Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Notes from the Techo-Utopianism Conference

We are on the train heading north to Maine.  The 22-hour marathon of speeches ended last night at 8:00 pm at the Techno Utopianism conference.  MB and I faithfully sat through all but two hours when we had to take a break.  The mind, and rear end, can only take so much.

I took lots of notes and won't bother writing up a full report.  Instead I think I'll just post some of the more interesting bits that various speakers had to say.  I'll not try to remember which speaker said what - it's the content that counts anyway.  They are in no particular order either.

  • Last year Monsanto spent $402 million on public relations marketing their product illusions
  • The average American watches 4.5 hours of TV per day and sees 30,000 commercials (that remain in our minds forever) per year
  • Land speculation (particularly in the developing world) is the new gold
  • The five largest banks hold more than one-half of total banking assets in the U.S.
  • A systemic analysis is crucial before successful political action can be taken
  • The more environmental desolation we create the more our soul becomes desolate
  • Nature is in us - ancient primal wisdom is a part of us
  • We living beings are of the metabolism of the universe
  • Geo-engineering is a fundamental strategy, and in the U.S. we do not have institutions that are strategic except the military
  • Bill Gates is a major funder of geo-engineering research
  • Gates' group is led by former Star Wars promoter Lowell Wood (Edward Teller was his mentor)
  • Learn more about Strato-Shield
  • Right-wing climate deniers now suggest geo-engineering as the way to deal with carbon emissions 
  • Unless something goes terribly wrong there won't be any real federal regulation of nano-technology.  The risks are huge but profits are equally enormous
  • We don't have technological assessment in our society
  • Bio-tech industry claims their GMO products are the solution to our problems
  • 70% of the planets fresh water is sucked up by industrial agriculture
  • Most genetically engineered crops today are used for bio-fuels to feed cars
  • Synthetic biology is extreme genetic engineering and would use DNA codes to produce various food products
  • Synthetic biology means a massive change in production that would displace millions of indigenous farmers around the world
  • Human genomes would be used to produce certain kinds of people
  • The world is turning against GMO products and corporations are having to spend huge amounts of money to campaign against labeling laws
  • There are now 300,000 cell towers across the U.S. 
  • There are biological effects of electromagnetic radiation from cell phones, Smart Meters, Wifi, and cell towers
  • All great movements started with just a few people and only needed about 1% of the population to have success
  • Corporate science is secret, not peer reviewed, politically powerful, internationally connected, driven by narrow commercial pursuits, and is out to crush academic science
  • We can't write off left-right coalitions especially on issues like surveillance, civil liberties, sacredness of food, and geo-engineering of humans
  • 300-400 tons of radioactive water per day pours into the Pacific Ocean from the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan
  • Conversion of the military industrial complex creates more jobs when we build rail, solar, wind power and the like
  • The Pentagon has the largest carbon boot print on the planet
  • There has been a 50% decline in world wild life populations in recent years
  • War has become like cooking - we like to do it but don't like cleaning up the mess
  • We are living on the planet of the Apps!
  • We live in a state of perpetual on-line interruption
  • The reactionaries are the ones holding up the edifice of corporate capitalism
  • Climate chaos
  • We need to broadcast suspicion and caution against technology
  • Culture is used as a means of social control.  It can also be used as a means of resistance
  • What is real?
  • Corporations bought up climate data, bought up the land and now want to buy our intelligence
  • Higher values don't come from technology, they come from human and ecological values
  • GMO's are anti-food because it is killing us
  • Globalization can only deal with uniformity, localization is bio-diversity
  • We need a global movement to deal with the global problem of a global economy
  • We are talking about the 99% waking up to the techno-global juggernaut
  • Localization is a systemic shift away from the epidemic of economic empire
  • Shift corporate subsidies to support local bio-diversity
  • As things become more localized they become more transparent and accessible to the public
  • Competition and envy are the end result of the corporate consumer model
  • 70% of those who work on farms in the U.S. are not citizens
  • When capitalism crumbles the land will remain
  • How can young organic farmers, saddled with massive education debt, ever buy the land they farm on?
  • Where are we going with all this?
  • We have a society so addicted to fossil fuels that we do extreme things to get the oil and natural gas out of the ground
  • We've never changed our level of energy consumption
  • We need infrastructure for people not for oil companies.  We need decentralized power controlled by us rather than corporations
  • A key part of our movement is stopping the bad so the good can replace the destructive system
  • The Koch Brothers Industries have more wealth ($100 billion) than Bill Gates does
  • Koch Brothers ideological 'freedom' is an extreme form of cancerous capitalism which funds and directs the Tea Party movement
  • We have an ego problem that says one progressive organization is better than another.  Our division begins at that level
  • After 200 years of industrial capitalism we must continue our resistance against the dehumanizing and planet destroying machinery that is hurtful to community
  • Work should be a joyful experience where we give back to nature which gives us our life
  • We are on the verge of the inevitable transition from an economy based on new development to one based on restorative development.  Restoring local people to local places.  It is people who need restoring
  • Belonging is core
  • Our environmental laws don't work because they are based on a flawed concept of dominion over nature rather than community well being
  • One way to change the systemic problem of infinite growth on a finite planet is to recognize nature's right to exist
  • Nature is not property but a community member with an inherent right to exist
  • You can imagine an asteroid hitting the Earth but you can't imagine the end of capitalism.  Why do we imagine that economic ideas from previous centuries are forever relevant?
  • Modern civilization is killing us and we have to replace it with something else
  • Ecological economics puts the Earth first and humans as one species in a diverse natural system
  • Putting economic value first has to end
  • Changing our mindset is critical...neo-liberal capitalism has to go
  • The constituency for eco-degrowth is very small but it is going to happen
  • We need cooperation not competition.  Markets lead people to act selfishly.  Capitalism stimulates the wrong kind of behaviors
  • Rewilding the Earth and rewilding ourselves is the way out


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do we think when we see a person on the ground, choking, gasping for air, bleeding, crying, writhing around and shaking: we think the person is about to die.
This is what the earth is going through right now. Volcanoes increase. Bad weather. Earthquakes and seaquakes increasing. Wildlife dying out...pollution...disasters...ths we must come to the same conclusion for the earth as we have for the dying person.
Planets do change and eventually die. Look at the moon.

10/27/14, 1:08 PM  
Blogger Charles D said...

What I do when I read lists like this one is what, if anything, can we do about it? Ultimately those who value the earth and our continued existence as a species have to gain political power if we are to permanently alter the direction of our nation and the world. Then I look at the farcical elections held in most of our country where these issues are never discussed. It doesn't give me much hope.

10/28/14, 7:54 AM  

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