This is about a bad idea, and a set of other, good ideas, and an essay by Paul Kingsnorth called Dark Ecology in which he writes wonderfully about those ideas. It's a long (17 page), somewhat slow, meditative, and often sad piece of writing, and you're no doubt extremely busy. And so I will understand if you don't get to it. You may not even get to this here, as you peruse the title and first few lines of this blog post in your facebook feed. But I'm writing, here, my summary of it, so maybe at least some folks I know might get the gist. Still, there's no way I can really replace the original, so if you do feel interested, or inspired, you should click and read.
Who is this for? Is it for you? Well, first of all if you self-identify as an "environmentalist" or as "green" or as someone interested in "sustainability," then this, and Kingsnorth's piece, is for you. It's also for you if you care about nature and where the natural world is headed and where our society and civilization is headed. Read more>>>
In the wake of the amazing and incredibly moving revelation on the part of award-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas (who has written for the Washington Post, Huffington, the New Yorker, and many other news outlets) that he has been an undocumented immigrant living illegally and in fear in the U.S. for 18 years, and the hypocritical media firestorm that has erupted around it, I'm reminded that I still haven't finished blogging about the excellent book about immigration myths, "They Take Our Jobs."
A couple months ago I summarized some major points and passages from the first half of the book. Now I'll finish the job:
- "Conquered peoples have historically been more marginalized, and more reluctant to give up their cultural heritage, than voluntary immigrants."
- "From the outside, it may look like Latinos are not learning English. But what's really happening is that as one generation learns English, new Spanish speakers are arriving. At the same time, more Latinos are speaking both languages than has historically been the case for European immigrants. They learn English without giving up the Spanish."
- on the general trend from colonized peoples moving from subsistence production to wage labor, "People who had formerly produced most of what they consume now produced for others and used their wages to consume goods imported from the metropolis."
- "Not surprisingly, people with other options tend to avoid the most onerous ones. Employers then find that they can't fill their positions, and the government helps them to import workers who have fewer options."
- "Colonialism sets up a system in which colonized peoples work for those who colonized them. This system is not erased after direct colonialism ends. Rather, it evolves and develops."
- "Pundits and politicians demand a solution to the immigration 'crisis.'... With so many well-placed voices talking about a crisis, people begin to feel there really is one... Perhaps the pundits and politicians who are spending so much energy whipping up this immigration scare are trying to distract us from some other, more pressing, national - and global - issues."
- "... guest worker programs by their very nature create a group of people who are not full citizens, and who are easily exploited and abused."
- "[P]eople who lived in areas with very few immigrants were much more likely to have negative views of immigrants than people who lived in areas with high concentrations of immigrants [according to a Pew Foundation study]... This suggests that for many people, anti-immigrant sentiments come less from personal experience than from outside sources."
- "Immigration is a humanitarian problem... what is needed is a humanitarian solution - one that redistributes the planet's resources more equitably among its inhabitants, and one that respects and nourishes traditional peasant lifestyles."
- "Population control becomes a method for preserving white dominance."
- "In societies divided between haves and have-nots, the haves often see eliminating the have-nots as the solution to inequality, rather than redistributing resources."
- On border security myths:
FBI stats: in 2000, no international terrorism incidents inside the U.S. 8 domestic terrorism incidents.
In 2001 there were 12 domestic, 1 international (9/11)
- all but 4 of the 9/11 attackers were in the country legally.
A study of 48 "militant Islamic terrorists" who committed crimes in the US found that 36 of them were in the country legally... 17 were either permanent residents or naturalized citizens.
- "There is just no logical relationship between border security and the prevention of terrorism."
- "[C]urbing US military agression would probably be the most effective way to achieve a global reduction in attacks on unarmed civilians."
- On "the rule of law":
"Rosa Parks broke the law when she refused to move to the back of the bus. Harriet Tubman broke the law when she fled slavery and helped to create the Underground Railroad." "The law was designed not to allow certain groups of people to have the rights that others enjoy."
- "What they really want is to be treated like Cubans. Cubans don't need to wade the Rio Grande or walk the Sonoran Desert."
- "People have been moving around the earth every since they stood upright millions of years ago."
- "As long as [neocolonialism] keeps resources unequally distributed in the world, you're going to have people escaping the regions that are deliberately kept poor and violent and seeking freedom in the places where the world's resources have been concentrated: in the countries that have controlled, and been the beneficiaries of, the global economic system that took shape after 1492."
- "Some migrants leave their homelands for fun, adventure, or curiosity. The vast majority, though, leave because they have no alternative. They leave their homes, their families, and their loved ones as a last resort."
- (Chomsky quoting Eduardo Galeano): "The precarious equilibrium of the world depends on the perpetuation of injustice. So that some can consume more, people must continue to consume less. To keep people in their place, the system produces armaments. Incapable of fighting poverty, the system fights the poor."
This afternoon i've expended (not wasted, but, used, when I should have been working) a bunch of time reading tweets and blog posts and news articles all about the case of Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks and alleged rapist of 2 Swedish women, and the larger meta-issue of the people standing up to defend Assange and attack his accusers, like filmmaker Michael Moore and MSNBC personality Keith Olbermann. There have been so many great feminist blog posts about this, and tons of backlash on Twitter against Moore using the hashtag #MooreandMe. I won't go into the details myself but will just link to this excellent and concise little summary on the Feminist Frequency blog, which has links to a bunch of other blogs and stories that you can delve into. The last link there is to another blog that deftly explains at the end where we're at now, specifically for Olbermann and Moore (and I've sort of written the same on Facebook, though not as well), but also in general for anyone who screws up with these kinds of tricky issues that involve opression and power and social conditioning:
They have the opportunity to apologize. Because being a good progressive? Is all about fucking up.
If we’re ever to break the myth of the flawless progressive hero — a myth that is unproductive, a myth that breaks hearts — we need to start learning how to recover from mistakes. Because they happen; casual racism, sexism, rape apologism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, ageism, classism… Those things happen because we were taught to make them happen. Now we need to teach ourselves to stop them. Sure, we need to expect more. But expecting more doesn’t mean expecting perfection, the first time, every time. Expecting more is about making mistakes, being called out, engaging and learning from them. We learned that shit in pre-school.
So Moore and Olbermann should just fess up and say they're sorry. They didn't think it through quite enough. I don't think they went into it wanting to apologize for rapists. They were blinded a little bit by a focus on other issues, and on the fact that they're white men in a patriarchal rape culture society. They made a mistake. They should have said that yesterday. But they can still say it now. I hope they do. I hope when I make more stupid boneheaded white male mistakes, as i surely will at some point, I'll recognize it fast and apologise right away like they should have. Read more>>>
I look forward greatly to reading Jonathan Franzen's new huge novel, "Freedom," his work of the last 9 years, just out this month. But until that time, here's something about freedom that I love, from David Foster Wallace's own magnum opus, "Infinite Jest", which I'm nearing the end of (well, I still have about 200 pages to go, but on a 1000-page book that's something!). Here, a Quebecois separatist double-agent is speaking to an intelligence agent from the U.S.:
Always with you this freedom! For your walled-up country, always to shout 'Freedom! Read more>>>