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Winter Oak

Winter Oak
22 Jul 2024 | 9:39 am

1. Truth, reality, tradition and freedom: our resistance to the great uprooting


"If there is no reality and if there is no truth, there can be no freedom either"

Silvia Guerini is a powerful contemporary critic of the techno-scientific system and the multi-pronged threat of its global agenda.

She has a background in radical ecology and calls for a new 21st century resistance that goes beyond the "stale and dusty categories" of "right" and "left". [1]

What is at stake today, she says, is the very future of humanity, with a historic clash taking place between "two opposing visions of the world, of the living, of nature, of human beings". [2]

"There are no more excuses. We can no longer wait for those who do not want to understand, those who pursue marginal projects, those who do not have a total and clear-cut critique of every aspect and every fundamental element in the transhumanist project". [3]

"We need to find a firm shore: that line of resistance for those of us who are determined to remain anchored to reality, in defence of humanity and in defence of all that is living". [4]

"Let's form alliances to repel the transhumanist vanguard". [5]

One such alliance was in evidence when two groups in which Guerini is involved in Italy – Resistenze al nanomondo [6] and FINAARGIT (International Feminist Network Against All Artificial Reproduction, Gender Ideology and Transhumanism) [7] – protested outside the Milan Baby Fair in 2023. [8]

Their action was supported by feminists from Genoa and Milan, by a Catholic network drawing support from various cities in Italy and groups who opposed the "Green Pass" (vaccine passport) and mRNA gene sera.

Guerini has warned that the growth of the artificial reproduction industry threatens to lead to what she calls "a world without mothers".

In an article for the French journal Ecologie & Politique in 2022, she explained that the eugenicists behind test-tube babies and surrogate motherhood now had their sights on genetic engineering and artificial wombs which would cut women out of the reproductive process. [9]

While the current justification for the technology was on medical grounds, helping people who could not have babies naturally, the long-term goal for the industry was no doubt to make artificial reproduction the norm and turn babies into yet more industrial "products".

Guerini wrote: "The use of your own body would be considered a sign of social inferiority and poverty.

"A natural mother would be considered potentially irresponsible, like mothers who currently opt for home birth, refusing the hospitalisation and medicalisation of the process… Natural childbirth would first be treated as irresponsible, then criminal".

Artificial wombs would eventually be demanded, or rather marketed, as a "right" for everyone, including "transgender" people, she predicted.

Indeed, she noted that "the interests and the demands of the LGBTQ+ movement and of transfeminism on the subject of reproduction converge with those of the techno-scientific and transhumanist system".

What was involved, she set out in her 2023 book From the 'Neutral' Body to the Postmodern Cyborg: A Critique of Gender Ideology, was "a new synthetic identity, a dissociation from one's sexed body and a claim to new rights bestowed by a progressive, rainbow and transgenic left together with LGBTQ+ organisations and the pharmaceutical and bionanotechnological apparatus". [10]

"This is not a grassroots movement, it is an elite project, a lot of money is being invested to promote a dissociative body condition that unties us from our sexed bodies.

"The LGBTQ+ cause is now high on the agenda of the powerful, and its advocates are at the top of the media, in academia, and especially in Big Business, Big Philanthropy, and Big Tech".

Guerini wrote in From the 'Neutral' Body to the Postmodern Cyborg: "The glittery trans industry is now attacking girls, boys and adolescents.

"The pressure exerted through social media, print and television and in every cultural sphere, especially in a progressive culture, is becoming stronger and stronger".

A further worrying element was the parallel officially-approved sexualisation of children which "will also serve to clear paedophilia as a new 'sexual orientation'".

Guerini took issue with the way that fluidity and deconstruction of meaning were today being presented to us as "progressive".

She observed: "Fluidity is the antithesis of density, of that which persists, which does not change, which endures and provides a foothold in the earth.

"The human being, conceived like any fluid, is supposed to be able to take on any form someone may want it to take".

"No girl and no boy is born in the wrong body… We do not have a body, we are our body and many of our experiences originate from that very body".

What we were witnessing, she said, was an attack on life, on nature, on "what is born, as opposed to artificial".

"All ties to the real, natural world must be severed. Everything must be artificial, synthetic and virtual".

And, she warned, the price for so-called "emancipation" from the living and its natural constraints was "submission to the technological constraints of the machine world".

Transhumanist ideology, embodied in the projects and aims of Silicon Valley, major research hubs, various foundations and international groups, sought to dispose of living processes and bodies.

The end goal was to "transform the human being and everything living into the artificial, cybernetic and engineered world" which would then be declared to be the only possible and imaginable world.

This would involve, Guerini has written elsewhere, the complete eradication of our sense of identity, "the tearing and subjugation of the deepest spirit of the human being", and ultimately the cancellation of the "very sense of humanity". [11]

"A total demolition of the previous forms of existence is underway: how one comes into the world, biological sex, education, relationships, the family, even the diet that is about to become synthetic.

"There must be no room for what will be deemed obsolete and a hindrance to the imperatives of the techno-scientific system". [12]

With children besieged with propaganda, books re-written to align with the global agenda and the content dumbed down, future generations' ability to think was being deliberately stunted, she pointed out.

"Fewer words, less difficult words, fewer and poorer sentences and phrases, less but more ideologically oriented sense and meaning, less narrative variety, and poorer and poorer narratives about the world. Everything is sweetened and glittered".

This targeting of children, notably when they were at school and beyond the protection of their families, amounted to a deliberate programme of social engineering.

"There is no need to burn books, just rewrite them. It is an attack on the capacity to develop critical thinking and thus on the very possibility of developing critical awareness; an attack that begins to mould girls and boys from an early age, building empty, superficial, depthless, sterile, neutral, fluid individuals, for a voluntary servitude necessary for the transhuman and posthuman project".

"New generations are the testing ground for the new world order, which is why it is so central to tear children away from families, to hand them over to technicians in white coats who will mould them according to the new transhuman dictates". [13]

In a December 2023 'Truth in Science' lecture for the Sinclètica Monastic School, [14] Guerini stressed the unimaginable severity and scope of the separation being planned for us.

"We are moving towards a complete dissociation from ourselves, from procreation, from life, from death, from reality, from truth".

"Today, everything that belonged to the past must be regarded as obsolete, as an error, as something continually to be overcome, in an overcoming that will never end.

"The past becomes something to be erased in order to break the thread that binds us to a history, to a tradition, to a belonging, for the transition towards a new uprooted humanity, without past, without memory, without a present and a future that can be held up precisely on the past, a new humanity dehumanised in its essence, totally in the hands of the manipulators of reality and truth". [15]

As she has written, the removal of cultural identities and the loss of rituals and traditions "means making a people empty and fragile", the perfect targets for manipulation by the "shapers of men" who have dispossessed their lives of real meaning. [16]

Referencing the work of Ernst Jünger, she wrote: "The human being, reduced to a spectre, can only wander among the ruins, the rubble and the deserts". [17]

For Guerini, in the face of this great uprooting from the healthy and natural soil of "wild and free" living, [18] we urgently need to reaffirm reality and truth: "If there is no reality and if there is no truth, there can be no freedom either". [19]

The impulse for truth is a necessary condition for there to be cohesion within a community, in her view.

"Truth is the existential foundation of the human, its disintegration runs parallel with the disintegration of society and any community". [20]

To counter this disintegration and the associated "desacralisation of existence", [21] we should remember that there is "a Truth that comes from elsewhere, that we can grasp, feel, that is there, that comes from afar, that is handed down – it is the Truth of Tradition and Spirit". [22]

"We must return to the setting of the rhythm of our lives by ritual, by the cycle of the seasons, by the cult of the dead, by the recovery of traditions". [23]

"Each community has a bodily and a spiritual dimension and weaves a bodily and spiritual bond with the place where it lives. Through rituals, the community recognises itself and its place in the world beyond the contingent moment.

"Rites contribute to rooting and making a single existence endure in a time, in a territory, in a community. They create the spirit of a rooted community.

"They create a link beyond contingency, a recognition of what remains beyond our time. They create a common rhythm in relation to things, to time, to the natural world, to other living beings, they allow a resonance". [24]

Throughout her work, Guerini never shies away from the seriousness of the situation humankind is facing or the difficulty of overcoming the threat.

But at the same time she insists on the vital need to push aside our fears and engage in the great battle [25] for the future.

"The storm is coming, let the free spirits rise to fight without expectations, without calculations, without justifications". [26]

"We must be willing to fight even a losing battle to keep the sense of humanity free from the machine-world, to transmit to those who will come another sense of life.

"Under the rubble, fires will burn which will, just as we are already doing, keep alight a path of resistance". [27]

[Audio version]

Video link: Silvia Guerini, 'Towards the Abolition of Surrogate Motherhood'. (3 mins)

This article also serves as the newly-added profile of Silvia on the organic radicals website.

[1] Silvia Guerini, 'Reality held hostage by artificial dismantling and reconstruction' July 2023.
https://www.resistenzealnanomondo.org/documenti/la-realta-ostaggio-da-smontaggi-e-ricostruzioni-artificiali-silvia-guerini/
[2] Guerini, July 2023.
[3] Silvia Guerini, 'The inevitable siege of the human being has been ready for some time. From the taking of bodies to the taking of the spirit. Reading Ernst Jünger'. Resistenze al nanomondo, March 2022.
[4] Silvia Guerini, From the 'Neutral' Body to the Postmodern Cyborg: A Critique of Gender Ideology, (Little River/Mission Beach, Australia: Spinifex Press, 2023). Pdf version, no page numbers. 
[5] Silvia Guerini, 'Towards the Abolition of Surrogate Motherhood'.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijsdgIZjORk
[6] https://www.resistenzealnanomondo.org/
[7] https://finaargit.org/
[8] https://winteroak.org.uk/2023/05/24/anti-transhumanists-target-milan-baby-fair/
[9]
https://winteroak.org.uk/2023/01/01/the-acorn-79/
[10] Guerini, From the 'Neutral' Body to the Postmodern Cyborg.
[11] Guerini, March 2022.
[12] Guerini, From the 'Neutral' Body to the Postmodern Cyborg.
[13] Guerini, From the 'Neutral' Body to the Postmodern Cyborg.
[14] Silvia Guerini, 'Truth in Science' lecture for Sinclètica Monastic School, December 16, 2023, https://sincletica.cat/guerini/
[15] Guerini, lecture.
[16] Guerini, July 2023.
[17] Guerini, March 2022.
[18] Guerini, From the 'Neutral' Body to the Postmodern Cyborg.
[19] Guerini, lecture.
[20] Guerini, lecture.
[21] Guerini, March 2022.
[22] Guerini, lecture.
[23] Guerini, lecture.
[24] Guerini, March 2022.
[25] Guerini, July 2023.
[26] Guerini, March 2022.
[27] Guerini, July 2023.

Winter Oak
19 Jul 2024 | 8:48 am

2. Deliberate dispossession and our struggle for autonomy


by Paul Cudenec

People across the world being "locked down" in digital prisons during the Covid period was not a one-off event but "the culmination of tendencies which have been at work for a long time", [1] says French author Aurélien Berlan.

The message of Terre et liberté: la quête d'autonomie contre le fantasme de délivrance ('Land and freedom: the quest for autonomy against the fantasy of deliverance') is that we have been dispossessed and disempowered – systematically reduced to total dependency on an industrial system that does not wish us well.

When one also considers the war on small farmers being conducted under the same Great Reset banner, and the sinister "managed retreat" project to clear people out of the countryside and into smart cities, [2] his warning rings even more true.

Berlan writes: "In the 20th century, the working classes of industrialised nations became dependent, for their subsistence, on a system over which they had no control, contrary to the ruling classes.

"And as the latter also controlled the state, they had their hands on the power to police and to feed.

"We can understand the feeling of powerlessness that has become so widespread today. Consumer society is based on the delegation of our material existence and we have become its hostages". [3]

Because modern lives depend on industrial infrastructure like the electricity grid and transport networks, we are in thrall to the "big state and industrial organisations that operate them", [4] he says.

Our loss of autonomy is reflected in the standardisation of life and culture: "The more we live somewhere in the same way as everywhere else (when we eat the same world food, when we follow the same fashions, etc), the more our way of life is heteronomous, dependent on the global market". [5]

"Industrial development led to radical transformations in the means by which culture was spread. The emergence of mass media gradually penetrated to the heart of society, even into the private realm…

"This allowed state and Capital to invite themselves into each and every household and turn family intimacy into mere proximity: the life of the family was no longer centred on itself, but turned towards the consumption of 'cultural content' produced elsewhere in an industrial manner.

"Mass media were, basically, the Trojan Horse through which the private sphere was invaded by social forces advancing cultural standardisation". [6]

This globalising standardisation is closely linked to the drive for "economies of scale" – "as production increases, our activities are organised on a scale beyond the scope of our control and representation, being shaped by social macrostructures and destructive technology". [7]

"While knowing that this is leading to disaster, we cannot see how to get out of it: we are its prisoners, materially and mentally, individually and collectively". [8]

The general assumption that there is no other way than growth and expansion, more and more quantity and profit, is a key element in our mental imprisonment.

Writes Berlan: "In the supposed 'energy transition' that the industrial states boast about pushing, it is never a question of reducing the consumption of energy, but only of modifying the place of a certain source of energy in the overall energy production, which, like GDP, is regarded as having to grow". [9]

Providing this energy has always required, he says, some form of slavery, whether the millions of miners working themselves into an early grave to dig up coal, or the contemporary extraction, in equally terrible conditions, of the rare metals needed for the production of "clean" energy. [10]

Individuals, says Berlan, are also trapped inside "the vast industrial machine of Capital" [11] by the requirement to have money: "the means of satisfying all needs, it thus becomes that of which we are all always in need". [12]

In order to obtain money, we work for wages, signing a contract of employment which, in fact, amounts to a "contract of subordination". He writes: "Employees are required to follow the directives of their employer during paid hours. This is why paid employment was long considered a new form of slavery". [13]

Berlan underlines this connection by referring to the history of black slaves emancipated in the USA. An initiative in 1865 to give each freed family 40 acres and a mule, so they could be self-sufficient, was overturned.

"The slaves had to sell their labour to their previous masters, who were given back the redistributed land. The formally-freed blacks had no other choice beyond enduring another century of exploitation and racial segregation in the South, or migrating to the North, where industrialists were waiting with open arms to exploit them in their factories". [14]

He observes, on a general level, that "to be able to exist and choose our lives in complete freedom; we must have the means to live and have control over the conditions of our lives". [15]

Otherwise, he says, we will be "at the mercy of the system and of those who run it". [16]

Berlan points out that our lives are today totally shaped by a structure that has made itself indispensable in many different ways.

The most important of these is our food supply, of course. Not many regions, let alone families or individuals, can claim to be self-sufficient in this respect.

But the problem is even wider. The author points out, for example, that while it is easy enough to say that having a motor vehicle is not a real "need", those living outside big towns and cities can find their everyday activities difficult without one – because they are living in world that has been designed and built around the use of that means of transport. [17]

So how did we get here? How did those who run the system manage to successfully reduce us to a state of dependence, and thus enslavement, to their machine?

Berlan describes several intertwining strands in this process, ranging from the philosophical to the physical, and it seems clear to me that they add up to one overall act of deliberate dispossession.

The main narrative that has steered us down the path of industrial slavery is that it in fact amounts to liberation, explains the author.

Its "progress" has supposedly freed us from the need to do all that tiresome work of growing our own food, fetching and chopping wood or washing our clothes by hand.

The modern person feels that their life is easier, more comfortable and more advanced – thanks to all the infrastructure surrounding them, they can fulfil their own individual potential in other ways, goes the story.

The industrial system is thus everywhere "accepted and perceived as favourable to freedom". [18]

But, as we saw to such a shocking extent with the Covid totalitarianism and the ongoing threat of smart-city digital slavery, this is the inversion of the truth: our freedom is anathema to the system.

While assuring us it is liberating us, the industrial machine is actually imposing what Berlan calls "the domination of industrial organisations and the oligarchies that run them". [19]

Not seeing this fundamental contradiction between narrative and reality requires a real leap of faith.

"Belief in Progress by means of techno-science has performed the same function, in the modern era, as religions: convincing the exploited to be patient by saturating them with illusory promises of the 'radiant future' that lies before them". [20]

Berlan traces back the idea of being "freed" from everyday subsistence tasks to the desire of ruling groups, throughout history, to achieve just this.

Their way of doing so was, of course, to get other people to do the work for them, while they got on with their "superior" activities.

How? The most obvious means, which has always lurked behind the justifying rhetoric, is physical compulsion of one kind or another.

If you deprive people of their means of self-sufficiency, such as by enclosing the common land which had always been available to them and their ancestors, they are forced to seek survival in another way.

The deliberate nature of this historical dispossession is beyond doubt and Berlan turns to industrial-imperialist Britain for confirmation of the agenda.

"The central question for the modern dominant classes was to know how to push the poor into work, how to put them at their service.

"In England and elsewhere they passed brutal laws so as to force them, under threat of death or imprisonment in public workhouses, to take on paid work". [21]

Berlan refers to a proposal for the reform of the Poor Law presented to the British government in 1697 by the liberal John Locke in which he outlined how to achieve "the setting of the poor on work". [22]

Here Locke declared that people reduced to begging in order to eat – "idle vagabonds" – should be arrested, sentenced to hard labour or forcibly conscripted into the navy.

Locke pointed to the profitable potential (a million pounds in eight years, he calculated) of forcing 100,000 English peasants into "labour in the woollen or other manufacture".

He added: "The children of labouring people are an ordinary burden to the parish, and are usually maintained in idleness, so that their labour is also generally lost to the public till they are twelve or fourteen year old".

To cash in on the human capital of children between three and fourteen years old, Locke proposed enslaving them in "working schools", again involving "woollen manufacture".

He enthused: "The children will be kept in much better order, be better provided for, and from infancy be inured to work, which is of no small consequence to the making of them sober and industrious all their lives after".

Locke identified the added bonus that their mothers would thereby also be "liberated" to work for the nascent industrial system.

A century later, in 1786, Joseph Townsend was keen to starve the English serfs into participation in industrial society.

He wrote: "Hunger will tame the fiercest animals, it will teach decency and civility, obedience and subjection, to the most brutish, the most obstinate, and the most perverse". [23]

In France, in 1825, liberal Charles Dunoyer addressed the problem of finding potential workers for the new factories, suggesting that those targeted, "no longer having the basis on which to look after themselves and procure the means of living, will be obliged to hire out their services". [24]

And, back in Britain, in 1835, Andrew Ure gloated in his pro-industrialist book The Philosophy of Manufactures: "When capital enlists science; in her service, the refractory hand of labour will always be taught docility". [25]

The same authoritarian fervour had been in evidence when the Luddite revolt between 1811 and 1817 led the panicking British Crown to introduce the death sentence for machine-breaking, notes Berlan. [26]

With all this in mind, it is ironic, not to say tragic, that the ruling-class enthusiasm for industrialism has been so enthusiastically shared by their supposed enemies on the "left".

This was not always the case, Berlan notes. Before the industrial revolution, popular movements were not calling for the labouring classes to be relieved of the need for physical effort.

Instead, their complaints revolved around the oppression and over-work inflicted on them by those in power who considered such tasks beneath them, he says.

"To this end, they demanded free access to the means of subsistence allowing them to meet their needs". [27]

He illustrates this with reference to the "12 articles" put forward by German peasant insurrectionaries in 1525, which focused on the abolition of certain forms of domination and certain taxes, and demanded the freedom to hunt and fish, along with the restoration of common land.

Berlan concludes: "Emancipation, for the working classes, was thus not about being freed from tasks linked to everyday life, but about abolishing relationships of domination". [28]

Even in the 19th century, French peasants were resisting the methods being deliberately deployed to force them into industrial thraldom.

In the Ariège region, the long-running "Demoiselles" revolt declared war "against the state which was depriving them, with new forestry laws, of their ancient usage rights such as gathering wood or grazing animals – which amounted to preventing them from living by their own means, on the basis of local resources". [29]

The contemporary left's love of industrialism seems to have been based on the mistaken belief that, in using machines to exploit the forces of nature, industrialism was not exploiting human beings.

Berlan writes: "The domination of nature opens up the fantastical possibility of a complete and universal deliverance, compatible with the ideal of liberty and equality for every individual". [30]

He says left-wingers "share the same 'industrial religion' as liberals: faith in economic and techno-scientific development.

"For Marxists, emancipation is identified with industrial progress: and the left as a whole takes it as read that it was steam power that liberated the blacks and the washing machine that emancipated women". [31]

"This led to them theoretically separating capitalism (reduced to private property, source of the oppression) from industry (mass production, which they saw as emancipatory), even though, for two and a half centuries, capitalism's expansion has in practice been identified with the industrialisation of production". [32]

The left has always been fully on board the post-WW2 bandwagon of "development" says Berlan, describing this as "the official ideology of the West", the "new name for Progress". [33]

Strangely, many leftists fail to see that it is also the new name for imperialism!

Peoples on the receiving end are certainly well aware of this. Berlan quotes one indigenous activist in Colombia as declaring in 2016: "We are fighting to not have roads and electricity – this form of self-destruction that is called 'development' is precisely what we want to avoid". [34]

Indeed, he says, development everywhere really amounts to "internal colonisation", [35] with the external occupying force being that of rapacious global Capital.

I would not want to give the impression that Terre et liberté focuses exclusively on the oppression of the industrial system and the failure of the left to challenge it.

Berlan writes that his book is "an invitation to dream otherwise" [36] and underpinning his critique of contemporary modernity is a vision for a non-industrial future.

Like Jean-Pierre Tertrais, whose book I recently reviewed, he cites several organic radical inspirations – William Morris, George Orwell, Gustav Landauer, Gerrard Winstanley and Mohandas Gandhi.

This desire for a different way of existing has already been physically expressed in France with the ZADs ('Zones to Defend') that have sprung up in opposition to various industrial projects.

Berlan says this movement "bears witness to a desire to win back the freedom of which we have been dispossessed by the capitalist system with unfailing state support". [37]

This is the freedom to feed ourselves without lining the pockets of the agro-industrial cartels; to live in cabins that don't conform to planning norms or to cure ourselves with frowned-upon natural remedies.

It is "a freedom intimately connected to the land, following on from all those political movements of the 19th or 20th centuries who, from Mexican revolutionaries to Russian 'populists', via the Spanish anarchists, took as their rallying cry 'Land and Freedom!'". [38]

The aim is autonomy: to be independent, as a community, of any outside system, of the money through which it exercises its control and thus of the need to perform paid labour for that system so as to simply be able to stay alive.

One of the features of this other – and always possible – world would be the disappearance of "work" in the sense of the current wage slavery.

What would "work" mean, anyway, when we had removed the element of compulsion that makes it so objectionable?

Berlan remarks: "For a professional musician, music would be work and digging the soil leisure, while for a farmer the opposite would be the case". [39]

Localisation is also important, a scaling-down of production and social organisation to a level at which "direct democracy can make sense". [40]

Berlan identifies an alternative to old "capitalist" and "communist" models in the idea of traditional local markets regulated by what he calls a "moral economy". [41]

He finds inspiration in Alexandre Chayanov's descriptions of the domestic economy of traditional Russian peasantry, which was based on a balance, varying from family to family, between "the degree of satisfaction of needs and the degree of hardness of work". [42]

To get out of the current industrial-totalitarian bind, we therefore need to "rethink our needs, rediscover know-how that technology has caused us to lose, learn again to live locally". [43]

The trouble is, of course, as Berlan points out, [44] that the industrial system doesn't want us to escape its grip.

It did not spend centuries purposefully dispossessing us of our autonomy and self-sufficiency simply to let us slip away back into the fields and woods that our ancestors knew.

Anyone calling for genuine freedom, for autonomy, for the relocalisation of both production and decision-making, can only ever be seen as an "enemy". [45]

The system regards us as its property, its slaves, and will use all the considerable means at its disposal to keep us in chains.

On the physical level, Berlan says anyone trying to break free will necessarily find themselves "in open conflict with industrial society and its governance". [46]

He warns: "Subsistence cannot make us free if we are not able to take care of our own defence". [47]

On a pro-active note, he adds: "The secession involved in no longer feeding the mega-machine is not enough: we also have to sabotage it". [48]

Some ideological self-defence, and counter-attack, is likewise badly needed.

As well as using the myth of a "liberating" progress to advance its agenda, the system has also long deployed it to condemn any "backward-looking", "reactionary" or "utopian" calls for an exit from industrialism. [49]

Subsistence living – balancing our needs and means in harmony with our own desires and with nature – is presented as an undesirable condition.

It is associated with poverty – painted as amounting to not having enough to live on, rather than simply having enough. [50]

The idea of reducing our needs has been declared impossible by our industrialist rulers, because it "contradicts their idol – development", [51] says Berlan, and history has been rewritten to suit the narrative.

"It's the science dedicated to this idol, the economy, that created the notion of a subsistence economy so as to contrast it to the market economy, supposedly the source of 'abundance'.

"As development presupposes the commodification of resources – thus their appropriation by a minority who get rich while the majority, dispossessed of their means of living, sink into misery – the idea had to be established that the entire past was afflicted with scarcity". [52]

Anti-industrial ideas have been consigned to oblivion by "dominant thinking, even supposedly radical" [53] with, for instance, prominent social critic Michel Foucault disqualifying (in 1979) all criticism of consumer society as akin to Nazism! [54]

Meanwhile, recuperation of environmental language by pro-system authoritarians has served to further discredit the anti-industrial outlook in the minds of many.

Berlan comments: "If we want to stop worsening the socio-ecological disaster, it is not freedom that has to be restricted, as suggested by so many intellectuals and 'personalities' with all their calls for an environmental state of emergency, or even an environmental dictatorship.

"Giving unlimited power to the pyromaniacs in power will never transform them into firefighters". [55]

I should mention that Berlan was recently one of several targets for a ridiculous smear attack in an anonymous booklet published on various left-wing French websites, which I have previously dissected. [56]

It basically depicts the anti-industrial movement in France as "reactionary" and tainted with connections to various "right-wingers", as well to as a notoriously "anti-semitic" English dissident whose words you are currently reading!

Does anyone seriously think that there is no link between the left's historical complicity with industrialism, its general enthusiasm for the globalist "sustainable development" scam and its smear attacks directed against the anti-industrialist movement?

To what extent one can even separate the industrial-financial agenda from that of the historical "left" is a moot point, as I explained in The False Red Flag.

But it seems quite clear to me that the apparent angle of attack – a virtue-signalling "radical" leftist one – is fake and that the real perspective of the booklet is that of the industrial system itself, seeking to discredit people it regards as a threat.

We have to realise, when we look at the techno-authoritarian world we live in today, that it did not come into being by chance.

Each step our society has taken on the road to this industrial prison has been taken on purpose, to drag us in that direction.

As Berlan shows, our ancestors were deliberately dispossessed of their means of living so as to force them into industrial servitude.

The myth of technological liberation, of the easier, happier life provided by so-called Progress, has been deliberately drummed into us until it seems to most to be self-evidently true.

Likewise, the dismissal of calls for autonomy, the stigmatisation of anti-industrial thinking, has been deliberately orchestrated to protect the industrialist programme.

And if all this has been done deliberately, this means that some entity has been behind it.

Berlan points to the existence of this entity on several occasions, writing about "the industrial supermarket of the globalised economy", [57] submission to "the global market (that's to say to the industrial powers that dominate it)" [58] and "big private and public organisations and the industrial system that they constitute". [59]

He correctly states that modern capitalism and colonialism are one and the same thing [60] and that we are living in a world system "that the powerful have constructed in their own interests". [61]

It is important, in my view, to be able to combine a theoretical understanding of historical processes with an awareness of the very real physical groups pulling the strings behind the scenes.

Both realms of insight are crucial and their coherent combination essential.

It is not enough to have identified the dangers of the Great Reset, the "sustainable development" and Fourth Industrial Revolution agenda currently being imposed on us by the WEF-UN-Rothschild mafia, without grasping that this is the culmination of a centuries-long process of globalist imperialism and that the First, Second and Third Industrial Revolutions were the stepping stones that got us where we are today.

Equally, it is not enough to have completely understood the historical background, but to shy away from making the link to specific current-day threats or plans for fear of being labelled a "conspiracy theorist", or to avoid mentioning particular industrial-financial individuals or networks lest this identify you as a so-called "anti-semite".

We need to build a broad dissident outlook that takes a holistic approach, combining historical with contemporary insights; detail with overview; a critique of the methods and lies of the criminocrats' dark enslaving empire with a solid and powerful alternative worldview of its own.

It is only by properly describing – to ourselves and to the outside world – the identity and methods of the enemy who has dispossessed us and, alongside this, our own vision of a free future, that we can we hope to conjure into being a resistance movement to replace the failed 19th and 20th century models that helped lead us into this dreadful trap.

[Audio version]

[1] Aurélien Berlan, Terre et liberté: la quête d'autonomie contre le fantasme de délivrance (St-Michel-de-Vax: Editions La Lenteur, 2021), pp. 140-41. Subsequent page references are to that work.
[2] 'Exposed: how the climate racketeers aim to force us into smart gulags', https://winteroak.org.uk/2024/06/25/the-acorn-94/
[3] p. 127.
[4] p. 126.
[5] pp. 193-94.
[6] pp. 43-44.
[7] p. 155.
[8] p. 10.
[9] p. 120.
[10] p. 121.
[11] p. 20.
[12] p. 19.
[13] p. 43.
[14] p. 159.
[15] p. 166.
[16] p. 166.
[17] p. 180.
[18] p. 53.
[19] p. 104.
[20] p. 81.
[21] p. 91.
[22] https://oll-resources.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/oll3/store/titles/2331/Locke_PoorLawReform1697.pdf
[23] https://pombo.free.fr/townsend1786p.pdf
[24] Charles Dunoyer, L'industrie et la morale considérées dans leurs rapports avec la liberté (Paris: Sautelet, 1825), p. 373, cit. p. 116.
[25] https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044010389476&seq=392&q1=science
[26] p. 107.
[27] p. 144.
[28] pp. 144-45.
[29] p. 145.
[30] p. 96.
[31] p. 70.
[32] p. 10.
[33] p. 122.
[34] p. 123.
[35] p. 124.
[36] p. 213.
[37] p. 17.
[38] p. 17.
[39] p. 134.
[40] p. 155.
[41] p. 165.
[42] p. 181.
[43] p. 207.
[44] p. 212.
[45] p. 156.
[46] p. 196.
[47] p. 196.
[48] p. 212.
[49] p. 13.
[50] p. 162.
[51] p. 163.
[52] p. 163.
[53] p. 149.
[54] p. 20.
[55] p. 204.
[56] https://winteroak.org.uk/2023/12/02/targeted-and-smeared-by-the-fake-left-thought-police/
[57] p. 164.
[58] p. 157.
[59] p. 170.
[60] p. 157.
[61] p. 172.

Winter Oak
17 Jul 2024 | 12:04 pm

3. Freedom in Time (Chrono-Politics, Part 2)


by W.D. James

When the revelation (revolution) comes
When the revelation (revolution) comes
O Lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in

When the rich go out and work
When the rich go out and work
O Lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in

When the Saints Go Marching In, Traditionali

For Josef Pieper, 'leisure' is one way of being in time. In the previous essay, we looked at his analysis of work (the contrary way of being in time) and it is a feature of the modern world to make it so that all time is devoted to work; the tyranny of 'total work.' Skepticism about leisure runs deep in our civilization. From the Calvinist 'protestant work ethic' to Rousseau's linkage of leisure to luxury, we don't quite trust it. Idle hands are the devil's playground. Pieper would not concur.

Leisure

He is clear that leisure is not just the absence of working. That would be what he terms 'idleness' and leisure is the opposite of both work and of idleness. To develop this more robust conception of leisure, he evokes the Aristotelian conception of it and how that was passed down in Christianity as the 'contemplative life.' Ultimately, this points to Aristotle's conception of "the human knowing process."

As Pieper unpacks it, any genuine act of human knowing involves two mental powers. One is our reason which grasps the world and sets about conceptualizing, searching into, and abstracting it. He does not hold back from describing this aspect of knowing as "an act of aggression." The other power he terms intellect. Whereas our reason seeks to operate on the world, our intellect operates in a relaxed fashion to make itself open to what the world might want to communicate. This mental power is associated with our intuitive apprehension of how things are. He quotes Heraclitus' description of this way of knowing as "'Listening-in to the being of things.'"ii This mode or aspect of knowing just takes in, as when we simply take in the vision of landscape. In that case, we aren't doing something with the landscape, we are just letting it reveal itself to us. At this deep level of our mental processes, the fundamental distinction is already present: reason corresponds to our working upon the world and intellect aligns with the leisurely apprehension of the world.

Aristotle had termed this latter form of knowing 'contemplation' and it is this meaning of the term that informs the later Christian distinction of the contemplative life (vita contemplativa) and the life of action (vita activa). This same dichotomy undergirds the traditional distinction between the 'liberal (free) arts' and 'servile labor.' The latter is servile because it is bound to an end, or purpose, beyond itself. I go to work in the morning so that I can earn money to buy things I need. The need has put me in service to the work. A liberal art is done for its own sake, as valuable in itself, not for some extrinsic purpose which it serves.

Now Pieper brings this line of thought home. "Against the exclusiveness of the paradigm of work as activity," he asserts, "…there is leisure as 'non-activity'—an inner absence of preoccupation, a calm, an ability to let things go, to be quiet."iii This is sort of the surface level of leisure. He pushes a bit deeper: "Leisure is a form of that stillness that is the necessary preparation for accepting reality; only the person who is still can hear, and whoever is not still, cannot hear. Such stillness as this is not mere soundlessness or a dead muteness; it means, rather, that the soul's power, as real, of responding to the real—a co-respondence, eternally established in nature—has not yet descended into words. Leisure is the disposition of receptive understanding, of contemplative beholding, and immersion—in the real."iv Now he really starts getting to the crux of the matter. I think we can summarize this point by saying that leisure is a way of being, or existing, in time which disposes us to being open to receive the real; it is when nature is able to speak to us and we to hear. To bring this down to earth a bit a more. When we're working, when we're doing stuff, say putting gas into our car or building an Excel spreadsheet, we are telling nature what to do. We have a purpose in mind and we are working on reality to get it to do what we want. When at leisure (not just inactivity, but in the concentrated, undistracted state of receptivity) we are letting nature, reality, reveal itself to us. This might be in genuinely listening to music: the harmony is telling us something about the world. It might be when contemplating some natural beauty, a flower growing in our garden or a sunset over the ocean. In the work mode (which is also the rational mode), we to some extent set upon nature and make it speak as we want it to. In leisurely contemplation we allow reality to tell us what it wants to tell us.

Mystery, celebration, and festival

But Pieper is far from done in his exploration of what leisure is and what we are when at leisure. He continues, "In leisure, there is, furthermore, something of the serenity of 'not-being-able-to-grasp,' of the recognition of the mysterious character of the world, and the confidence of blind faith, which can let things go as they will….."v Think about that flower in the garden alluded to a moment ago. While in the state of contemplation (when the intellect is simply beholding the flower, before reason sets to work to explain the flower), we are just struck by its beauty and perfection. Nature tells us something about herself. There is delicacy, form, color, scent, all manifest together as if to say, 'this flower is sufficient'.

He makes a keen observation: "Leisure is only possible in the assumption that man is not only in harmony with himself but also that he is in agreement with the world and its meaning. Leisure lives on affirmation."vi For this form of communication to function, we have to be at one with ourselves (I suppose this is what meditative types refer to as being 'centered') and aligned with the world, for it to disclose itself to us. He says, "leisure is the condition of considering things in a celebrating spirit."vii Yes! In the moment alluded to, the flower (or the sunset) reveals itself to me as it is. The natural affinity between me and the flower is illuminated. In some very real sense, we were made for one another. I know that there is a little cynical voice down inside us saying 'bosh, what a load of sentimental crud!' Not at all. We know this is true. We have all had these experiences where we just are present and the world is present to us and we are filled with joy and contentment. That happens! Pieper is helping us understand what is really going on in those sorts of situations. He associates this receptive seeing, in which we are ultimately empowered to be our true selves, with what pre-modern folks called the visio beatifica, the beatific vision, which he describes as the "seeing which confers bliss."viii In this moment of attunement, we experience "Joy" which is "the response of a lover receiving what he loves."ix

Pieper pushes onward (well, downward, into deeper territory). "The highest form of affirmation is the festival," he tells us, it represents "peace, intensity of life and contemplation all at once. The holding of a festival means: an affirmation of the basic meaning of the world, and an agreement with it, and in fact it means to live out and fulfill one's inclusion in the world, in an extraordinary manner, different from the everyday."x Elsewhere, he says "To celebrate a festival means: to live out, for some special occasion and in an uncommon manner, the universal assent to the world as a whole."xi We long for and dream of this level of organic connection with the world. Pieper sees festivity as the breaking into our experience, disrupting our everyday experience, of this realization. It is a witness to how the world really is, and at least a downpayment on how it might be.

Here, in a festival, or a festive encounter with the world, the world of work is put in its place. Pieper says, "…the power to be at leisure is the power to step beyond the working world and win contact with those superhuman, life-giving forces that can send us, renewed and alive again, into the busy world of work. Only in such authentic leisure can the 'door into freedom' be opened out of the confinement of that 'hidden anxiety,' which a perceptive observer [Richard Wright] has seen as the distinctive character of the working world, for which 'employment and unemployment are the only poles of an existence with no escape.'"xii Here we have regained the balance, really the rhythm since we are dealing with time, of a fulfilled and organically attuned human existence.

What undergirds the human capacity to have a festival? For Pieper, it grows out of "worship."xiii Before we worry that he is getting all 'churchy' on us, let's pay close attention to what he is actually suggesting. He is saying that the ability to leave behind, for a time at least, the work realm of function, and enter into the non-functional realms of leisure, celebration, and festival, comes from our capacity for worship. He is pointing to a dialectical, back and forth, motion here. In our human capacity to open ourselves to "God", or Being, or "the gods" (Pieper uses both the terms in quotation marks), we receive in turn the capacity to celebrate the world around us as revealed by this encounter with sacredness. Further, we receive the power to claim back some of our time from the lesser world of work.

To tie up this exploration with a nice bow, and to articulate the meaning behind the title of his book, Pieper draws the etymological connection between the words 'cult' and 'culture.' On his accounting of things, it is from this worshipful encounter with the 'supra-human' aspect(s) of the world around us, that the reflex action of celebration can emerge. The history of cults (Latin cultus), religions, is the sustained rhythm of these encounters. Religion, spiritual life if you prefer, is the practice of repeating this receptive encounter with the world. Our projects (work) take a holiday. From this may arise a different form of activity which is the fruit of leisure: culture (in the honorific sense Pieper accords it). Song, dance, mythos, festival, literature, art. This is why they, when growing from authentic ground, always speak to us of higher things. These require sacrifice. We must give up some of the time that work would claim of us. Pieper suggests that work, by its nature, seeks to encompass all time, all space, and all of our energy. To open up a time of leisure we must sacrifice some of that time. Deny it to our utilitarian needs. In response, we may be richly rewarded by the wealth of a time in which we are at one with ourselves and with the world, and during which we are free, we may "rest from work."

Lastly, Pieper warns of the temptation to manufacture festivals. That would be to subject the festive to the regime and mode of work. Think of all our false holidays which do not convey much festivity to us. The festivity, the celebration, must emanate from a genuine experience of worshipful openness. Then there will be a supra-human energy that flows to us and from which we make our celebration. Here some of the paradoxes that characterize all religions and all spiritual sensibility come to the fore. By being open, we are filled. By giving, we receive. By worshipping, we gain our freedom. These are not sentimental platitudes; they are metaphysical truths.

As the forces of modernity submerged the natural, organic, relationship to time, the sacred dimension of time was also largely occluded. Pieper has helped us gain a perspective on that as well. In the next essay, focused on the idea of 'sabbath', we'll look deeper into that aspect.

i An instrumental rendition by the Traditional New Orleans Jazz Band: New Orleans Traditional Jazz – When the Saints Go Marching In! (youtube.com). They play street parades and funerals. Turning a funeral into a celebration is pulled off by a number of cultures.

ii Josef Pieper, Leisure: The Basis of Culture, translated by Gerald Malsbary, St. Augustine's Press, 1998, p. 11.

iii Ibid, p. 31.

iv Ibid, p.31.

v Ibid, p. 31.

vi Ibid, p. 33.

vii Ibid, p. 33.

viii Josef Pieper, In Tune With the World: A Theory of Festivity, translated by Richard and Clara Winston, St. Augustine's Press, 1965, p. 15.

ix Ibid, p. 23.

x Op. Cit., pp. 33-34.

xi In Tune, p. 30.

xii Op. Cit., pp. 35-36.

xiii Ibid, p. 57.

Winter Oak
12 Jul 2024 | 9:26 am

4. The dark enslaving empire


by Paul Cudenec

The dark enslaving empire
Is built on massacres and money
On puppet police and politicians
On virtue-signalled violence
On inversion and infection
On blackmail and bombs
On petroleum and predation
On gaslighting and greed

The dark enslaving empire
Is ruled by the demon they call development
By the usury they call growth
By the fabrication they call history
By the theft they call law
By the imposture they call authority
By the occupation they call government
By the dictatorship they call democracy

The dark enslaving empire
Is stained with deceit beyond belief
With hypocrisy beyond imagination
With criminality beyond all limits
With cruelty beyond understanding
With the screaming deaths of children
With the rituals of its terror
With the evil oozing from its smile

The dark enslaving empire
Is mortally afraid of our freedom from fear
Of our angry authenticity
Of our truth-telling
Of the courage of our convictions
Of our loving and our laughter
Of the spirit of our soaring
Of the resonance of our revolt

[Audio version]

Winter Oak
10 Jul 2024 | 12:43 pm

5. Total Work (Chrono-Politics, Part 1)


by W.D. James

You load 16 tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
St. Peter, don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

– Tennessee Earnie Ford, Sixteen Tonsi

Time is a fundamental aspect of our existence. Probably the most important thinker of the 20th century, Martin Heidegger, wrote a huge book called Being and Time, as if there wasn't much else to consider, and perhaps there isn't. Further, while nothing may seem more objective than time, our relationship to it is complex. It might seem like fate itself: 'time is running out', 'you can't turn back the hands of time'. Yet it has a qualitative dimension as well. When bored or overtaxed, time may seem to 'drag'. When having fun or while working in what some modern psychologists call 'flow', time may seem to 'fly.'

Yet time is also a metaphysical reality. To a student who asked him what God was doing before He created time, Augustine of Hippo famously quipped something like, 'preparing hell for people who ask such questions.' As the modern era was ushered in, our relationship to time was one of the fundamental changes that took place. As is well known, the institutionalization of 'clock time', as opposed to a more customary and nature-based relationship to time with the organic rhythm of night and day and the seasonal progression, was essential to industrialization, the creation of wage-labor, and to secularization more broadly. Time became subordinate to economics and human projects.

Our relationship to time also became dehumanizing. At least such is the position of the German philosopher Josef Pieper (1904-1997), who will be our guide in the first couple of essays in this series. In his 1948 book Leisure: The Basis of Culture, he set about to defend 'leisure' against the totalizing claims of 'work.' What he helps us to see is that to conceive of time from the perspective only of our material and productive lives is to diminish time, and ourselves in the process. It represents the eclipse of our intellectual and spiritual existence. We exist in a dialectical relationship with time. We can interact with time as if though we were fully subsumed by the temporal, or we can interact as if though we are spiritual beings who can in some sense transcend it. Pieper helps us see that both aspects are natural to us and, hence, our relationship to time needs to reflect both aspects of our reality. Our modern condition had tended to emphasize the former relationship to time, and, hence, this is a part of how the overall story of modern civilization has degraded our existence.

Total Work

Pieper opens his short book with this quote from Plato:

"But the gods, taking pity on human beings—a race born to labor—gave them regularly recurring divine festivals, as a means of refreshment from their fatigue; they gave them the Muses, and Apollo and Dionysus as the leaders of the Muses, to the end that, after refreshing themselves in the company of the gods, they might return to an upright posture."ii

For now, let's just note that what is suggested here is that our laboring life is not the whole story. It is not even the most important part of the story. Yes, we labor. In the book of Genesis, labor is even part of our pre-fall existence in Eden (though it gets harder after the fall – men sweat more and the ground is less fertile, and for women childbirth is accompanied by pain). But human religions have always made provision for more than this. The gods are gracious I suppose. More to the point, our nature demands more. Labor can't be the whole story. We are more than toilers. We have recourse to the company of the gods. We have the intellects connected to Apollo and the ecstatic intuitions associated with Dionysus and from these we can craft the nearly divine poetry of our lives. There, in the company of the gods, we are more ourselves. After that, we can resume the full dignity of "an upright posture." Such, anyway, has been the primordial intuition of our species.

Pieper saw that a fundamental change had occurred in our relationship to work in the modern era compared to the classical and medieval worlds and a "total world of work" had come to predominate. The fundamental question was: do we have leisure so that we might work or work so that we might have leisure?

He says all traditional peoples would have adopted the latter position: it is while at leisure that we are most human, and we only work so that we might have times of leisure. For moderns though, he says it is the former position that holds: we only have leisure (which, as we shall see, is actually just rest, not leisure) so that we might return to work refreshed. In the modern world, we live to work.

In our altered conception of our relationship to time and our understanding of what it is for, a lot is at stake. Pieper warns: "An altered conception of the human being as such, and a new interpretation of the meaning of human existence as such, looms behind the new claims being made for 'work' and the 'worker'."iii He discerns that our culture has come to devalue all use of time that is not seen as work (or as a break, or rest, from work, which is then still at the service of work). We don't even really know how to not-work: we get bored, need something to do to 'spend our time on', and are ill at ease when not stimulated.

The specific time during which he was writing was when Germany was emerging from the devastation of two world wars. There was work to be done, and Pieper does not dispute that. However, he thinks that all may be lost if we focus exclusively on work and production.

It is human destiny, as long as we are exiled from the Land of Cockaigne anyway, to work. But how much of ourselves do we owe to work: all or only a part? In the modern world, Pieper asks, "Is there still an area of human action, or human existence as such, that does not have its justification by being part of the machinery of a 'five year plan'?"iv We should not think that with the reference to the five year plan, Pieper thinks his accusation only applies to Communist or Nazi regimes. He certainly thinks the phenomenon of the 'total world of work' applies at least as much to liberal democratic societies as well. Let us remember that the average American still works a longer typical workday than the average worker in the 'materialist' Soviet Union did and with similar numbers of days off, not fewer.v

Pieper admits that the life of work, the life of a functionary within the overall social activity of production, is the norm. But he asks, "Can the human being be satisfied with being a functionary, a worker?"vi To be concise: work is necessary to human life, but is it also sufficient?

He is clear that by 'worker' he does not mean just the poor or just the manual worker, but pretty much all of us as conceived by the modern society geared toward production: what he terms "the total working state." He summarizes his outline of the human-as-worker: "Our brief sketch of the 'Worker' type has brought into the open three principal characteristics: an outwardly directed, active power; an aimless readiness to suffer pain [to continue laboring]; an untiring insertion into the rationalized program of useful social organization."vii The Worker is the one whose time is exclusively given over to the useful. Activities which are of value in and of themselves are, strictly speaking, useless: they don't lead to some other good. Even in our 'off time' we set goals for ourselves, we measure our progress (how many times did I make it to yoga class this week, how many miles am I up to on my morning run, how many self-help books did I read this month?). In the realm of production, all meaningful activity must lead to a useful, desired result. As we will see, the useless is not the valueless. The contemplation of natural beauty is not for something else, it is sufficient unto itself. But it is, in this sense, useless. The exclusive focus on the useful cuts us off from much in the natural world, the whole of any supernatural world, and much within ourselves. This is his animating concern.

(De)Proletarianization

In essence, modernity proletarianizes humanity: we are all understood, and increasingly understand ourselves, in terms of our role as worker, producer, achiever. If someone asks us 'what do you do?', we tell them our job title. If we don't have a job of that sort, because we are a fulltime parent or something, then we essentially apologize: 'I'm just a stay at home mom.' Yet, clearly, we do many other things. We dance. We worship. We read. We daydream. We play with our kids. We swim. But it is just understood that none of those things can justify our existence. What he is getting at here is not just that work is imposed (though it is), but that we tend to internalize the values of work and form our identities around them. I think this is born out best by the number of really wealthy people who still choose to work very hard. Pieper does not hesitate to call this a "demonic power" which manifests itself in "the totalitarian claims of the world of work."viii He clarifies: "To be bound to the working process is to be bound to the whole process of usefulness, and moreover, to be bound in such a way that the whole life of the working human being is consumed."ix To be bound to the whole process of usefulness is to be a means, a tool. We aren't just that. In In Tune With the World: A Theory of Festivity (1963), he warns: "With the death of the concept of human activity that is meaningful in itself [vs the functional meaning associating with work, which we do for some purpose beyond itself] the possibility of any resistance to a totalitarian laboring society also perishes (and such a regime could very well be established even without concomitant political dictatorship)."x

One consequence of viewing the human under the type of the Worker is that education ceases to be cultivation and development (bildung) and becomes merely training. "Training is distinguished by its orientation toward something partial, and specialized, in the human being, and toward some one section of the world. Education is concerned with the whole…."xi This intentional underdevelopment is a goal, not a bug, of the system: "the total-working state needs the spiritually impoverished functionary…."xii For Pieper, the well-paid engineer, physician, or attorney are just as 'proletarianized' in the modern world as are the line worker, the service worker, or the construction worker. The fundamental problem is that the human and her relationship to time has been misunderstood.

Pieper is clear that the solution is not the socialist solution of making everyone proletarian. The solution is de-proletarianization of everyone. Leisure, the power to not be at work, must be restored and then as much as possible extended to everyone. He credits Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, and definitely not Marx, with being one of the first social theorists to understand what was at stake when in 1837 he defended the importance of Sunday in the worker's week, not just a as a break in the work week so the worker could return to work refreshed on Monday, but a break in time such that some other mode of existence could break in in which the worker could regain their dignity and be on a level with their masters.

Chrono-politics

In this series, we'll primarily be examining the ideas of a set of three thinkers. They have similar observations to make on our experience of time and the quality of our lives, but come from different perspectives. Pieper is recognized as a neo-Thomist philosopher, and hence he comes from a pretty orthodox Christian perspective. Abraham Joshua Heschel was a reformed Jewish theologian. Byung-Chul Han operates from within a critical theory perspective and is known for his analysis and critique of digital culture and other very contemporary problems.

Leisure, for Pieper, is a "condition of soul" and represents a condition in which a human can be at one with themselves and with the world they are a part of. It is the opposite of how we exist when working and under the domination of the total-work state. In the next essay, we will see how he roots leisure in celebration, festivity, and ultimately worship. We will also see how in recovering leisure we would gain our human freedom and can bring forth a mode of existing and being in time in which we are truly our full selves.

We'll also look at Heschel's analysis of the Sabbath as 'a palace in time' in which the eternal and the holy can manifest themselves in our lives. From his perspective, the Sabbath is a gift that God instituted so that we did not become consumed by the day-to-day world of work.

Finally, we'll do a pretty deep dive into the thought of the Korean-German philosopher Byung-Chul Han as he explains in The Burnout Society and other works how late-stage, hyper-capitalism has given birth to a 'compulsive freedom' by which we come to exploit ourselves much more effectively than any external task-master could achieve, how our emotions have been commodified which leads to a compulsive seeking of the new which only reproduces the same, and back full circle to his views on how leisure and contemplation may still hold the key.

What I want to draw out for us though is that 'time' is, among other things, a political concept. How we moderns have come to understand time, and reflexively, our selves in relation to time, is both a spiritual and political issue. How we think of time and how we live our time is central to what we are and what we may hope. As Pieper and the others will help us see, the mode of being associated exclusively with work actually cuts us off from connection to the world as a whole. To recapture a relationship to time that is in accord with our human and spiritual nature would entail spiritual and political transformation. It will also involve internal struggle and an external fight with the systems built on our dehumanization. As Plato once taught, the ultimate question of politics is: what sort of being do we, and should we, wish to be?

We'll be looking at how in the modern world, time, understood as a resource, has been as thoroughly colonized and exploited by technological means (and technological thinking) and under economic force as has been space and material resources. All premodern cultures incorporated some notion of sacredness in time as well as in space. That may sound warm and fuzzy. I will want to suggest that the political function of sacredness is to delimit the scope of what in space or time is handed over for the work of exploitation. In fact, the sacred marks a boundary within which the human is fully preserved and protected and from which the scope of the naturally human may be extended outward. We need to seize back some time for this essential purpose. Traditionally, this was done by marking out segments of time for contemplation, ritual (civic/social as much as religious), and festivity. In traditional cultures, these periods of time occur rhythmically (sacred time, then ordinary time, then sacred time, then ordinary time…). Hence, periods of humane living and practice recurred at regular intervals and, ideally, the light shed on our true existence radiated out into the ordinary periods so that even they were redeemed to an extent. Clearly, some of our time must be given over to the gaining of our sustenance from nature and through work. We will approach that to a considerable extent under technological and economic rationalities (ie, effectively and efficiently). Our current situation is that we have no time that is not handed over to these imperatives. As a consequence, all our time is resource time. It is opened up for exploitation. Hence, since we live within time, we and all of our life is opened up for exploitation (including self-exploitation as Han will show). However, we are not JUST a resource. We are ends in ourselves. We exist for our own enjoyment and fulfillment, not just our utility. Hence, we must re-establish the proper balance, rhythm, in time so that we may regain the proper balance in our existence. Any reclamation of our shared humanity is, at this point, a political and revolutionary act.

i An awesome blues version by Markus K.: BOTTLENECK BLUES – a UNIQUE version of 'Sixteen Tons' on the Street in Chester (youtube.com)

ii Josef Pieper, Leisure: The Basis of Culture, translated by Gerald Malsbary, St. Augustine's Press, 1998, p. 2.

iii Ibid, p. 7.

iv Ibid, p. 22.

v The typical workday in the Soviet Union was 8 hours, 6 hours for dangerous or arduous work. Soviet workers enjoyed about the same number of official holidays as we do, but with better maternity leave. Americans typically work the most hours amongst Western nations. And we're kind of proud of that.

vi Op. Cit., p. 24.

vii Ibid, p. 27.

viii Ibid, p. 39.

ix Ibid, p. 42.

x Josef Pieper, In Tune With the World: A Theory of Festivity, translated by Richard and Clara Winston, St. Augustine's Press, 1965, p. 9.

xi Op. Cit., pp. 23-24.

xii Ibid, p. 43.

Winter Oak
5 Jul 2024 | 8:48 am

6. Escaping the industrial nightmare


by Paul Cudenec

Whatever happens in Sunday's bitterly divisive parliamentary elections in France, we can be sure that the next government will be committed to economic growth and technological progress.

As the excellent monthly newspaper La Décroissance ("Degrowth") never ceases to point out, politicians from all sides of the supposedly all-embracing "political spectrum" (including so-called "greens"!) speak as one in condemning the absurd, reactionary suggestion that the future shape of the country should not be dictated by the endless quest for yet more profit and production.

Fortunately there is a significant undercurrent of French thinking that fundamentally challenges the narrative spun by the many heads of the financial-industrial Hydra.

The fact that there even exists a monthly (and very widely available) newspaper promoting degrowth is an indication of the significance of this movement, as is the anger that it seems to incite not just on the mainstream wing of the criminocracy, but also among its pseudo-radical proxies, who use all the usual smear techniques to attack it.

Because the ideas voiced by this undercurrent are generally not accessible to the English-speaking world, I thought I would write reviews of two recent books issued from that milieu.

The first of these, that I will describe in this article, is interesting in that it comes from the traditional anarchist movement – Les Editions du Monde Libertaire, the publishing wing of the Fédération Anarchiste.

I tried to get UK anarchists interested in degrowth a decade ago, but didn't meet with much enthusiasm, despite what is for me an obvious ideological compatibility.

In La Décroissance libertaire, une étape cruciale ("Libertarian degrowth, a crucial step"), [1] Jean-Pierre Tertrais concedes that, historically, mainstream anarchism has tended to take the "scientific" (and Marxist) line of supporting "the development of the productive forces".

Indeed, there were one or two points in his book where I feared that he himself was shying away from an outright condemnation of what Jacques Ellul called Technik!

But he continues: "Libertarians [by which he means anarchists] have often been the first to express suspicion regarding the growing grip of Technik on everyday life". [2]

"Only libertarian principles have the capacity to get humanity out of the dead end in which it has gone astray: refusal of authority; rejection of all domination and exploitation; free association of producers; mutual aid and co-operation, federalism…" [3]

I was pleased to see that Tertrais cites not only Ellul, but also fellow organic radical inspirations William Morris, John Ruskin, Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, Peter Kropotkin, Gustav Landauer, Emma Goldman, Voltairine de Cleyre and George Orwell.

And he shares the orgrad conviction that we can learn much from the pre-industrial past when imagining a healthy future beyond the current nightmare.

He says it's not a question of believing in a lost "golden age" but of understanding the appeal and advantages of a society based on craftsmanship and connection to the natural elements.

Tertrais describes "a rough life, but one attuned to the rhythms of plant, animal and human life, punctuated with solidarity, camp fires, festivals" and founded on "the choice of keeping a balance between a social group and the territory it occupies, whose resources are always limited". [4]

He contrasts this with the artificial and alienated lives that we are forced to lead in the modern industrial prison-camp world.

"This race for growth, founded on the exacerbation of a climate of competition, on permanent injunctions to go beyond our limits, contributes largely to the 'alienation' of the human being, to dependence on techno-science, to exhausted workers (stress, burn-out, depression, suicide) with degraded health (modern pathologies, civilisational diseases)". [5]

In the face of this, he is scathing about those who claim that the "solution" to contemporary problems can come from racing even further down the road to industrial expansion, with their absurd claims that "we need more growth to repair the damage caused by growth, more Technik to correct the ravages of Technik!". [6]

And he condemns the "techno-optimism" of the political classes, with their calls for "carbon neutrality", resilient smart cities and proposals to modify the climate.

Under "sustainable development", he observes, consumption continues to rise and "green" technologies depend on rare resources like lithium and cobalt whose extraction involves odious exploitation of workers and serious pollution of the natural world. [7]

Tertrais correctly identifies the very concept of "development" as being a primary source of the evil afflicting our world and describes how it fuels global imperialism.

The official narrative declares that "under-developed" countries are lagging behind and have to be helped to "catch up" with fully industrialised countries.

"This notion expresses the cultural imperialism of the western civilisational model and hides (badly) a post-colonial system for exploiting the resources and labour force of the global south to feed the hyper-consumerism of the north". [8]

As I mentioned, the central importance, to the system, of the development/progress narrative is such that it cannot tolerate anyone challenging it.

Tertrais remarks: "Those who question the political, social and philosophical implications of technology are instantly accused of 'technophobia', obscurantism… of wanting to return to the candle". [9]

"Massive adherence to productivism and the glorification of technological progress have prevented any critical perspective.

"The hyper-technologisation of our ways of life comes with countless 'side effects'. Machines, which were supposed to free us from wearisome or constraining tasks, from the inconveniences of everyday life, have – despite the services they can occasionally provide – ended up producing a diminished human being". [10]

So how does the author propose that we get out of all this?

In fact, he thinks the process is already beginning, with increasing numbers of people dropping out of their jobs and/or turning their backs on city life and seeking a different existence in the countryside.

He says that 600,000 to 800,000 people moved out of conurbations in France between 2015 and 2018, with Covid no doubt increasing that figure. [11]

How long that will be allowed to continue, with the global "managed retreat" agenda of forcing people out of the countryside and into smart cities, remains to be seen!

Tertrais writes about the importance of "going back to real life", [12] and rediscovering a "DIY" style of living, including gardening, repairing, clothes-making and cooking. [13]

This would involve "listening to our real needs, living with little but with intensity, turning our backs on success, 'progress' (TV, computer, car…), prioritising family life, personal blossoming, rediscovering know-how and a sense of scale, reconnecting with nature, learning to manage our own time, enjoying the richness of social interactions, the sense of being useful…" [14]

This, though, is just the start, he explains.

"If the original motivation is not revolutionary as such, it can expand and assume a political dimension: questioning of paid work, hierarchy, competition, the market, an interest in self-organised collectives, forms of mutual aid, civil disobedience or popular education". [15]

Anti-industrialism in France is not just an idea, but also a physical movement, which is probably best known for the ZAD (Zone à Défendre, "Zone to be Defended") which successfully occupied an area of land near Nantes and permanently prevented the construction of a new airport.

Currently there are important struggles being waged against a new motorway near Toulouse and against industrial-scale reservoirs that are being built all over the place.

"The land doesn't belong to man. It's man who belongs to the land"

Tertrais notes that those involved are "predominantly young people who, between hope and rage, have decided to break with a society whose values they reject and who seek to live otherwise". [16]

He says the younger generation in France are politicised in a different way to their elders, "with two guiding values, freedom and respect". [17]

While part of this struggle is essentially defensive – such as protecting allotments, opposing the expansion of a quarry or the concreting-over of the countryside [18] – there is also a pro-active aspect, taking the fight to the system.

Writes Tertrais: "Sabotage, which emerges from civil disobedience and direct action, is a growing craze.

"Faced with the limits of polite protest, more and more activists are turning to it… pipelines, surveillance cameras, speed cameras, phone masts (170 sabotaged in one year), transport infrastructure, cash dispensers, mega-reservoirs… the damage is accelerating". [19]

"For so long considered unacceptable by public opinion, sabotage seems more and more legitimate". [20]

[Audio version]

PS. I will post a review of the second book I have in mind when I have finished reading it!

[1] Jean-Pierre Tertrais, La Décroissance libertaire, une étape cruciale (Paris: Editions du Monde Libertaire, 2023). All subsequent page references are to this work.
[2] p. 98.
[3] p. 8.
[4] pp. 54-55.
[5] p. 33.
[6] p. 38.
[7] p. 95.
[8] p. 20.
[9] p. 91.
[10] p. 96.
[11] p. 102.
[12] p. 80.
[13] p. 57.
[14] p. 104.
[15] p. 104.
[16] p. 119.
[17] p. 113.
[18] p. 118.
[19] pp. 119-120.
[20] p. 120.

Winter Oak
3 Jul 2024 | 10:03 am

7. The military-industrial guilt complex


by Paul Cudenec

When the smoke cleared in Europe in 1945 it revealed a continent in physical and psychological ruins.

Millions lay dead from the second terrible war in a couple of decades; surviving populations were traumatised by bombing raids and invasions; great cities had been reduced to rubble and the US and Soviet military empires were dividing up the spoils between them, imposing economic, cultural and political control over their respective spheres of influence.

Added to that was a sense of guilt for what people had learned about the concentration camps – this was centred on Germans, of course, but shared by the rest of Europe, the West, humankind even.

This guilt smoothed the way for the long-planned creation of the Zionist state on Palestinian soil, reining back criticism of the project and its supporters.

The spectre of the Nazi regime and its crimes was also used to discredit political movements that could plausibly be accused of sharing some aspect of its ideology.

Any nationalistic tendencies – whether against US domination, European centralisation or the power of transnational corporations and institutions – could easily be demonised as a resurgence of the Hitlerian horrors.

This device was later extended to non-nationalist criticism of the international financial system – we were told that using the term "banksters" was hate speech and that any reference to a global financial mafia was clearly an anti-semitic trope.

Even environmentalism (the real, nature-loving, kind) has been depicted as a slippery slope to fascism, as I have previously described at some length.

This ridiculous claim is based on the fact that the Nazis, like today's climate racketeers, used "green" language to initially sell their ultra-industrialist project to the public.

The "anti-semitic" smears have become increasingly far-fetched in recent years.

Anyone speaking up against the mass-murdering ethnic cleansing in Palestine, no matter how obviously non-Nazi and non-racist they are, is treated as if they were personally responsible for events at Auschwitz 80 years ago.

And any challenging of general official agendas is now likely to be met with the same hysterical response, as I reported at the beginning of this year.

There I described how the EU Strategy on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life (2021-2030) justified its claims that anti-semitism was on the rise by applying the label to questioning of the Covid "pandemic".

The authors of that report, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (whose dubious connections I detailed in the article), is also one of several Zionist organisations behind a more recent document.

Conspiracy Theories: A Guide for Members of Parliament and Candidates basically warns that the rule of the global military-industrial complex is threatened by people finding out what it is and what it is up to.

It phrases it slightly differently, of course: "Conspiracy theories can pose a danger to democracies, public health, social cohesion, public safety and more; they reduce trust in democratic institutions, in governments, and in mainstream, regulated media outlets. Conspiracy theories can also reduce political participation and conformity to the rule of law".

I won't go into all the detail, because it is similar to that in the EU report, but it represents a startling culmination of the way in which allegations of "anti-semitism" are used to defend the dominant system.

Needless to say, it continues to plug the lie that even to challenge the activities and influence of specific Jewish individuals amounts to hostility to all Jews.

Thus, in a section describing anti-semitism, it states: "The Rothschild family, a wealthy Jewish family that rose to prominence for its success in banking, has also become synonymous in far-right and far-left circles, with corrupt Jewish power that seeks global domination and undermines governments and existing social order".

But it goes even further by effectively coming up with an all-embracing conspiracy theory of its own – namely that anti-semitism lies behind all conspiracy theories!

It also triumphantly produces a diagram to show how it thinks this works.

As you can see, it regards questioning of Covid-19, The Great Reset, 5G, 15-minute cities, the climate agenda and global control as all revolving around anti-semitism.

The accompanying notes, unsurprisingly, do not justify this conclusion.

For instance, the category "The Great Reset" is awarded the anti-semitism tag on the basis of the following description: "Originally a plan by the World Economic Forum to encourage governments to move toward fairer and more sustainable policies. Highjacked [sic] by conspiracy theories claiming the plan is used to control populations and economies to benefit a small group of powerful people".

Anti-semitism can only be identified here if the "small group of powerful people" is automatically assumed to be Jewish.

Given that the authors of the document would no doubt argue that this assumption is anti-semitic, why do they themselves make it?

Could it be because they are well aware that there is indeed a small group of powerful people behind the Great Reset agenda and that, while they are not all Jewish, they are all beholden to Rothschild-dominated (and thus Zionist) interests?

The same applies to the whole of their framing of anti-semitism as uniting all varieties of what they term conspiracy theory. When they hear people expose fake pandemics, smart cities and global totalitarianism, they know full well that their own Zionist mafia network is behind them and they therefore hear criticism of that entity.

So they simply wheel out the labels they always use to silence criticism, regardless of the fact that this criticism is not based on hostility to Jews but on hostility to criminocracy and that describing reality cannot logically be termed either "conspiracy theory" or "anti-semitic".

I see this as an expression of their own guilt – and a projection of that guilt on to those whom they smear as conspiracy theorists.

The authors of the report know, deep down, that they themselves are liars with callous contempt for anyone not belonging to their in-group (including anti-Zionist Jews).

So they accuse their enemies – those they feel are threatening their control – of faults that are really their own.

In the grimy and distorting mirror of their own guilty consciences, those of us who seek to discover and share the truth in the interests of freedom and humanity are therefore depicted as spreading "misinformation" and being motivated by "hate".

Although this gaslighting projection of guilt is not meant to be an admission, it effectively plays that role.

Because the guilt is projected, it is also inverted and thus their diagram labels the factor uniting all the various conspiracies as "anti-semitism", the term they use to smear opponents of Zionism.

Try looking at it again, but imagining that the term in the central yellow box is "Zionism", thus inverting the inversion.

Since October 2023, the Zionist affiliation of worldwide power has been plainer than ever to see and this kind of propaganda merely confirms what many already suspected.

As for the additional hypocrisy of dishonestly tainting your political opponents with a supposed ideological connection to a genocide from eight decades ago, while fervently cheering on one that's happening right now in 2024… well, it defies description.

The louder the propagandists shout that talking about the global criminocracy is anti-semitic, the clearer the reality becomes.

Their desperate and panicky narrative does not speak of a confident and stable world governance.

Instead it tells us of a massive criminal endeavour that has arrogantly been pushed too far, too soon.

The greedy and over-fed globalist serpent has tied itself in knots of lies, has swallowed its own scaly tail, is choking on its own culpability and is spewing forth the awful truth that had to be kept hidden from its mind-manipulated victims.

[Audio version]

Israel – 32 x 20 inches, Oil on Canvas, by Jordan Henderson

Winter Oak
1 Jul 2024 | 10:57 am

8. The mythos of American liberty


by W.D. James

In 'Darmok,' an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the crew of the Enterprise come across a people whose language the AI powered Universal Translator is unable to make sense of. They say things like "The River Temarc; in winter" and "Rai and Jiri at Lungha" and nothing else. It turns out these Tamarians speak in episodes taken from their underlying mythology. So, without the narrative context, the utterances are meaningless, but with that context Tamarians can communicate with one another perfectly well. In fact, their communication is supercharged with meaning.

In what follows, I provide some of the Tamarian-like syntax of American liberty with just a bit of the underlying narrative filled in.

George Washington at Newburgh

George Washington Takes On The Newburgh Conspiracy - New Historian

In 1783, well after major hostilities in the American Revolutionary War had ended, but before the Treaty of Paris officially ending the war had been finalized, a group of officers in Washington's Army hatched a plan to take unspecified actions against Congress, which showed every sign of having no real plan to provide their backpay nor fund a pension they had been promised. Washington faced many opportunities to turn his military success and status as a national hero into military-backed governmental rule (essentially becoming king). King George III had said that he would be the greatest man alive if he surmounted this temptation. At his army's headquarters in Newburgh, NJ, Washington faced the assembled conspirators and dramatically pulled a pair of eye glasses from his pocket (he had never allowed himself to appear physically weak before his troops) and began his talk to the disgruntled officers: "Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country." The conspirators reportedly broke down in tears and, in shame, gave up any idea of a coup.

Chief Joseph Off the Reservation

Chief Joseph – Archival Print | Edward Curtis

In 1877, after having been lied to and cheated by the US Government numerous times, Chief Joseph took his band of Nez Perce off the reservation in Idaho and made for Canada where he hoped they could join with, or emulate, Sitting Bull, who had taken a band of Lakota there after the Little Big Horn. Chief Joseph and round 800 men, women, and children travelled over 1100 miles in a roundabout path, fighting the US Army the whole way. They gave out less than 40 miles from the border.

John Brown at Pottawatomie Creek

DBQ's - Pottawatomie Creek Massacre

In the 1850s Kansas was making its way to statehood. Under the doctrine of 'popular sovereignty' it would get to decide if it was to be a free state or a slave state. Whichever way it went, it would tip the national balance of power. Hence, Kansas became the focus of pro- and anti-slavery interests throughout the country. Guerrilla warfare broke out: Kansas had its civil war, foreshadowing the national one, and became known as 'bleeding Kansas.' John Brown was a religious zealot and fervent defender of freedom who had years before publicly pledged his life to the cause of ending slavery. In response to a pro-slavery raid on Lawernce, Kansas, Brown lead a partisan band including four of his sons and several others on a raid near Pottawatomie Creek where they massacred 5 pro-slavery settlers in front of their families. Kansas would eventually enter the Union as a free state. Brown would go on to lead a raid on the Federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, intending to use the seized weapons to start a slave rebellion.

Henry David Thoreau in Concord Jail

Henry David Thoreau - The Great Peacemakers

In 1846, Thoreau refused to pay past due poll taxes he owed. He refused on the grounds that he would not materially support the US war against Mexico nor fund a government that supported the extension of slavery into the southwest. Thoreau spent one night in jail before someone, against his will, paid the tax for him. He would write "On Civil Disobedience" based on that experience. While Thoreau was mistaken in thinking the poll tax had anything to do with funding the war effort, he acted on the principle that he would not voluntarily fund an institution he had not knowingly and willingly assented to or whose operations offended his conscience.

Mother Jones at Paint Creek-Cabin Creek

mother_jones_march - Irish America

Mary G. Harris Jones was called "the most dangerous woman in America" for her success in organizing mine workers. After the death of her husband and children, the Irish-born firebrand worked with the most radical elements of the working-class labor movement: the Knights of Labor, the United Mine Workers, and the IWW. In 1912, a shooting war had broken out between the United Mine Workers and the private army of the coal mine operators. Martial law had been declared. Mother Jones went to the Paint Creek and Cabin Creek areas of West Virginia to support and organize the mine workers anyway. She was especially effective at building support networks to sustain striking workers in their struggles. She was arrested and sentenced to 20 years by a military court on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, though she served only 85 days of house arrest.

PGT Beauregard at Charleston

GENERAL P.G.T. BEAUREGARD 8x10" HAND COLOR TINTED CIVIL WAR PHOTOGRAPH ...

In 1861, the sovereign state of South Carolina had seceded from the United States. She demanded that the government in Washington withdraw its troops from Fort Sumpter in Charleston Bay. On April 12 of that year, when the Union navy attempted to resupply the troops there, Pierre Gustav Toutant-Beauregard, the first general officer in the newly formed army of the Confederate States of America, gave the order for Confederate batteries he had arrayed around Charleston harbor to open fire on the fort. The secession crisis had become a civil war.

Bob Dylan at Newport

July 25, 1965: Dylan Goes Electric at the Newport Folk Festival. | Bob ...

On July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan took the stage at the Newport Folk Festival and opened his set with "Maggie's Farm." He was backed by a fully electronically amplified band. The crowd responded with a mix of cheers and boos. Dylan was the voice of politically engaged folk music in the mid-1960s and, for folk fans, that meant acoustic music. For the rest of that year's tour, he would be backed by the Hawks (later to be The Band) and band members recounted how demoralizing it was being faced by hostile crowds every night. Dylan is arguably the greatest musical genius produced by America and he wasn't going to be boxed in by others' expectations or by his own past. He has continued to develop in interesting and innovative ways ever since, often to the consternation of certain segments of his fanbase who have wanted him to remain whatever it was they thought he was.

Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee

Booker T. Washington in his Tuskegee University office, ca. 1906 : r ...

In 1880, the state of Alabama passed legislation setting aside $2000 per year to found a school for black students. Booker T. Washington, who lived in slavery for the first eight years of his life and who had supported himself in obtaining an education at the Hampton Institute, arrived to serve as the first president of the institution to be called the Tuskegee Normal School. The main problem was that there was no school. No school building, no land to put a building on, and no funds appropriated by the legislature to acquire or build one (the $2000 was solely for salaries). Further, any prospective students would come from an impoverished black population whose material conditions were little improved since emancipation, 15 odd years earlier, so it would not be funded through student tuition. Undaunted by the (intentionally) impossible hand of cards he had been dealt, Washington borrowed and solicited sufficient funds to purchase a 100-acre abandoned plantation with a run-down wooden structure on it. That structure would have to be the school until the students could build one. They started by building a kiln and learning to fire bricks. Then they learned how to design a building and lay bricks. They also learned modern scientific methods of agriculture so they could produce their own food. So, Tuskegee students would learn by doing in building their own school, then use that school to get their book learning and, in Sunday evening talks, be given instruction by Washington on character formation (a set of these talks was published as "Character Building" and is a great read). This first generation of black Alabamians born after (or in the last years of) slavery would develop strong skills and values through self-help and then go out to be leaders in their communities to assist others.

Happy Independence Day!

W.D. James teaches philosophy in Kentucky, USA

Winter Oak
29 Jun 2024 | 2:24 pm

9. Voting is Evil


by Nemo Jones

"You've got to vote, vote, vote, vote. That's it; that's the way we move forward." ~Michelle Obama

"We can all agree on the importance of voting." ~Jenna Bush

"Voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country, and this world." ~Sharon Salzberg

"You cannot complain if you didn't vote." ~Barack Obama

"The right to vote is the basic right without which all others are meaningless." ~Lyndon B Johnson

"Voting is not just a right, it's a responsibility." ~Don Santo

"Voting is a civic sacrament." ~Theodore Hesburgh

Election day. Inhale deep of the blessed and rarified air. Your moment has come. Your time to shine. Today – at long last – your voice matters. Your voice will be heard. Your dream of a just and sane world is damn near palpable.

The diligent and painstaking attention you've paid to the rational, informed and balanced debates of the day, the carefully honed and nuanced arguments you've formulated all come to bear – today of all days. Your choice will resonate onwards, shaping our future world. Proudly aligned in thought, feeling and action – a responsible, informed representative of humanity – you step out, relishing the unique significance of the moment.

As you approach the sacred polling station, the drudgery of mundane existence recedes, the endless grinding trauma of life's grotesque inequity is momently adjourned and a better world beckons, as the magical portal of possibility opens. The liminal dream space of infinite potential unfurls, as you… stroll past, shaking your head in wonder at the brainwashed humanoid automatons filing inside to righteously scrawl a cross into a box.

Democracy: a dismal charade. A transparent scam devised by the same elitist con artists that sold humanity the 'divine right' of kings, emperors, sultans and caesars to steal, rape, enslave, starve, torture, subjugate, deceive and massacre: the 'divine' wrong. In the modern age, such inhuman parasites hide their power-and-bloodlust behind 'the will of the people', who dutifully fall for it, election cycle after cycle. It's maddening, heart-wrenching and world destroying.

Voting is not a 'right', but a profound wrong, bestowing the same fake and calamitous 'legitimacy' on unscrupulous parasites as the so-called 'divine right' of kings. Voting violates Natural Law and everything humane. It is an act of evil.

Election rejection is not the sole remedy to the world's ills (for that, see here), but it's a start; a simple, satisfying and eminently attainable goal on our journey toward an enlightened age.

Government is the current manifestation of humanity's greatest failing: the feigned abdication of individual response ability; the pathetic claim of victim status as immutable identity. Government convinces Sovereign beings that they possess no inherent self-authority, or authorship of their own reality: a lethal pretence. One always remains completely 'response able'. A lifetime spent in denial of this fact is simply an abject failure to respond appropriately to circumstances – a failure with devastating consequences.

The election pantomime is indeed the civic sacrament; the humiliation ritual that formalises and sanctifies the tragic wasted opportunity of a Sovereign being's submission to false external authority. It's heavy stuff. Willingly giving up our natural-born freedom to charlatans – to anyone – is the ultimate self-debasement and insult to nature – or God, if you prefer.

It's clearer than ever that the political class is self-serving, vain, deceitful and beyond corrupt. But to blame morally bankrupt husks for their ruinous treachery is to miss the point: they play their role perfectly: corrupt cogs of a corrupt machine. And all the while, you remain 'response able', whether or not you like or admit it.

The purpose of a system is what it does. What does government do? Serve hidden interests. Destroy beauty and everything else that supports well-being. Normalise the violation of Natural Law to the point of banality. Devour priceless time and energy. Distract and demoralise while its cogs moralise, posture and pontificate. Endlessly steal, lie, bully and cheat. Reward evil and punish conscientiousness. Promise justice while delivering industrial-scale injustice and horrors without end. Serve demented elitist agendas perversely clothed and paraded as the greater good.

Government mocks you relentlessly. It's long past time to stop embracing the narcissist.

Government was never intended to serve you and it cannot. Government has not become corrupted. It is the very pinnacle of corruption. A finely crafted tool of mind control, distraction, manipulation and subjugation; a weapon of mass destruction; a hideous, bent game in which we lose everything of value.

Government is a deadly, yet ridiculous, weapon. If it didn't exist, it would be laughable. No one would believe it. And no one should. It's a crazed despot's sadistic fantasy; people excitedly lining up to select their torturer of choice, then sitting 'round the goggle box revelling in the agony and ecstasy of the spectacle, as the knife is twisted right, then left, then right again.

A vote is a signal to the universe that you are a willing slave. One who truly understands what government is will never engage. Why attempt the impossible feat of making government serve you when we can so easily make it disappear instead? All it takes is 'right inaction' – the simple reclamation of your attention and natural born authority. Enough of this horror. Enough of this monster.

You have no right to dominate or impose your will on others. You have no right to concoct arbitrary rules that do not accord with Natural Law and enforce them upon others. Yet a vote is a (fruitless) attempt to appoint someone to conduct these immoral acts on your behalf: to steal from, threaten, coerce and wield force against others to impose your will – in direct, flagrant and absolute violation of Natural Law. A vote is both an attempted abnegation of natural born self-Sovereignty and an attempt to violate the natural born self-Sovereign rights of others. The consequences of these violations for our shared reality are evident. One can only speculate on the personal consequences.

A spoiled vote is still participation in the sacrament. Why attempt to 'send a message' to those with no interest in us? An inhuman system deserves only contempt and disavowal, not engagement or endorsement of any kind. There may be humane but misguided beings caught up in this enslavement system who, it could be argued, 'deserve' your vote – the system does not.

'But if I don't vote, [insert terrifying outcome]'. The monster will lumber on to its inevitable demise whether we feed it or not. The question that should concern us – and deeply – is what ultimately replaces it. True freedom or overt subjugation? A humane or inhuman future? Giving one's power away as if it were worthless is a clear declaration of one's valuelessness and a direct cause leading inexorably toward the latter. The monster feeds on fear. True freedom can only result from right, principled, courageous action.

Votes are an accurate measure of one thing: how well the con of democracy is working. The ideal result is zero votes. This may seem an unlikely outcome – but that is no justification for compromise. Compromise with evil is evil. Every vote cast is a vote for an evil system with no right to exist.

Voting is evil because:

  1. It is a denial of immutable Sovereign self response ability.
  2. It is an endorsement of a system which inherently violates Natural Law.
  3. It is an attempt to impose your will on others, in violation of Natural Law.

Please don't miss out on a golden opportunity to take right inaction.

Our beautiful and humane future begins in the hearts, minds and actions (or conscientious inactions) of the bold.

For the avoidance of doubt, the above does indeed approach its limited subject from an anarchistic – a morally and rationally consistent – perspective. I heartily en-courage you to delve ever deeper into Natural Law (of which I will continue to write). I am convinced that our doing so is the sole and certain path out of the madness, badness and sadness of our deluded age and toward an enlightened one.

Nemo Jones writes for the Reporting for Beauty website

Winter Oak
26 Jun 2024 | 3:17 pm

10. Young Kenyans rise up against the global criminocracy!


[UPDATE. President Ruto has just announced that the Finance Bill will be withdrawn. It looks like victory for the young protesters, though calls are still being made for him to resign]

Tumultuous events have been unfolding in Kenya this week.

Thousands upon thousands of young people have been taking to the streets across the east African country in protest at the Finance Bill being imposed by the government of President William Ruto.

It was passed by parliament on Tuesday June 25, with opponents warning that it "will raise the cost of living despite many people already struggling to put food on the table".

Although a number of the unpopular proposals were withdrawn at the last minute, this was not enough to quell public anger.

In dramatic scenes, protesters stormed parliament buildings in Nairobi, starting a fire.

And the police opened fire on the crowds with live bullets.

A CNN reporter described how he "saw police shoot dead unarmed young men in front of Kenya's parliament" and reports say at least five were killed in the capital.

By 5.45am on Wednesday June 26, 157 casualties were recorded at Kenyatta National Hospital alone.

In Githurai at least 22 people were said to have been shot dead by police.

If this brutal response seems reminiscent of the violence of past colonial repression, then that is because the same evil empire is behind it.

The day before parliament was stormed, US President Joe Biden officially designated Kenya a Major Non-NATO Ally, "a powerful symbol of the country's strategic importance to the United States, offering Kenya a range of military and financial advantages".

And the Finance Bill resulted from the fact that Kenya is currently submitted to "structural reforms" by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund – in other words by the global criminocracy.

As ever, debt is the tool of domination, with the "need" to pay off the imperial usurers used as the excuse to "gut the middle class" and "drive more people into poverty", as one recent article put it.

Kenyan people are being hit with a range of new taxes, which the government says are "to fund development programmes and cut public debt" – in other words to line the criminocrats' pockets!

The murderous violence deployed by Ruto and his regime is hardly like to calm the situation.

At the time of writing, the "7 days of rage" proposed by the protest movement had not ended, with calls for main roads to be blocked and President Ruto's State House to be occupied on Thursday June 27.

A new hashtag has been trending on social media – #tupatanethursday, a mix of Swahili and English meaning "see you on Thursday".

And there are signs that other Africans could be inspired by the Kenyan revolt to rise up against the death grip of the global financial empire.

As one Nigerian observer commented: "The bravery of the people of Kenya is an inspiration to the rest of Africa".

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