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A Real Extinction Rebellion Means the End of Colonialism, Imperialism, and Capitalism

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/22/real-extinction-rebellion-means-end-colonialism-imperialism-and-capitalism


All through history, the masses have enabled the rich and powerful to lord over them.

Fast forward to now.

The rich and powerful have abused us, and we’re not going to take it anymore.

Get involved, take a stand with others against the Imperialistic Empire the masses have helped create.

Be a human. Think of others. Want more for yourself, your children, and their families.

Make each tomorrow better.


While I agree with most of this, I do see a major problem with the list of demands. It’s not a disagreement about semantics, it’s a disagreement about MATH. I don’t think it’s possible to get to zero emissions by 2025–in five years–without mass deaths, or some kind of enormous breakdown which would in turn cause mass deaths. I also don’t think we can get to using no more than half a planet’s worth of resources from where we are now–using one and a half, thus cutting our resource use to a third of what it is now–while simultaneously guaranteeing good union jobs to all! The reality is that slashing resource use to that extreme level would require the end of capitalism, the end of a globalized economy, the end of essentially all military spending–sounds good so far, eh?–the end of not only the 1% but the global ten percent including virtually everyone reading this–living like we do now. In other words, no more airplane flights, no cars, not even electric ones, no out-of-season produce, bullshit jobs eliminated and a lot more people working on farms, some of the last fossil fuel resources going into creating insulation so we can get by without burning any fossil fuels for winter heat, and not a huge increase in burning woodt; using some more to create a lot more solar panels so everyone can have a couple, and live at a level of electricity use no more than a twentieth what Americans are used to. It also means forget about “lifting the world’s poor out of poverty.” Can’t be done, not with zero fossil fuel use and a drastic reduction in the use of other resources. We need proposals that don’t require the use of magic wands. It’s true that we can liberate a huge amount of resources by eliminating the destructive stupidity that is the US (especially, and also other) military; and by eliminating wealth. But the world’s wealthy not only are not really “worth” X trillion dollars (we’ve got to knock off that stupid phrasing), they also don’t really HAVE that much wealth. Zeroes in a computer or a bankbook does not equate to real wealth, to natural resources, which are the limiting factor along with our swollen numbers.


I agree also, but see the reality like you do.
1st Many millions would die from various causes, perhaps even billions.
2nd The disruption of all the economies of the world.
3rd The collapse of most of the world’s governments.
4th Most of the wealthy have their money tied up in stocks and bonds, real estate, etc, not in cash. Their wealth would cease to exist in such a change.
5th Most people left the farm because it didn’t pay well when industrialization started. It still doesn’t pay well. They are not going back unless they absolutely have to.
I am all for saving the world, but destroying the world to save the world doesn’t make much sense to me.
She is right that we don’t have much time left and we need to start really doing something right now. But zero emissions is not going to happen. We need to offset emissions with carbon sinks. It is one of the reasons why burning the great forest of the amazon is so foolish. But who will pay Brazil to not burn? Because that is most likely the only way to stop Brazil from burning.
We have been putting off acting on climate change for so long, that the difficulty and the expense has grown so much that undoing it will take a concerted effort. But 5 yrs? I know that the situation keeps getting worse, but that is far too short. It would be far more difficult than going to the moon.
But I understand her frustration, we do need to start now really being serious about climate change and start acting now.

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I understand where she comes from. I live in the suburbs. But the city that I live near is one of the poorest in the country and one area of the city has been labeled the most polluted in the US. It’s a small area, but one where the poorest live. And it has been like that for a long time.
And it is not unique, the poorest areas in the US often have the worst environments with pollution. And it is not by accident, these poor communities don’t have the money nor the political clout to stop the areas being set up that hurt them. And nothing gets done to help them.
Where I live, if there was a problem, they would do something about it. We have clout and money. But they don’t have either.
As long as money rules, the poor are not going to have anyone to help them.
Unfortunately the US desires an empire by those who rule. And I don’t see in the US any kind of strong movement to change the system we live in. It will be still a long time before they realize they have been taken by the con of capitalism.


Couple things to respond to here: “people left the farm because it doesn’t pay well and still doesn’t.” Usually we’re told it’s because of the “back breaking labor.” For those who owned their farms, I think most quit because they were competing in a capitalist system in which monopolies control both the cost of their inputs and the cost of their crops, taking most of what the consumer pays for themselves–and the government is part of this corrupt system which has driven most US farmers off the land. Add in the uncertainty of farming what with weather and bugs, and it becomes nearly impossible to make a living at it. But what an awful lot of city people don’t seem to grasp is that it’s not just water that “is life”–it’s also food, the vast majority of which comes from farming. Once farmers quit or the trucking becomes impossible because it’s reliant on fossil fuels, then the food will stop magically appearing in grocery stores, and city people will starve, fantasies of vertical gardens and feeding oneself from a small garden in the backyard notwithstanding. You imply in the first part of your post that what the author prescribes is impossible even with committed leadership, and what we actually have is leadership committed to blocking any change (or leadership that ought to BE committed, to a hospital for the criminally insane). Therefore, inevitably, we will have breakdown, which will serve to reduce human numbers and our emissions. After that the cities will largely empty because it isn’t possible to grow enough food there, and it will no longer be about MONEY. I think what we OUGHT to do is set up exchanges between the more ecologically conscious people in urban areas, and the farmer surrounding each city, so that the farmers have a guaranteed market and can better afford to convert to regenerative practices, and the urbanites have a guaranteed source of local, organic food whose growing conditions they can investigate for themselves.
The hell of it is that we actually did make a start toward the changes we need in the late seventies, when we could have made a smooth easy transition–but then we got Reagan and Morning in America and oil company rule…and did nothing about the impending crises (it isn’t “just” climate change, we also have overpopulation and species extinctions and a budding global police state). I tend to think efforts to make the revolutionary change we need should perhaps run some of their contingencies on what can be done AFTER breakdown–because much more will be possible after breakdown causes the grip of the ruling sociopaths on power to at last be broken, and even if we get, say a Democrat president and both Houses of Congress, and some kind of Green New Deal is implemented, it can’t possibly be enough to prevent breakdown. (It couyld make the collapse a lot easier and more comfortable if it’s wisely done, though).

If we are going to permanently win the battle against the planet destroyers, we need to have a good alternative to our present dysfunctional government:

Agree, Colonialism, Imperialism, and Capitalism need to be disappeared –

but so does Patriarchy which I don’t think was included –

Females have suffered through all of these “isms” –
They are people of every color, ever class, and victims of every war.

Males on the planet cannot change things without the power of women –
and bringing females here to full power with the ERA.

Some of my family were farmers and they needed a day job to get by. So I appreciate the hard work that small farmers go through.
I didn’t mean that it was totally impossible, just that the time period was too short. But the longer we wait, the more difficult it will get and then it could be impossible.
Trucking doesn’t need fossil fuels, it could switch to electric. It would be painful and costly, but we could do it.
One thing we do is overproduce on our farms which drops the amount that the middle man will pay for goods. As an example if the farmers produce 4 million gallons of milk, but we will only need 2 million, then what we will pay the farmers is less than what it took to produce it.
And right now with the tariffs, the farmers have fewer overseas market to sell that excess. Which means the farmer gets screwed. Throw in all sorts of natural disasters and farmers get hurt.
Don’t get me started on Reagan and what he did.
The best way to deal with overpopulation is education. But we are not willing to put forth the money to educate the poor of the world. We aren’t willing to do so in our own country.
One problem is that corporate farms have taken over, which hurts the small farmers. Your idea of there being a guaranteed market for farmers is a good one, but how soon would the corporations take over?
I worry very much that society is going to collapse all over the world. Not sure if I will be alive by then. But we are certainly on course for a crash.
I disagree with you on what would happen with a breakdown.
“because much more will be possible after breakdown causes the grip of the ruling sociopaths on power to at last be broken.”
It has never happened in history that the grip has ever been broken. Sure one individual may lose their power, but when a power vacuum occurs, that is went someone powerful will step in and take control. The ave person won’t be able to do that and unfortunately under such a situation, uniting people in a common goal doesn’t happen. What does happen is that you have multiple groups vying for power, no unifying response.

The only problem I have with your post is your use of the word “we” to refer to US policies which are harmful to farmers and others. WE are never consulted–the wealthy funders of the politicians decide policy, in their own interests. Farm policy is all about helping the monopolies, the Cargills, ADMs, Purdues, Monsantos. Farming is hard anyway because it depends on weather which is unpredictable. But it doesn’t have to be near impossible, not only here but everywhere peasants try to do subsistence farming.
As to the grip on power question, I think in times of breakdown what happens is the a centralized elite do indeed lost their grip on power. various others then reach for it but on a smaller, localized level, Some such resulting entities will be even worse than today’s reality–warlords with slaves, for example–but some could be better. And people organizing in advance could affect the outcome.

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Well said!

Well we have never been consulted in anything. It’s the royal we. It is we as a country, not the citizens. So I agree with you about how the rich control everything. But that has always been true in the US and the world.
In times of breakdowns, the poor suffer the most since they had no power to begin with. When a breakdown occurs, there is a power vacuum. And the most powerful take control. That is never the poor. And true that the centralized elite fall apart, but then it is the everyone for themselves elite that take over their own serfdom.
As for organizing in advance, people don’t tend to do that. The poor are too worried about the next meal. Only those that are secured enough can plan ahead, which is why they always take control when it all falls apart.