Tag Archives: eco anarchism

Lifelong Eco-anarchist Marco Camenisch is Finally Free!

Eco-anarchist Marco Camenisch is Free!

from 325     We learn from the Red Aid that — finally — Marco Camenisch has completed the process of “gradual release”.
The comrade Marco Camenisch is free!

 

The lifelong struggle of eco-anarchist Marco Camenisch

Marco Camenisch, 65 years , has spent 25 of the last 35years in prison for his political actions, For the 10 years he was not in prison, he lived on the run, clandestinely, in Italy, Switzerland and elsewhere. He participated in a global hunger strike by some 15 anarchist prisoners to draw attention to their struggle and affirm their resistance to state Image result for marco camenischrepression.

The following article has been translated from the Italian website set up to support Marco, and gives a brief history of his life and motivation (any links & highlighting have been added by translator):
“Marco Camenisch was born on 21 January 1952 in Switzerland, in a small village of the Graubunden region. Continue reading Lifelong Eco-anarchist Marco Camenisch is Finally Free!

Biology of Wonder: I am because we are.

I am because we are

Andreas Weber’s “Biology of Wonder”: Aliveness as a Force of Evolution and the Commons

from:  David Bollier    When I met biologist and ecophilosopher Andreas Weber several years ago, I was amazed at his audacity in challenging the orthodoxies of Darwinism. He proposes that science study a very radical yet unexplained phenomenon — aliveness!  He rejects the neoDarwinian account of life as a collection of sophisticated, evolving machines, each relentlessly competing with maximum efficiency for supremacy in the laissez-faire market of nature.  (See Weber’s fantastic essay on “Enlivenment” for more on this theme.)

Drawing upon a rich body of scientific research, Weber outlines a different story of evolution, one in which living organisms are inherently expressive and creative in a struggle to both compete and cooperate. The heart of the evolutionary drama, Weber insists, is the quest of all living systems to express what they feel and experience, and adapt to the world — and change it! — as they develop their identities.

Except for a few essays and public talks, most of Weber’s writings are available only in his native German.  So it is a thrill that some of his core ideas have now been published in English. Check out his lyrical yet scientifically rigorous book,Biology of Wonder:  Aliveness, Consciousness and the Metamorophosis of Science, just published by New Society Publishers.  (Full disclosure requires me to mention my modest role in helping Andreas improve the “natural English” of his translation of his original German writings.)

Future historians will look back on this book as a landmark that consolidates and explains paradigm-shifting theories and research in the biological sciences. Biology of Wonderexplains how political thinkers like Locke, Hobbes and Adam Smith have provided a cultural framework that has affected biological inquiry, and how the standard Darwinian biological narrative, for its part, has projected its ideas about natural selection and organisms-as-machines on to our understanding of human societies.  Darwinism and “free markets” have grown up together.

This is now changing, as Weber explains:

Biology, which has made so many efforts to chase emotions f3cf8c1c864b4e3d8dba7b9a6575fdc8from nature since the 19th century, is rediscovering feeling as the foundation of life. Until now researchers, eager to discover the structure and behavior of organisms, had glossed over the problem of an organism’s interior reality. Today, however, biologists are learning innumerable new details about how an organism brings forth itself and its experiences, and are trying not only to dissect but to reimagine developmental pathways. They realize that the more technology allows us to study life on a micro-level, the stronger the evidence of life’s complexity and intelligence becomes.  Organisms are not clocks assembled from discrete, mechanical pieces; rather, they are unities held together by a mighty force: feeling what is good or bad for them.

600_324051802In the grand narrative of evolution, the idea that feeling, emotions, morality and even spirituality might be consequential has long been dismissed.  Such experiences are generally regarded as trivial sideshows to the main act of the cosmos:  nasty, brutish competition as the inexorable vehicle of evolutionary progress.  Indeed, modern times have virtually combined the idea of “survival of the fittest” with our cultural ideas about the “free market economy.”

Weber’s astonishing claim, as a scientist, is that biology should not study living systems as if they were “tiny machines” more or less driven by genetic blueprints.  It should be the study of the feeling self.  There is ample evidence to back up this claim, Weber argues.  However, to recognize this evidence, biology must first shed some key premises of Enlightenment thought, and begin to see living systems through another lens.

Biology currently privileges the individual as the primary unit of
kingsolveranalysis, and it looks for clear cause-and-effect patterns. It regards the swirling ephemera of our internal feelings, consciousness and sense of meaning as forgettable phenomena:  irrational, invisible and transient. Because such feelings can’t be measured and because they are nonrational, it is assumed that they pale in comparison to the grand geo- and biophysical forces of the universe.

With poised assurance, Weber argues persuasively in Biology of Wonder that “subjective feeling [is] the fundamental moving force in all life, from the cellular level up to the complexity of the human organism.”  He explains:

We have understood human beings as biological machines that somehow and rather inexplicably entail some subjective “x factor” variously known as mind, spirit or soul. But now biology is discovering subjectivity as a fundamental principle throughout nature. It finds that even the most simple living 51l97r9n8KL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_things — bacterial cells, fertilized eggs, nematodes in tidal flats — act according to values. Organisms value everything they encounter according to its meaning for the further coherence of their embodied self. Even the cell’s self-production, the continuous maintenance of a highly structured order, can only be understood if we perceive the cell as an actor that persistently follows a goal. I call this new viewpoint a “poetic ecology.” It is “poetic” because it regards feeling  and expression as necessary dimensions of the existential reality of organisms — not as epiphenomena, or as bias of the human observer, or as the ghost in the machine, but as aspects of the reality of living beings we cannot do without.

As Weber reframes the way in which we approach life – scientifically and personally – the book begins to acquire the force of a revelation.  He interweaves accessible accounts of biological research with his own poignant, first-person stories of encountering wolves, deep forests and other natural phenomena.  The reader quickly begins to realize:  Of course the dualism of the modern mind is reductive and misleading.  Of course we are all deeply interconnected and communicate in experiential, subjective ways – with each other and with the non-human world as well. 70a0482c3c4db55bf28ad627a48f6b32

Weber asks us to take seriously – as a scientific fact – the idea that the natural world is not comprised of biological machines; it is a sensuous, pulsating web of living, creative agents.  Once we can dissolve the mental boundaries that presume to separate us from “nature” and segregate it as Other, we can begin to see that we live in a world of constant, dynamicrelationship with other living creatures — and with a living Earth.

The philosopher Thomas Berry put it well:  “The universe is the communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.”  Developing an environmental ethic is more than legislating new policies; it is about re-imagining humanity in the world itself.

The idea that our subjective feelings and experiences matter and that they are ecologically significant leads to some surprising conclusions.  Weber writes:

p33-deer-in-meadow-815x300If feeling is a physical force and the expression of this feeling is a physical reality whose meaning motivates organisms to act, then we might understand living beings better if we imagine what is happening in the biosphere as, in a way, resembling artistic expression. This has another interesting consequence.  Art then is no longer what separates humans from nature, but rather it is life’s voice fully in us. Its message is not that beauty has no function. It is rather the essence of reality….Feeling is never invisible; it takes shape and manifests as form everywhere in nature. Nature can therefore be viewed as feeling unfurled, a living reality in front of us and amidst us.

This logic leads us to see the limits of Enlightenment ethics, which regards the individual, human and rational as supreme. Instead, we must start to recognize that sentient bodies have relationships with other sentient bodies, and that the subjective feelings of living organisms matter.  They are the basis for a new ecological ethics. “The feeling body is the ground zero of any morality, the origin of everything good and bad,” says Weber.

The implications Biology of Wonder for our understanding of the commons are profound.  If feeling is never invisible, and shapes and manifests itself everywhere in nature, then the commons may be the best way for us to rediscover our aliveness.  It is a way to make our relationships with each other more legible, and a way to recognize the importance of the whole.  As Weber puts it:

why-study-biology-4-638In the ecological commons a multitude of different individuals and diverse species stand in various relations with one another — competition and cooperation, partnership and predation, productivity and destruction. All these relations, however, follow one higher law: over the long run only behavior that allows for productivity of the whole ecosystem and that does not interrupt its self-production is amplified. The individual can realize itself only if the whole can realize itself. Ecological freedom obeys this form of necessity. The deeper the connections in the system become, the more creative niches it will afford for its individual members.

This ethic is already at work in a variety of commons. Ubuntu, a version of the open source program GNU/Linux, takes its name from a Nguni Bantu word that literally means “human-ness.”  It is also encapsulated in the phrase, “I am because we are.”

17160008I can’t begin in a short blog post to do justice to the rich, provocative insights of this important book.  While Biology of Wonder is chock-full of fascinating scientific findings and Weber’s own “biopoetic” sensibilities, he wears his scholarship lightly and does not veer into a soggy sentimentality. He is a champion for a new type of science — a science that frankly acknowledges the importance of first-person subjectivity. A serious empiricism demands nothing less.

This highly original meditation on the nature of life itself is at once poetic and scientific — which is the very point. May Biology of Wonder help break down the walls of misunderstanding within our embodied selves.

reblogged with thanks from:  David Bollier

see also

Rural Occupy : From deserted ruins to vibrant Eco-village

LakabeYou may have read how the Spanish countryside was successfully collectivized during the short-lived revolution of 1936. Now we see that spirit living on, with small groups occcupying abandoned villages. In Spain the 15M movement is organising a back to the land campaign to reverse the effects of the still increasing abandonment due to agribusiness competition.

This will be the first in a series on Okupa Rural in Iberia


 Medieval Spanish ghost town Lakabe becomes self-sufficient eco-village

It’s a utopian fantasy discover a ghost town and rebuild it in line with your ideals-, but in Spain where there are nearly 3000 abandoned villages (most dating back to the Middle Ages), some big dreamers have spent the past 3 decades doing just that.

There are now a few dozen “ecoaldeas” – ecovillages – in Spain, most build from the ashes of former Medieval towns. One of the first towns to be rediscovered was a tiny hamlet in the mountains of northern Navarra.

Lakabe was rediscovered in 1980 by a group of people living nearby who had lost their goats and “when they found their goats, they found Lakabe”, explains Mauge Cañada, one of the early pioneers in the repopulation of the town.

The new inhabitants were all urbanites with no knowledge of country life so no one expected them to stay long. When they first began to rebuild, there was no road up to the town so horses were used to carry construction materials up the mountain. There was no electricity either so they lived with candles and oil lamps.

In the early years, they generated income by selling some of their harvest and working odd jobs like using their new-found construction experience to rebuild roofs outside town. Later they rebuilt the village bakery and sold bread to the outside world.1237911857930_fTheir organic sourdough breads now sell so well that today they can get by without looking for work outside town, but it helps that they keep their costs at a minimum as a way of life. “There’s an austerity that’s part of the desire of people who come here,” explains Mauge. “There’s not a desire for consumption to consume. We try to live with what there is.”

Today, the town generates all its own energy with the windmill, solar panels and a water turbine. It also has a wait list of people who’d like to move in, but Mauge says the answer is not for people to join what they have created, but to try to emulate them somewhere else.

lakabe2_0“If you set your mind to it and there’s a group of people who want to do it, physically they can do it, economically they can do it. What right now is more difficult is being willing to suffer hardship or difficulties or… these days people have a lot of trouble living in situations of shortage or what is seen as shortage but it isn’t.”

Read more http://www.trueactivist.com/gab_gallery/medieval-spanish-ghost-town-becomes-self-sufficient-ecovillage/

  1. Lacabe – Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

    es.wikipedia.org/wiki/LacabeTranslate this page

    Se cree que su nombre viene del euskera, de la combinación de laka y be, que significa debajo de Lakarri, siendo este el monte que tiene a Lakabe en sus 

Sabotage works: 9 great examples of SMASHING oppression

Smashy Smashy: Nine Historical Triumphs to Make You Rethink Property Destruction

Flag-burning and property destruction in Ferguson are part of a long, proud history

M’ikmaq anti-frackersanti-frackerss…Sabotage Works!

 By , | October 21, 2014. with thanks.

After Officer Darren Wilson shot teenager Michael Brown dead this summer, Ferguson, Missouri, erupted with outrage, compassion and street protests. The response from many corners of the commentariat was predictable: condemnations of those “bad elements” among the protesters who resorted to property destruction as their demonstration of resistance. After two more high-profile incidents of cops shooting St. Louis black men to death, protesters even burned Old Glory, eliciting still more scandalized gasps from the usual crowd.

Continue reading Sabotage works: 9 great examples of SMASHING oppression

Anarchist Cinema: Review and Trailer of Eco-Thriller “The East”

The_East_2013_film_posterWe will counterattack three corporations for their worldwide terrorism in the next six months.” So declares the eco-anarchist group “The East” near the beginning of Zal Batmanglij’s new film of the same name. With this politically tinged suspense and action film, Batmangilij seeks to break the mold of the usual formulaic summer blockbusters. The director of earlier sci-fi inflected dramas, Batmanglij appears to want to surf the frenzy of Occupy Wall Street and the Tar Sands Blockade that grabbed headlines. The film delves into questions around justice, violence, community, commitment, and ultimately asks the viewer, Which side are you on?

you can download torrent from Pirate Bay Proxy sites (mAY 2015).

This provocative film is one part espionage thriller, one part love story, and all anarchy. Batmanglij tells the story of undercover corporate spy and ex-FBI agent Sarah Moss (Brit Marling, who also gets a co-writer credit) tasked with infiltrating an eco-anarchist group called “The East.” The collective, fronted by Benji (Alexander Skarsgård) and Izzy (Ellen Page), is wanted for executing covert attacks upon major corporations.

The corporate bad guys have never looked so bad. And the depiction isn’t just caricature: the director drew the film’s corporate misdeeds from real stories of corporate crime.

From oil companies spilling billions of gallons of oil into pristine eco-systems, to a pharmaceutical giant putting bad meds on the market, to a chemical company poisoning local watersheds and children, we’re given the sense that The East’s actions are justified. A private security honcho named Sharon (Patricia Clarkson) is especially vile. When, early in her undercover operation, Sarah discovers The East will be poisoning a Big Pharma cocktail party with dirty meds, Sharon orders her to let them proceed – since the party goers aren’t her clients, she doesn’t care wh923255_10151576569844197_509128515_nat happens to them.

But, for me at least, the verisimilitude breaks down when it comes to its depictions of the eco-warriors at the heart of the film. As a self-identified anarchist and activist, I just wasn’t buying it. Not that Batmanglij and Marling didn’t try to get it right. The writers spent the summer of 2009 traveling through the North American anarchist scene researching the film.

To their credit, they depict the anarchist activists as smart, strategic operators – not as dumb, naïve kids duped into some plot, the usual script for the mainstream media. While two months is enough to get a tone and feel for the North American anarchist subculture, it’s not enough to really understand the real meaning of its politics or its inhabitants. In the end, The East’s portrait of anarchists falls flat, seeping some of the movie’s punch.

Like Stuart Townsend’s Battle in Seattle, the film depicts the activists as privileged children damaged by the system or, worse, crippled with “daddy issues” and lashing out with anger and hate. In The East a supporting character, Doc (Toby Kebbell), has dropped out of mainstream society because of the death of his sister at the hands of a pharmaceutical giant.

Benji began his rebellion after the death of his parents in a boating accident and the insult of his remaining family trying to buy offtheeastviralwebsite19032013_01 his grief with money. Izzy has such poison in her heart for her corporate executive father that she kidnaps him and his boss and forces them to jump into a lake poisoned by their company’s chemical waste. In the end (spoiler alert!), the father willingly jumps in to show his love for his estranged daughter – proving to the audience he has more compassion than his supposedly world-saving daughter.  (omg who wrote this script!!)

While not as absurd as Woody Harrelson’s cop in Battle in Seattle apologizing to jailed protestor Martin Henderson after beating the shit out of him (or 2002’s Anarchist Cookbook in which anarchist Puck turns his friends into the police before taking off to marry his Republican girlfriend) the twist at the ending is pushing ridiculous. (Second spoiler alert!) Benji tries to convince Sarah to run off with him and join the resistance. While love is always a wild card, it’s difficult to believe that any anarchist would try and convince an exposed informant to run off into the sunset. Cue face to palm.

Beyond the unbelievable theatrics of the script, there’s a bigger problem with the film’s premise: Its depiction of political activism is a false choice. The film sets up two options for responding to corporate crimes: either violent counter-attack or fuzzy idealism that the system itself will make its own corrections. The filmmakers seem to have ignored (or misunderstood) the lessons from recent successful social movements. We live in a time in which Tunisians and Egyptians have thrown out dictators, Greeks and Spaniards are fighting austerity via strikes and sit-ins, and the occupation of a small park in lower Manhattan sparked a new anti-corporate consciousness in the American mainstream. (but nothing has changed, on the contrary!)

998524_565600490159418_2034287381_nFrom students in Montreal stopping privatization of their schools to Bolivians kicking Bechtel out of El Alto, popular movements and mass organizing are the real game changers in today’s political system. But watching The East, you get the sense that violent counter-attack is the only way to strike back against environmental destruction and social injustice.

In the end, Sarah undergoes a radical transformation from law enforcement careerist to whistle-blower. She launches a campaign to expose the corporate criminals by turning them in to government agencies. To me, trusting in the system to function correctly seems a naïve solution to environmental problems. The reality is the revolving door between industry and government make it nearly impossible to distinguish the regulators from those they are supposed to be regulating. Also, it’s sometimes the whistle-blowers who end up being persecuted. This film seems oblivious of the fact that the government usually acts in the interests of the one-percent-ers.

Batmanglij hopes The East will be a conversation-starter not just for anarchists and radicals, but for grandmothers and ordinary summertime moviegoers. Despite my quibbles about the film, I hope he’s right. We need more pop culture offerings that can spark discussions about the resistance to business as usual.

The history of art and insurrection is encouraging. You wouldn’t have had a civil rights movement without Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance. You wouldn’t have had Students for a Democratic Society and massive anti-Vietnam War protests without Allen Ginsberg and the Beats waxing poetically about inherit flaws in the American system ten years earlier. Likewise, stories of a new vibrant environmental movement are gaining in pop culture despite the country being governed by a center-right party (Democrats) and far right party (Republicans). Whether it’s the other-wordly eco-rebellion of Avatar, the animal revolt of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the proletarian uprising of the Hunger Games, or critically acclaimed documentaries like If A Tree Falls and Gasland, the movie theater has become one of the most important places for exploring environmental politics. Those films and others prove that you can cut all the flowers, but you can’t stop the spring.

Cross-posted from the Earth Island Journal with thanks

Free Eric and Marie: still jailed for resisting Ecocide

Back in the Real World…. support our heroes in prison!

Eric McDavid was arrested in January 2006 after being entrapped by a paid government informant – “Anna” – and was charged with a single count of conspiracy. Eric – who never carried out any actions and was accused of what amounts to “thought crime” – refused to cooperate with the state and took his case to trial. marie_mason

After a trial fraught with errors, the jury convicted Eric. He was subsequently sentenced to almost 20 years in prison. More information on Eric’s case can be found at www.supporteric.org

Marie Mason was arrested in March 2008 after her former partner – Frank Ambrose – turned informant for the FBI. Facing a life sentence if she went to trial, Marie accepted a plea bargain in September 2008, admitting her involvement in the burning of an office connected to GMO research and the destruction of a piece of logging equipment. marie-and-eric

At her sentencing in February the following year, she received a sentence of almost 22 years. More information on Marie’s case can be found at www.supportmariemason.org

Marie Mason and Eric McDavid share the unfortunate distinction of having the longest standing sentences of any environmental prisoners in the United States. Please join us in an international day of solidarity with Marie Mason, Eric McDavid, and other long-term anarchist prisoners on every June 11th  AND ANY OTHER DAY!.

This is a time to remember our friends who are in prison – who are continuing their struggles on the inside.