January 04, 2014


This is the first section of a document shared with me by Eco-Socialist and musician Fred Ho.  I think it's one of the more exciting political pices I've read in the last couple years, and would like to know what people think of it.  If you would like to read the rest of the Manifesto, please e-mail me at alextheweaver at gmail dot com
In modernist orthodoxy (whether pro-capitalist or the orthodoxy of Leftist mainstream anti-capitalist presumptions), the self-evident assumption has been that capitalism, since its global ascension, has been a great productive power for humanity.  Only a very tiny minority would challenge this presumption of productive power and assert the opposite: that capitalism has NOT produced greater productive power, but profound destructive power the likes of which can be barely comprehended.

The presumption of the "miracles" of capitalist productivity often cite the plethora of consumer goods, advanced electronic technologies, factory production, and attendant social transformations including the modern era allegedly with diminishment of parochialism, xenophobia, religious dogma, backward superstitions and traditions (towards women and other social groups traditionally oppressed by patriarchal violence and domination), the rise of the secularism, the supremacy of science and rationalism, etc. 

Critics of modern capitalism are apt to point out that capitalism's global ascension has also enabled humanity to develop enormous destructiveness, from weapons that can blast the very existence of this planet into smithereens countless times over, to toxins that can poison every life form on the biosphere, to profound and possibly irreversible changes to climate, depletion of the protective ozone layer, and unimaginable alteration of the very molecular structure of existence itself.  But these same critics either accept as fait accompli that technological supremacy and the factory system of mass production are permanent, and while acknowledging capitalism has wrought a tremendous swath across the planet of genocide, ecocide and matricide, nonetheless cannot imagine an existence that would benefit from the immediate halting and reversal of such assumed "inevitables." 
Beyond the contradiction of private ownership vs. the social nature or production (i.e., between the minority of owners vs. the majority of exploited producers), is the profound paradox to the capitalist mode of production with its seemingly mighty productive powers:  it is the only system, created by humans, which creates more problems than it can solve.  And that inexorable logic has generated profound byproducts for which humans must choose between retaining and expanding such byproducts or face the death of human life upon this planet.   It is our contention that should humanity choose to continue with its present hubris for the capitalist system (and possibly ALL of its attendant technological byproducts) as the great engine of "civilization" and "progress", that this direction will culminate in the certain destruction of the biosphere we dismissingly refer to as "nature" as it pertains to habitability for human life. Indeed, with all of its technological and purported social "progress," capitalist civilization may well be the ultimate barbarism, as we shall argue below. 
The shortcomings and problematic failings of the Marxist left are, not surprisingly, founded upon assumptions that have become ironically "natural" to most of humanity in our acclimation to the seemingly miraculous productive power of capitalism.
The principle assumption is that humans are the dominant and primary species and thereby deserve to conquer and control nature.  Either from God's special conferment to scientific arguments and justifications upon human capacity for greater intelligence, technological creation, higher levels of social organization, possession of an opposable thumb, etc. Thus, the "purpose" of the natural world is to provide "resources" for satisfying humanity's needs and wants.  The socialist view, contained in such propositions as "environmental justice," "sustainability," and "eco-socialism," remains essentially the same, viz., the "democratization" of nature.  All these assumptions presume a biblical-like "stewardship" by humans over nature and the apriori valorization of human domination over nature, which in only a few centuries, has come to seem "natural."  (Note: with the current of eco-socialism, there is a growing viewpoint that revolutionary ludditism, which we are arguing, must become the primary feature of revolutionary socialist transformation.  We don't want to be unfair to those proponents.)
With the exception of certain deep ecology and anarchist-influenced thought, viz., John Zerzan and his manifesto FUTURE PRIMITIVE, most pro- and anti-capitalist currents assume that humanity has "advanced" vis-à-vis the natural world from a primitive stage to a higher, more advanced one.  Anarchist revolutionary Ron Sakolsky, paraphrasing Zerzan, states:
"the change from hunter-gatherer to the settled agricultural ways of life was based on the domination of nature which has its civilized legacy the miseries of production, private property, work, governmental tyranny, and abstraction from the natural world through the mediating concepts of time, written language, and institutionalized religion." (Sakolsky, Creating Anarchy, p. 179)
This presumption of human primacy and its attendant "natural" tendency and "right" to dominate (human and anything else) is the problem and failure of ANTHROPOCENTRISM, or as our Indigenous brothers and sisters have termed, species-centrism.
On the other hand, another great error is often committed by pro-environment/pro-ecology radicals:  ANTHROPOMORPHISM.   Viz., the ascribing to nature (often spelled Nature with a capital "N" as a personal pronoun) of human-like attributes, including self-awareness; and the inference that somehow "nature's interest" can be known to humanity; and Nature wants and requires us to value it.  Indeed, as David Pepper, a self-identified "eco-socialist" asserts in the need to have a dialectical view of society and nature (i.e., nature is socially produced as how humans think about, relate to, and act/impact upon nature results from human society):  "worship of nature actually mystifies nature, placing humanity far apart from it" (p. 115).  And "Humans are not like other animals, but neither is non-human nature external to society.  The nature that we perceive is socially perceived and produced.  Also, what humans do is natural."  As an eco-socialist, Pepper argues that human social actions are determinant: humans can either continue to destroy the habitat or to perform eco-rectitude and thereby create a sustainable equilibrium between human use and ecological processes.  What Pepper and almost all eco-socialists fail to do is to delineate specifically what technological and sociological byproducts created in the last 200 years of capitalism's global ascension should be kept, and what should be eliminated, and how correctitude should happen.  Pepper, John Bellamy Foster, and many who are proponents of eco-socialism evince sympathetic and positive stances towards Ludditism, but few actually DEMAND it. 

*from Marvin Gaye's MERCY, MERCY ME
Card weaving: http://www.hollowtop.com/spt_html/weaving.htm


"When the prison doors are opened, the real dragon will fly out." --Ho Chi Minh

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