December 14, 2010
- Survival comes first: Without a planet we do not have a chance to achieve individual freedom. And individual freedom is only achievable by achieving survival for our species and ecosystem first.
- Freedom of speech: Should be one of the pillars of every single democracy there is. Democracy here means all-reaching and not just having it at the Parliament/Congress and your city council, but also in your neighborhood, your home, your table, your toilette, your bed! Freedom of speech means basically that you can communicate with anyone and express any thought without being punished by law or otherwise. Which basically implies that rational communication is the only way to peace. When a person is violent towards someone else, physically or otherwise, they are not communicating with that someone anymore, and thus freedom of speech is being breached as a inherit right.
So: Your average media conglomerate today accept the legitimacy of the global order, the state and its democratic institutions.
Then: What we have is official media giving a picture, an idea of the world, to our populations around the democracies of the globe in which certain states are condemned for not being democratic, compared to what their own definition of democracy is. At the same time, some of these states can be still be viewed as legitimate in others arenas i.e. when it comes to trade, technological or industrial partnerships and even military cooperation.
- Conclusion: Democracies are morally, in a political philosophical context, incoherent and hence wrong in the way they manage their society and misuse individuals in other societies. Democracy should only be respected as long as it is within our borders. Outside they do not have it. Who cares about poor and enslavished people anyway as long as the products they produce are cheap?
- Conclusion: Our democracies today are not well suited for deep changes in the way we produce and develop our societies. Hence taking responsibility for our actions, regarding i.e. the global climate change, means political suicide for any politician taking an ambitious, real and substantial stand beyond words.
- Conclusion: Lack of transparency in our democracies creates apathy in our population and fuels the misuse of power by democratically elected leaders. Wars can be waged without having real reasons beyond the will of the leader. Democracry can be presented as a product that you can sell (trade will make you free) or force onto other nations (our army will bomb you, then free you) and it is applauded by the ignorant populations in democracies around the world.
- Conclusion: How can you make up your mind about the global picture when you know you can not trust the official media, not because of their lousy journalism, but rather because their sources are already altered and biased? Think of a leader having control over most part of the local media or private politicized media everyewhere in the globe serving their own interests.
- Conclusion: Discourse is what sociologists call the process in which a society thinks: “An individual has thought, a society has discourse.” Individuals in a society have dialogues between themselves. And what we talk about is more or less defined by what the media present. So what we think as a society is based on the information we have available. The less accurate the information the less our discourse resembles reality.
What if: A girl/guy from a democratic state starts sharing information through open and decentralized media channels, such as WikiLeaks or OpenLeaks. Wouldn’t you like to see information that has been paid for with public funds but not meant for the public eye?
Wait: This girl and this guy do not have the same “respect” for the nation-state and do not play the same “game” regarding the legitimacy of a state or an institution as other traditional media do. Do they?
Lack fo what did you say? Transparency. The leaked information shows the lack of transparency of our democracies and the true sides of the hegemonic, militaristic and suicidal (remember survival first?) nation-state based world we live in.
And then: Can the minor minority of this planet, the human individual, realizes that the nation-state is an unnecessary overhead layer for achieving human progress? Since the nation-state sole interest is self-survival and to keep power to the ruling elite why should we not decapitate through political and democratic reform what we have today?
- Conclusion: As this is done the state and its institutions are at its own game , of course, and try to keep “unpatriot” truth-searching and -sharing individuals silent. Public scrutinity is not easy to have as traditional media will have a dilema on weather to cover the story of a criminalized individual, the official explanation or a mixture. The Wikileaks Assange case exposure in the media is not but a exception to the rule.
- Conclusion: The revolution is not going to be televised. You know why? Because it is not going to happen! Everyday actions change the world, not an outburst of mass-frustration leaving a dis-coordinated limbo for anyone to play with (remember discourse management and manufacture?)
- Conclusion: Get out of that chair and fight! And love! And care!
And now it is time for me to leave the chair and meet real people and support human progress in anyway I can.
The picture used is originally by by “D Sharon Pruitt”and can be seen on Flicker.
October 28, 2010
Hago este post para recordarme a mi mismo que solo la práctica hace al maestro: ESCRIBE!
March 10, 2010
February 8, 2010
Given that the Internet has allowed a powerful global conversation to start and thus implies non-violence as well as being a platform for global voluntary cooperation, it should be given the Nobel Peace Prize. Although the prize itself is meaningless, it does have an undeniable symbolic value.
Now the analysis.
The Nobel Prize to Barack and “Scandinavian” as adjective:
One of the main reasons for Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize was his stand and preliminary work against the dispersion of nuclear weapons. Well let’s not forget that we, the world, are still facing many dangers that are not being fought against by any politician. Instead politicians ally themselves with them to set the discourse of the day, and this is true for most societies worldwide. So it’s fair to call these dangers for what they are: Press, Radio and Television = Weapons of mass destruction!
Well, as much as I was disappointed with the stupidity of the Nobel committee here in Oslo last year, I don’t blame them. I guess Thorbjørn Jagland, chair of the committee, wanted to shake hands with Barack and play the cool kid in front of the world. To me that is not surprising coming from him. In my eyes he is a poster child of the manic Scandinavian obsession with and speciality for organizing peace and freedom. He also represents the historical, and current, Scandinavian pushing for the creation (notice where the first 2 UN Secretary General are from) of a One World government. And as any politician or person of power, he likes to show off. Period.
In second though, the peace organizing behavior might actually be driven by guilt or might just be categorized as schizophrenic as the track record of Scandinavian countries (read Norway and Sweden specifically) is not as peaceful or uneventful as you might think. But please, don’t get me wrong. I love Norway and the other Scandinavian countries and their people, I just want us to acknowledge collectively that we are acting sanctimoniously. If we are to change things we have to recognize mere facts first!
So before you get me going with my rant and I bore you to death: The Internet has allowed individuals from al parts of the globe to communicate and in the process it has changed the way we think of ourselves, people around us, country borders and the world itself. I guess we can link this to the idea of the Internet being a global conversation driven by argumentation, and this does not only apply to markets, but also has political and social implications. Thus, Discourse ethics can seem to be a valid tool to search for interpersonal relations and moral implications in this global polilogue of ours.
Not surprisingy, as I have taken my stand, I will take a libertarian approach and analize if this global conversation actually has brought us some amount of peace or, at least, less violence. Anyway far less damage than Nobel’s invention.
From Wikipedia’s article about Discourse Ethics:
Drawing on the work of Habermas and Apel, Hoppe, a former student of Habermas’s, asserts that argumentation, or discourse, is by its nature a conflict-free way of interacting and requires individual control of resources; thus, he argues, certain norms are presupposed as true by anyone engaging in genuine discourse. These norms include the libertarian principle of non-aggression, which itself implies libertarian rights. Therefore, no one can argumentatively deny libertarian rights without self-contradiction.
Now let’s see Gary B. Madison’s analysis on the subject:
“the various values defended by liberalism are not arbitrary, a matter of mere personal preference, nor do they derive from some natural law. . . . Rather, they are nothing less and nothing more than what could be called the operative presuppositions or intrinsic features and demands of communicative rationality itself. In other words, they are values that are implicitly recognized and affirmed by everyone by the very fact of their engaging in communicative reason. This amounts to saying that no one can rationally deny them without at the same time denying reason, without self-contradiction, without in fact abandoning all attempts to persuade the other and to reach agreement.”
These implicitly recognized values include a renunciation of the legitimacy of violence. Thus,
“it is absolutely impossible for anyone who claims to be rational, which is to say human, outrightly to defend violence …. [As Paul Ricoeur writes:]’. . . violence is the opposite of discourse. . . . Violence is always the interruption of discourse: discourse is always the interruption of violence.’ That violence is the opposite of discourse means that it can never justify itself—and is therefore not justifiable—for only through discourse can anything be justified. As the theory of rational argumentation and discussion, liberalism amounts, therefore, to a rejection of power politics.”
Thus, Madison, like Hoppe, argues that the fact-value gap can be bridged by an appeal to the nature of discourse.
While Hoppe attempts to show that the non-aggression principle (i.e., self-ownership plus the right to homestead) itself is directly implied by any discourse or argumentation, Madison’s arguments are a bit different. For instance, he argues that, because discourse has priority over violence, this validates the Kantian claim that people ought to be treated as ends rather than means, which is the principle of human dignity. The principle of freedom from coercion then follows from the principle of human dignity.
Out of this we can derive, among others, that the internet is just the platform for this global argumentation, and it’s infrastructure hosts the reflection of this argumentation as text. But the conversation itself is driven by its users. All of them.
So, give the Nobel Peace Prize to all of us, to humanity that always finds ways to do what we have evolved ourselves to be best at: cooperate!
Go back to the top for the conclusion.
I know this whole analysis is quite naive, but I had to get it out of the system.
Thanks for reading!
December 27, 2009
If you have been living under a stone the last years you did probably not hear about the Copenhagen Institute of Futures Studies. a nice think tank in what has become my favorite city in the Nordics (besides Oslo of course, being my hometown.)
These people have been making some serious research and have gathered an honest view on how the Internet is changing the world radically and making the impossible possible within the life of a single generation. A central part of this analysis relies on the view of Anarchism as the driving political force behind such a change and the freedom-by-default attitude of individuals of this newer generations. Their analysis this far has not said much on the political implications of this change but kept itself to the social and economical spheres.
Now, I am not going to argue whether you agree or not or what your views on anarchism are. We can discuss that later. For me anarchy, or better yet its synonymous acraty (α-, “no” and κράτος, “cohersion, violence”), is what you get when you take democracy to its utmost consequence.
For now I want you to take a view at a couple of things:
We are witnessing a pronounced flourishing of free content and services on the internet, created and distributed by the users themselves in voluntary networks according to rather anarchic principles: Wikipedia, open source software and books, music, films, and design, which the creators make freely available.
All this challenges and supplements traditional commercial companies by offering non-commercial alternatives. This is anarconomy. In the future, anarconomy will move out of the internet and also radically change economy in the physical world when we can make our own consumer goods on 3D printers with a basis in open source blueprints.
If you want to understand more about Anarconomy you can see the review of and read the report (Danish and English) on this page here.
The Creative (Hu)Man and New Anarchism
A nice analysis on how anarchy is influencing the way we approach the world and the logic that individual use to correlate to each other can be read in this presentation given in Stockholm back in 2007 and in this explanation of the new anarchism on the internet.
All articles refered to here are by Klaus Æ. Mogensen from the CIFS.
And if you are in the mood to see an active old anarchist: Enter
If you liked the trailer you can go get the video here. I really do not think this guy minds me linking you to that page which has a little text intro of the movie and then has some download links.
December 17, 2009
I had just filled 11 years when the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED started in Rio de Janeiro in June 3rd 1992. By that time I believed in politicians being able to actually make a change and commit to real agreements. I believed that change in the world could be done at a political level. I believed in our democratic system as it stands and that through reform real, palpable change could be achieved.
I remember that at the end at that conference I was all enthusiastic. I really was!
Some years later I had moved to Norway and back to Ecuador, learned a lot about the world and had a broader understanding of our political system in a global sense. By then, in 1998, I found myself studying Gro Harlem Brundtland (GHB)’s proposal at school. The paper that was basically agreed upon under the Rio summit: GHB’s proposal,“Our Common Future” (follow the link and read it) also called the Bruntland report, can be summarized in the idea of sustainable development: Economic and social human growth while keeping our global ecosystem healthy.
While I was gaining insight in this matters the Kyoto protocol happened. For people that actually like to analyse things this agreement is the next best thing to nothing. Simply because it opens for mechanisms that can be misused, it has no penalties defined as part of the agreement for lack of compliance and because is does not address the mitigation levels that were required to have a useful agreement (over 100 years the greenhouse gases reductions will not even reach 4%) – I have already blogged on this so I will not bother you with that now.
11 years later, with more studies into these matters biasing me and a Philosophy degree to make things worse, I have to say: We all knew that Copenhagen was to be a failure. Whatever comes out of this summit tomorrow is worse than nothing coming out.
Why? Because a crappy agreement will not show the reality of this summit: Our political system worldwide is not addressing the biggest challenge in human history. Simple as that. We need a political reform worldwide WHICH IS NOT GOING TO BE PROMOTED BY YOUR AVERAGE POLITICIAN! – Sorry, but you have to face this. Politicians do not have accountability or responsibility, they just talk and try to be re-elected. This is too serious to let a bunch of idiots ruin it for the rest of us, and do so in our name!
Back to Copenhagen and the ongoing summit. Let’s put it in perspective:
- Connie, who was thought to become the next EU climate queen, has now resigned from the COP15’s presidency. Earlier she said that “failure in Copenhagen is not an option“ and that it would clearly show that “the whole global democratic system not being able to deliver results in one of the defining challenges of our century” – It’s nice to be able to use somebody else’s words to describe a problem. But yes, it sucks to be right. Time after time.
- Adaptation and mitigation must go hand by hand. Without both we will, for real, get in trouble. Want to read more on Adaptation and why it matters? Read my former teacher Karen (member of the UNFCCC) and friends. they will explain it better than I can in their reports:
* Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change: Concepts, Issues, Assessment Methods (PDF)
* More Than Rain (PDF)
Once while at Uni I asked her if she actually believed that our politcians could actually sort this one out and pull off an agreement that would actually be fair for all of humanity and that could give us a change to keep our environment in good shape. Karen, I guess, is a person that understands that the global picture is complex and that politics are a game. Her answer was something like: “Well, I do not want to be pessimistic here, but no.” – It might have been the way I asked, who knows. Anyway I was glad to understand that I am not the only one thinking there’s something wrong here. But to be right about such things sucks.
- There are nations like Tuvalu that will be remembered. because they are the voice of the speechless. Their voice is an echo and reminder of the fact that our survival is never a subject of discussion, it is the only option! Our survival does not imply growth, but dignity. Survival implies a working ecosystem, not more energetic resources. Survival implies life and peace, not money and force!
- As reported by some organizations NGOs/CSOs will not have access to the summit tomorrow. So if your country is not enforcing freedom by default and is letting representatives for Civil Society/Non-Governmental organizations on-site be part of the delegation, There is practically no civil watchers representing YOU, of course, only your average politician is in place playing the “I want more for less” attitude that this negotiation game implies.
- In Copenhagen the police took ~700 people to prison the past weekend. I have a friend that was there while this happened. We talked yesterday. And he said: “It really is sad that the media focus on the conflict generated by the political need to show “action” against pacifist demonstrating” – I could not agree more because who is talking about the thousands of Pro Environmentalist that were outside of the Bella Center and in other parts of Copenhagen mourning Mother Earth while our politicians play the “Business as usual” game and accelerate the growth train towards the inevitable end of the line at the cliff?
- Now, naivity is not stupidity. But it is time to wake up, for real! I am getting tired of saying this, but still: Politicians alone will not fix this one. And we do not need a political agreement to act. What we need is organically coordinated action… But that’s another post.
- Readers of this blog know that I am by no means trying to draw an apocalypse here. I have seen too much love in humanity to believe that we are doomed to our own self-destruction. But I also acknowledge that if we leave this to our politicians we are going to blow it up. Are we?
The next result is not a game and will not happen in an oval room. It’s going to happen in the streets, in your bedroom, in a bar, in your schools. We need action. Among and between ourselves. Between you and your next peer!
And while we acknowledge this and tell it to each other, the show continues in Copenhagen with the superstars tomorrow. But no, this is too important to reduce it to a nice rhetorical speech. Do not get fooled. Copenhagen is the bad joke it was meant to be.
This struggle cannot be lost. To loose this one implies lack of human survival. Are you going to follow or are you going to act?
Does the Copenhagen COP15 summit hold anything for us at all? Mitigation, adaptation, both or just more lies?
November 25, 2009
I have the feeling that the real issues are not even going to be discussed about in the summit.
- 1 . Honestly, what does this meeting hold for you and me? If every single country that did not ratify Kyoto would have done so AND actually would have complied with the protocol, do you know what the result would have been in a 100 year perspective? A 1.9% reduction in our CO2 emissions…
Now if that is not problematic for you, well it really is time for you to wake up! Politicians are playing with the public opinion (that’s us, again.) We need mitigation strategies of CO2 in the degree of 40-80% to reach the “controlled” level of a 2 degrees increase (see point 4.) You think that politicians can actually get there without including you and me? Go figure why they call it democracy when they sit there and never listen to real proposal by the citizens or scientists. I really do not care which party we talk about, they all know they cannot do much in the political framework we have.
And this is only related to mitigation measures.. Do not even get me started how things are when it comes to adaptation.
- 2. We know that sustainable development is crap. Let’s just put the record straight once and for all! It’s just stupid to have endless growth as a premise in a world bounded by limited resources. And no, bringing stuff from the moon or mars is not an option. Neither is living in the seabed.
So what do we do? Well, we continue with life as if this is not happening. We just put our trust in technology and hope the problem will solve itself. This time is not going to happen, simply because there is no tech-fix for climate/global change. Fuck what you heard! We have a real problem, and we need real solutions and I have the feeling that the suits in Copenhagen, although a beautiful city, are not going to get inspired enough by it to actually make a useful and serious agreement.
- 3. Good intentions are not enough. We have heard it all before in the lips of GHB, KA and others. Real and effective action translates into unpopular, but logical decisions. And unpopular decisions abroad (or at home for that matter) will not get you votes at home. But knowledge and scientifically proven facts will open the way for cooperation, if we prepare the platform and include all citizens.
When I talk to people about the ineffectiveness of our democratic system, people label me quickly as an authoritarian. I want democracy, no less but more of it! Not this farce in which politicians are lying and playing a game in front of our faces: There will be NO solutions without infrastructural changes in our global societies. And I am not talking just about a reduction of consume, but a change of attitude towards economical growth, resource distribution and most of all, the way we organize society. We need more local production, decision making, an inclusive on-the-ground platform of global change to actually make our efforts effective.
And this means less power in oval offices, parliaments, conference halls and their processed bullshit agreements. They always end up as politcal jokes stealing our precious time.
- 4. Inform yourself! Don’t take my word for it. Go read and find for yourself.
Read the scientific papers from the UN Climate Change panel. Even the worse case scenario models are way too conservative compared to the empirical data we are finding WORLDWIDE. Even “pessimists” models, such as James Lovelock’s, are not even close to explaining the findings in our empirical data, the on-the-ground experience, we are measuring worldwide. Scientific models that can explain our measured empirical data are NOT part of the UN report. They were seen as too extreme in 2007.
Come on: Google it. Go read it in you local library or newspaper!
So now you got it, right? Our measurement, i.e. of ice melting in the poles and icebergs, are showing that our models suck. And when I say they suck I mean that reality of our measurements are showing us that our Planet is in worse shape than we thought/calculated! The ice melting this year has reached rates that we have not expected/calculated to see before 15-50 years in the future (the number of years varies on depending what model you choose.) Honestly, this does not come as a surprise: Greenpeace showed already in 2002 that we had a problem with ice melting. Empirical facts cannot be discussed, but in politics true can be false and ice can be water. Politics in our democratic system nowadays is really the art of bullshitting the more, while getting caught with a lie the less.
So please… We are not getting bailed from this one. Neither your congress representatives, ministers, priests, imams nor you teacher are going to solve this problem this time. It will take a global, linked, organized and long cooperative effort to get this off and find real solutions.
I am so happy that cooperation is what humans can do best. Or else I would, honestly, believe we are doomed!
But we are not. 🙂
Let’s continue the work of green enlightenment we have been doing the last 40 years and make all of our peers realize that we are, indeed, linked with and part of nature. Not only sentient beings trying to abstract ourselves from it.
PS: It might be more than 40 years we have been doing this, really. I have the feeling that evolution has been guiding us towards a path of freedom and cooperation within our ecosystem all the way… But it might just be me.