One thing this pandemic has demonstrated in stark terms is class struggle. Those people deemed essential, though often applauded in public, have been treated as expendable. In truth, they were always treated this way. But this last year has made this struggle visible for anyone paying attention.
“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
One of the biggest lies that people in the global north were sold and have largely internalized is that we are separate from the biosphere from which we evolved and on which we depend upon for our very survival. Even as we stand on the precipice of ecological collapse, human supremacy over nature has been the unchallenged narrative. As a result, those who have taken up the struggle to protect this fragile arrangement of existence are often otherized. Their “cause” is treated as just one of many. The “treehugger?” The “environmentalist?” The person who “cares about the earth?” How noble. How non-threatening. It becomes just another cause in a myriad of causes.
“We must answer their call. Our Mother Earth, militarized, fenced-in, poisoned, a place where basic rights are systematically violated, demands that we take action. Let us build societies that are able to coexist in a dignified way, in a way that protects life. Let us come together and remain hopeful as we defend and care for the blood of the Earth and of its spirits.” – Berta Caceres, Indigenous rights and environmental activist of the Lenca people, murdered in Honduras in 2016
“This is the end of freedom,” declared the definitive talking potato head himself, Glenn Beck. He was speaking about Hasbro’s decision to drop the “Mister” pronoun from their “Potato Head” toy. In fact, there will still be Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters respectively. The company just decided to remove the male descriptor “Mister” as the primary name of the brand. The same week, Dr. Seuss Enterprises decided to drop six books from the popular franchise due to their obviously racist portrayals of Asian and Black people. And on the conservative end of the internet, all hell broke loose.
KO: I wanted to begin by disclosing that I had the great honour of working with Cheryl in hospice care as medical social workers and grief counselors for several years. Her compassion, intuitive empathy and healing manner taught me invaluable lessons on how to approach death and grief.
After far right fascists and supremacists stormed the Capitol this month, it is little wonder that the American Empire would ramp up the security state. It is on steroids now, with more troops in DC than there are in Iraq. But whatever one might think of the necessity of increased security at the Inauguration tomorrow, it should seem pretty clear by now that, although democracy never really existed in any true form in the US republic, the very pretense of it is now officially dead.
Without a doubt, the people who stormed the US Capitol on January 6th are not ashamed. They have been emboldened. Egged on by a wannabe proto-fascist, his endless stream of lies about a stolen election, and driven by a relatively new cultish religion called QAnon, this mob breached the Capitol of the wealthiest and most powerful imperial power in human history. This mostly white crowd, already coming from a place of enormous privilege, did something no Black or Indigenous person could ever dream of in America. Yet there they were, being allowed into the historic building by members of the Capitol police, who some would later take selfies with. At the end of the day, four people would be dead, including a woman who was trying to break into the building. She is being referred to by some on the far right as a “martyr for the revolution.” A police officer would be dead a short time later from his injuries.
by Kenn Orphan
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Halifax, Nova Scotia
January 8, 2021
“There are two problems for our species’ survival—nuclear war and environmental catastrophe.” — Noam Chomsky
“We should indeed be worried,” — Kingston Reif, a nuclear expert with the Arms Control Association in Washington, D.C., regarding Donald Trump and the nuclear codes.
As I write this I await, like everyone else on planet earth, the results of this spectacle called the US elections. I await the outcome of a sham that empires throughout history have foisted on their subjects. The illusion of choice. I also await the inevitable contention. I await the speculation that will likely stretch on for weeks or more. I await the unhinged machinations and chaos making from the sitting president, as well as his unbridled fascist putsch, an expected act born in desperation from a sociopathic narcissistic megalomaniac.
Years ago, I had an opportunity to watch the dissection of a seabird. It was not an academic venture, but one of bearing witness to the devastation that industrial society has brought to countless species on our planet. The bird’s stomach contents revealed human detritus of all manner, plastic lighters, bottle caps, pens, even a spoon.
The most remarkable moment in the 90-minute US presidential debate was President Trump’s refusal to outright condemn white supremacist groups.
Indeed, he went further by referring to one such group by name, Proud Boys, and then told them – apparently approvingly – to “stand back and stand by”.
“It would be naive to depend on the Supreme Court to defend the rights of poor people, women, people of color, dissenters of all kinds. Those rights only come alive when citizens organize, protest, demonstrate, strike, boycott, rebel, and violate the law in order to uphold justice.” — Howard Zinn
Over the last few months I have been revisiting research I did a long time ago on fascism. Pinochet’s Chile, Sukarno’s Indonesia, Montt’s Guatemala, Hitler’s Germany and beyond. I’ve spent time poring over the accounts of the survivors, the details of the crimes, the descriptions of the torture, of the camps, of the dehumanization, the cruelty, the terror, the photos of the train cars headed to concentration camps, the mass graves, the massacres, the piles of corpses. And reading through the accounts of people who knew things were going in this direction, that something ghastly was being done to other people, yet did nothing, not even raised their voice when they had the chance.