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Communitarian Activist Principles

Social Justice from a Climax Social Evolution Theory perspective

(1980-2000)

 

"Social Justice" can really only mean one thing as a political concept and that is equal rights for all members of society. Equal rights for all members of society can only be achieved in an egalitarian political-economic system where social power is fully democratized. Anything less is to achieve "Animal Farm's" dystopia where "All animals are equal but some are more equal than others", i.e., creating an even more abusive social system in the name of social democracy. Social power is democratized by planetary equal distribution of basic information and communication systems, equal distribution of individual and community living and production work spaces, equalized access to raw materials and energy sources, and equal access to inter-community transportation systems. Social power is also democratized by equal treatment under law. Achieving social justice in essence means creating an egalitarian social system to replace ones ruled by various types and degrees of oligarchic control.

From the Climax Social Evolution Theory perspective this social change goal of insuring social justice by creating egalitarian social systems takes on a biological aspect and emphasis as well; to survive as a species human beings must stabilize their regional population numbers in self-sustaining bio-regional Climax Communities that harmonize human lifestyle needs with the ecology of the surrounding bio-regional. Social stabilization requires the absence of anti-social or environmental aggression which in turn requires the absence of reasons why these anti-social behaviors have thrived in American soil. Invariably, the primary reasons for anti-social behavior are these: Inequality of distribution of goods and services produced by society, lack of social or emotional nurturance of the young, and lack of social or emotional outlets for natural aggression.

All societies produce aggressive individuals. How societies deal with aggressive individuals makes the difference between good social systems that are stable because they provide the benefits of social production to all its members without prejudices of any sort being built into the system. In other words, social and economic democracy in full for every citizen regardless of economic circumstances, ethnic heritage, educational or physical handicap, etc. Aggressive individuals must be educated as children into useful outlets for their natural aggression. Social nurturance means insuring each member of society with the means of basic benefits of civilized life; basic nutritional food sustenance, basic housing, basic transportation, basic communications, basic education and access to world information. If a substantial number of members of a society are denied these basics by an inequitable social distribution system, then poverty and crime is the inevitable result. Poverty and crime destabilize society. Draconian repressive techniques may mask social instability for a time but long term social stabilization requires egalitarian reformation of society.

Emotional nurturance of the young is both a family and community responsibility. If the family fails to provide emotional nurturance for its members, especially the young, then the community and society will pay the price sooner or later when disturbed children and adults act out their frustrations from lack of emotional nurturance. So the community must be there for every child who's family is dysfunctional. It's a bottom line responsibility that cannot be ignored for any reason. Emotional nurturance for adults comes from loving relationships and spiritual communion. The Spirit of Love and Compassion must be honored by the community in some form that makes these values visible and models for emulation. My Christian religious preference is, of course, the Spirit of Christ, Western Civilization's avatar of Love and Compassion. But the Buddha is also there as another model for millions East and West, and we are lucky in our times to have incredibly strong women as real life models of Love and Compassion such as Mother Teresa and Ang San Suu Kyi.

Sports is a fine way for youth, and adults for that matter, to vent aggressive attitudes and emotions. Sports, as most of us know, is also a fine substitute for war because it has Rules of the Game and the Fair Play ethic of good sportsmanship. The rules provide a safe arena for aggressive individuals to test themselves in competition in order to find their natural ranking in the hierarchy of the sport and the community at large. In capitalist societies, real life Monopoly games are played by aggressive individuals for the benefit of only a very privileged few while their Monopoly Game cost is paid for by the many. Playing real life Monopoly games is unsportsmanlike behavior as the advantage of one player over another increases exponentially with success. In other words, the "winners" sitting on top of monopoly distribution system for products or services produced by society and needed or wanted by large segments of society, have a totally unfair economic advantage over beginners without capital. If the social system allows or promotes real life Monopoly Games with essential goods and services needed by all of society for the healthy functioning of society then the social system must be changed.

 

Preparing the Ground for the New Millennium

First Step--Composting counterproductive Leftist Cold War Ideology

 

Comparing Communitarian socialism, militant socialism, and capitalism:

Of persons aware of the continuing social problems of our nation and the world, few doubt the need for major revision of existing social systems based on capitalism. This awareness is centuries old now and the 20th Century saw a worldwide militant socialist attempt to overthrow the capitalist systems. The major problem socially sensitive people have with the capitalist system is that it exploits working people and the resources of the environment for the benefit of privileged people at the top of the capitalist economic pyramid. Given free reign, capitalism acts like a cancer on the social body as it absolutely needs to grow and expand new territories of exploitation or markets in order for the components of the system to stay alive. Given time, capitalism, left to itself without socialistic brakes applied, would eventually destroy every exploitable resource as it sent millions of people into poverty to build economic empires for a handful of capitalist families.

To offset this cancerous aspect of capitalism, various socialistic laws are added in so that the majority of the people in capitalist nations are well enough off that they won't squawk at capitalist greed. But the tension between the Many and the privileged Few is always present in capitalist societies. Given enough visible evidence of severe exploitation, the Many will produce first "protesters" against capitalist exploitation, and if that doesn't have any effect, the Many will eventually produce armed revolutionaries. Unfortunately, one of capitalism's biggest "markets" is in the exploitation of social conflict, i.e., wars and crime. Capitalism loves wars because wars provide opportunities to make big money supplying armaments to opposing sides. So, inevitably, militant revolutionaries and militant socialism fail as they sacrifice human lives and the building of the components of non-exploitive socialist systems in futile wars against capitalist societies who are busy making fortunes off socialist wars of insurrection.

In 1990, after nearly seventy-five years of effort and at the cost of millions of lives, militant socialism threw in the towel in the Soviet Union, the leader of socialist nations. Other militant socialist nations worldwide have quickly or slowly followed suit. But socialism's critique of the capitalist system won't go away as long as the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful while the poor get poorer and even more deprived of political and economic rights. Actually the socialist ethic of sharing all with all equally is deeply rooted in Western Civilization as it can be traced right back to Jesus and Christian teachings. The root of the socialist ethic can be found in Acts of the New Testament:

"Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common." (Acts 4:32)

"Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles' feet, and they distributed to each as anyone had need." (Acts 4:34,35)

The very first Christians practiced communal socialism but when the Church and its bishops grew in power and eventually converted the Roman Emperor Constantine, the Christian socialist ethic was down-played and only put into practice in Christian monastic communities. Everyday Christians let Roman rule run their lives. In the late Middle Ages and after the Protestant Reformation the Christian socialist ethic reappeared in the form of new Christian cooperative communities, some of which survived to land in America as founding societies like the Puritans, and Quakers. Later ones came like the Mennonites, Hutterites, and Amish. In the last century, Karl Marx based his Communist creed, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need", on the Christian socialist model as stated in the passage in Acts above, and communalism as practiced by 18th and 19th Century Christian intentional communities. Ironically, Marxism tried to do away with the very source of its communist ethic. As long as capitalist exploiters or militant socialists cannot rid their societies of Christian spiritual influence, the Christian socialist ethic will always be there to fuel protest against capitalist economic exploitation or militant socialist political exploitation.

The Sixties saw a revival of wide scale socialist-based protest and experimentation with socialist lifestyles--the communal movement. American society, with its non-socialist Christian churches dominating religious ethics, was labeled part and parcel of worldwide capitalist imperialism that had produced the tragic Vietnam War. A better way was sought. Protest movements abounded with some going further towards militant revolutionary models. But looking to militant socialist examples instead of Christian ones guaranteed the eventual failure of these American political socialist attempts as did using non-Christian cooperative community models guarantee the eventual failure of almost all the communes started in the sixties and seventies. Only the Christian intentional communities have survived. Some are even flourishing now but the price is high. Strict allegiance to the New Testament story of Jesus Christ and to the community's religious charter of beliefs is usually demanded of community participants as is following without protest community rules dictated by the community religious leader or councils of elders who make all major community decisions. Material wealth is usually shared in such communities but at the sacrifice of individual freedom. Much the same problem as with militant socialist nations which finally toppled when the People demanded freedom above lifelong commitment to the militant socialists' war against capitalism. What is to be done then to build Eutopia where everyone has the opportunity to live, work, play, obtain education, raise families, and maintain health and well-being in communities of their own choosing? Well, the first place to start is seeing the problem holistically.

 

Holistic Social Change

In the past, socialist critique of capitalist society has focused on politics, either by ballot or in desperation, by bullet, as the main way to change society. But politics is only one part of the whole set of social ills found in capitalist societies. Ecology provides a truer model for dealing with those problems. Ecology focuses on the interaction of complex natural systems and therefore must take many different components of those systems into consideration. Any one component taken by itself limits viewing the whole social structure and thus limits the effectiveness of one-sided approaches to social change.

In 1975 I found and developed a holistic ecological perspective to social change that is based on the ecology of "climax communities" in Nature. You can learn about this new perspective in the Climax Social Evolution Theory chapter. The bottom line of my Climax Social Evolution Theory, the basis of Climax Civilization, is that not only political, but economic, cultural, technological, environmental, and Spiritual, with a big S, components of society must all be taken into account if we are ever going to reach for and attain a better world.

 

Holistic Ecology: composting social warfare activism

It is unfortunate that during the 1990's the environmental movement succumbed to political takeover by old Cold War Leftist ideology which, after being tossed out of country after country in the last decade, found a new home in environmental protest organizations. A similar phenomenon happened with Republican politics which was seriously threatened by political takeover by the Christian Right. The Christian Right made its impact but didn't succeed nearly as well as the political Left whose ideology now controls most of the nation's environmental movement. This political takeover of the environmental movement necessitates redefining ecology as "Holistic Ecology" to distinguish it from politicized environmentalism.

Just what is "holistic ecology"? "Ecology" itself means complex natural systems viewed as whole systems in interaction. But the takeover has happened and the old militant Leftist Cold War agenda of war against corporate capitalism has made words like "ecology" and "environment" loaded with political overtones. Therefore, I will need to clarify what is meant in these pages by "holistic ecology" as opposed to politically biased definitions, such as "Deep Ecology", the so-called in-depth approach to environmental problems which, surprise, surprise, always seems to boil down to corporate capitalists ruining eco-systems. Alas, if it were just that simple...

Holistic Ecology means looking at eco-systems holistically. A return to this true ecological perspective must take place in the environmental movement or we will lose more environmental protection as environmental activists, having not learned the militant socialist lesson of history, waste the resources of the environmental movement in Cold War political battles with corporations. Holistic Ecological awareness is essentially a spiritual awareness of the material world as Nature. When you militarize a spiritual movement you destroy it. As you will know from reading my communitarian history included in these Eutopia pages, my own politics are of the Left but not of the militant Left. Experience in cooperative community organizing and building and a Christian open invitation for individual and community change plus a holistic ecological perspective that must go beyond "us" and "them" categories just leaves no room for the Cold War games political Leftists never seem to tire of. But because the political Left have decades of political organizing experience behind them, they have successfully downloaded the Cold War ideology into the whole environmental movement and have thereby crippled its effectiveness in obtaining environmental protection for endangered species and endangered eco-systems. The easiest way to explain how this has happened is by giving you examples from my own environmental activist experience.

 

Radically Wrong

Examples of the loss of endangered species eco-systems due to politically biased focus of environmental action.

(1999)

Example One: Major loss of fish spawning grounds in southern Humboldt County watersheds which could have been prevented with environmental activist intervention in homestead subdivision development.

In our region, there has been a long fight between environmentalists and timber companies, especially one timber company, Pacific Lumber Co., that began in the late 1980's and is still going today. In the later half of the 1970's I joined our local Environmental Protection Information Center organization, EPIC, as a dues paying member which I was glad to do then when I could afford it. I was glad to see other activists looking out for local environmental problems because it left time for me to focus my activist energies on social change projects such as helping to form a land trust community of cooperative homesteaders in 1976 and The Bridge project, an activist community resource library and meeting house, in the 1980's. But during the 1980's, an environmental problem, the eco-damaging of local streams by excessive homestead subdivision road building, became a watershed event in my environmental consciousness. It was a problem I knew quite a bit about having personally contributed to it as a noveau homesteader before I woke up to the fact that the whole homestead lifestyle was seriously contributing to the demise of local fish spawning habitat.

Everyone here knew that over-logging had made a mess of our rural area but that happened decades ago in the 1950's and '60's. "Back to the Land" homesteaders began moving into this area in earnest starting in the early 1970's so that by the 1980's eco-damage to streams here could no longer be attributed to logging practices. The problem was definitely with homestead subdivision development. The eco-damage being done by homestead subdivision development consists mainly in diverting water in the summer and fall from fish spawning grounds in tributary creeks and in the building of rocked roads and driveways which homestead vehicular traffic continually grinds down into dirt and dust that heavy winter rains turn to mud and silt which then washes down into our local creeks clogging up salmon and steelhead spawning pools. In our county there are hundreds of miles of dirt roads and driveways servicing homestead subdivisions and that adds up to several thousand acres of permanently exposed ground, i.e., permanent "clearcuts". Despite a few futile fish hatchery attempts, there are virtually no coho or steelhead spawning grounds left in our area and large-scale timber cutting has been gone from here for over 30 years. Homestead development also brought other environmental problems as well such pollution of our streams with fertilizers and worse contaminants and an over-abundance of dogs and cats running around killing off any small game they could catch. Good bye to any of the smaller endangered species here.

I noticed while running The Bridge during the late 1980's, that our two leading environmental organizations, the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) and Earth First!, were focusing their activist energies against timber companies to our north. Saving old growth trees and old-growth dependent endangered species became the environmental cause. Gone were earlier concerns for cleaning up our local streams and restoring local fish runs. And not even begun were environmental educational programs focusing on how to change homesteading practices to make this lifestyle environmentally sound. Because environmental organizations in our area have lead the ideology and focus for the whole American environmental movement during the 1990's, Epic and Earth First! led the way for Leftist ideology to takeover the whole environmental movement. Now, without doubt, the environmental movement has essentially become the new political battle ground for Leftist organizers to continue the militant Left's political war against corporate capitalism. The Cold War had become the Timber War. And the meaning of "ecology" has been sacrificed in the process of militarizing environmental consciousness.

"Holistic Ecology" simply means returning to the original meaning of the word "ecology" with its understanding that eco-systems are not political entities, that endangered species don't care a whit about which group of humans beings are wrecking their habitats, and that we are all in this world together. The human communities and their social and economic systems in place are all interactive parts of the whole ecology of the life of the land. Singling out one part of society, such as the corporation economic system, as a target of political warfare, is just plain socially irresponsible in light of the fact that the ones protesting this economic system have no working socialist models to replace the capitalist system in place which is at least functioning to provide goods and services for the majority of citizens.

Until new cooperative socialist models are developed and have proven their worth, responsible environmental activism, i.e., environmentalism based on educating all of society, and not just those who join the war against capitalists, must concentrate on finding cooperative ways that work to get the message across to mainstream America about the benefits of ecologically balanced and democratically administered economic organization. And, in fact, by dealing cooperatively with mainstream America and even corporations, the people in those systems, human beings, remember, will respond favorably. I've seen it happen. They can and will change when they and their work is not demonized by militant "eco-warriors" and revolutionary wannabes who hypocritically point the finger of blame only at their political targets while hiding from the environmental truth of their own complicity in the destruction of local eco-systems.

(See homestead eco-destruction above. Compounding the hypocrisy is the fact that contributions from local homesteading communities are the main financial support for leading environmental organizations like EPIC and Earth First!).

Before we can tell the other fellow to clean up his or her yard we had first better clean up the mess in our own backyard. Or, like Pogo once said, "We have met the enemy and the enemy is us".

 

Example Two: How militant Leftist ideology ruined chances for major environmental protection in the Pacific Lumber Co.--Headwaters Forest conflict.

I am a full veteran of the Sixties cultural revolution and a life-long communitarian socialist. But I am not at war with capitalism. Capitalism is an economic-social system that has it place in time and will evolve or dissolve along with everything else. In our times, capitalism represents the conservative elements of our society and conservatism too has its place in time and social history. Without conservatism social reformers and revolutionaries would quickly turn society into chaos as each new social scheme competed against past ones and other alternatives. So conservatism acts as society's brakes on itself, making social change an evolutionary process instead of revolutionary.

Because I am a communitarian and therefore hold to social theories that are predominantly of the "Left", it took me years to understand why America and all societies didn't go for the good and caring society promised by socialist reform. To socialists, the abuses of corporate capitalism were everywhere you turn--needless wars against other countries for denying capitalists their markets, housing and medical costs sky high, crime rampant in our major cities, environmentally destructive technology and resource exploitation, a legal system that protects the rich and punishes the poor, to name only a few outstanding examples. But the reason America and most societies have rejected socialism can be now be clearly seen from the lesson of history. The most visible of socialist examples, the militant state socialist experiments like the U.S.S.R., Cuba, etc., have failed worldwide to bring a better way of life to the majority of people in those system. And militant socialism has not only failed to bring about a Worker's Paradise but is responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people as well as enormous environmental destruction of natural resources.

In our times capitalism has won out against socialism by default. By creating a war for the annihilation of capitalism, militant socialists used up social and material resources to such a degree that their own people finally said, "Enough!" and switched to the capitalist system which at least gave them freedom that militant socialist society, like any militarized organization, can never provide--the freedom to choose what kind of society they want. Eclipsed by 50 years of Cold War between militant socialism and capitalism, the American communitarian socialist models never got noticed. And some of these have been highly successful running competition with capitalists for years and still flourishing.

Two things have been a great help to me in overcoming "us" and "them" dichotomies which are not true to holistic ecological reality and usually lead to increased social conflict and sometimes war, the Timber War in our area being a good example. One is my Christian faith which directs me to follow the teachings of Jesus as best I can, especially about withholding judgment which I have a terrible time with those closest to my own beliefs, like fellow environmentalists, poor souls, but which I'm not bad at it with mainstream people. But, like Jesus, with His anger at the Pharisees who He thought were blocking the people's access to spiritual truth, I have definitely developed a low tolerance to the modern Pharisee-lead environmental leadership in our neck of the woods. And it shows throughout out my environmental writings as do the reasons for my anger. It's no fun being an environmental activist prophet who predicted environmental failure that could and should have been prevented. I'm speaking here of the road run-off sedimentation and over-consumption of water problem that has become the major ecological disaster for Humboldt County rural watersheds.

But back to the second help to me in overcoming "us" and "them" differences, especially between mainstream and counterculture people. The second help is the holistic social perspective inherent in Climax Social Evolution Theory which forms the philosophical basis for my social and environmental activist work. With these two spiritual and philosophic tools I have been able to break through boundaries in my environmental activist work that other environmentalists could not even imagine, burdened as most of them now are with leftover Leftist Cold War "us" and "them" political ideology. Even honestly acknowledging my communitarian socialist loyalties, my Christian ethic and my Climax Social Evolution philosophy enabled me walk openly into the decision-making offices of our county's biggest local corporate capitalist enterprise, the Pacific Lumber Co. From Redwood Summer organizer in 1990, I became an environmental consultant and liaison for P.L. for the whole year of 1991. This is how it came about:

In 1990 I became active in the Headwaters Forest environmental conflict. Headwaters Forest environmental activists were using the community activist resource library and meeting hall I directed called The Bridge as an organizing base for local activists involved in Redwood Summer. Redwood Summer was the name given to the whole summer-long series of environmentalist protests in 1990 to save Headwaters Forest which contains the last large privately owned stands of ancient and old growth redwood trees left in the world. I became an organizer of the "Redwood Summer Visioning Committee" which attempted to organize dialogue sessions between environmental activists and timber company executive decision makers. We got as far as getting the president of Pacific Lumber Co., the company owning Headwaters Forest, to come to The Bridge twice and on our local radio station to answer questions directly to the community that was so concerned with preserving Headwaters. Then Earth First! staged a violent demonstration at an annual meeting of Humboldt State University staff and local timber industry representatives. An Earth First! mob scene formed and literally chased PL's president and the president of HSU out of the meeting and parking lot. Earth First!'s action ended our dialogue attempts and we quit Redwood Summer in protest to this demonstration which violated the Redwood Summer Non-Violence Code all Redwood Summer participants had agreed to.

In the late Fall of 1990 I was asked by the president of Pacific Lumber Co. to continue what I had tried to accomplish with our Redwood Summer Visioning Committee dialogue sessions. In 1991, I organized three talks between P.L. and their toughest environmental critics, the Environmental Protection Information Center, which had been suing P.L. right and left to stop their harvesting of old growth trees. The talks went nowhere as EPIC, following the radical environmentalist "No Compromise" idiocy, stonewalled all P.L. environmental compromise offers which now, eight years down the road, would have very likely saved thousands of old growth trees on P.L. lands. It would probably would have also stopped the company from changing their timber management policies starting in 1992 to match the large clearcutting, total old growth cutting, herbicide spraying, fiber farm techniques used by the other big timber corporations in Northern California. One big reason I could deal with Pacific Lumber Co. without prejudice was full awareness of my own community's homestead subdivision development causing environmental damage to endangered species habitat, especially coho salmon and steelhead spawning grounds at least equal to, and probably exceeding the same sort of damage attributed to corporate timber companies, like Pacific Lumber Co.

(See homestead eco-damage section above).

So it was impossible for me to buy into the militant environmentalist mindset that puts all the blame for stream degradation on corporate timber clearcutting and logging road construction. But by 1991, our local environmental organizations had all their guns sighted on P.L. and the Headwaters conflict and the homestead creek damage issue was shoved under the rug--where it has stayed for the past decade. Off and on during these past ten years I've raised this issue in letters to our local papers but it's only been in the last month, (Oct. 1999), that a local stream restoration environmental organization has finally brought the same issue to local public attention. Most of my work in 1991 trying to change P.L.'s timber harvesting practices hinged on getting environmentalist support for starting environmental protection negotiations between PL and P.L.'s main environmental activist organization opponent, EPIC, that specializes in litigating P.L. I failed miserably in the attempt. I did managed to arrange three exploratory meetings between leaders of EPIC and the president of P.L.

In the early months of 1991, P.L. put out some astonishing concessionatory "feelers" to EPIC and the environmental community such as offering EPIC the job of overseeing every P.L. timber harvest plan in critical habitat zones throughout P.L.'s 200,000 acres, offering EPIC the opportunity to join P.L. biologists in their marbled murrelet surveys, (saving murrelet nesting trees being one of the primary reasons Headwaters is now a protected reserve), and offering to set aside 20,000 acres of stream corridor land throughout P.L.'s 200,000 acres for permanent environmental protection. But EPIC, following the environmentalist Timber War battle slogan, "No Compromise", stonewalled all of these overtures of compromise, not once responding with any sort of willingness to enter further into negotiation with P.L.

In 1992, after giving up trying to work with environmentalists, Pacific Lumber abandoned their self-imposed three year moratorium on clear-cutting and herbicide spraying. They changed their forestry practices reducing timber rotation periods following the fiber farm practices of other large timber corporations. And, of course, the company had definitely abandoned any plans of compromising on old-growth protection with environmentalists. They would deal only with government agencies from then on. So, by this time, 1999, in spite of scores of protest demonstrations and lawsuits, three quarters of all the old growth trees have been cut down that were still standing on P.L. lands when environmentalists first started their protest actions thirteen years ago. The "No Compromise" policy of militant environmental activists has cost us all thousands of old growth trees that could have been saved if environmentalists knew anything about negotiation instead of demonstration.

Later on in 1991, I found out EPIC had their own secret agenda that I didn't know about at the time when I was arranging talks between P.L. and them which was planning their first attempt to take away up to a third of P.L.'s land surrounding the environmentalist targeted icon, Headwaters Forest. Under environmentalist instigation several bills were latter introduced in our state and in Congress to this effect but the bills died in committee. In the mid-Nineties the environmentalist demand was for 60,000 acres to be taken away from P.L. in a "Debt for Nature" swap deal trading P.L.'s parent corporate owner Chas. Hurwitz's old failed S& L FDIC debt for the 60,000 acres. Environmentalists poured years of effort into this Debt for Nature swap deal only to have it and themselves completely left out of the "Headwaters Deal" negotiated in 1998 between the Clinton Administration and Chas. Hurwitz, who is the owner of P.L.'s parent company, Maxxam, and final decision-maker for Pacific Lumber Co. policies. The Headwaters Deal has given us a forest reserve of 7500 acres, far less than the 60,000 acres environmentalists wanted.

Meanwhile, back to 1991.

I did have some influence on P.L. policy that year that was reflected in P.L.'s compromise offers to EPIC. But, as I said, I failed to bring about any meaningful negotiations between the two. After watching EPIC lose their chance of directly influencing P.L. forestry policy, I started writing letters to our community papers stating plainly what it was losing through environmentalist politicizing environmental protection issues and turning them into Timber War games. Needless to say, to local environmental activist leaders I had joined the enemy camp. But what else could I do? I had become a lone environmental activist who's ideas on changing corporate timber company logging practices were not based on politics but on environmental education for all sides.

The abuses of timber corporations here in Humboldt Co. were nowhere near as extreme as ones being done in tropical rain forests. Of course, there are corporations beating the hell out of the environment and contributing to despicable wars against indigenous populations, but that was not the case here. The timber companies here in Northern California are bound by the strictest timber harvesting laws in the nation and in 1991, even the demonized Pacific Lumber Co. was admitted by one EPIC leader attending the P.L./EPIC talks to having the best environmental protection record of any large timber company on the North Coast. But the rest of the environmental activist leaders did not want to hear anything that would interfere with their erection of the Headwaters national media stage for promoting themselves as eco-warriors battling evil corporate capitalists and "saving the forest". So I was blacklisted in our local environmental organizations. Secure in their control of environmental information, our local "eco-warriors" then ignored my criticisms of their policies and their Timber War against P.L. went on for another nine years with no end in sight even now.

For nine years now I've had to watch this phony Timber War game lose all us literally thousands of old-growth trees that could otherwise have been saved if environmental leaders here had followed holistic ecology principles instead of political agendas. "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country." Jesus' words were a little comforting, but I still feet anger and frustration because I can't seem to make a dent in the political mindset of the people who claim they want to save our environment. At the end of 1992, feeling fairly disgusted with the whole scene I dropped out of the P.L./Headwaters conflict for three years until that fateful day in March of 1995 when I picked up a newspaper and read about the Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho getting government approval to run a nationwide lottery. My girlfriend at the time just happened to be a former Native American organizer who had also worked to help set up the California state lottery.

 

Example Three: How 60,000 acres of Headwaters Forest, instead of 7,500, could have been saved by environmentalists.

In 1995, having made the commitment in Redwood Summer of 1990 to help save Headwaters Forest, I stepped back into the Headwaters ring for round two. This was my work with the Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria's Heartlands project, a three and a half year attempt to regain the 60,000 acres of Headwaters Forest environmentalists sought which is actually part of the tribe's ancestral homelands, stolen from them in the California Indian Wars between 1858 and 1864. The Bear River tribe is composed of direct descendents of five local Native American tribes, four of which were obliterated in the California Indian War period and one nearly so during the Indian Island massacre of 1860, one of the largest massacres of Native Americans in American history.

So this solution to saving Headwaters Forest was not only an environmental protection project but also one of long overdue social justice. The tribal Headwaters land acquisition would come about by setting up a statewide tribally run Headwaters Lottery which, unlike either the final government acquisition of Headwaters for almost a half a billion dollars or the environmentalist's Debt for Nature plan, would not have cost taxpayers a penny. The respected Humboldt State University sponsored Center for the Resolution of Environmental Disputes thought our plan for saving Headwaters Forest was the best one around. So did Hopi Prophesy teacher and Seed Carrier, Scott Walking Buffalo, who liked the timber management section of the plan enough to take it to show the Shoshone tribe working on another tribal timberland project.

You can learn more about this amazing project in the Headwaters and Heartlands pages.

For the sake of accurate history in order that future activists will learn from the mistakes recorded in the Ethnic Cleansing of Headwaters Forest you can learn how Headwaters environmental activist leaders, faced with Native American competition for Headwaters Forest, abandoned the ethic of environmentalist respect for Native American culture, abandoned social justice, and went out of their way to try to stop the Bear River tribe's Heartlands project as well as keeping news of its existence from reaching the environmental movement.

Holistic Ecology is the foundation of creating Eutopia, the good society. It is vitally important that the environmental movement not drag Cold War politics into the New Millennium. To create, to grow true ecologically compatible human communities, we must be able to see our own communities as they really are, and right now, most communities are in caught between economic survival and ecological ruin. It's our job as social and environmental activists to guide all of society into a new era of cooperative solutions that lead to holistic cooperation between human communities and between human communities and the life of the land.

(Update 2002: The NY Times ran a report on biological studies of the effects of rural ranch subdivision which concluded such subdivisions and the subsequent introduction of smaller parcel residents has spelled disaster for indigenous species. This biological truth can be seen today with the rural homestead subdivisions where I live. All the while local environmentalists have been attacking local timber companies for eco-damage to indigenous species habitat, their own supporting homestead communities have been doing more eco-damage to local species than the timber companies they protest. The corporate monster has actually been a better steward of the life of their lands than the self-righteous "forest defenders" who, by focusing environmental protests on "them", the horrible greedy capitalist exploiters of the forests, forgot to look at "us".)

 

Mainstreaming countercultural values: Reasons why we must move on beyond 60's political protest organizing and into creating viable communitarian alternatives.

Some of you reading these pages will not understand why I being a spiritually-centered counterculture activist, heavily criticize counterculture protest movements. There are several reasons for this:

One: Following the teachings of Christ sometimes means putting yourself on the line, in harm's way if necessary, to help your fellow human beings. Any spiritual person who has an ounce of social awareness and social consciousness cannot be seeking personal bliss and enlightenment while millions of human beings are suffering and dying because foul socio-economic systems grossly favor a small percentage of the world's people.

Two: For over a decade I've watched local environmental protest actions destroy opportunities for significant environmental protection of remaining old growth endangered species habitat.

Three: For over a decade I've seen politically biased environmentalists hypocritically flogging local timber companies while letting their own counterculture support community virtually free of criticism for severe environmental damage to endangered fish spawning streams.

Four: For five years I've seen environmentalists give lip service to supporting Native American causes but withholding that support when a local tribe composed of descendants of survivors of one of America's ugliest genocidal efforts dared to compete with local high profile Headwaters project that local environmentalist thought was their exclusive turf.

And Five: Seeing the counterculture activists fail in over thirty years of effort to make a significant difference in mainstream American society outside of contributing to the end of the Vietnam War.

We need to move beyond political counterculture activism which has become stagnated in protest demonstration organizing since the 1970's. Protests have their place, don't get me wrong, but they can't be ends in themselves. Social change organizers must look realistically at the history of the counterculture movement and see what has worked and what hasn't to bring lasting social change to the majority population. And that isn't much. Too much social change energy has been wasted in organizing media oriented protests and making protest superstars and not nearly enough in organizing social alternatives.

If we want to change society we have to direct our activist energy into creating social alternatives that work. Running around protesting may alleviate one's personal anger at social injustice but historically it has done very little to change the system that produces that anger. And reliance on old Leftist political ideology is a sure way to keep countercultural values trapped as just more side show entertainment for mainstream America to watch on the evening news or 60 Minutes or Oprah. Most Americans are not fools. All they have to do is look at what has happened to nations around the world that have followed militant socialists into creating repressive regime after regime that sucks up all their people's energy in political wars with capitalism. Because militant socialists are war centered they never understand what it takes to create long lasting workable peace and economic stability. In the end, after wasting millions of lives in decades of useless war struggles internally and externally, the citizens of these militant socialist countries said NO! and threw the Cold Warriors out. But that Cold Warrior ideology and energy didn't disappear. It just moved out of the social arena and into the environmental movement. Now it has once again moved back into the social arena with the W.T.O. protest demonstrations.

 

The hypocrisy of radical activists substituting greed for money for greed for power

"Greed for fame= greed for power when fame is power in America"

One of the grossest hypocrisies of environmental activists in our area is their inability to distinguish greed for money from greed for power. Oh, they know all about capitalist greed for profits at the expensive of everything else but they seem not to have a clue about how greed for power and fame works the same way in counterculture circles to destroy environmental protection efforts and corrupt counterculture social values. Counterculture activist greed works like this: media-oriented activists promote themselves by achieving media fame through stunts like tree sitting or chaining themselves together in trespassing or road-blocking demonstrations so that the police have to be called in.

Fame is power in the counterculture. Political action activists promote themselves through lawsuits and behind-the-scenes manipulation of other activists. Both believe there is nothing wrong with such tactics as both believe greed is only characteristic of corporate capitalists. Unfortunately, when activist leaders use their fame and power to promote themselves and their political agendas it often seems to happen that less aggressive and more cooperative strategies get passed over in favor of dramatic actions that will boost the media exposure of themselves and their goals. I reiterate my advice to social change activists to remember the lessons of history and not let media centered radicals or protest organizers steal social change energy that should and must be directed into building alternative community and economic models that work, that bring the benefits of civilization to all peoples without exploitation of any social class and without bringing harm to the environment.

The media loves conflict and will always focus on extremist actions to generate public interest which in turn makes more money for the media and their sponsors. If history teaches us anything about the capitalist system, it teaches us that capitalists thrives on social conflict and wars. Coming at the capitalist system that way is a sure loser. We have to build an alternative cooperative economic system within the capitalist one using the capitalist system itself to out compete it in satisfying basic individual and community needs. And it can be done. There are models out there*, e.g. the successful Christian communitarians like the Mennonites and Amish who are thriving in farm country while their mainstream neighbors watch their own farms being gobbled up in agri-business corporate takeovers. There are successful Israeli kibbutzim, and not that many years ago I attended a lecture about a city in Spain, Mondragon, that has been co-operatized for decades and thriving today.

 

Communitarian Activism: Going beyond the limitations of Protest Activism

We don't need another counterculture protest generation. We need to mainstream the counterculture we already have so that the values we hold of a good and decent society don't just circulate round and round amongst the already converted never really reaching the lives of the whole people. The process of reaching out to middle-class America will keep the counterculture movement from becoming a stagnant anachronistic subculture of politically correct bigots who think they and they alone have all the answers. The answers must come from all sides for true holistic social change to occur, not just the radical Left. I use the following to help explain this:

A teacher asks a student to come forward in class. The teacher tells the student to catch the world globe which the teacher then takes off it's holding rack and tosses to the student. The teacher asks the student which hand did he use to catch the world globe and keep it from falling to the floor--the right hand or the left?. "Both hands" replied the student.

* See the Communitarian Society chapter for a model of a communitarian way for conscientious individuals and groups to begin helping to build the worldwide cooperative community economy that will eventually replace corporate capitalist oligarchies of the rich and powerful with economic democracy and cooperative social systems that benefit the whole community as well as the life of the land.

* Also see Wikipedia online for a succinct description and history of Communitarian philosophy and activism.

 

How to a Communitarian leader would deal with world terrorism

(2001-right after 9-11 happened)

If I were President of the United States, I would immediately stop US aid to Israel until Israel stops occupying Palestinian land using US military and economic funds to do so. Most of the international terrorism directed at America now comes from Islamic nationalists and to them, US aid for the religious state of Israel against the Palestinians is the most significant beef they have with America. Then I would support a UN reorganization plan to create a UN world peace keeping force with real political power to represent the will of the majority of world nations instead of just America's will and that of the handful of most industrialized nations. Then I would ask the UN to convene a Belgium court-like or Nuremberg type of War Crimes court to oversee prosecution of international leaders responsible for war crimes including all religious and nationalistic organizations that use terror methods. This means not only "terrorists" organizations but also government leaders who use terrorist tactics, e.g. Ariel Sharon (and Arafat) so that Islamic peoples do not see the US prejudicially taking sides against those who are seen by Muslims as freedom fighters fighting US and European aided Israeli occupation and oppression of Palestinian territory.

We must remember Islam represents a huge world population and right now, with Bush's policies siding with Jewish Zionists, America is running dangerously close to creating a real religious war between Christianity and Islam. This situation has to be countered immediately as, like the Communists of old, Islamic fundamentalism is ready to fight capitalist exploitation to the bitter end and, unlike Communists, Islamic fundamentalists believe they have God on their side which translates into either world war against capitalist countries or continuous wars of liberation being fought by exploited peoples in third world countries trying to take back control of their own lives.

Next, I would go public with former US policies that have created the mess we are in. The US conscience needs confessing because in US relationships with other nations we have for far too many years been the covert suppliers of terrorist organizations as well as willing pawns in multinational corporation aggrandizement and control of world resources and world markets. A long-range US policy of developing a two-tier world economic plan should be initiated ASAP.

Two tiers: one tier being economic democratization (socialization) of the basics to human community survival and well-being, i.e., guaranteed basic housing, basic healthy food, life-long full medical care, clean air, water, basic transportation, education, etc.

The second tier is free market economies for non-essentials with minimal government interference except to guarantee environmental and public safety.

The US goal would be one of leading the industrialized nations into instituting worldwide relief of hunger and poverty and pollution by aiding in the creation of self-supporting basic worldwide national economies. This is the way you fight terrorism: You destroy the reasons for its existence in the first place. And for me as a Christian, this also brings our national policies more in line with Christian charity instead of Christian hypocrisy which is the best sort of missionizing we Christians can do if we follow the Spirit of Christ.

 

 

 

 

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