The Liberation of the Earth

“It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property. It is both immoral and unfair.”

–Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism

In the light of the crescent moon she creeps in, hooded in black.  It’s late, and hardly anyone would be awake.  The darkness is her friend, her ally, and it is best to stalk in silence.  Slipping under the fence, her jeans and sweatshirt covered in dust and fallen leaves, she gazes one last time upon the secret garden she and her neighbors had spent much of the year tending.

Autumn was already upon the world, and though the tomatoes were not yet fully ripe, she’d harvest what she could now, hoping the green fruit might mature in the slanted autumnal light on her windowsill.  The winter-vegetables had just begun to sprout, spinach and kale and late broccoli, but they wouldn’t make it.  She sighs, feeling this loss, and then remembers the even greater loss she and her neighbors would endure the next day.

‘A few days more,’ she muses, turning her attention to the machine before her.  Massive, made by man to rend from the solidity of ground the soil into which she and others had sown and tended those flowers and vegetables.  She couldn’t stop it, but she could slow it a bit.  She pulls from her backpack the tube of glue she’d bought with the scrounged change–money she’d been hoping to save for a beer later this week with her girlfriend.  They’d share a beer instead, perhaps celebrate her courage, perhaps mourn what was lost, mourn that feeling of helplessness.

Tonight, though, carefully squeezing out the adhesive into the crevices of every moving part she can reach within the cab of the bulldozer, she feels a little less helpless.  Though the garden would soon be gone, this whole “vacant’ lot becoming the foundation for expensive studios she’d never be able to afford, tonight, at least, she had power.  She could hold off the inevitable for another day, perhaps, and make known to the world that she thought a garden is a good thing. She finishes with her “destruction” (and what is a stuck gear-shifter against the loss of land? she asks herself, sadly), she inscribes three letters across the machine, her offering to the sylvan spirits of northern lands and her solidarity with others who’ve done the same. 

The next morning, the subcontractors will not notice her footprints, nor the hole in the garden where she’d uprooted what she could salvage.  Instead, they’ll notice the word she wrote and wonder why someone would have written “ELF.”  Maybe they’ll even get the day off.

Paganarchy

You’ve probably noticed by now, I’ve got a bit of an agenda. If you haven’t figured this out from my writing thus far (or the title of my personal blog), I’m an anti-capitalist, an anarcho-socialist.  I’m also a Pagan, a Polytheist, and a Druid-in-Training. And there’s no contradiction here.

The history of modern paganism is rife with anti-Capitalist protest.  The Molly Macguires and related groups in the middle of the 1700’s in Ireland are said to have issued evictions and warnings to landlords in the name of local land-spirits, and their largest protests occured on Beltaine and Samhain.  Speaking of Beltaine, it later became the worldwide day of worker solidarity and leftist resistance to capitalism, “May Day.”

Many of spiritual orders in England at the end of the 1800’s (The Golden Dawn, the Theosophists) were rife with anarchists and socialists, one of the founding ancestors of modern Druidry was an anarcho-socialist (George MacGregor Reid) who spent part of his early years organizing unions in New England, and the (Neo)Pagan revival in the 60’s co-incided with intense leftist uprisings.  And up to the present, you can’t throw a rock at a window in the middle of an anti-globalisation protest without risking hitting a Pagan. In addition, resistance to hegemony and empire in Celtic areas up to the present invoke Pagan language and symbol (oftentimes the triskelion) in much the same vein as indigenous resistance to Capitalism in the Americas invokes indigenous religions.

Much of this intersectionality, I believe, comes from a shared critique of the core logic of Capitalism, which is Private Property.  As I mentioned before, land has become something to be bought and sold, not sacred in itself.  Capitalism began when land was cordoned and fenced off, no longer a shared heritage of humanity but a privilege of the wealthy.  While there’d been reserved property before (Church-owned lands, royal hunting grounds, etc), the notion of anyone “owning” land is a radically new concept, and it’s gotten us nowhere good.

The inaugural essay of this column, by Elinor Predota, introduces a series of questions which are heavily worth considering. The title itself is a poignant question: “Whose land (spirit) is it, anyway?”   As Pagans who revere the earth and seek both to fully inhabit the places we live and to work with the spirits who dwell therein, we cannot ignore the question of our conception of land as property.  Beyond the environmental damage that our capitalist outlook has caused, beyond the disenchantment our worldings without the gods and spirits has wrought upon our lives, the question of land and whether or not it can be owned and consumed gets at the very core of what it means to be Pagan.  It also makes us confront why the society we’ve co-created (whether we’re conscious of our shared worlding or not) can justify streets full of landless, homeless humans in order to maintain the notion that land is something that can belong to those with money.

And fortunately, we’re not alone in confronting this question.  Besides human allies in other religious traditions (and even non-religious traditions), there are the land spirits and the gods themselves.  Even the briefest of readings about Dionysos make clear he’s often been on the side of resistance to tyranny, and multiple others have noticed that Brighid seems to care deeply about the hearth-less/homeless.

Worlding the earth with the gods and spirits is a radical act in our societies, as is fighting the systems of control and profit which maintain our distance from the earth and our disenchantment (and disenfranchisement). It can seem daunting, dangerous; it will alienate us from some, and the decisions we make may cause us to experience poverty rather than exploit the earth and each other.

Fortunately, we don’t have to do it alone.

 

–For more on the radical origins and intersections of the spiritual groups responsible for modern Paganism, see Affective Communities, by Lela Ghandi

And please note–acts such as the one I described at the beginning of this essay would qualify as Domestic Terrorism in the United States. Liberate land spirits responsibly, and may the gods and spirits be with you.

 

About Rhyd Wildermuth

An intractable tea-swilling leftist-punk bard, Rhyd Wildermuth has left bits of his heart(h) everywhere—in a satyr’s den in Berlin, hanging from an elder tree over a holy well in Bretagne, scattered in back alleys of Seattle, and lost somewhere in the bottom of his rucksack. He’s devoted to Welsh gods, breathes words, makes candles, plays recorder, fumbles with tech, and refuses ever to learn to drive. He also writes at paganarch.com.

  • Ashley Yakeley

    Land ownership is much older than capitalism or enclosure. It’s a feudal thing.

    • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

      Hi Ashley! As I mentioned in the essay (and the other essay I linked to), as well as in my comment to Henry Buchy, there is a difference between Feudal land “ownership” and Private Property. There’s pretty much an inexhaustible amount of histories which show this, and I’d be happy to point them out to you. In fact, I strongly suggest Ellen Meiksin Wood’s “The Origin of Capitalism.”

      • http://moon-in-libra.blogspot.com/ Jean Murphy

        The public library in my very conservative town actually has that book…

        Once I recover from the shock, I’ll check it out.

        • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

          You lucky person, you!

          My local library most definitely doesn’t, and neither do I, as I’ve bought it multiple times and have lent it perhaps a bit too freely (thus having to buy it again…).

          The writing is really good in that book, and it’s probably the most clear discussion of the history of the birth of Capitalism I’ve ever read. I’m not in full agreement with her, nor with her conclusions, but what she says that is most profound is the discussion of “imperative.” Previous to Capitalism, the wealthy would have to compel others to work by force (political, physical); now, under capitalism, the imperative is internalized.

          That is to say, we have no choice but to sell our labor,though it appears we do so “of our own free will.” The choice is, actually, “be exploited or starve,” and the only way out of the system is to become wealthy and exploit others (that is, becoming the system). It’s a general tenet of Marxist and Anarchist thought, but I’d never read a more clear description of it than from her. Enjoy! : )

  • Henry Buchy

    even the Celtic tribes, among others, fought over land and possessions. Just because the word capitalism was coined in modern times doesn’t mean that’s when it sprung into existence. To think it’s a modern affair is pretty naive.
    As far as Modern Pagans go, why do they market paganism? even the site you write for here is a capitalist venture, offer 9% yields on investments to “accredited investors” (as per SEC regs). Hence marketing religion.
    If it’s immoral to use private property to combat the evils of private property, what does it say about using capitalism to combat the evils of capitalism??

    • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

      Naive, huh? Them’s fighting words. : )

      Nah. There is something actually -different- about Property under Capitalism than ever seen in the history of the earth. I recommend Ellen Mieksin Wood’s book, The Origins of Capitalism–A Longer View, or one of an almost innumerable amount of other histories on the subject. An insidious thing about Capitalism is the way its modes of interaction appear to “re-inscribe” themselves back into our history so that we have trouble understanding what changed. Historiography (the study of the writing of history) is a useful field to help parse this out, by the way—histories written now about pre-capitalist land conflicts, when written by historians who take the existence of capitalist property relations for granted, will necessarily re-inscribe those into the past. Also, you can see the same thing in Evolutionary Psychology–projecting current (un-examined) ways of seeing the world into our pre-historical existences ultimately to find “proof” for why we’re all selfish and violent, etc..

      That matter of the personal ethics of someone profiting off my labor while I don’t is definitely something to be addressed, and is, of course, one of the brutal logics of Capitalism. If you’d like to pay me for my writing or help me fund a non-profit or worker-owned Pagan blog site, I’m utterly game and maybe would finally convince you to write a blog so we can read your thoughts (!).

      But in the meantime, it’s sort of like they accidentally let a charming saboteur into the factory.

      • Henry Buchy

        I’m not talking about history written now. Nor technically about private ownership of land, but control of it, which is pretty much the same. (using the idea of land as just one form of property).Territoriality. the idea that ‘this area of land is ours/mine’ isn’t unique to humans, regardless of the sacredness of it, nor is it dependent upon whatever form or system of economics or governance in place at the time. what’s the difference if one marks one’s territory with a deed, a stone or with urine?

        the ‘brutal logics’ of capitalism or any form of economics/governance stem from the brutal logic of those who utilize them.

        ” ‘Tapa is innocent, study is harmless, the ordinance of the Vedas prescribed for all the tribes are harmless, the acquisition of wealth by exertion is harmless; but when they are abused in their practices it is then that they become sources of evil.’ ”
        MahaBharata, Book 1, Adi Parva, section 1-Ganguli translation.
        heh. it’s not about the differences between systems it’s about what’s common to all of them.
        heh, are you trying to raise capital for a joint venture? even non profits work within a capitalist structure, regardless of whether or not the return is of monetary or altruistic value.
        As far as blogging goes, I don’t see answering a blog post with another blog post as dialogue or engagement, as I mentioned before. if you wish folks to just reply via blogs, perhaps you should just remove the comments function. Besides that, doing so would cut down on the number of views/hits, the measure of blogging success,lol.

        • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

          It’s mostly that I want to comment on your writing, too. :P Thanks for taking my chiding well, by the way. Your comments are always appreciated.

          I was a social worker at a large non-profit in Seattle that helped the homeless, and I was one of the shop stewards of our workers union there. I’m quite (painfully) aware how non-profits work within Capitalism and end up exploiting workers just as efficiently as corporations. More frustrating, the fact we were all doing “good” for people made it very difficult to speak of wanting to be able to afford groceries (many of us were on food-stamps despite working full-time!) while helping the poor.

          Sigh.

          The reason I recommended that particular book, by the way, is because she shows how land became disentangled and untethered from religious and cultural notions which had preceded Capitalism, that a specific shift in thinking occurred which transformed land (and all the accompanying activities on it) into a “commodity.” That is, when Pagans talk about how we’ve become divorced from the land and nature in our thinking, this can actually be traced to a specific historical shift.

          • Henry Buchy

            Thanks for the recommendation, though I doubt I’ll be purchasing it anytime soon. re-inscription back into history isn’t just an insidiousness of capitalism, but of historians in general :-) even so, I’d say I’d have to disagree with the idea that the shift in thinking can be attributed to any specific era or instance but happened over time and probably begun very early.I’d be of a mind that it wasn’t so much we viewed the land as sacred in itself but due to the spirit of the land we personified. We made offerings to the spirit for what the land gave us, not so much to the land itself. And that we began to divorce ourselves from that idea when the spirits of the land did not demonstrate the ‘agency’ folks expected of them.
            As far as greed and exploitation go, It isn’t Capitalist greed and exploitation. it’s human greed and exploitation. Any system of economics or governance depends upon the ideal of the benevolence of human nature. The qualities of reasonableness and fairness. I’m 3rd generation Union Labor, in the building and construction trades. I’ve been both shop steward and supervision over my 20 year career in that field. every problem I had ever had from either side has been due to human unreasonableness and greed, and a failure to adhere to mutual agreement, not due to ‘system’.

          • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

            So, fun–I actually agree whole-heartedly with most of your statement about the shift in thinking.

            It turns out, at least from my readings in history, that specific process you speak of occurred very rapidly at a time remarkably close to the birth of capitalism–and it’s much more recent and obvious than most imagine. Foucault’s a good start for that (pretty much any one of his books, as he’s on about the same thing from a different angle in each).

          • Henry Buchy

            I suppose if you consider 13 centuries relatively close, since you’ve offered the date of the birth of capitalism, roughly 1700 c.e.

            I’m still inclined to an earlier date, with the rise of cenobitic monasticism, as the ‘seed’ of capitalism, though I am sure most folks would consider the monasteries as a socialist economy. The coming of Christianity, feudal states coupled with pressures of severe famines, plagues, Moorish invasions, the crusades, and mongol invasions contributed more to the divorce than capitalism of the 18th-19th century.

            Still, in all, I don’t think a closeness to the land has diminished as much as one might think. It may have taken a different form. I think you’ll find it in areas such as where I live, where families have dwelt and still dwell upon land they’ve ‘owned’ for almost 3 centuries. Some who rather feel the land owns them than the other way round

          • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

            Huh. I’ve also heard people trace it to the beginning of agriculture.

            See my comment to John Beckett regarding my issues with the notion of the Progress Narrative. Similar to those issues is a recent reading of history which suggests that Capitalism had “seeds” or even pre-cursors and was an inevitable form.

            The specific time I’m speaking of is the great iconoclasm of the Reformation, when christianized (and many not christianized) versions of spirits and gods were “dethroned” from not only cathedrals and churches but shrines, wells, and homes, which was also the time many of the standing stones were torn down in wild anti-pagan fury and a final push was made to get rid of the pagan “superstitions” of attachment to the land through Calvin’s insistence that the earth existed only for our use. That is, we need not go so far back in history. :)

          • Henry Buchy

            maybe I should be saying huh, since it seems you’ve been laying all this at the foot of capitalism and haven’t mentioned Calvinism at all. So which is it? lol. is it Calvinist? the enlightenment model? the coining of the phrase capitalism?
            doesn’t seem to me to be a specific time or change in thought since you mentioned all these as contributing. As I’ve been pointing out, there is no real specific time period.
            Saying the seeds of a system reside somewhere in no way implies inevitability. I’m sure folks could trace the seeds back to the beginnings of agriculture, to the beginnings of civilization, even back to hunter gatherer.
            Even if idea of the earth existing only for our use is only traceable to Calvin, The change in attitude would still remain whether we had went down the socialist road rather than the capitalist road. So it’s not really about economics at all, but religion. So the attitude towards the land and it’s resources really doesn’t have any bearing whatsoever upon economics. Also the period you mention was the period of merchantilism, not capitalism, which term wasn’t even coined until the mid 19th century. But lets look at the basic definition of capitalism- that trade and industry are controlled by private ownership for the purpose of making a profit in a free market.
            now tell me what ancient civilizations did not engage in those activities, regardless of whether they held the land as sacred?

          • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

            The answer to your last question is “every society before Capitalism,” but your definition is inadequate.

            May I kindly point out that your historical readings don’t match any histories I’ve ever encountered? Where, precisely, are you deriving your knowledge from?

            In addition, I think perhaps you and I aren’t precisely speaking the same language sometimes, or sharing the same definitions. I’m afraid that without a common reference to some of these things, I’m having trouble even understanding what you’re talking about, particularly in your “basic definition of capitalism.” You’ve already said you are reluctant to read historians, so I’m not sure we can speak even about history in this manner. The target keeps moving when we interact.

            Mostly, we’ll have to define terms, and that gets a bit cumbersome.

          • Henry Buchy

            it’s easy to say my definition is inadequate and not supply your own. again that’s the whole point of understanding. One usually defines ones terms before even discussing them rather than taking for granted everyone is familiar with the term as one uses it. Look up capitalism in a dictionary. That’s pretty much the basic definition, anything beyond it is a description of its various applications.
            I never said I was reluctant to read historians, that’d be silly since I’m schooled in the historic preservation field. I am reluctant to take their interpretations and conclusions as the last word.
            Which historical readings of mine? The rise of cenobitic monasticism?(circa 4 c.e- 13 c.e. the period of mercantilism?(circa 15c.e-19 c.e) (adam smith coined that phrase), and even though adam smith wrote about what we now call capitalism, as a remedy to mercantilism, he didn’t coin the term. As far as shifting targets go, perhaps your target is too narrow, and you haven’t really considered anything prior to Calvinism, thinking that it begins there and again are reluctant to entertain any other views.

          • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

            “As far as shifting targets go, perhaps your target is too narrow, and
            you haven’t really considered anything prior to Calvinism, thinking that
            it begins there and again are reluctant to entertain any other views.”

            I’d love to consider your theory. Please write an essay explaining it, and I’ll happily read it. : )

          • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

            Thanks for the long explanation! Your comment got “auto-moderated,” I suspect on account of its length (it wasn’t anything I did, by the way). That’s what we get when I ask you to write an essay…though :)

            So. The dictionary definitions you offer are accurate but inadequate. Since you assert that anything I add to those definitions is sectarian or political, I feel like you tied my hands there unfairly. The one thing both dictionary definitions do not address is access to the means of production of wealth (though the second glosses over it). Allow me to tell you what I and many people would add if we were “allowed” to, which is that minimal access to the means of production (that is, one’s own economic existence) is limited by capital accumulation. Put a similar way–if you do not have capital of your own, you must sell your labor to a capitalist in exchange for money, who pays you less than he/she earns from your production.

            This is different from all systems before it in an important way. Take Feudalism. Peasants worked land under the control of a feudal lord and gave him 1/3 of their production in return for safety (oftentimes in return for safety “from him.”). However, their ability to work the land was guaranteed by cultural and religious form, and the Feudal lord was bound by those same norms not to take more. And while 1/3 seems a lot, consider what the “payroll” target for most employers is. Generally, workers get paid no more than 1/3 of the total revenue of a “well-managed” business (and often less). A serf, kept 2/3rds of their production, while a worker keeps no more than 1/3rd (before taxes!).

            Back to those definitions. You’re taking “development” in the second definition incorrectly. It doesn’t refer to societal development, but to development as an economic modality. It’s what Adam Smith referred to as “improvement.” In capitalist societies, development as you refer to it is still done by the state (which is why it’s always funny and tragic to hear Libertarians complain about taxes and then drive on government-built roads to their private job). In the economic modality, development/improvement/re-investment is a means of increasing the productivity of capital–that is, building a second factory, or opening a gazillionth starbucks; and, also, mechanizing production, outsourcing work, etc. etc.

            Also, “capital goods” is incorrect. You are thinking “commodity.” Capital isn’t traded–it’s accumulated and “invested.” Capital typically takes the form of a “money commodity,” but not always. Commodities, on the other hand, fit your definition of “capital goods.”

            So, when you ask your question about “accumulation of wealth,” the answer is technically yes, but also it wasn’t the same. Accumulation of wealth pre-Capitalism was not accumulation for the means to re-invest it in order to accumulate more.

            The difference in all your scenarios from older forms and the capitalist form is the logic and drive, and also I’d point out that it was the state (or other forms we’d see similar to “states”) which did those things, as it (should) be doing now. To your last sentence, you’re pointing out why capitalist invests only in her/his own means of capital expansion, not why “capitalism isn’t really capitalism.”

            You see the dance of definitions we have to engage in, here? This is why it’s sometimes difficult to discuss things with you, because I feel like there’s a specific interpretation of shared terms (see our discussion on dualism) that we can barely get past before we can even talk about the ideas we’re trying to convey. And, because you are a commenter and I’m the essay-writer, it creates an artificial structure where I have to constantly clarify my ideas in order to meet your definitions but I barely have access to your definitions except in your comments.

            At some point I intend to write a primer on Capitalism for Pagans, because it appears necessary or at least potentially useful. In the meantime, though, I would like to point out that our arguments don’t go anywhere, and they appear to be ever-expanding. There’s probably a better way to discuss these things, which is why I will, again, ask you to consider making your views publicly available in the same way that I do–that is, by a blog or some other means. I think it will help you understand something about the difficulty in our interactions on-line and why these discussions always become dead-ending (and not just with me, but with other Patheos bloggers, I’ve noted). Until that point, though, you may find me reluctant to reply to your subsequent comments.

          • Henry Buchy

            “So. The dictionary definitions you offer are accurate but inadequate. Since you assert that anything I add to those definitions is sectarian or political, I feel like you tied my hands there unfairly. ”

            That doesn’t preclude describing how it functions at different time periods, or from your political perspective. That’s part of my point. To say that it is different because it employs different modalities dependent on time period, doesn’t prove it is different in principle.

            “You see the dance of definitions we have to engage in, here?”
            Well that could have been avoided if you set your definition in the first place, as used to be the custom when writing about a subject with multiple definitions and wishing to be understood. That’s the difficulty. commenters wouldn’t have to ask for a clarification.
            And me being the blogger and you being the commenter? how would that change anything? lol
            except perhaps I’d have set a definition of terms from which I worked from.

      • http://www.12stepwitch.com/ 12StepWitch

        Oh so you think you’re charming huh ;)

        • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

          I have sometimes been known to play The Smith’s song, “Sweet and Tender Hooligan” on repeat and dance around my room. That any of my roommates or lovers were able to endure that song for several hours at a time is a testament to the utter resilience of humanity!

          …and I think I need to listen to that song right now. : )

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

    As someone who believes Nature’s true value is inherent and not in her usefulness to humans, and as someone who is saddened and angered by the abuse of Nature by those who scream “it’s mine and I can do whatever I want with it!” I’m in general agreement with your sympathies.

    However, in practice, once a human society grows beyond a certain size and complexity, communal or tribal or even feudal control of the land becomes unworkable. So I’m not sure exactly what your vision is, nor how we could go about implementing it. Perhaps you could elaborate…

    My preference is for heavily regulated private property – do what you like with property under your control within certain limits (no toxic waste dumps, no cutting down all the trees, etc) that reflect the long-term needs of society and the rights of Nature herself. And with certain reserved lands (parks, rivers, beaches, etc) held in common for the common good.

    • Henry Buchy

      “My preference is for heavily regulated private property – do what you like with property under your control within certain limits (no toxic waste dumps, no cutting down all the trees, etc) that reflect the long-term needs of society and the rights of Nature herself. And with certain reserved lands (parks, rivers, beaches, etc) held in common for the common good.”
      it is already fairly well regulated, hence zoning laws, land use regs, etc. As someone who is a certified preservation professional I can say you’d be surprised at how much regulations there already are in place. At least 1/3 of the county I live in is reserved land for public use, and there are zones which hope to contain development in already developed areas, and disallow it in the natural areas.
      40% of the property I ‘own’ is wetlands restricted, and so must be left ‘as is’. In lands which surround the near by state park, there are buildable lot restrictions, minimums begin at 5 acres per single family to 2 acres depending on proximity to the park border. of course that mostly pertains to my state.

    • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

      One difficulty that gets encountered when we address this issue is the “progress’ model of human society which sees each previous mode of organization as more primitive and less efficient from what comes after. This is called the Progress Narrative (you’ve probably seen JMGreer harp heavily on this, too), and is inadequate. In fact, this is also one of the difficulties with the way we speak of evolution, as well, as if each successive incarnation of an organism is somehow “better” or more “advanced” than previous incarnations. Steven Jay Gould had lots to say about this, as does John Gray.

      It’s an Enlightenment model, and unfortunately Marx had a huge hand in it with the notion that each successive economic model was “more advanced” than the next. It’s funny (by which I mean awfully frustrating) to see its grip on the thinking of both capitalists and evolutionary theorists who generally reject everything else about him (I don’t understand why so many of the big-name “New Atheists” are also so scary right-wing).

      That being said, socialist economic models, such as those in Europe, seem to be a lot better at managing the environment than capitalist ones (but not communist ones, which mostly just transformed the logic of Capitalism into what they saw as it’s logical conclusion and destroyed almost everything they touched. I suspect they were right on their conclusions, and we should all be terrified).

      There’s an uncomfortable consequence of democracies which also comes into play (and I’m an anarchist, so I’m more into democracy than most people)–they distribute rights without responsibility. Much like how a corporation can utterly destroy a natural habitat but its constituents (employees, board members, officers, and shareholders) are not held responsible for this, Big-State democracy empowers individuals without acknowledging the interdependence of their actions.

      So, I agree, regulation is necessary, but we also should consider coming up with a system which better acknowledges that my “right to private property” sustains another’s misery and suffering and sometimes actually causes it.

  • http://www.12stepwitch.com/ 12StepWitch

    Of interest to anyone sympathizing with these points of view might be the Reclaiming tradition of Witchcraft. The original Reclaiming Collective was shaped out of a group of witches who worked together at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Facility blockade in 1982.
    From the book Enchanted Feminism:
    “Early in 1981 the Collective expanded by taking in new members from the two covens it had fostered…At this point, the Reclaiming Collective number ten women…the notion of a community separate from the Collective was not yet born. This changed during the fall of 1981, which in many ways became a turning point for Reclaiming: Starhawk and Rose participated in a large nonviolent civil disobedience demonstration at Diablo Canyon in California to stop the opening of a nuclear power plant. Together with several thousand other American leftists and alternatavists, they were arrested. It was the first time they did ritual and magic in a politicized field and the first time they met the anarchist community in SF, which also demonstrated at Diablo Canyon. From that point on, Reclaiming’s feminism was extended to include anarchism and direct political action, and the first men were accepted into the collection.”

    It does on to discuss how the tradition was shaped there-on by the inclusion of anarchists, both from how it operates within and what it concentrates on in the larger world. Starhawk herself lectures almost exclusively on permaculture and earth activism training these days.

    • http://paganarch.blogspot.com/ rhyd wildermuth

      Thanks for posting this! It was from reading Starhawk that I realised there was actually no conflict between my dislike of capitalist exploitation and my Paganism. It was probably one of the most profound experiences of my life, actually akin to realizing that I could be gay and not be swallowed into the Abyss to be tortured for all eternity.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X