Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Party down

"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?"

~ George Orwell, 1984

Thursday, November 20, 2014


"I see parallels in the mistreatment of farm animals, and the commodification of ordinary people into consumers for corporations to milk-dry. Farm animals are supposedly protected by the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958. People are supposedly protected by the constitution and consumer laws. But somehow those laws don’t offer much protection.

Our government, along with corporations, banks, mortgage companies, and health insurance companies, often treat us like some hapless animal being led off to slaughter. In 2008 the majority of voters chose Barack Obama as a hope for change. But Obama turned out to be a Trojan Horse for corporate interests.

Factory farm videos also remind me of the mortality that we all face. While people supposedly have more intellect than farm animals, for some reason many people just march quietly along, resigned to their metaphoric slaughter by The Powers That Be."

~ Neil Gillespie, "Down on the Factory Farm" April 25, 2012

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Profit and power

"You can tell what’s informing a society by what the tallest building is. When you approach a medieval town, the cathedral is the tallest thing in the place. When you approach an eighteenth-century town, it is the political palace ... And when you approach a modern city, the tallest places are the office buildings, the centers of economic life."

~ Joseph Campbell


"Now the two great aims of industrialism — replacement of people by technology and concentration of wealth in the hands of a small plutocracy — seem close to fulfillment. At the same time the failures of industrialism have become too great and too dangerous to deny.

Even the term 'economy' has lost its original meaning, which had to do with household management and husbandry. Most economists now never ask, in their professional oblivion, why we are willing to do permanent ecological and cultural damage 'to strengthen the economy.'

Corporate industrialism has failed to sustain the health and stability of human society. Among its characteristic signs are destroyed communities, neighborhoods, families, small businesses and small farms. It has failed just as conspicuously and more dangerously to conserve the wealth and health of nature."

~ Wendell Berry, 2012 Jefferson Lecture, Washington, D.C.

Monday, November 17, 2014

No farms, no food

From today's entry on the New York Times photography blog titled "Buying the Farm, Building a Subdivision"
Scott Strazzante thought he had a quick newspaper assignment photographing a farm in suburban Chicago. Instead, he spent the next 20 years documenting life there and on the suburban subdivision that replaced it.

His new book, Common Ground, pairs an elderly couple’s everyday routines on the farm with strikingly similar images of a young family in the starter-home development that replaced it. His project kind of happened, with plot twists and serendipity, much like life itself.
The article's blithe tone seemed to openly invite cynical comments. Only four responses in, commentator "steve from virginia" brought the discourse straight into Hunger Games territory:
If Strazzante lives long enough he can photograph the rotting tract houses and the squatters' vegetable gardens, the goats and chickens, the rusted cars and burning piles of otherwise indestructible plastic ... he can also film the revolutionary fighters and the aircraft flying low overhead to bomb them.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Upside down

Sheldon Wolin via Wikipedia

In inverted totalitarianism, every natural resource and every living being is commodified and exploited to collapse as the citizenry are lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in government through excess consumerism and sensationalism.


Whereas in [a fascist regime] the state dominate[s] economic actors, in inverted totalitarianism, corporations through political contributions and lobbying, dominate the United States, with the government acting as the servant of large corporations. This is considered "normal" rather than corrupt.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Don't vote

"Democracy is dead in the United States. Yet there is still nothing to replace real democracy. Drop the chains, then, that bind our brains. Drive the money-changers from the seats of the Cabinet and the halls of Congress. Call back some faint spirit of Jefferson and Lincoln, and when again we can hold a fair election on real issues, let's vote, and not till then. Is this impossible? Then democracy in America is impossible."

~ W.E.B. Dubois, "Why I Won't Vote," 20 October 1956