ConsumerismEconomicsSociety

Amazing Speech by War Veteran

I see a world ripe and ready, even braced, for change. This gem of a speech by a soldier confessing his shame for his occupation, the occupation, and the system that finances it all for profit is a very fine example of this. In similar fashion to yesterday’s clip, the thoughts are appropriate for this time of year – when we contemplate the meaning of our little lives and the direction they’re heading in.

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A world based on privatised competition and profit will always destroy itself. It creates ‘health systems’ that incentivise and feed on illness, it creates prisons that depend on crime for their survival, it creates bombs that must be detonated to keep the armament industry afloat and private armies that need war to remain profitable.

The question is, will the massively powerful and centralised profit-based systems – that we’re bankrolling with our labour and consumer involvement – fortify their positions as modern-day feudal lords while society teeters on the edge of the abyss? Or, will we find the way, challenging though it may be, to dismantle them wholesale through a broadscale shift to relocalised self-sufficiency?

Further Reading:

11 Comments

  1. Hi Craig, many thanks for this. A brave and powerful speech. I have forwarded it to friends
    I have great faith in the internet as a medium for spreading awareness and generating grassroots action.
    By the way this is one of my favourite blogs.

  2. I have never heard such truth spoken for many years.
    I will send this info on to friends ……
    As the song “The Times They Are A Changing ” says they are and the “lords and polititcians ” no matter how the try to suppress this sort of information will never stop it …the truth will out and the people world wide are waking up to the FACTS that their governments are corrupt and so are the companies and they are all greedy and that is their downfall.
    When the peoples decide they have had enough the tide will change and the socities will be better for it …..

  3. Hi Craig
    This is typical of the proliferation of the socialist propaganda in our mainstream broadcast media today, And is one of the motivators for me adopting the permaculture life. The problem is not the profit based systems, it is the individuals within those systems that lack morals. Anti capitalism and socialism comes with increased government control which destroys freedom. This increase in socialism has only one answer in my mind. A Permaculture revolution that will give people the freedom to produce their own, to be self-sufficient, not ever-reliant on the government to fix their problems, and be freed from the over-regulated society that we have become. For most people in Australia the permaculture life is a choice, But when the corrupted economic system fails I think a lot of people will be forced to join the revolution.

  4. Is socialist propaganda the problem? A reply to Daryl Clark.
    Our planet and society’s problems and potential solutions have gone well past the outworn old sparring partners of capitalism and socialism, they are anachronisms now. Both Marxism and the extreme greed-is-good Capitalism which has near-bankrupted some western countries through the inevitable GFC, have had eco-system-desroying emphasis on materialism, the ever-increasing production and consumption of material goods, rampant growth (especially in Captialism), a fatal cancer.

    The only ideology or values-system which will bring us and our earth back from the brink, is a radically new respect and even a spiritual reverence for, and joyful daily interaction with, the Earth and all its species and human races…viewing them as our full partners for mutual learning and support, not mere objects to be exploited.

    See Suzuki’s wonderful books, The Sacred Balance and Wisdom of the Elders(Indigenous)….and similarly, Mollison’s comments on Indigenous cultures’ principles and moral rules of responsibility for preserving nature, incorporated into their educational and religious systems. (Designers’ Manual p. 8-9).

    Permaculture is one of the best ways to step towards these radical new values…..the eco-interaction is so abundantly rewarding, it inspires our steps towards a fuller tranbsformation…..that is, if not held back by allegiance to outworn ideological paradigms which will always be fighting each other.

    Also Daryl, you left out the Permaculure “3rd way” of preserving the spirit of enterprise, or ethical capitalism that is local and democratic, not Corporate-controlled feudalism….and with individualism balanced by group support and gentle group discipline….as in “Social or Economic Permaculture”.
    Examples are – worker/consumer/small biz co-ops, community banks, no-interest loans schemes, credit unions, micro-credit family business schemes e.g. the hugely successful Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, now spread to many other places.

  5. A reply to Daryl Clark.

    I think its important to think about various societal configurations (in terms of economical systems) as being on a continuum rather than an “either” (capitalism) “or” (socialist communism) dualism. Both “sides” of this dualism can create straw-figures representing the worst of the “other” side. Maybe there are some “middle way” countries that could embody possible social configurations that have affinity with a kind of permaculture ethics. For example, the data comparing industrialized nations only (from the US to Australia to Japan) clearly shows that the greater the systemic economical inequalities the greater the occurrence of a variety of social and economic problems. A recent 2009 book The Spirit Level details this by aggregating over 200 significant data sets into various powerful charts. The charts clearly tell a story of the social pitfalls of systemic societal economic inequality. Here is a link with some of the main charts:

    https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/node/130

    Although all the slides are interesting, I think I was most intrigued by the economic penalty an inequitable country has: with fewer people having access to education, fewer minds are developed, fewer patents, fewer expressions intellectual and economic creativity occur per capita. Fewer people have the “freedom” to develop and express themselves.

    It seems to me when envisioning future permaculture social configurations (the invisible structures of say the Transition Town movement) we could all learn something from these data sets. Increasing systemic economic equality goes hand in hand with increased social trust and individual intellectual creativity and expression.

    I am not saying however that your point about the lack of morals of individuals within those systems is not important or well taken. Its both the systemic inequalities and the behaviour of people. Its just harder to be a moral person in some economic systems when compared to others. Something about fighting to go up stream or floating downstream…

  6. Let us strip these terms of their power to alienate us from each other:

    Socialism is not the opposite of capitalism: public education and health care are products of socialist ideology. Using public transportation is a socialist action.

    Communism is not the opposite of democratic freedom: food banks and credit unions are products of communist ideology. Sharing a meal with your family is a communist action.

    (with apologies for the minimal relevance to Permaculture)

  7. Michael – I don’t think discussing social structures that frame how we live has ‘minimal relevance to Permaculture’. So please don’t apologise in this regard.

    In fact, I think this is a glaring weakness on the part of most Permaculturists in that they don’t discuss this enough. Trying to live sustainably in a system that is based on living UNsustainably is impossible. As it stands, our only options are to either find a way to live completely separate from the system, or try to find a way to replace the system. Living completely separate from the system is something I’ve failed to do, and I have yet to find someone who has succeeded in this. And even if you could live separately from the system (which necessitates having a decent amount of land and a community of people around you whose combined skills and ethics are sufficient, collectively, to provide for all your needs) the system will eventually roll over you and destroy your little oasis of sustainability, since the ‘easter island scenario‘ we’re now witnessing on a global scale will eventually cut down the trees at your end of the island as well.

    We must change the system, and to do so necessitates discussing, and getting inspired by, what we must replace it with. We must find a ‘third way’. For me this means creating a system that: a) isn’t based on perpetual, exponential growth, b) is based on sharing labour, knowledge and resources, and c) that doesn’t result in centralising power.

  8. Wonderful clip Craig. There’s a fantastic movie called ‘I Know I’m Not Alone’ by Michael Franti that people might like to see. He got sick of hearing about the financial cost of war and wanted to know the effect it was having on people, so he got together any brave friends (hairdresser included!) and went into Israel, Palestine, Iraq and filmed it. Inspiring stuff. Well, he’s inspiring anyway. What he saw was often very disheartening with glimmers of hope.

  9. Thanks Tom and Craig for the comments,
    The socialist philosophy may be considered outworn by most informed academics but unfortunately it still lives with us. I produce bio-diesel but the government says it’s illegal to sell it. I try to sell honey I produce at the local market, but that is against food safety laws, I recycle everything and don’t produce rubbish but the local council forces a garbage collection service at a cost of $250/year. Unless my political philosophy is screwed up,I’d say this is a classic example of state control. I like Craig’s comment about a 3rd way which includes ways too avoid centralised control.

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