2 April 2011

If you want to save the species, get political

Is has become increasingly apparent during the past couple of years there is an inability amongst a wide range of people in politics and media to think about more than one issue at the same time. Since the financial crisis and the advent of deficit-vision any thought of showing concern for the environment has entirely evaporated.

In a sad report on the Transition Network website we learn the consequences of a shift in one administration from fluffy Lib Dem to market-hard Tories (that of Somerset County Council). The article quotes the authority's new hardline budget strategy: 'some services will be stopped completely e.g. climate change work, work on renewable energy, natural environment policy and delivery'. They have also sacked their Climate Change Officer. In the world of deficit-think, the environment is entirely forgotten.

The absence of any analysis around political economy was one of the criticisms most frequently made in the early days of the Transition movement, especially by academic commentators. Rupert Read, for example, made the case some three years ago that Transition Towns play a valuable demonstration role but cannot offer a sufficient response without taking politics seriously. Rob gave a spirited defence of the need for unleashing the powers of positive thinking and creative community action.

Like Rupert, and many other green politicians, I have been engaged in Transition initiatives from the start. And from the start I was well aware that any political support demonstrated by 'grey' parties who have always been adherents of the prevailing political and economic culture, whose existence relies on the power structure that is killing the planet, could only ever be partial and opportunistic. What has happened in Somerset appears to validate the view that inspiration, hard work and bright ideas, while important, are insufficient without political analysis, strategy and action.


  1. None of the political parties, nor any other group, will ever be able to properly address our 'environmental dilemma' until they evolve to some degree an essentially theological approach - as featured by all the 'greats' here. From Schumacher, Permaculture to Biodynamics et al (think it’s what we might call derived ancestral wisdom).

    Rationality ain't got anything to do with it.

    The basic operative distillation here is simple enough and it’s how we make any relationship work - constant self-sacrifice - a tough notion to get across in our (quickly collapsing) 'material world' however.

    1. Self-sacrifice is not the answer,except for those training for sainthood.To help others/society without becoming a donkey/slave to those who are in control takes knowledge of the workings of the human psyche and society.Being charitable is one way to learn how it works,provided you are awake and motivated to help society at large.We live in a world where people of necessity compete for all manner of resources.Human nature and those in control(who understand human nature and use that understanding to their advantage)ensures that people will always be competing against each other(Divide and rule).Few people are able to apply self-sacrifice in such a manner as to attain(enlightenment).Few people,it seems,are even able to apply their own intelligence to resolve the fix of the idealist activist.Ideology stops people thinking for themselves.Is it religion,Atheism(another religion) or feminism,environmentalism/Greenism/humanism(an unfortunate naming.It seems all but indistinguishable from Atheism)or whatever,if you're not thinking for yourself,you and your cohorts will be used by people who are more clever than you.Why do you think the Greens/the Left/Women 'feminists' have allowed themselves to be coopted by and into the Status Quo?To change the way things are done?If those so coopted believe that they are dreaming.They are supporting those who are in control.Whatever the coopted idealists gain for their cause is paid for by the far greater losses.Any true gains are paid by those who are the least able to defend their own interests,within the nation-state(which increasingly is simply a fiction to fool the idealists)or elsewhere in the world.Socialism,feminism,environmentalism,charities,human rights,etc.,since the Sixties,is all a middle class scam soon after the first faint beginnings of any such cause.The Sixties shook up the Establishment,briefly.But the people were easily captured-in fact,only a minority went feral.So,what to do?Start thinking for yourself.(Jacob Jonker).