All about books, the people who write them, sell them and read them…reviews and news, travel and photography.
An avid reader of books and supporter of bricks and mortar book stores. I love to browse in a well stocked independent book store or second hand bookshop. I enjoy writing, photography and travel. I'm also a keen gardener, interested in self sufficiency and make it my responsibility to grow much of my families fruit and vegetable needs.
Saturday 16th November brought around the annual Hastings Lions book sale. My daughter-in-law’s grandfather Morris helped to bring about the first Lions book sale over 30 years ago. This years was the first that he’d missed. He died a few days earlier . Very sad because he was such an outgoing and community oriented person. On a brighter note, once again there were thousands of books for sale. All used, secondhand, thirdhand and some really well read books donated by the community to the Lions and all money raised from the sale goes back unto the community in some form or another.
As it says in the caption, these were just some of the books I bought at the sale. They were mostly at the bargain price of 2 New Zealand dollars each and most were in good or very good condition despite their age. I also picked up a few books for my wife…which I think was a reasonable swap….cough cough. And I managed to even get a couple of photography books, one of which features the portraits of Steve McCurry, one of my favourite photographers. The deal at home is meant to be, “get rid of some books before you buy any more”. I always fail miserably at the getting rid part of the deal, but excel at buying some more. Oops!
So, as a result of the book sale purchases, my to read pile has grown considerably. Although I already have 2 other books on the go at the moment, I couldn’t resist starting Brian Viner’s book Pheasants’ Revolt – the second book about the transformation of his and his families lives in transitioning from Townies to living in the countryside. He is a very humorous writer, very easy to read and I find myself magically almost half way through the book at the first attempt….in a very short time. Absolutely loving it and wouldn’t mind trying to track down the first of his books…Tales of the Country.
I will do a quick review of Viner’s book in a later post. Meantime, better get back to it. Has anyone else been to any good book sales recently?
There’s a couple of things I’d like to discuss today about rebellion….what it is, what it isn’t and what it probably should be.
First off though let me just say that I’ve just finished reading Mark Boyle’s“Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi” and would definitely recommend it to everyone as essential reading. It will push and pull at your sense of what’s right and wrong in the world and how we should react to rectify matters. Boyle pulls no punches in standing up for nature, suffering from the onslaught of human greed in the form of the industrial/political machine. He says that if we really want to effect change, by rebelling against the status quo, we need to be prepared to use every tool in our tool box. He has to choose his words carefully so as not to be placed on some form of government watch list…..he’s probably on one anyway….and so stops just short of inciting violent protest, but clearly indicates that violent protest is the only effective protest.
Conversely, we have Extinction Rebellion (a catchy name and a trendy logo), led by Roger Hallam and Gail Bradbrook in the UK, which has quickly spread around the world as the “alternative” environmental movement. XR, as they are known, say that they are an environmental movement who use nonviolent civil disobedience to compel government action to avoid tipping points in the climate system, biodiversity loss and risk of social and ecological collapse. By stipulating that they use only nonviolent civil disobedience, they limit what tools they can draw from their toolbox to fight against injustice.
I have been a protester/activist/political commentator from my mid teens to present day. In my 60 years on this earth I have been a founding member of a peace group, joined this peaceful campaign and that, taken part in peaceful marches, sit ins, rallies, gone door to door with petitions for everything from saving the forests, banning the bomb, assorted attempts for world peace, marched against Monsanto’s GMO’s, marched against fluoride in the drinking water etc etc. So I do understand where XR are coming from in declaring themselves a nonviolent movement. I’ve seen it all, been there done that and for the most part sadly, these tactics (petitions and peaceful protest) have been totally ineffective in changing the way that government or industry do things. There’s a famous quote that says Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Yet still we pull out the same tools from our toolbox that have failed us before and expect, or at least hope, that this time they will actually work.
If you look up the word Rebellion in the dictionary it will say: noun – an act of armed resistance to an established government or leader……the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention. Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. Rebellion generally seeks to evade and/or gain concessions from an oppressive power, a revolt seeks to overthrow and destroy that power as well as its accompanying laws. Elsewhere I find Rebellion = Resistance, Revolt = Revolution. And Rebellion: is a violent uprising of the masses against their leadership.
So, a couple of these definitions specify violence or armed resistance. Something that XR rule out. One has to ask how rebellious the civil disobedience of Extinction Rebellion actually is, when they report to the police and councils to give prior notice of actions being taken, in order to get permission to protest. Not very rebellious I’d say. In footballing terms it’s a bit like Manchester United giving Liverpool notes on their tactics for their upcoming game. The authorities then give them permission to protest – march, block bridges, picket buildings etc., under police supervision and on condition it doesn’t lead to excessive public unrest. The fact is that they are only ever going to be as rebellious as their masters (the government, councils or police) allow them to be.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe that XR’s heart is in the right place. They are well intentioned and have had a few minor results go their way, but are playing within the rules enforced by the oppressors that they profess to be fighting against. This is neither a rebellion, nor are they likely to win the war using these tactics, even though they will win the occasional battle or gain the odd concession here and there. Civil disobedience, according to Mr Boyle’s book, is about NOT reporting to the authorities about forthcoming rebellious action, causing as much disruption to the status quo as possible, and is about keeping ALL options open.
In Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi, Boyle tells us the only thing that both the government and big business fear is damage to their profit margins. Peaceful demonstrations, blocking some roads or bridges while leaving alternative routes open, orderly marches and endless petitioning are not going to stop the progress of big business or prevent their wanton destruction of the natural world. We need to change the entire corporate/government/military/consumer driven economic system. We need to escape the shackles of the debt riddled society in which we live and simplify our lives, return to living within the boundaries of nature and to stop dominating and plundering nature or as big business and government refer to it “natural resources”. Can’t nature just be left as nature, and valued for it’s beauty and wildness, without being given a monetary value and classed as a resource?
Some years ago a small group of activists by the name of ELF (Earth Liberation Front) used violent action (arson) against corporate property with the intention of damaging financially the businesses that are wreaking havoc on nature and the environment, without violence to people – so no injury or death to anyone. They burned down several properties of companies that they saw as threats to the environment or as being directly destructive to nature. This included a timber mill that was illegally logging trees, and a slaughter plant that was killing so many wild horses that the blood released into the waterways was such that the water department could not cope and nearby towns water supply was polluted. In many cases, as a result of ELF’s “Ecotage”, the business either folded completely, or moved elsewhere. It was generally acknowledged therefore that ELF were successful in their actions. Just a note for the authorities here…I am not condoning Arson, nor am I inciting it. I am merely stating that it was affective in achieving ELF’s goals. Although many of their actions took place in the 1990’s it wasn’t until post 9/11 that arrests were made under new terrorism laws. Although ELF never threatened the lives of anyone, nor injured, or took a life by any of their actions, they were deemed to be bigger “Terrorist threats” than, for example, white supremacy groups who had killed and were continuing to kill/threatening to kill. Why is this you ask? Boyle says it’s because although white supremacists threaten lives, usually of people who are not white, they do not threaten businesses profit margins. When a multi million dollar or multi billion dollar company tells their government officials that they demand action against what they term “Eco-Terrorists” otherwise they will withdraw their financial support…they get listened to. Money makes the rules. Big business tells government what to do. The tail wags the dog. For the people, by the people….don’t make me laugh! To view an excellent 2011 video documentary “If a tree falls” – about ELF’s actions and their eventual capture by the authorities, link to YouTube doco is below. It is an insight into the methods of direct action and the thinking behind movements such as ELF.
Meantime the public keep on signing petitions, or take their plastic to recycling stations and think that they are doing their bit in saving the planet.
Boyle, in the closing pages of his book says that “The landscape of activism today is, like the forests of England and Ireland, dominated by the deer who quickly nibble at any shoots of resistance….however our monocultural political terrain is in need of a ferocious predator. We need the wolf to bring balance to the wild forests. We need the Wild Revolutionary to stand up to the threat in the wild, but the authorities would prefer the political landscape to be inhabited only by reformists, pacifists and the like….like domesticated animals to browse within the fence line“.
He also says that violent direct action should certainly not be the first route to take. It should be the very last tool taken out of the tool box, but it should not be ruled out from the very start. “If the day comes when we accept that both fierceness and gentleness have their appropriate time and place within our struggles in defence of Life, we may again earn the chance to experience the only real peace there has ever been: the peace of The Wild“.
So what Boyle is saying is don’t use a sledgehammer to crack a walnut, but when a wall needs knocking down a nutcracker won’t do the job. Also in the book he says that sometimes the very idea of having to use that sledgehammer paralyses us and we opt for reformist half measures even though we know they are doomed to fail against the military/industrial/political machine.
Money from industry, buys political support, dictates political policy and indirectly funds the armed wings of government – its police, its army, along with its guns, drones, nuclear weapons, courtrooms and prisons, all ready and willing to serve their master. These are co-funded by us, the citizens, by our paying of taxes. We fund our own oppressors. How crazy is that? It’s scary to stand up for nature and for ourselves against such a “machine”. They have CCTV cameras on every street corner and, as Edward Snowden made perfectly clear, they can use our own smart phones, smart TV’s and computers to listen our private conversations within the sanctity of our own homes, even turn on smart appliance cameras remotely, along with systems that monitor our emails, check our internet use and phone conversations. To stand up against this phenomenal opponent would appear to be suicidal. They are everywhere, have infiltrated every nook and cranny of our lives. Big Brother, as Orwell wrote in the book 1984, IS watching you.
This is one of the reasons that Boyle first spent 3 years living without money and then widened this by also living without modern technology. He is off grid completely. The more people that follow Boyles example and escape the digital ties that bind us to the machine, the harder it is for “them” to influence and dominate our lives.
The system of government works against the very people that it is meant to represent. The industrial/military/political machine gets to make all the rules and enact laws, that they claim are for our protection, but actually serve only to restrict our movement and make us easier to control. The laws also make it easier for them to justify pillaging nature….or as they call it “making use of natural resources”. In his book, Boyle states – If you consider that the natural world, nature equals Life, then the “machine” is the enemy of Life, and for us to play by the rules that the enemy of Life enacts is laughable.
Our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including in many cases human life. Look at the displaced tribes of the Amazon who’s land is systematically levelled to enable yet another beef ranch, soya or palm oil plantation. Look at communities who have no drinking water because it has been sold to water bottling plants for export, or has been so badly polluted by industry that it is no longer safe to drink. Look at small family run businesses who are driven out of business because of international or multinational corporations. Globalization rather than benefiting everyone, as promised, with it’s so called trickle down economy, has only increased the wealth of those at the top of the food chain while driving millions into poverty, and destroying national identities, centuries old customs, and borders.
There is a hell of a lot of information and misinformation out there in the media, in books and on line about climate change or climate crisis. It’s difficult, but not impossible, to sort out fact from fiction, particularly when often fact is so much stranger than fiction. As things currently stand, I see activist groups like XR and other “peaceful” protesters as being patsies for the establishment and “one world/one government” political policies. In their blocking of streets and bridges, while still obeying the rules of engagement, XR are getting TV news time because it serves the political policy makers. It proves to the world that the government allows its citizens the right to protest (albeit under strict rules and conditions), proves they are a democratic and “free” society. Try not paying your taxes and find out how free you really are! The general public are being made aware of “the threat of climate change” but are also getting pissed off at being constantly delayed in going about their business. When XR blocked London’s bridges, they even blocked the cycle lanes. Surely those cyclists were already walking the walk, as it were, while XR are still at the stage of talking the talk. The cyclists are not contributing to the global warming problem as they are not using transportation powered by fossil fuels. The very thing that XR are pushing. It was a stupid mistake in their policy to block cycle lanes as well as general road traffic. In the end XR will not affect business as usual in London or elsewhere. The consumerist driven growth economy is not going to shut down because of their actions, and shareholders profit margins are not going to be affected in any long term way.
On a personal note…It’s my prediction, and I realise that many people will think of me as a conspiracy theorist (and I probably am to a certain extent, but as I stated earlier, a lot of so called conspiracy theory is actual fact – as strange as some of it may seem), that eventually the government(s) will turn to the public and say “OK we have seen how serious the public are about the climate problem, because of the protests on the street” (which they have been happy to allow because it suits their agenda). “We know that we only have a short time frame to turn things around so we have to make radical changes…bring in some new rules and regulations… to save the world….are you with us?” The public agree, desperate to survive, get sucked in, and the UN’s agenda 21, or the updated agenda 2030, gets quickly rolled out giving governments extra emergency powers under the guise of rapidly reducing our carbon footprint, controlled by a unified One World Governing Body – the UN. And we – the public – who have been fed a steady diet of misinformation, will vote for it and give our blessing, so that THEY will be able to control not only the movement of people, but what we eat, the jobs we do, where we live, how we live, the redistribution of wealth, total control of our bank accounts by getting rid of physical cash money (something that the Reserve Bank is already talking about), confiscation of land, birth control/population control (including “voluntary” sterilization). Back in the 1960’s the UN were brainstorming to think of ways to get the general public to fall in behind support for a one world government – controlled by them, the UN, to push their own policies. They have stated that 375 million is the ideal population for the earth and they have been looking for ways to achieve this, but needed a banner to unite the world behind. Climate change/Global warming is that banner. We are up near 8 billion, so that will mean a reduction of about 95% of the current population…..how are they going to achieve that figure? War? A pandemic perhaps? (I see that there has been a reported outbreak of Pneumonic Plague – a more dangerous cousin of Bubonic Plague – in China – link to article – https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/plague-is-diagnosed-in-china-prompting-fears-of-an-outbreak/ar-BBWHMaz?ocid=spartandhp). Biological weapons released by “Terrorists” maybe? Do they just shut down the power grids (hacked by foreign powers?) and watch us rip one another limb from limb once the food supply runs out? How do you qualify to be in that surviving 5%? And will that 5% then continue with business as usual?
I realize that for many people this idea of a one world government deliberately looking to control citizens and force a reduction in population sounds fanciful, the thing of Science Fiction. So I will share with you with a few quotes below, and ask that you please read Boyle’s book, do your own research into climate change, the UN and population control, oh yes…and the Club of Rome (see the quotes later on). And examine what is happening in the world with eyes wide open….don’t just accept the version presented by the state run media. We certainly need to embrace the natural world again and not pillage it. I can’t see a world government actually doing that despite the spin they attempt to put on things.
Quotes follow from some of the most powerful political figures, or influencers of political policy in the world. I find it quite terrifying that these corrupt people have been allowed to dictate policy by which we are expected to live.
Henry Kissinger, American politician, diplomat, and geopolitical consultant who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor (and winner of the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize under controversial circumstances, with two members of the committee resigning in protest) said – Today, America would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order. Tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told that there were an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the World Government.
Thomas Ferguson an American political scientist who wrote about the Logic of Money-driven Political Systems – There is a single theme behind all our work – we must reduce population levels. Either governments do it our way, through nice clean methods, or they will get the kinds of mess that we have in El Salvador, or in Iran or in Beirut. Population is a political problem. Once population is out of control, it requires authoritarian government, even fascism, to reduce it.
David R Brower, environmentalist and the first Executive Director of the Sierra Club is also on board saying – Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.
Timothy Endicott Wirth, a former United States Senator from Colorado. He served both as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Education for part of the Nixon Administration and later for the Clinton Administration as the first Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs for the U.S. State Department. – We’ve got to ride the global-warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.
Aurelio Peccei, industrialist and philanthropist, best known as co-founder with Alexander King and first president of the Club of Rome, an organisation which attracted considerable public attention in 1972 with its report, The Limits to Growth. – The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. …The real enemy then is humanity itself.
And finally a couple of quotes from David Rockefeller. Rockefeller from one of the wealthiest families around, was assistant regional director of the United States Office of Defense, Health and Welfare Services before teaming up with the rest of the family at the Chase National Bank where he became President. The bank was closely associated with and has financed the oil industry, having longstanding connections with its board of directors to the successor companies of Standard Oil, especially Exxon Mobil. It’s now known as JPMorgan Chase bank. – We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years……It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supernational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries. – Which goes to confirm that the media are under the control of big business and government and complicit in the plot to take away the public’s right of self determination.
and finally, Rockefeller again – We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis. Of course the crisis selected was Global Warming.
So folks, as you can see from these quotes….we are not paranoid….they ARE out to get us and have been plotting against the citizens of the world for decades! It’s not simply crackpot conspiracy theory. AND I do realize that it’s so hard to know what to believe after that quote from Aurelio Peccei. As you will see from earlier posts, I was initially ready to believe the UN IPCC panel and was blown away by the emotional Greta Thunberg…until her last speech at the UN, which was a rehash, virtually word for word, of an earlier UN speech but delivered with the venom of a consummate actor….”How dare you…” It just didn’t seem authentic anymore. And why would an organisation as powerful as the UN allow a teenage girl the opportunity to berate them time and time again – with full TV and press coverage – for their inaction on Climate Change, if it did not serve their purpose? Do we blindly follow the UN? We hear UN climate scientists presenting dooming facts about climate change – although incidentally they do not allow for the phases of the sun, solar maximum and solar minimum in their calculations. Long-term secular change in sunspot number is thought, by many scientists, to be correlated with long-term change in solar irradiance, which, in turn, might influence Earth’s long-term climate. The sun being the main regulator of temperature here on earth I find its exclusion from climate change calculations quite worrying – and ex Presidential hopeful Al Gore (a member of the establishment who, incidentally, is making bucket loads of money from the whole climate change situation) is leading the charge. Having now seen the quotes above, by the political movers and shakers, about ways of gaining control of the citizens by causing widespread panic using Climate Change as a unifying factor, via the formation of a One World Government under the control of, to quote Rockefeller, “an intellectual elite and world bankers”….what do we do? Indeed, what can we do?
Boyle says that although the “Machine” appears to be powerful and omnipotent, it is its omnipotence that makes it so weak. It is so thinly stretched that, if the citizens were to rise up against it simultaneously, it would be overthrown simply by weight of numbers. An interesting theory.
In the meantime the rich and their Globalist Corporations continue to get away with tax avoidance while the working classes are squeezed for every taxable penny – with threat of imprisonment should they refuse. Whether climate change is totally due to the actions of man, or just a phase of the suns warming, or a combination of both – has still to be proven 100%. Yes a panel of UN Climate Scientists have declared their findings to be accurate, but the UN is the same organization vying for total domination of us, under their one world government, so their “undeniable” findings should be considered dubious or, at the very least, warrant further investigation. There is no denying however that the forests are being cleared, the waterways and the oceans are being polluted, as is the air that we breathe, and a genuine extinction of species is happening, as their habitat (nature) is destroyed by globalist corporates and needs immediate action to reverse this insane destruction. Should we protest? If we want to live, if we truly want to protect nature – what’s left of it to protect – surely we must take some sort of action. Do we take peacefully to the streets with our placards and/or sign petitions yet again, hoping insanely for a different result, or this time do we use ALL the tools in our toolbox and say “Enough!”? This, I think, is the conclusion that Mr Boyle in his book Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi is hoping that the citizens of the world will come to.
Please note – I am not inciting the masses to commit violent acts. I am, for the most part, reporting on or reviewing a book. BUT, it would be wonderful if you would read the book Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi, watch the video If a Tree Falls – do your own research into the problems that we are facing today and come to your own conclusions. Is nature worth saving? I hope you’ll agree that it is. As usual thank you for reading. Any shares, likes or comments are most appreciated.
Just over three years ago both me and my wife were working full time. I worked 40 hours per week, and she was working 37.5 hours per week. We were not in high paying jobs, but the money was good, and payment was regular and reliable. Then in mid 2016 we both quit our jobs and fulfilled a long term dream of travelling around the UK and Europe for 6 months, on a strictly limited budget. It meant that we couldn’t do everything that tourists usually do, but there was always something either free, or reasonably priced to do where ever we went. We had a wonderful time, met lots of interesting people, saw some of the sights, experienced a lot.
Some of the people we met lived – I don’t want to use the word unusual or strange, because they weren’t, but shall we just say – lived in ways that are not these days considered to be mainstream. Some had pretty much turned their backs on modern gadgets. Others were very much into self sufficiency and making things rather than relying on the stores and supermarkets. There seemed to be a connection with nature and more sense of community, just like when it was when I was growing up in Yorkshire in the 1960’s. Back in the 60’s, I not only knew my neighbours, but also knew by name everyone in our street – men, women and children. I even knew a lot of people in other streets nearby. If anyone had a problem or a task that they needed help with, someone on the street would be there to help out.
Kids played in the street together, and in the local woods and parks – without adult supervision, without rubberised mats to fall down onto, without having to phone or text home every 10 minutes to report where they were, who they were with and what they were doing. When we went out to play our mothers would say “be home before dark”. That was the only stipulation. We were kids and loved to play, but we also had common sense and strength in numbers. If anyone was stupid enough to try to do anything illegal or immoral with one of us, the rest were there as back up. Never any problems.
Mothers used to stand at the gates of the houses and chat over a cup of tea (and in many cases, a cigarette). But of course that was then…..and now we are so much “better connected” with the internet, twitter, Facebook, Instagram, on line games, virtual reality communities and so much more to waste our time and isolate us from the real world. We can blob out on our couches and never move all day as we watch and “like” other peoples lives….see what they had for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Isn’t modern technology wonderful? Where ever we go we can have internet access. We can be contacted by smart phone…or smart watches even in some of the more remote places. Isn’t it marvelous to be at everyone’s beck and call every minute of every day? Things like peace, isolation, quiet, are a thing of the past…as is going for a brisk walk over the moors or through the woods… as we become addicted to our digital devices.
But I’m getting carried away, my apologies. What I am trying to say is, that by living with limited things and on a tight budget for 6 months, and managing to live very comfortably, we wondered what we could do when we returned home to simplify our lives, work less hours and have more time for us – to do what we enjoy. We had already decided that we didn’t want to work full time jobs any more and would only be looking for part time work when we returned home.
The answer was to dig up our useless lawns and turn them into vegetable gardens, with fruit and nut trees planted here and there. In the end we have over 20 trees and lots of small gardens covering what was our lawn. Except for the middle of winter, we are pretty much self sufficient in fruit and veg. We had increased our mortgage payments before quitting our jobs and had managed to pay it off, so that left the usual expenses to pay for things like the rest of our food bill, electricity, insurance, local council rates and taxes, internet, and all that is involved in keeping a vehicle on the road. In the end, we are getting by on only my wife working part time, while I look after the house and gardens and to help make ends meet we have rented out a spare bedroom through Airbnb. It is not occupied all that often, but the money it brings in pays for our little luxuries. We have more time….some of it is spent keeping the garden up and running, but since I enjoy doing that, it’s not really a hardship. We can take up hobbies, go out for the day, enjoy walks and bike rides, commune with nature, write a blog (this one) or nestle into a comfortable chair with a good book….and coffee (or wine). Oh yes I also make my own wine, jams and chutneys. We preserve any extra fruit, tomatoes, peppers etc to help to see us through the leaner months. And after 3 years – almost – things are working well. We’re living the good life.
Last year we planted around 70 tomato plants and we preserved lost of them and made sauces with others. We still have jars of tomatoes and bottles of sauce stacked on our storage shelves. This year, so far I have planted around 50 tomato plants, but have seed trays with another 40 or 50 that I am still waiting to grow big enough to plant out. And that’s only a start. Encouraged by what we have read by several authors who have simplified their lives even more than we have and gone completely off grid, we have decided that in the new year, 2020, we will start looking seriously into selling our home here on the edge of the city and buying a smaller house, but with more land out in the countryside. This will allow us to expand our gardens, raise chickens for eggs (and possibly for meat), maybe we’ll also have a couple of goats for milking to make cheese. We’ll also put in a wood lot for continuous firewood supplies, harvest rain water, put in solar panels to provide us with electricity for lights at night and other basics, but mostly we’ll be going “old school” with hand operated appliances, a root cellar to keep food fresh and attempt to be off grid and as free of “the system” as possible. It could also mean that my wife can cut back on her working hours even further….or completely if we can make our self sufficiency profitable.
Time will tell. Meantime we have renovations to do on our existing home to ready it for sale. I’ve just replaced the hallway ceiling, so still have to plaster and paint that. And we’ve had a couple of weeks now of very dry, hot weather (we’re coming into New Zealand’s late spring/early summer and it’s already hit 31C/88F) so I have to keep up on the watering. Our strawberries are producing well – we have around 200 plants, and our 200 or more raspberry canes have lots of flowers, buds and unripe green fruit forming. It looks like being a wonderful season for berry fruit. After they finish fruiting it will be time for the peaches to be harvested. I love summer fruit!
Please note…I have put a link below to the blog I used to write last year (that I should probably update) about gardening and self sufficiency. Lots of photos there of the garden and produce. Meantime, many thanks for reading the blog. Comments, likes and shares are most appreciated and if you have any questions please do ask.
Since Remembrance Day is almost here (11th November), I thought I would try to pen a poem about the Poppy as a tribute to the fallen of World War One…Known as “The Great War” and also as “The War to End All Wars”. Of course, history shows that this “Great War” did not, unfortunately, end all wars, and whether you agree with armed conflict or not, it should not diminish the bravery of the men who fought….and the many who died….in the hope of protecting the freedom of those they left behind in their homelands.
The War to end All Wars, they said
They called it that, but they were wrong
This poem is for the millions dead
And for the flowers that they fought among.
The poppies grew on Flanders Field
Red petals match the red blood spilled
Those brave young men refused to yield
And on those muddy fields were killed.
We wear the poppy to remember them
And the reasons that they died
Through our button-hole we place the stem
The red poppy, worn with pride.
On a personal note, both of my grandfathers, along with their brothers, fought in WW1. Thankfully my grandfathers came home safely. My father and uncles fought in WW2 – again came home safely, although one uncle lost an arm in the conflict. I am thankful that so far, me, my brother and my sons have been spared the horror of having to fight in WW3. I remain hopeful that this fragile peace, in which we currently live, continues.
The quote “Be the change you want to see in the world”, was attributed to Mahatma Gandhi….some would say falsely. It appears that the closest he came to saying these words, or something along their lines, was: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change”.
The actual phrase may have been said much later – in 1970 – well after Gandhi’s death, by New Age Teacher Arleen Lorrance, who taught at Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn. The concept of “be the change you wish to see in the world,” began in a report about The Love Project written by Ms. Lorrance, and published in an education reform text. But this doesn’t detract from the sentiment of the phrase, no matter who said it.
Henry David Thoreau, he of Walden fame, said something similar earlier still than Gandhi, when he said Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around. Actually, Thoreau had a great belief system and came up with some very worthy and notable quotations. He could certainly see through the veil of crap that that the political and the industrial systems put up between them and the public to keep the citizens in the dark, meekly following on as they are told. As follows…..
If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.
If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.
There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure andrepose of nature.
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.
Thoreau died in 1862, well before the Wright Brothers first flight, but even back then he could see the amount of destruction that mankind could inflict on the earth. Of course since the late 1800’s and into the 1900’s our rate of destruction has ramped up to a terrifying level. Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, which he wrote in a basic cabin beside Walden Pond in the woods near Concord, Massachusetts. He is also known for his essay “Civil Disobedience”, an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. In which he encourages the people to stand up to the state machine, which has since morphed into our consumer driven system, that seems hell bent on destroying nature and our relationship with the earth and each other.
His banner….his writing legacy that is… about us being one with nature, of us protecting nature and ourselves as a part of nature, rather than being apart from nature…..has been taken up by other writers of the present day such as – Wendell Erdman Berry, an American novelist, poet, essayist, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer – Mark Boyle, a.k.a. The Moneyless Man, an Irish activist and writer best known for founding the online Freeconomy Community – Paul Kingsnorth, an English writer and thinker. Former deputy-editor of The Ecologist and a co-founder of the Dark Mountain Project.
All of the above writers are inspirational in their regard for protecting nature….for natures sake, not just because someone has placed a monetary value on nature. Please read them, become inspired by them, and become part of the solution, not part of the problem that we face today, as we continue to allow “the system” to rape and pillage nature. Sometimes, “the Law” won’t protect that which needs to be protected, because the people who make the laws are the ones doing the plundering….or benefiting financially from those who do the plundering. I’ll leave you with one last quote. This time from Earth Liberation Front spokesperson Leslie James Pickering, who said:
…..the vast majority of efforts made in the name of environmentalism are done so through state-sanctioned means to social change. But when the system itself is precisely what is enabling and promoting oppression, how is it logical to expect that same system to provide avenues toward liberation?
In other words, the answer to our environmental/climate problem are not going to come from the same source as those who support the industries and ways of life that are causing the problem. Government and the corporate world are not going to make changes unless forced to do so.
Please look into what Paul Kingsnorth, Mark Boyle and the Earth Liberation Front think are the answers.
Before I start this post I want to make absolutely sure that you….yes you, reading this, understand that I in no way condone killing anyone….whether it be as a freedom fighter, a terrorist, or even as a soldier under orders from the President. Killing is killing. What I would like us to look at…..to consider, are the ethics, the reasoning behind why people take such extreme action such as destroying property or taking lives…for a belief system. US President George W Bush and his side kick Tony Blair (Prime Minister of the UK) have not been tried as murderers for starting a war, proven to be on false pretences, with Iraq, killing a generally accepted number of around 288,000 people. Why is that? Why is that not considered to be terrorism? An unjust war must surely mean unjust, unlawful killings. Is it simply because they are in command of two of the most important nations on the UN Security Council, so are considered to be above the law?
As we approach November 5th – a date celebrated by many in the western world, particularly in the UK – celebrating the failed attempt by Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators to blow up the House of Lords, I thought it may be apt to include a post about Freedom fighters…or Terrorists. The difference between a Freedom Fighter and a Terrorist is often decided upon by whether they won the conflict or lost. Victors are generally viewed as Freedom Fighters….as are those supported by “western” governments. History has given us many Terrorists but only a few Freedom Fighters. It all depends on your point of view as to which category they should be in. For now, I want to discuss just one person…..
Most people will have heard of the Unabomber – real name Theodore (Ted) John Kaczynski. Who over a period of around 17 years, beginning in 1978, killed 3 people and injured 23 by sending parcel bombs via the US mail service. But what was his reasoning behind this action?
…. America’s little wars are designed to promote the interests of “the system,” but violence at home is dangerous to the system, so the system’s propaganda has to teach us the correspondingly correct attitudes toward such events. Yet I am much less repelled by powerless dissidents who kill a couple hundred because they think they have no other way to effectively state their protest, than I am by politicians and generals—people in positions of great power—who kill hundreds or thousands for the sake of cold calculated political and economic advantages. – Unabomber – Theodore “Ted” John Kaczynski.
On the subject of Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of the Oklahoma federal buildings in retaliation for the Ruby Ridge and Wako siege, Kaczynski had this to say….The media teach us to be horrified at the Oklahoma City bombing, but I won’t have time to be horrified at it as long as there are greater horrors in the world that make it seem insignificant by comparison. Moreover, our politicians and our military kill people in far larger numbers than was done at Oklahoma City, and they do so for motives that are far more cold blooded and calculating. On orders from the president, a general will kill some thousands of people (usually including many civilians regardless of efforts to avoid such losses) without bothering to ask himself whether the killing is justified. He has to follow orders because his only other alternative would be to resign his commission, and naturally he would rather kill a few thousand people than spoil his career. The politicians and the media justify these actions with propaganda about “defending freedom.” However, even if America were a free society (which it is not), most U.S. military action during at least the last couple of decades has not been necessary for the survival of American society but has been designed to protect relatively narrow economic or political interests or to boost the president’s approval rating in the public-opinion polls.
Getting back to Kaczynski’s reason for sending out parcel bombs. Firstly we need to understand that Kaczynski was not some kind of redneck hoodlum. He was a very intelligent man (with an IQ 6 points above that of Einstein). He graduated high school at 15 and was accepted at Harvard University on a scholarship at the age of 16. His peers, both in high school and at Harvard University, considered him a genius or, as one classmate said, “a walking brain”. During his time at Harvard, where he earned his degree in Mathematics, he spent 3 years taking part in psychological experiments run by Harvard psychologist Henry Murray (who had worked for the OSS during WW2 – later to become the CIA – doing experiments on brainwashing and interrogation), logging over 200 hours as part of the study. He underwent mind control experiments and psychological abuse. Whether this had any affect on his thought patterns from here on in is the big question. Since Kaczynski turned against science and technology, one would have to support the suggestion that the experiments did indeed have an effect on his future behaviour and choices.
After Harvard he attended the University of Michigan where he earned his Masters and then his Doctorate in Mathematics. Then at the age of 25 he became the youngest ever assistant professor of mathematics to teach at University of California, Berkley. But after only 2 years he suddenly, and without warning quit and moved back to his parents house in Lombard, Illinois, and two years later still moved into a single room cabin in the woods just outside the town of Lincoln, Montana. Disenchanted with the modern world, its technology and its greed he turned his back on the “wealth” that a Harvard education all but guarantees and went to commune with nature instead.
It was a very basic cabin, without electricity or running water and it was here that he decided that he would live a very simple life, would become well versed in woodsmen’s skills and try to be as self sufficient as possible. He kept himself to himself, would go into town, by bicycle, for a few supplies and also borrow books from the library there. He was happy living with nature and had a few favourite hikes that he’d take to get away from the locals who would walk in the woods near his cabin.
One day, on arriving at one of his favourite hiking spots, he had a very rude awakening. In his own words….It’s kind of rolling country, not flat, and when you get to the edge of it you find these ravines that cut very steeply in to cliff-like drop-offs and there was even a waterfall there. It was about a two days’ hike from my cabin. That was the best spot until the summer of 1983. That summer there were too many people around my cabin so I decided I needed some peace. I went back to the plateau and when I got there I found they had put a road right through the middle of it … You just can’t imagine how upset I was. It was from that point on I decided that, rather than trying to acquire further wilderness skills, I would work on getting back at the system.
So quite simply, his reason for sending out parcel bombs and also sabotaging several property development projects in his immediate neighbourhood, was revenge for the damage that THEY had done, and were continuing to do to nature.
And so began his 17 years of “terror” – as the media called it, mailing out parcel bombs to people who he felt were responsible for the direct destruction of nature, or involved in advancing technology, which would add to the damage to nature. Many were to people involved in tech development at universities or who worked for airlines – hence his nickname Unabomber (University/Airline/Bomber). He would probably have never been caught had it not been for his wish to have his Manifesto – Industrial Society and Its future – published. He sent it to several newspapers and magazines with a note saying that if they published the Manifesto, he would desist from terrorism. Finally, with agreement from the FBI and the Attorney General, it was published in the New York Times and the Washington Post.
According to a documentary I watched about Kaczynski, his brother recognised that some of the things mentioned in the Manifesto matched the content of several letters that Kaczynski had sent him over the months leading up to the publication of the Manifesto. After consulting a lawyer, the authorities were tipped off and Ted Kaczynski’s cabin was raided, revealing bomb making materials and his diary/note book.
The Manifesto stated that the result of the industrial revolution has been a disaster for mankind. Technology has destabilised society and made life unfulfilling. He says most people waste their time in useless pursuits because of technological “advances”, have artificial goals and subject themselves to an overconsumption of mindless “entertainment”. He predicts that further technological advances will lead to extensive human genetic engineering and that human beings will be adjusted to meet the needs of the social systems, rather than vice versa. He calls for all to abandon technology and return to the wilderness.
In order to save a little time, I’ll quote Wikipedia. – Kaczynski argues that the erosion of human freedom is a natural product of an industrial society because “the system has to regulate human behavior closely in order to function”, and that reform of the system is impossible because “changes large enough to make a lasting difference in favor of freedom would not be initiated because it would be realized that they would gravely disrupt the system”. However, he states that the system has not yet fully achieved “control over human behavior” and “is currently engaged in a desperate struggle to overcome certain problems that threaten its survival”. He predicts that “if the system succeeds in acquiring sufficient control over human behavior quickly enough, it will probably survive. Otherwise it will break down,” and that “the issue will most likely be resolved within the next several decades, say 40 to 100 years”. He states that the task of those who oppose industrial society is to promote “social stress and instability” and to propagate “an ideology that opposes technology”, one that offers the “counter-ideal” of nature “in order to gain enthusiastic support”. A “revolution against technology may be possible” when industrial society is sufficiently unstable.He additionally states that “a movement that exalts nature and opposes technology must take a resolutely anti-leftist stance and must avoid all collaboration with leftists”, as in his view “leftism is in the long run inconsistent with wild nature, with human freedom and with the elimination of modern technology”.
Kaczynski’s views have attracted a lot of support over the years and even more so in recent times…David Skrbina, a philosophy professor at the University of Michigan and a former Green Party candidate for governor of Michigan, has written several essays in support of Kaczynski’s ideas, one which is titled “A Revolutionary for Our Times”. Paul Kingsnorth, a former deputy-editor of The Ecologist and a co-founder of the Dark Mountain Project, wrote an essay for Orion Magazine in which he described Kaczynski’s arguments as “worryingly convincing” and stated that they “may change my life”.
Personally, I agree with Kaczynski’s views although, as stated in the opening paragraph of this post, I do not agree with his methods.
So why is it that Kaczynski was considered a terrorist, a serial murderer, and tried in a court of law for targeting specific people, that he saw as being responsible for the destruction of nature and his way of life, with his parcel bombs, killing 3 – when Bush and Blair were responsible for the deaths of almost 300,000 men, women and children, many killed at random by bombs, in an unjustified military action, and walk away completely free men? Were any of those deaths legitimate?
The question is…is killing another human being ever justified? The initial answer from most people would be “NO!”. But, what if a psychopath smashed his way into your home and was going to kill your wife and kids….would you feel justified in using lethal force to stop him? In this case the answer for many people would change from no to “Yes, to protect my family I will do what ever is needed.” So, what if the threat was no less real, but less immediate?
It is generally accepted these days that mankind/humankind has wrought devastation of apocalyptic proportions on the natural world, particularly over that last 150 years. The system that feeds this devastation is the consumerist growth economy model that the “western world” has promoted for many years and is now being adopted by what were once considered “third world” countries. We are in the midst of the 6th mass extinction and we don’t appear to have the will, at government level, to abandon this destructive path.
If we carry on along this path it will result not only in our own deaths, but also that of most living, breathing animal life on the planet. Kaczynski recognised this fact and tried to stop, or at least to slow down, the advances in technology that were pushing us toward the edge of the cliff…..so was he justified in taking those lives? Most people will say absolutely not, that he had no right to take lives and his punishment (8 life sentences) was apt. But look at it from his view point. He wasn’t simply trying to stop a madman from breaking into his house and killing his family, he was trying to stop several madmen destroying nature’s home and killing all life on the planet…you and me included.
Faced with the barriers that political and industrial/global corporations have put in the way of actually doing anything effective to save the environment in which we live, what should our response be? Step up our recycling efforts (and give ourselves a pat on the back for doing “the right thing”) in the vain hope that it makes more than a miniscule difference to what ends up in the landfills or oceans? Business as usual, head in the sand, hope it goes away, but meantime let’s make as much money as possible for the banks, shareholders and chief executives? Do we take to the streets in more mass marches….attend more ‘feel good’ rallies….sign endless pointless petitions? Listen to more lies and delay tactics from smiling politicians? Wait for technology to save us….instead of creating more problems as it usually does? Or do we do something else, and if so what? What are we prepared to do to save the lives of our family?
It’s an interesting question I think – a question of ethics – at what point do people feel comfortable at drawing their own line in the sand, taking action and saying – no more!
If voting actually changed anything, it would be made illegal.
Democracy is not in the voting….it’s in the counting.
Elections are about standing or falling…., the people find out what politicians stand for, and the politicians find out what the people will fall for.
If God had wanted us to vote, he’d have given us candidates worth voting for. – (Particularly applicable to the 2016 US election).
If the people of a democracy are allowed to do so, they will vote away the freedoms that are essential to that democracy. – AND the politicians (and media) will make sure that we do vote our freedoms away, by feeding us mis-information.
Sorry about this folks, but I’m having a bit of a rant. Totally pissed off about the New Zealand political system, be it local or national. Local politics. Does it matter? Does our vote count if the system is not one we subscribe to? How about National politics….does the same apply?
My opinion, and it is only my opinion, for what it’s worth – I don’t pretend to be an expert on all things political – is that the best system of governance is self governance. Being responsible for our own affairs is by far the system where your own needs have a better chance of being met. The current system here, where we have locally a District Council with a Mayor and 14 Councillors, plus a Regional Council with 8 Councillors selected from the various towns and cities that make up our region, I don’t feel works as it should.
We recently, earlier in October, had our local elections and although I did vote, I could not vote for the candidates who I wanted to vote for…the ones I thought would best represent my needs and stood for the same issues and ideals that I have. The candidates who I wanted to vote for were not in my immediate electorate so I had to pick and vote for other people, and basically what it boiled down to was selecting the one I thought would bring least harm to me, my family and our community. In the end, the one person who I felt would have been the best councillor for me and mine, didn’t even get elected, he was in an electorate that was not mine… though we displayed his political banner/sign on the fence of our property. All the councillors regardless of the electorate that they were standing in, end up serving on a local government council that represents the whole area, so why not just give us a list of all candidates who have been nominated for council and let us vote for any of them (in the hope that the best of the bunch get elected), rather than restricting our vote to someone who is in our electorate, who we may not think is suitable, or even fit for the job?
In addition to electing councillors, we also got to choose members to sit on the local health board governing body….25 applicants of which 7 were to be elected. Of course there was the usual blurb and photo of each wanna-be official in order to convince us that they were the best person for the job. The interesting thing that I found in all this literature, was that only one of the 25 prospects actually mentioned preventative health care. ONLY ONE….thought to remind us that we can help to take responsibility for our healthcare by first taking care about what we put into our mouths – healthy eating, healthy diet equals healthy body. As Socrates said a couple of thousand years ago – “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. So, as far as I am concerned only that one person actually deserves to serve as our representative on the heath board. BUT her views are going to be voted down by the other 6 who get elected and who have vested interests in the pharmaceutical side of the business.
So, me and my family….and our beliefs/way of life etc., have little or no representation on either our district council or our regional council….or Heath Board. When it comes to the national New Zealand Government – in parliament in our capital city of Wellington – we are even less represented.
We are told that these elected officials are our representitives….in government to represent our rights and to make choices on our behalf. Making rules and regulations that we have to live by….spending our taxes in a manner to which they see fit.
I have had concerns about a number of issues over the 30 years that I’ve lived in New Zealand….and have emailed my local member of parliament, certain Ministers in charge of key portfolios, party leaders, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister with these concerns, asking specific questions for which I would like answers. This, I want to point out, was not only during the reign of our current Labour Party / NZ First / Green Party coalition government (led by the ever smiling Jacinda Ardern), but also during the 9 years prior when the National Party were in charge. In most cases I received no reply at all, in others I received an initial, apparently automated, reply stating that my email had been received and someone would formulate a reply to it shortly. I am still waiting. They never get back to me. It’s not just one political party either, it’s across the entire political spectrum. Do I feel that I am being represented – NO I don’t. So what is the bloody point of the whole system, and what does my voting achieve?
All that my vote achieves is – that it goes toward getting someone a nice well paid job in Wellington, someone who will use their position, power and money to further their own agenda and feather their own nests…someone who has not the slightest intention of representing me, my family or community at all. From my own viewpoint voting is an utter waste of time. The bigger a government – or any organization – is, the less the needs of the individual citizen are met…or even listened to. But you know what they say “If you don’t vote, don’t moan about who gets elected.” Then again, wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was an election and everyone refused to vote….in protest, at the system and it’s lack of true representation. A bit like that old Vietnam war era bumper sticker “What if they gave a war and no one came?”
Of course the biggest problem with politics and politicians is that they not only never do anything constructive for us the people they are elected to represent, but they also never say anything tangible. They will never, EVER, answer a yes or no question with a yes or no answer. They spend hours talking around the question instead in order to bore us into submission. And if, on the odd occasion, they actually do say or do anything…obviously in error….they make such a mess of it and have to have a committee formed to look into the problem. Spending more of our hard earned taxes. I think American comedian and political critic George Carlin summed “politic speak” up nicely in the following address to the National Press Club….
I fully understand why the people of Britain voted to pull out of the EEC – feeling that their needs were not being looked after by a Government who rule from Brussels and who take millions of pounds out of the British coffers and invest very little of those funds back into Britain – whether I agree with it or not is beside the point. They don’t feel that being ruled from Brussels benefits them in any way, shape or form….and the lack of border control is eroding what is left of the British identity, customs and culture. So they vote to pull out….much to the surprise of the government…who are left in a bit of a void because now they have to do some work and negotiate a deal whereby Britain can leave the EEC without becoming completely ostracized.
Of course prior to having governments voted for by the people (even if they don’t actually represent the true wishes of the people) we were all subjects of and servants to Kings, Queens, Emperors etc who took their positions of power either by being born into it, or by having armies big enough to wrest control from some other monarch.
The question is, are we actually better off with the system we now have? Or is it time for another change….a revolt if you will? It would have to be a revolt because the people in power aren’t going to either simply step aside, or allow us to vote them off. An “Anarchistic Autonomous Collective” sounds pretty good right now (see Monty Python sketch below).
I’d like to know if YOU feel that you are being properly represented by your elected officials, where ever in the world you live….or if you too are coming to the end of your tether and feel forced into taking action.
Meantime here’s a sketch from the Monty Python team…..amusing yes, but with a lot of truth in it.