns.

    Does Mr. Smith complain that Engel’s assertion that “we have turned 90 percent of the planet into urban wasteland and suburban sprawl” is untenable? Then, what percentage is tenable? He seems to have missed the bigger point when he writes: “I’m not very cheered that the solution to our problem is a ‘worldwide commitment’ to a set of goals that are antithetical to the current cultural momentum when no means of bringing about this commisment is ever mentioned.” But, in fact, it is mentioned throughout the article: Wake up, pitch in, turn out the Republicrats, take responsibility for your community and your precious planet. The Native American cultures, which Engel doesn’t “romanticize,” but rather celebrates understood well: Don’t speak with forked-tongue. Maintain the natural balance between yourself and the buffalo. Make decisions in tribal councils where all may be heard. Listen to the elders, the wise ones.

    One person not worth listening to is Rupert Murdoch. Another reader, unsure whether the climate and World System are in crisis or not, seems to take some solace in the fact that: “soon enough, the neocons, including Fox’s Bill O’Reilley and Sean Hannity, will be preaching a green message, that is to say the now fashionable epistle of sacrifice.” Perhaps he read a different version of Engel’s article than I did. Real Radicalism of the kind Engel espouses is hardly fashionable. He notes how the very mild “radicalism” of Lincoln or F.D.R. were really covers for extending and preserving corporate power. When Engel writes that he’ll be among the unskilled laborers “picking up the litter,” I doubt he’s being fashionable. Nope, can’t see Paris Hilton picking the dregs alongside him.

    Who’s complaining that he’s not offering solutions? His article is peppered with information about books to read for further enlightenment, links to other articles and writers. I suggest the critics re-read the article with a little more care before picking up their six-shooters.

  5. Mary Toulouse said on May 13th, 2007 at 10:38pm #

    Adam Engel is a voice of truth, something we need more and more as truth slips from our priorities. Truth will never change, only our perceptions, and Adam consistently rings the truth bell–seek out his articles.

  6. David Alan Smith said on May 15th, 2007 at 6:24pm #

    To Mr. Corseri, if you truly believe that “Wake up, pitch in, turn out the Republicrats, take responsibility for your community and your precious planet.” is really a plan for overturning the momentum of global capitalism, have at it. Me? I’ll work on learning how to live a full life in an environmentally altered, radically poorer world and do my best to pass that on to my children and grandchildren. There isn’t going to be any overthrow of the capitalist juggernaut – atheo is probably right, we’re going to get lots of nuclear. The only possible solution is to destroy the ethic of growth – and few of even our most vocal environmentalists are willing to venture there.

  7. atheo said on May 15th, 2007 at 8:34pm #

    Let’s bear in mind that Christine Todd Whitman ( the one who claimed that lower Manhattan air was safe after 9/11) is on a national speaking tour promoting nuclear power as a response to climate change. With Bush, Blair, and the entire establishment pushing radical “solutions” to global warming, it’s time to stop, take a deep breath, and listen to the dissenting scientists.

  8. wingnut said on May 24th, 2007 at 5:09am #

    We Christian socialist-like folk… have been telling and telling the capitalists… that a pyramid scheme of servitude and inequality doesn’t work. They can’t hear us! No country has democracy until every single citizen can vote-on/have-a-say-on EVERY SINGLE ISSUE that a government ever “decides” or makes rules-over. As far as capitalism is concerned, why not let people work on MANKIND-HELPING things instead of being forced into the sharktank of the Free Marketeers when they turn 18? Why the “join or die” and why are we all calling slavery slots “job ooportunity” and “career opportunity”?? Since when is handing your power over to a slavedriver… an “opportunity”???

    We shouldn’t put pricetags on every single happiness opportunity, anyway. We know better than to REQUIRE slavery certificates (money) for basic human supplies or enjoyments. Pyramid schemes of inequality/servitude have never worked, and never will. You have government BY THE RICH now (as opposed-to BY-INTELLIGENCE or BY-MORALS)… and that is NOT “of the people, by the people, or for the people” at all.

    Step one, admit profiting causes inflation. Step 2, admit the USA has a runaway shopping/enjoyments addiction. Step 3, if you’re going to use money and entitling AT ALL, everyone is to be paid the same, even the total loafers. And everyone is loved the same, even the total loafers. Or, just abolish pricetags and titles of ownership, and then money becomes useless. YAY! The cancerous tumor that IS “economy” will FINALLY quit growing!! YAY! Easy equality THAT WAY, eh?

    After pricetags, entitlements, and ALL DEMANDING IS GONE… then all Earth materials are owned by mankind, and we share them all, through the use of enjoyment repositiories… and FAIRNESS. Its easy… just run civilian society EXACTLY like U.S. Air Force society…. a VERY socialist system. (Just like a church playground… total fairness or else a nun sits on your head and farts. Tough-Loving lessons of sharing. We, as a society, FOR A CHANGE…. teach cooperation instead of competition. What a concept!

    MaStars – Mothers Against Stuff That Ain’t Right (anti-capitalists)
    Minneapolis MN USA

  9. Annie Higgins said on June 3rd, 2007 at 7:20pm #

    Truly spoken as always, Adam. I miss you!

    I also have this fantasy that we will eventually live more locally in a way, that is, being aware of consequences and remembering that part of the job of anything is cleaning up after it. As you mention the Native Americans always did: it seems pretty simple, actually. All the mess of pollution is just not cleaning up after playing. Same with human exploitation, not cleaning up imbalances.

    As for fantasy. That splendid film, Labirintho de Pan/Pan’s Labyrinth, brings us right into fantasy. As I viewed the film, the fantasy seemed part of reality to me. When interviewed recently on radio and asked to discuss the fantasy that the young girl creates to deal with war situations around her, the director said he did not feel it was make-believe at all. He mentioned many of the fantasies we “live” by, such as news reports of terror groups and need for violence, economic necessities and pacts, etc. We are already living within parameters of fantasy.

    Now back to Adam’s fantasy of living a real life in contact with ourselves and with the earth, I think this is a verifiable fantasy to counteract others spun around us.

    Little gleams of hope, like students organizing small groups to feed and talk with homeless, are portents of things to come. I was actually honored when a homeless man felt sure that I have been homeless, too. In a way, I have. In a way, we all have, and it is time we can turn even the slightest gaze in a way that can begin to change a life, our own, our earth’s.