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catastrophes [2018/03/16 09:27]
Richard Greeman
catastrophes [2018/11/04 13:30] (current)
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 === How ===  ​ === How ===  ​
 +
 +
 +== The Fable of Noah We! ==
 +by Sam Friedman ​
 +
 +Once  upon  a  time,  in  a  land  now  gone  below, ​ clouds ​ gathered, ​ and  rains  began.These ​ were  not  your  ordinary ​ clouds. ​ They  were  very  ominous ​ indeed. ​   The  rai  ndrops ​ were  the  size  of  golfballs ​ the  first  few  days.  But  as  the  days  passed, ​ they  grew  to  include ​ baseballs ​ andthen ​ even  basketballs.And ​ there  were  lots  and  lots  of  rain-balls.Day ​ after  day,  it  rained. ​ The  puddles ​ filled ​ the  roads. ​ Roofs  leaked, ​ then  gushed. ​ In  the  districts ​ where  the poor  people ​ lived, ​ roofs  collapsed. ​   After  a  week  or  so,  whole  tenement ​ buildings ​ began  to  fall  in.  ​
 +
 +
 +It  got  so bad,  the  politicians ​ forgot ​ all  about  promising ​ tax  cuts,  monuments ​ for  their  pals,  and  new  prisons.The ​ Republicans ​ said  that  the  rains  were  a  sign  of  God’s ​ displeasure ​ at  tax-and-spend ​ government ​ and  atmolly-coddling ​ the  poor.  They  called ​ for  cutting ​ food  stamps ​ from  three  loaves ​ of  bread  a  month  to  two;  for stronger ​ umbrellas ​ for  police ​ on  riot  duty;  and  for  tax  incentives ​ to  spur  investment ​ in  galoshes ​ and reinforced ​ raincoats. ​   Just  to  show  how  seriously ​ they  took  the  threat ​ of  these  rains, ​ they  adopted ​ a  new emblem ​ for  their  party: ​ The  elephant ​ trunk  snorkel ​ as  a  symbol ​ of  self-reliance ​ under  all conditions.The ​ Democrats ​ scoffed ​ at  the  Republicans ​ and  their  callousness. ​ They  demanded ​ a  program ​ of  levees ​ or  the river  banks, ​ and  of  tarpaulins ​ and  tacks  to  fix  the  leaks  on  the  roofs  of  the  poor.  Of  course, ​ they  also  put forward ​ suggestions ​ for  tax  cuts  and  monuments ​ for  contractors ​ good  enough ​ to  provide ​ these  services ​ and products. ​   They  too  changed ​ their  party  emblem, ​ to  the  donkeys ​ who  hauled ​ all  that  sand. 
 +
 +After  the  legislative ​ debates ​ and  compromises, ​ Democratic ​ and  Republican ​ officials ​ alike  hired  their  cousins and  contributors ​ to  do  the  job.    When  the  largest ​ of  these  companies, ​ End-Run, ​ provided ​ sandbags ​ held together ​ with  fishnets, ​ and  tarpaulins ​ of  chickenwire, ​ they  promised ​ a  thorough ​ audit  by  Under-Sand ​ andCompany. ​   They  also  got  lots  of  photo-ops ​ and  posed  beside ​ elephants ​ and  donkeys ​ who were  hard  at  work.Now, ​ the  common ​ people ​ were  fed  up  with  their  leaky  roofs, ​ collapsing ​ buildings, ​ and having ​ to  swim  to their  jobs.  By  the  twelfth ​ day  of  the  rains, ​ they  were  demanding ​ action. ​   Some  went  to  their  churches,​mosques, ​ or  synagogues, ​ where  they  all  were  told  to  pray  to  the  lord  for  smaller ​ raindrops ​ and  su  nny  skies;​and ​ to  sacrifice ​ a  scapegoat ​ or  two  to  make  their  prayers ​ effective. ​ And,  of  course,​to ​ atone  for  their  sins  and think  of  Heaven, ​ a  nice,  warm,  dry  spot  far  above  the  rainclouds. ​   But  after  catching ​ and  burning ​ a  few workers ​ of  other  faiths, ​ and  praying ​ all  the  while, ​ the  rains  just  kept  falling.
 +
 +Others ​ went  to  the  leftish ​ political ​ parties, ​ the  Social ​ Democrats ​ and  Greens. ​   These  parties ​ organized ​ a demonstration ​ where  the  party  officials ​ swam  around ​ the  legislature ​ with  signs  demanding ​ action. ​ (No workers ​ came  because ​ they  held  it  during ​ a  working ​ day.)    The  main  effort ​ of  these  parties ​ was  to  set  up re-call ​ petitions ​ to  hold  new  elections. ​ It  was  real  hard  work  swimming ​ door  to  door to  get  signatures, ​ and  the ink  on  these  signatures ​ kept  running ​ in  the  rain.    But  these  folks  were  determined ​ and  gutsy. ​   By  the  17th  day of  the  rains, ​ they  had  enough ​ signatures ​ to  demand ​ a  re-call ​ election. ​   And,  after  alot  of  legal  hemming ​ and hawing, ​ even  the  election ​ commission ​ had  to  agree  (on  the  25th  day).    So  new  elections ​ were  called ​ for  three months ​ (92  days)  later. ​ And  so  the  election ​ campaign ​ began.And ​ the  rains  kept  falling. ​   The  Democratic ​ and  Republican ​ officials ​ got  more  and  more  worried ​ about  what the common ​ people ​ might  do.    They  started ​ blaming ​ a  neighboring ​ land  they  called ​ the  I-Wreck-Ye’s ​ for  the rains. ​   They  gathered ​ an  army,  and  supplied ​ it  with  all  the  best  swords ​ and  spears ​ made  by  the  End-Run ​ and Boing-Boing-Blockhead-Marionetta ​ corporations. ​ And  the  army  waded  off  to  defeat ​ the  idolatrousI-Wreck-Ye’s ​ to  stop  the  rains. ​ But  within ​ three  days,  the  army  swam  back  home  again because ​ their  weapons were  too  rusted ​ to  use,  and  because ​ their  uniforms ​ (by  Oy-Veh!-Say-Low-Rain) ​ were  rotting ​ away.    TheDemocrats ​ and  Republicans ​ thereupon ​ cried  that  the  war  was  being  sabotaged ​ by  I-Wreck-Ye-loving ​ red  and green  terrorists, ​ and  called ​ upon  all  the  patriotic ​ citizens ​ to  put  out  flags  to  support ​ their  country. ​   But  within two  days,  these  flags  (by  the  Oy-Veh!-Say-Low-Rain ​ and  the  I’mGod ​ corporations) ​ had  molded ​ to  ruin.
 +
 +Now,  some  of  the  workers ​ in  the  shipbuilders, ​ seafarers, ​ longshore, ​ umbrella-makers,​and ​ trash-haulers unions ​ were  getting ​ pretty ​ upset. ​ They  were  afraid ​ all  their  families ​ and  friends ​ would  drown  or  get  crushed by  falling ​ tenements. ​ They  called ​ a  meeting. ​   Many,  many  good  people ​ came,  including waist-deep ​ ecologists and  women  tired  of  pumping ​ basements ​ when  they  had  swum  home  from  work  (because ​ even then,  women’s work  was  never  done,  from  rainfall ​ dawn  to  pump  and  run.) They  named  themselves ​ the  Necessary ​ Organization ​ Against ​ Horrors ​ (NOAH, ​ for  short).Their ​ action ​ plan was  to  build mighty ​ ships. ​ The  trash-haulers ​ brought ​ lumber ​ and  nails  from  the  rubble ​ of  collapsed ​ buildings. ​ A  lot  of  the boards ​ and  doors  were  floating ​ in  the  roads  anyway. ​ The  sailors ​ brought ​ rope  and  tar they  just  happened ​ to find  on20the ​ piers. ​ The  longshore ​ workers ​ and  truckers ​ brought ​ boxes  of  food  and  jugs  to  catch  rainwater.(These ​ just  happened ​ to  get  dropped ​ as  they  swam  packages ​ to  ships  and  trucks.) ​ And  everybody, ​ women,​men, ​ and  kids,  worked ​ dawn  to  dusk  and  dusk  to  dawn  (when  not  at  their  jobs)  to  build  ships  and  put  food  on them.    The  waist-deep ​   ecologists ​ swam  through ​ the  countryside ​ rounding ​ up  animals ​ and  seeds—snails,​pussycats, ​ hyenas, ​ morning ​ glory, ​ cannabis, ​ even  a  few  donkeys ​ and  elephants, ​ and  lots  of  doves  to  seek  the land  of  peace  and  dryness.And ​ on  the  31st  day,  NOAH  and  the  common ​ people ​ went  to  their  ships  singing ​ and  praying. ​   ​
 +
 +But  the  rich and  the  politicians ​ heard  about  it  because ​ a  few  over-their-head ​ ecologists, ​ who  had decided ​ that  the  human race  had  done  too  much  damage ​ and  should ​ drown, ​ ratted ​ out  NOAH’s ​ plans  to  the  cops.So ​ the  politicians and  the  rich  folks  and the  police ​ came  running ​ with  their  guns to  take  what  the  workers ​ had  made  for  their own  use.    They  had lots  of  practice ​ at  such  theft, ​ since  that  is  their  day  job.But ​ this  time,  their  plans  to  seize  the  ships  for  their  own  use  were  pretty ​ obvious,​so ​ it  made  it  easier ​ for  the workers ​ to  know  what  to  do.  They  fought ​ back.    When  most  everybody ​ and  everything ​ were  on  board, ​ they sent  a  herd  of  aurochs ​ running ​ down  the  pier  to  shove  the  attackers ​ back.And ​ so  NOAH  sailed ​ off  with  great  hopes, ​ leaving ​ the  rich  and  the  politicians ​ beside the  collapsing ​ levees ​ in their  designer ​ galoshes ​ and  silken ​ raincoats—trying ​ to  make  life  jackets ​ out  of  bales  of  End-Run ​ stock. ​ After some  weeks  on  the  waters, ​ NOAH  and  the  people ​ and  animals ​ and  plants ​ landed. ​ They  built  monuments ​ to the  aurochs ​ for  giving ​ their  all,  and  to  the  workers ​ of  NOAH  for  saving ​ all  but  the  aurochs.
  
 === Now === === Now ===
 +
 +== Restoring the Earth ==
 +
 +Little by little the natural order was re-establishing itself on earth. In the agricultural countries of the South, the peasants had taken back the good lands expropriated by invaders and used to cultivate luxury products for export to rich countries. These export commodities —coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, bananas, spices – had been produced by the labor of impoverished natives reduced to semi-slavery. Their children had ended up in horrible favelas, bidonvilles,​ slums and urban projects where they lived on garbage. In the name of “free markets,” rich monopolies had ruined peasant markets by flooding them with produce at the lowest prices. That unfair competition was subsidized by the “democratic” governments that offered gross subsidies to big agro-business enterprises.
 +
 +In Africa today, there are museums devoted to the '​chocolate children'​. Pathetic huts, child drawings, photographs and recorded interviews bear witness to a common early 21st Century practice. It was a memorial of the sufferings of parents too poor to feed their own children who ended up selling them to manpower merchants and never seeing them again. ​ These merchants sold them to cocoa cultivators who starved them while making them work endless hours picking cocoa  to fulfill contracts with the multinationals. Companies like Nestlé resold these chocolates to children in industrial countries at prices twenty to a hundred times the cost of production. Interviews revealed that none of these children had ever seen, much less tasted a chocolate bar.
 +
 +During the planetary Emergence, these poor peasants of Africa, Latin America, and Asia organized and struggled to take back their traditional lands. Their first goal was to become ​ self-sufficient nutritionally by planting traditional subsistence crops. At the same time on part of the land, they  continued to farm the sugar, cocoa, coffee, spices and other commodities that city workers like to eat, to use for trade. Women had long provided the labor and commercial savvy for agriculture in Africa, and now their energy and experience was united as they took the initiative long monopolized by male profiteers and armed thugs.
 +
 +Regular trade or barter was re-established spontaneously from the very beginning of the reconstruction period. Sailors and aircrew who brought emergency relief and the technical aid for things like irrigation and communication,​ didn’t return home with their planes and boats empty. They filled them with good things for workers of the world’s metropoles. Railroaders,​ truckers, sailors and aviation crews had played a primordial role by bringing aid. After medication and food came tools with teams of aid-workers and technicians working in cooperation with local assemblies. They helped the peasants dig wells, construct cisterns and irrigate. They helped push back the hunger, thirst, and diarrhoea that had for so long tortured the Billions in the south of the planet. ​
 +
 +Thus the natural rapport between city and country was re-established almost spontaneously in outbursts of solidarity, mutual help and cooperation. For the first time in five imperialist centuries, nobody was dying of hunger either in the rich fields of the earth or in the slums of great opulent cities.
 +
 +Today in 2117 we live on a planet where vast desert lands have been reclaimed through irrigation and the revival of long-dormant native seeds, where new forests have been planted to halt erosion, prevent desertification,​ and absorb CO2 while releasing oxygen, where animal and vegetable waste matter is recycled as nature fertilizer, where permaculture techniques have replaced chemical fertilizers and pesticides, where small farmers flourish and provide fresh, healthy, seasonal produce to local markets which also serve to unite communities,​ etc, etc. 
 +
 +Yet all this was not only possible, it was already actually happening in a century ago on a small scale in the interstices of capitalist society, visible elements of the new world growing within the old.
 +
 +We now look back in horrified amazement at the world of 2017 — a planet of continued enclosures where forest people were exterminated and forests cut down to graze cattle for McDonald'​s burgers, where peasants were legally deprived of the right to plant their own seeds and forced to buy them from global monopolies like Montsanto, where peasants routinely committed suicide to escape the overwhelming burden of debt, where traditional subsistance farmers in Mexico
 +were ruined by the dumping of huge amounts of cheap industrially-produced corn into local markets, where vast factory-farms,​ owned by banks and conglomerates,​ were making billions transforming inputs of petroleum-based chemical fertilizers and pesticides into mega-tons of uniformly tasteless produce designed to attract the eye and to remain salable for weeks after harvesting, where agricultural products were transported thousands of miles to markets at a huge cost in carbon pollution, where monopolistic distribution chains paid farmers ridiculously low prices for their produce and suck up enormous profits overcharging customers, where nearly half of this excess produce went to waste in the '​advanced'​ while famines raged across half the world, where food riots out periodically broke out in Asia, and where the extraction of petroleum for industrial agriculture and the clear-cutting of forests for profitable luxury crops like palm oil contributed massively to global warming and impending climate catastrophe.
 +
catastrophes.1521206838.txt.gz · Last modified: 2018/03/16 09:27 by Richard Greeman