Friday, June 02, 2017

Geographic Nationalism Solves the Problems of Ethnic Nationalism, Globalism, and Degradation Combined

Leaders of the Plurinational State of Bolivia:
a Geographic Nationalism instead of an Ethnic Nationalism,
Socially and Economically Developing for the First Time, Sustainably,
Once They Threw Off Past Single Ethnic Nationalism

I want to address two points that have been making the rounds on the web as of late. Both deal with the ideas or policy recommendations of "sustainability nationalism," to coin a phase.

Sustainability nationalism is a recent ideology that has a false dichotomy at its core. On the one hand of this dichotomy, people argue that "nationalism (read as ethnic, religious, or linguistic homogeneity) is the best recipe for making a sustainable society, innately and predictably." It fits with the other side of this false dichotomy, that "globalism is solely responsible for environmental degradation and a decline in development, so a only totally regional or national economy would be developmental and sustainable." Plus, globalists are claimed to be solely responsible for antics of divide and conquer in promoting multi-culturalism within ethnic nationalism. These three factors together make a narrative of ethnic nationalism and national development solely as a victim of globalists' antics of divide and conquer and of their attempts to erode geographic nationalist economies as well. However, beware any simple false dichotomies, because they put reason to sleep, and the sleep of reason produces its own monsters, however well intended.

I will argue to the contrary of both that [1] ethnic nationalism itself comes out of a history of divide and conquer, and because of that [2] it was mostly unrepresentative in the past, and thus [3] has its own unsustainable and non-developmental dynamics because of this. [4] I will argue that such ethnic nationalist movements have hardly predictably been representative, sustainable or equal, and instead have attempted in many cases the opposite: to work against their own local historical movements of representativeness, sustainability or equality to create environmental underclasses that are minorities in some states and even majorities in others. I will argue that such ethnic nationalist movements fail to have such a clear pedigree of representativeness and sustainability in the past, and while they do have an ideological claim of being so, the realities of most ethnic movements institute a violent and unrepresentative regime of the opposite while claiming to do the former. [5] Such ethnic nationalisms attempted to work against their own more multi-cultural and geographic national movements' and their desired widened franchises of equality, representativeness, and sustainability.

For example, in some cases of nationalism like the United States, as mentioned in the book The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic (2000) by Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker, the ideas of equitable multi-cultural 'geographic nationalism' that attempted to found the nation in the first place were repressed by an unrepresentative elite-steered ethnic nationalism that superseded and repressed a multi-cultural geographic nationalism once it started to address vast inequities of wealth and power. Trust revolutionary pirate Jean Lafitte as a direct witness to this. He was in the thick of the same era of the United States as it moved from its inclusive to its more exclusionary ethnic nationalism, and he echoed the same sentiment of disappointment with such a thin ethnic nationalism that had nothing to do with the U.S.'s revolutionary origins that he supported. Therefore, the wealthy and powerful in the United States later sponsored a more thin ethnic nationalist movement and redefinition of the United States to repress violently the actual founding movements of a geographic nationalism that was move inclusive, cross-class, and multi-cultural.

Second, in many other cases of nationalist democratic development, as mentioned in the book Social Democracy in the Global Periphery (2007) we have cases of very successful local geographic nationalisms because they overthrew their past crony ethnic dominant elites and their allies, and began to develop as a geographic nation economically and politically only after that gatekeeping was removed. Once that gatekeeping was removed, there was greater economic security for all through a combination of pragmatic democratic power sharing among multi-culturalist groups, a national welfare state, a nationalist development, and a policy of economic globalism combined. This rare combination after the unseating of an unrepresentative elitist ethnic nationalist drive has almost solely led to the few examples of successful nations in the global periphery with a more representative and equitable nation state that is economically nationalist, with a wide welfare state, and while being deeply involved in the global economy at the same time.

(These are at odds with each other only in the ideological minds of current neoliberalists. Neoliberalists are really our novel globalist feudal ruling class uninterested in our freedoms, development, sustainability and only interested respectively in their licentiousness, cronyness, and degradation over all. That is why they want to destroy nations, because nations represent sources of solidarity geographically against them. However, one kind of ethnic nationalism simply plays into their hands as will be described below.)

As another example for the book Social Democracy in the Global Periphery (2007) of a successful multi-cultural national geographic state with global development, we might add the recent redefinition of the pluri-national state of Bolivia and its developments to the cases mentioned in that book, since Bolivia did the same soon after that book was published. Meanwhile, so called 'successful' ethnic nationalist regimes (like under Mugabe's Zimbabwe, or in Ethiopia, or in North Korea) generally languish in unrepresentative, non-developmental, inequitable, and more degradative situations--all the while hazing their populations that they are homogeneous ethnic nationalisms that are representative and equal, when they are nothing of the kind.

[As a caveat, for a third kind of nationalism, there are hybrid royalist-nationalisms based on the few places that successfully transitioned and co-opted revolutionary nationalist movements of all kinds. Some versions of these royalist nationalism are very odd holdovers when royals align with their aristocratic factions against the nationalist social movements, so you get the British 'nation' (and delayed universal suffrage until after WWII!) or other small perverse places like Lichtenstein that failed to have women's suffrage until 1984 and their king still has huge veto power over 'national' legislation. However, other versions of royalist nationalisms have been the most progressive forces of nationalism, period. As noted in the book The Three World's of Welfare Capitalism (1990), when royal houses chose political alliances against aristocratic factions and with nationalist social movements (particularly socialist and regional economy movements of 'red-green'), you get strong universalistic welfare states like Sweden or Denmark under durable royal houses, while the aristocracy withered. People should decide about their own internal royalisms, and it is false that there are durable and predictable 'class conflict' ways that royalty aligns in national politics always in league with aristocratic interests like themselves.]

So there is something only to be said for a geographic nationalism and its greater democracy and sustainability and development, that I will contrast to the rather thin movements of ethnic nationalism associated more with more internal colonialism, environmental inequalities, and environmental degradation.

Thus I will contrast below the historical movement for a more inclusive geographic nationalism against the internal social movements of more thin, violent and degradative ethnic nationalism that came soon after in such geographic nations like the United States or such ethnic nationalisms were the only movements of nationalism so far in many other countries, associated more with little actual representativeness, equality, sustainability, or development to show for it. However, these movements are hardly the same. The former movements for geographic nationalism that include all within a particular territory seem the more sustainable, representative, developmental, and inclusively multi-cultural movements. The latter ethnic nationalism movements that include some and yet exclude many others are thin unrepresentative elitist movements attempting to divide up the former. Such ethnic nationalist movements tend to set up the opposite of what they talk about: unrepresentative politics and their environmental inequalities upon some that institutionalizes widening environmental degradation processes upon all over time.

So below I want to challenge the idea of sustainability nationalism only in part instead of challenge it categorically as a whole. I think sustainability nationalism has two branches: one a thin ethnic nationalist view and one a more a more inclusive geographic nationalist view. The former seems a hubristic and bombastic hypocrite, and only the latter seems to have accumulated any pedigree of representativeness and sustainability. Like some modern ecological Friedrich List, now writing of the 'national ecological system of political economy and democracy,' I accept some aspects of sustainability nationalism, though sustainability nationalism is a policy idea that requires removing such a false dichotomy about the origins of degradation as solely coming from a globalist multi-cultural venue visited upon a victimized ethnic nation. We have to solve the national problems first to move forward instead of just animate blind hatred of globalism. A nation can victimize itself internally, socially and ecologically just as well as external globalists can, and that self-victimization is what sets up the divisions that globalists rely upon appealing to, in essence, to break up the nation. So get your house in order first to protect against unrepresentative globalist appeals. Geographic nationalism and solidarity can only be multi-cultural. Ethnic nationalisms are innately divisive faux solidarities--useful for the globalists themselves.

So a more geographic nationalism of representation, sustainability, and inclusion of all peoples within the nation would lead to sustainability. Any attempt at ethnic/religious/linguistic nationalism is to the contrary based on merely delimited, unrepresentative, and degradative majorities over minorities in a nation or even delimited unrepresentative minorities over majorities in a nation, like in South Africa apartheid or in many South American countries. Ethnic nationalisms seem to have regularly led to corruption, repression of feedback for sustainability, and degradation upon their own multi-cultural populations, instead of ethnic nationalisms having been guards for regional economies or sustainability. In many cases, unrepresentative elites of such ethnic nationalisms became and are the globalists themselves instead of globalists being a different bird altogether.

So if an ethnic nationalism is merely a recipe for degradation more locally upon minorities (or even majorities) within the geographic nation, over time expanded upon everyone, then ethnic nationalism is increasingly an unrepresentative degradation that grows upon and within the geographic nation as a whole. Meanwhile, a multi-cultural and geographic nationalism is a recipe for representation and sustainability, because it removes the ability of unrepresentative ethnic nationalists (which can be globalists as well!) that attempt to manipulate ethnic supremacist groups to their own advantage to repress those simply clamoring for equal treatment and better environments. Plus, a multi-cultural and geographic nationalism is the recipe for representation and sustainability because it removes the globalist's opportunistic appeal to (justifiably) restive groups of minorities/majorities that get a raw and degradative deal of environmental inequality and social inequality within their own nations.

Therefore, stop blaming globalists for dividing nations. Past ethnic nationalists should blame themselves setting up faulty premises of ethnic inclusion and exclusion in the political alliances that make nation states that are easily divided and quickly degraded, mostly upon environmental outcastes first though expanding to everyone later.

It is that unrepresentative strategy of ethnic nationalism that sets up globalists' successful divide and conquer appeal to minorities or majorities opportunistically, appealing toward whomever interprets they are getting a bad deal in an ethnic nationalist polity. So, ethnic nationalisms themselves can set up unrepresentative politics within the geographic nation in this way. This unrepresentative national politics sets up environmental degradation in this way by creating and repressing an environmental undercaste population (of a minority or a majority sometimes) that experiences more environmental inequalities than those in the political alliance of ethnic inclusion.

In short, I like the policy idea that geographic nations are potentially (instead of innately and predictably) the recipe for making a representative and sustainable society, while rejecting the faux idea that ethnic nationalisms can achieve such representation and sustainability at least without solving their own enforced inequalities upon their minorities or even majorities, first. Most 'sustainability ethnic nationalists,' to coin a phrase, attempt to blame external forces of unrepresentative globalism alone for their plight at being undermined, culturally and economically. Thus ethnic nationalists see the enemy as always outside, multi-cultural, and globalist, instead of the enemy equally being their own biases themselves generating unrepresentative, degradative, and repressive relations upon their internal populations and thus themselves. Their own ethnic, religious, or linguistic nationalist nearsighteness to the inequalities that they visit upon their own internal geographic minorities of various kinds (or their internal geographic majorities, sometimes!) is their major blindspot.

However, there are institutional solutions toward a more representative and sustainable geographic nationalism that can solve the problems both of ethnic nationalism and unrepresentative globalism equally. These institutional solutions are via the policy of a wider Ecological Reformation of the four major institutions in any social relations of which the bioregional state is only one quarter. When these four institutional adaptations are achieved in any nation state, it converts any thin and crony and unfair ethnic nationalism or opportunistic globalism into a more equitable, representative, and sustainable geographic nationalism for all groups, regions, and individuals equally--like that encouraged by the book Toward a Bioregional State (2005).

The rest of this post addresses two quotes about sustainability nationalism that I have found recently.

The first is:

"Globalists don't really care about the environment. If they did, they'd encourage everyone to buy local. Nationalism saves the environment."

To the contrary, simply 'nationalism' per se in the past has been mostly ethnic nationalism, and as such, it has been just as degradative as globalism is in the present, because both have been unrepresentative putsches across other marginalized peoples instead of geographically representative of all in a nation. However, four more representative arrangements within any nation state via these suggested more regionalized equitable politics, education, consumption, and finance have a better chance at being a real national solidarity of real 'polytopian' geographic pressures for sustainability and representation. This would be unlike the ungeographic politics and the divide and conquer dynamics of both ethnic nationalism and unrepresentative globalization spreading itself across states, multiple continents and cultures.

The common feature of such ethnic nationalisms and unrepresentative globalism is attached to the same desire to be over another group unrepresentatively. For the ethnic nationalists, these are the unrepresentative elites and their political allies that prefer a form of cultural hegemony and repression of input over their internal minorities (or even majorities!), in a form of 'internal colonialism.'

For the unrepresentative globalists, they are the individuals and groups in charge of major international corporations and banks. Currently, after World War II particularly, and expanded quickly in the 1980s from GATT into the WTO, they are developing a tyrannical formal architecture of non-nationalist supremacy over the whole world. This is a developing global feudal empire of the global corporate/banking elite within and across all nations, in which the latter is without any representation in such global formal institutions and only marginalization.

Particularly royalist-nationalisms have been heinous in this growing globalist era, as they have done great damage to their geographic nations and to others' geographic nations. Particularly the royalty of Denmark has done great damage to nationalism everywhere by sponsoring the Bilderberg Conferences repeatedly over 50 years, aligning with the bigger placeless banks and corporations and non-nationalist military empires like NATO against their own people. Much of the modern Bilderberg-built neoliberalist world of the European Union and NAFTA are hardly set up by 'capitalists' or by 'capitalism as a system' though by ongoing high level globalist conferences hosted by royalty, international militaries, international banks, and various 'knighted' politicians they then attempt to run in their home countries with their sponsorship. All of these 'knightings' of national politicians takes place in secret and illegal meetings with various national heads of state to coordinate foreign policy (that's why its illegal) between them outside of democratic purview.  Most of the U.S. candidates for President and even Vice President for over 30 years have been picked and vetted at Bilderberg before they were allowed to run 'for public office.'

Is it hardly surprising that unrepresentative royalist-nationalisms and ethnic nationalisms with their internal colonialisms align so well with unrepresentaive globalist strategems to undermine the same peoples and regions like in the euphemisms of 'trade corridors' in southern Mexico's Chiapas areas, for instance. A better word for a trade corridor or a 'free trade zone' would be a globalized occupied zone that has attempted to vanquish national rights, equal treatment before the law and due process, altogether. Such 'free trade zones' are globalist neofeudal territorial fiefdoms, pieces of a nation's territory, authority and rights sold off by corrupted and unrepresentative ethnic nationalist elites aligned with such globalists, or sometimes ethnic nationalists and globalists are in the same groups (particularly clear in the U.S. and Mexico) selling off their own nations, attempting to alienate national sovereignty with an illegal ruse of calling it an international treaty.

The only groups that find such ongoing globalism representative are the very few powerful corrupt ethnic nationalist leaderships themselves in mostly European, Middle Eastern, and East Asian areas against many other hundreds of geographic and ethnic nationalists marginalized worldwide). Thoughtlessly aligned with them are the unthinking aggregate individual masses across all nations that are encouraging by their participation the ongoing ecological and economic shakeouts of their own nations that they themselves are decrying 'are being done to them' when it really is their corrupted ethnic leadership and their daily purchasing decisions themselves that are equally to blame for the destruction of their nations as any globalist is to blame. It is the short-term individual consumer armies in all nations that support such unrepresentative corporate and banker organized globalism mindlessly without a thought to their own future. This makes their short-term daily lives the enemy of their own long-term futures for themselves and their own children. Millions of migrant workers may travel to where the globalist jobs are, though I am skeptical that their actions of beneficial participation and short term benefit represent proof that split families and economic remittances and reduced (if any) political rights of labor at their migrant underclass status location are a long term way to handle the geographic inequities of such a globalist development.

Such aggregate short-term individuals of consumers or laborers are unable to plan for the future of states or markets. Such short-term headless aggregated actions only mindlessly and ongoingly destroy the future of both the geographic viability of states and undercut national/regionally integrated markets, economically and ecologically. We are entering a world a globalist institutions, hollowed out nationalist rights, and a growing divided precariat. This world may be developing, though it is hardly socially or ecologically sustainable.

People can develop a politics that plans for the future, though that fails to mean automatically that innately and predictably that on the other hand that states have always done a good job at this in the past, and it fails to mean that markets mindlessly have done any better job planning either, because markets get dominated by crony suppliers aligned with crony statists, against both consumers and citizens in general. It's simply supply versus demand. However, that is a choice--an unrepresentative choice--and both states and markets can be arranged to do better. We can force suppliers out of their self-interest to be more representative of consumers by assuring contexts of wider choices in all material categories and by maintaining regional economies as checks and balances against such erosive and corrosive economic shakeout that only serves suppliers' long term interest instead of consumers long term interest. We can force states and all political parties out of their self-interest to be more representative of citizens when we have wider choices of parties and when we have a less rigged and gerrymandered district arrangement, for starters. The rationale why both markets and states get the same corruptions is that both markets and states can be unrepresentative when dominated and gatekept by supplier/administrator driven politics against consumers and citizens. So states and markets both have the same corruptions, the same potential corrupt crony supplier politics, and the same potential unrepresentative violence upon consumers and citizens wanting more options, and that violent gatekeeping of our choices keeps that crony developmentalism, corruption, and degradative choices in place.

So an ethnic nationalism is hardly a solution to representation and sustainability. Instead, any rise of ideologies of ethnic nationalism has either been an attempt at violent wrecking by elite-driven manipulations and distractions, attempting to wreck and to divide and conquer internally in the nation those working against a crony unrepresentative and degradation development; or, any rise of ethnic nationalism when it has been the only attempt at nationalism, has seldom delivered on economic developmentalism or equality that it promises, except when it falls toward a more geographic nationalism linked to the global economy and which does more than that though which maintains a geographic and regional concern with national, social, and ecological development at the same time.

In the former case, unrepresentative elites sponsor ethnic nationalist ideas in the attempt to divide and conquer the multi-cultural internal geographic nation that is rising against themselves. Such unrepresentative elites appeal to ethnic/religious nationalism to attempt to destroy the movement that is unmasking them and their crony destruction, in the attempt of them to destroy the social movements for a common multi-ethnic or multi-religious common geographic nationalism. So we should reclaim multi-culturalism of the geographic nation against the framings of crony, unrepresentaive, and degradative internal colonialisms of ethnic nationalism that work so well with similar larger unrepresentative and degradative globalisms.

Plus, if ethnic nationalists get their wish, this means end of most current nations and likely more war and smaller economies and hardly any sustainability, instead of economic stability or sustainability. This is because many current 'nations' are mostly very multi-cultural despite many ethnic national ideologies to the contrary. See this image of Europe alone. The geographic variegation of peoples and ethnicities is even more extreme in other areas of the world.

In the real world there are very few examples of viable ethnic nationalisms, while many examples of how geographic nationalisms of multi-cultural groups would be more viable. The only actual homogeneous ethnic nationalisms are in places like peninsular isolated Korea or the islands of Japan (and even there there are much regional animosities between different areas of Japan). Therefore, most nations are plurinational and thus a more geographic nationalism of wider nested regional autonomies makes sense. Spain is a prime example of such a highly regionalized polity formally. In other words ethnic nationalism is a linguistic trope of writers more than a real world phenomena across most of the world, and a dystopia results if you attempt to institute something that as paper thin as ethnic nationalism upon the beautifully variegated way that people and geography interact in our real world. Thus geographic nationalism is the only pragmatic solution to representation and sustainability, period, for the great majority of the world.

Plus, if those smaller economic nations were instituted like the dreams of ethnic nationalists would want, all they would get is a greater divide and conquer from the globalized level of world economic and political activities from such corporations and banks currently, instead of gaining more 'autonomy' of action for representation and sustainability!

With those caveats, thus nationalism is still an ideology that is better than globalism as an ideology because the place-based aspects of particular nationalisms are always stronger than the thin placeless and vague global citizenships encouraged by globalism. Nationalism and patriotism as an ideology is at least tied to land, with a regular concern with people, and generally a care of land, water, and earth that is the body of the people itself through the food they eat, the air they breathe, and the water they drink. This is what is meant by a geographic nationalism that is far preferable to an ethnic nationalism. This is because an ethnic nationalism is an unrepresentative elite-steered movement of divide and conquer itself that is used to keep repressing any multi-cultural call for making real institutions more representative for all within the geography of a nation.

Second, nationalism is thus geographically and potentially more possible to make representative than globalism, though hardly predictably to be so innately representative. Most ethnic nationalisms themselves are the products of divide and conquer politics internally, by unrepresentative elites themselves against other internal multi-cultural social movements that wanted real representation. Unrepresentative elites hated that, so they jury-rigged an ethnic nationalism sentiment to divide up those calling for common geographic nationalist representation of all. Such unrepresentative elite divide and conquer politics historically against the geographic nation has been the purpose of all movements that popularized mere thin ethnic nationalism and repressed minorities (or majorities) instead of divide and conquer tactics solely coming from globalists only per se historically.

Such a geographic nationalism that is representative and sustainable is unpredictable and difficult to arrange because it is an ongoing choice we have to make in the way we treat all others. It is an issue less of ideological purity and more about the particular way that the triple variables of the formal institutions, ongoing formal policy output, and informal political alliances of the state have been arranged. The ongoing choice of keeping these three factors representative matter equally in education, consumption, and finance and whether these remain representative as well within such nation states.

It is only institutional arrangements of greater representation in all four venues of social life that makes that makes sustainability, that makes a sustainable geographic nation, instead of the culturally and politically biased versions of these four venues that make a mere ideology of ethnic nationalism. More representative formal institutional versions of all of these four venues, and more regionalized representative versions of all of these within nationalism (in aggregated watershed regions, in aggregated bioregions, in their ongoing nested feedback relationships [1] [2])  guard against potentials of an unrepresentative national policy from taking place. However, ideas of the nation state and constitutional engineering for democracy in the past have been very thin on how to have a greater citizen check and balance against unrepresentative nationalist elites themselves. Toward a Bioregional State fleshes out over 60 additional state checks and balances that make it more possible to have a sustainable geographic nation. Thus a representative, sustainable and geographic nationalism requires an extended and extensive realm of formal institutional checks and balances including changes to the architecture of the formal state as well as beyond it, in how to arrange checks and balances for wider choices and greater representation in all four venues of social life. This wider Ecological Reformation would be the apotheosis of the geographical nation, and it would make nation states more geographically representative for all instead of being mere ethnic nationalist states that degrade slowly upon all in their ongoing unrepresentative and crony policies.

However, simply the appeal to the ideology of nationalism has little to do with sustainability. The reality of ongoing representative choices of relations and of materials that suit more geographically locused states, science, finance, and consumption as lived in daily life is the only way to get to a more sustainable and representative geographic nation.

A second quote or theme about sustainable nationalism making the rounds. It has been said by others though rarely as succinctly as this:

"Post-racial multicultural society & ideology serve western elites' age-old strategy of divide & rule."

This in the particular is true in the way globalist elites currently dominate many nation states of the world. However, it is hardly predictable that the origin of multi-cultural ideologies only come from 'outside' a nation. A geographic nation can itself generate a more representative and multi-cultural politics and slowly demote its own ethnic nationalist past of biases and unrepresentative environmental inequalities. Multi-cultural localities can be more truly the representative kinds of nations, while more homogeneous attempts at ethnic nationalism tend to marginalize and be the lesser representative kinds of nations by creating environmental castes/classes more readily. It is the  ongoing unrepresentative quality of such ethnic national states (against their internal minorities or even their internal majorities, that suffer most of the environmental problems inequitably), that catalyzes ongoing environmental degradation instead of solves it. So it is mostly the ethnic nationalist states in their inequalities of law and administration that create environmental degradation in this way just as bad as the globalists can.

To summarize, the best route for sustainability would be thus a [1] more geographically inclusive national state development, [2] with four level of representative institutions toward an Ecological  Reformation of institutions, [3] with plural watershed/bioregional characteristics formally institutionalized, [4] with allowances for ongoing trade in only better chosen materials in all 'commodity ecology' categories that avoids degradation and externalities in any region, and [5] with a deep concern to avoid institutionalizing degradative and unrepresentative and corrupt relationships upon any internal minorities (or even majorities), instead of scapegoating them for the problems of the majorities that visit the degradation upon the minorities and create their wretched states and then use it to malign them unfairly.

To the contrary, to summarize, the beginning of ethnic nationalism is the creation of an environmental underclass and of systemic processes of unrepresentative and corrupt environmental degradation upon all groups instead of just the environmental underclasses. Creating and ignoring an environmental inequality generation in this way is the foot in the door for degradation and corruption of all nations and bioregions.

We can still have access to both local and imported items and the benefits of a globalist economy without the neofeudalist crony architecture that is being introduced with it currently. This can be done as long as there are fresh institutional contexts like the Civic Democratic Institution and the Commodity Ecology Institution (and of course more regionalized education and financial options) that help maintain regional politics/culture and  regional economies as checks and balances against such ongoing ecological and economic erosion of peoples, cultures, and their bioregional interactions worldwide.

The World Bank, which has ruined the world (hardly by itself though with the corrupt institutions that it is associated with), says about 1/7 of the world is migrant workers now, and it anticipates a feudal world of half the world's population in informal rightless settlements (slums) by 2050, living without legal or civic rights outside the walls of their gleaming carceral and surveilled smart cities for the global elite alone. Such global feudalizers in these novel castle towns actively want the destruction of geographic nationalisms less out of liberal representative desire of multi-culturalism, and more because nationalism, patriotism, universal civil rights, as well as class politics, unionism, as well as regional loyalties of all kinds are the politics of solidarity that their globalist politics of division seek to destroy. Thus all kinds of politics of solidarity in all forms are ways to maintain a check and balance against the short term consumer politics of individualism as well as a way to keep unrepresentative ethnic and globalist groups in check. However, it is argued that there is a faux solidarity in ethnic, religious, or linguistic nationalisms that plays on the globalist's side by attempting to keep the more inclusive geographic nationalism from developing.

To reiterate, we can still have access to both local and imported items and the benefits of a globalist economy, as long as there are maintained fresh contexts of regional economies as checks and balance against such ongoing globalist ecological and economic erosion of peoples, cultures, and their bioregional interactions worldwide.

Sustainability is making jobs stay home and expanding them at home, per ongoing bioregions. Sustainability is expanding wider choices at home. Deepening a bioregional economy, politics, education, and financial mediums everywhere worldwide, is the great soil and foundation of a stronger representative geographic nationalism. To the contrary, an ethnic nationalism tends to erode the bioregions by being the recipe for creating environmental inequalities by creating an environmental undercaste population, and that undercaste environmental population is the recipe for ongoing unrepresentative and unsustainable destruction of the nation itself.

A nation is for all that live within it, instead of simply a delimited legal definition of a nation based on a larger portion of the ethnic majorities in a particular area. Ethnic nationalism is a faux nationalism and is a kind of nascent globalism in the huge systemic inequalities it creates within nations. Geographic nationalism for all that live within the nation within it equally, with a respect for law and feedback from all equally, is the only recipe for keeping the nation free from the divide and conquer of opportunistic globalists only capitalizing on the internal divisions seeded by ethnic nationalists. Fixing a more representative and multi-cultural geographic nationalism by including its minorities (or repressed majorities) more readily is the recipe that keeps unrepresentative globalists from dividing up the nation.

Unrepresentative ethnic nationalists have only themselves to blame for degradation as well as only themselves to blame for unrepresentative globalists taking advantage of the divide and conquer context. That divide and conquer context is hardly set up by unrepresentative globalists. That divide and conquer context is set up by unrepresentative ethnic national strategies, which globalists only take advantage of. Those minorities that experience degradation and devastation visited upon them by
ethnic, religious, or language nationalities are created by the unrepresentative ethnic, religious, and language nationalists themselves.

So stop blaming globalists for the taking advantage of the inequalities that ethnic nationalists have created unrepresentatively.

Fix your own nationalist house to be more representative for all geographically instead of delimiting it to ethnic, language, and religious definitions and benefits. Then, globalists will lack the foothold that you are worried about that is eroding your nations.

As they say, barbarism begins at home, so take care you avoid projecting your own crimes upon a globalist other alone.

In conclusion, this was written as a theorist of nationalism, with geographic nationalism as a good check and balance against an unrepresentative and degradatively globalized world. So geographic nations are required as larger geographic levels of checks and balances in a globalized world, just as internal watershed as required as more internal checks and balances against unrepresentative potentials of any national state as well. Ethnic nationalisms would be self-defeating solutions for representation and sustainability, for the various rationales above. Theorists of nationalism exist despite a widespread view that there is a lack of theorization.

So, first, this is a more ecological contribution to a theorization of nationalism. It is part of the ideas of 'sustainability nationalism' above. However, it is very different in support of a nested geographic nationalism of all regions, in support of a wider multi-cultural base of all actual geographic  nationalisms that have more potential for representation and thus sustainability. This is contrary to the false unities of unrepresentative and degradative thin ethnic nationalist (mis)assumptions.

Second, as said earlier for many years consistently, the bioregional state is a sustainability nationalism that is opposed to nationalization per se as well, [1] [2] [3], since nationalization is just another version of this same mystification, hiding in plain sight the same unrepresentative centralized crony unrepresentative and degradative arrangements as ethnic nationalism.

In conclusion, the same problems plague policies of ethnic nationalism and nationalization because they are both unrepresentative and prime degradation. Nationalization is a mystifying and gaslighting policy since it claims it is 'opposed to privatization' and 'for the good of the abstract nation' when in practice such nationalizations prime the more consolidated, unrepresentative, privatized, and degradative choices that it claims to be protecting against. The same can be said for ethnic nationalism. Ethnic nationalism is a mystifying and gaslighting policy since it claims it is going to be 'for the good of the ethnic hegemony of an abstract nation' when in practice such ethnic nationalisms prime the same kind of unrepresentative, privatized, and degradative choices that it claims to be protecting against through setting up a denial and repression of the wider realistic multi-cultural geographic nation from representation within it. Upon both policies of nationalization and ethnic nationalism, environmental inequalities develop in practice upon any repressed populations within the geographic nation, which in time, expand into ever more unrepresentative and degradative policies upon all.

In short, the same monster of environmental degradation develops from the sleep of reason about the unrepresentative degradative implications of nationalization and ethnic nationalism. If we see the common geographic nationalism as what is important above thinner repressive ethnic nationalisms, the world's nations would become more representative, and thus more sustainable, places.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

We Require a Bioregional Hellenization Instead of an Homogeneous, Unrepresentative, Globalist, Elitist Cosmopolitanism

Castells en Tarragona, España

Dreamers of universalism tend to know very little of the repeated history of nightmares of depravities justified in its name. If they did, they would probably lie awake at night thinking about what to do about the nightmares that all empty cosmopolitan ideals create once released into the world and manipulated by imperialists--or invented and sponsored by them in the first place as conquest tools. Dreamers should wake up from the idea of this repeatedly toxic idea of a "Homogeneous World Culture." An empty placeless cosmopolitanism has been only a repeated facilitator of a dystopian degradative empire. Abstracted high ideals are useful to only high imperialism, and they encourage a rationalizing context in which an endless series of evil means are underwritten since they are claimed to justify the cosmopolitan ends, ends that never come though are postponed and delegitimated by their own hypocritical activities. To really be evil, one has to think that one's ideals are honorable and thus (the huge mistaken leap) all activities of evil are justified. Current globalist apologists like Habermas and Beck underwrite nothing more than the next unsustainable military repression. Their scholarship may be impeccable, though their farsighted ideals show them as nearsighted hacks, sponsored by psychopathic forces they fail to understand or prefer to avoid thinking about.

Instead, a Bioregional Hellenization is a better kind of global cultural ideal. First, this is because it is embedded in what most already want: a regionally representative and sustainable kind of place to live. People globally want a Bioregional Hellenization in their actions of 'blessed unrest.' Second, people globally even want a Bioregional Hellenization from the very fiber of their being, from the long-term regional cultural-genetic-and foodway mixtures in their bodies and cultures. Third, a Bioregional Hellenization is a better kind of global ideal because it is innately a form of check and balance against the dangers of placeless cosmopolitanism. This 'commons-politanism' can be built watershed by watershed in the world, and its innate polytopian reality is to be contrasted with the kind of desert mirages of placeless cosmopolitanism seen by those who destroy regionalisms for nothing more than desolations of a short lived empires. As Tacitus said, "To plunder, butcher, steal--these things they misname empire. They make a desolation and they call it peace." People chasing placeless cosmopolitanism are like those in dire thirst, mistakenly rushing deeper into the desert, fooled by a mirage that kills them the more they believe it. As Mark Twain said, "it is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled." Believers in any abstract cosmopolitanism are like that: difficult to convince they are being and have been fooled. However, in this short discussion, I will attempt just that.

This kind of tragic repetition of history--these mass exoduses of people abandoning their regions and rushing toward the desert to die in the service of a mirage--has a great chance of happening once more now, at least judged in historical retrospect. This is because on the whole most powerful historical actors prefer to be ignorant of the common tragic patterns they recreate. On the other hand, an equally common trend is the triumph of regional wisdom, as people begin to see the mirage for what it is and rush backward out of the desert. This is a plural cacophony of followers that reject as a mirage the lies of leaders marching toward placeless cosmopolitanism. This has repeatedly happened in world history as well (see below), and we can and should improve on it for durability. That is the point of the Bioregional State, the Ecological Reformation and Bioregional Hellenization: to codify what is to be done in response and in defense against these ongoing tragic waves of human self-delusion in service of a placeless cosmopolitanism.

A Bioregional Hellenization is the addition of multiple levels of regionally autonomous institutions for democratic and commons representation, for material commodity sustainability, for durable educational and cultural regional sustainability, and for local currency financial sustainability. This four-fold Ecological Reformation in a Bioregional Hellenization worldwide innately provides checks and balances against such runaway abstract ideas that have hardly served people well in the past since they have been used only by military conquerors to destroy the real vestiges of the common issues we all share: the desire for regional sustainability and representation, worldwide. These kind of open-ended global historical dynamics are reviewed below.

What began this discussion was that I was riled--riled like only one can be riled when you have much in common with a thinker though you differ on many small points. Only small points of disagreement between like minds seem to prickle sharper for their rarity. They go against what you thought was a common smooth grain shared between like minds. However, sometimes a tiny painful splinter rushes unexpectedly up into the moving hand or eye across the page. It seems to be at an angle so unexpected and dissonant, because the interruption of a trusting caress is always harsher than the total dissonance of another you never took into your confidence in the first place. The writer I am talking about is Manuel Castells.

I was reading his theoretical introduction to his ideas of a "network society." I could care less about the ideal of this HUGE Catastrophe (otherwise known as the Homogeneous, Unrepresentative, Globalist, Elitist Cosmopolitanism). This quote sparked my "interest" or flame perhaps:
"The Habermasian-Beckian project or a cosmopolitan culture to create a constitution for the citizens of the world, laying the foundations for democratic global governance [sic, nothing of this sort will ever exist--its an oxymoron to put these ideas together], identifies correctly the central cultural-institutional issue of the network society. (Habermas 1998; Beck, 2003). Unfortunately, this vision proposes the solution without being able to identify the process by which these protocols of communication could be created, given the fact that the cosmopolitan culture, according to empirical research, is present only in a very small part of the population, including in Europe (Norris, 2000). There is, indeed, no real European identity in the minds of most Europeans." (p. 39; in "Chapter 1: Informationalism, Networks, and the Network Society: A Theoretical Blueprint," The Network Society: A Cross-Cultural Perspective, 2004)
That topic has been addressed by the bioregional state before: a stronger bioregional loyalty is savored strongly across Europe, across the world, and even in the deep interactions of our species-being (to use an antiquated Marxist term).

We all have a bioregional palm line, so to speak. It is in our past: that millennia-old empirical interaction of evanescent changing culture, biologically changing genes, and more stable backbones of physically different regional foodways, soils, and other ongoing material choices that both anchor and braid our ecologies, cultural choices, and genetics into a bioregional DNA. This genetic-bioregional-cultural 'triple helix DNA' in us all is best described by Nabhan in his Food, Genes, and Culture: Eating Right for Your Origins.

Such empirical symmetries are a topic only a few have fathomed: that most of us are homo bioregionalensis instead of a cosmopolitan and homeless homo sapiens.

We require a more realistic story of ourselves that a biologist's reductionism. This has been occurring at least from the start of our more settled agricultural populations in the past 10,000 years. Distinct chemical signatures of chosen foodways have built themselves into our bodies, in our bodies' blind and random attempt to find ways to metabolize as best they can given different regional situations instead of this being planned design.

Genetically, the majority of us are the regional product of a long genetic trial and error, and it is a mistake to ignore it because it is the key to health to fit ecologically instead of to fight against it.

It is in our present: the ones that metabolized best over time created such a triple-braided DNA, creating us as homo bioregionalensis. And it is in our future: if we are to have a future. The only stable future is to learn to respect the bioregional interactions of cultural variety, a non-consolidated commodity arrangement, and the ecological and market diversity that hold it in place. However, much of human history is the attempt to ignore repeatedly these wisdoms in the headlong rush to forget our origins in various larger states, empires, and cosmopolitan entities. These faiths in larger structures of humanity that malign our origins always have been temporary fevers of the brain that have harmed our bodies and our ecologies.

Nor indeed, alas, no real common human identity exists in the minds of most humanity despite much genetic overlap and despite common shared slight variations per bioregion as the 'commons-politanism' we share.  However, and without irony, it is that bioregional diversity which should be the basis for our common(s) understanding: an understanding of our real grounded commonalities, and our real shared past, present and future. Our innate Bioregional Hellenization of the world and ourselves is a durable existential condition of humanity. This 'commons-politanism' should be a formal ideal to defend ourselves against the existential threats of various mirages described below.

The Occasional Amnesia, Repression, or Economic Shakeout of Our Bioregional Heritage--and Future

First, sometimes our innate bioregional world is punctuated by occasional amnesia--temporary faiths about larger abstract cosmopolitan or nomadic existences of the mind. These universalisms of the mind have always flowed like an ebb tide, back and forth. Sometimes they flow higher and wider in time and space, in larger mental conceptions of ourselves and projected futures yet always such monocultural projects like a mirage ever recede as they lead us into the arid deserts of the mind from whence they came, until what is left is a coterie of awakened survivors rushing back to the bioregion once more, conscious of what we have lost and neglected, whiles such abstract faiths and abstract future images are demoted. We are homo bioregionalensis instead of an abstract biological humanity, so we should change narratives to reflect that. We should stop expecting any ideals of placeless cosmopolitanism to be anything except a dead-end project, unless it is that aforementioned 'commons-politanism' wedded to recognizing that bioregional grain of our lives worldwide. In Toward a Bioregional State, it is called our required sense to mobilize on background in a "Bioregional Hellenization" in our lives: to take bioregional principles and recognize them as the only ecologically rational political economy for the future, since it has made us what we are in our genetic/health variations around the world. We share that bioregional diversity. When we forget it and move against it, we get sick bodily and ecologically.

Second, sometimes our innate bioregional world is punctuated by repression, i.e., without universalizing beliefs animating the change. Instead large militaries make fast work of divided and easily conquered multiple bioregions that rarely cooperated on any projects even though they have and could more regularly choose to do so. That would be an ideal kind of bioregional state rarely attempted in history, though with several examples or precedents to learn from for more durable improvement discussed below. However, instead of these collaborative bioregional options, an expanding empire may attempt to divide, to subvert or to co-opt the strong jurisdictional leadership powers of regionality in our cultural lives--ideologically and materially--to give a distant nomadic state elite fresh jurisdictional power, fresh wealth/taxation powers, and fresh extraction capacities. In other words, someone's foolish or psychopathic behavior for temporary glory in a jurisdictional alliance with such placeless military tyrants--whether for empire or for regional accommodation--tends to send humanity on a wild goose chase of supporting a military consolidation. This can kill the golden goose of bioregional security over time.

Within that second point, there is a third point that is the real tragedy. Sometimes various consolidation projects even if motivated by the best of cross-regional intentions ignore that this consolidation of jurisdiction may lead later to economic shakeout and crony state-level consolidation of the political economy over time by people more corrupt than them who follow them. This is something hardly driven by originating attitudes (case one) or by intentional consolidating behaviors (case two), or even likely conceived or planned at the outset. Instead, it is an ongoing systemic drift of so-called success: such larger scales of economic institutions built from market prices undercutting and bankrupting more regionally suited markets and competitions, related larger scales of land tenures and wealth with economic shakeout and from bankruptcies and debts consolidating land tenure and capital, and from the clientelistic consumptive scales of ever larger cities as sites of refugees of the former trends. Some even rationalize they are willingly going to larger cities instead of being pushed by the above factors as well eroding their other options for a short-term good life.

Therefore, more often than otherwise in comparative retrospect, such ongoing economic shakeout comes about by larger states encouraging a crony consolidation within them over time that comes to be defended as novel shifted principles of politics, cultures and material supply itself. This political cronyism and political primacy of developmental trends toward sponsoring and subsidizing short term consolidation is combined along with the innate consolidations of 'market economics' to yield increasingly unrepresentative and inefficient arrangements that cause ever more externalities and ever fewer choices, etc., in a feedback loop of sorts, that require and demand ever higher subsidizations or ever larger violent and repressive defenses of such political consolidations against ever larger groups experiencing the wider externalities of such relationships who want to change their politics, cultural hegemonies, and material relationships. However, the hegemony of a crony consolidated political economy is more likely than otherwise unable to course correct itself. This is because its policies to maintain and to extend further consolidation and further reduction of choice innately see their enemy as our very capacity to choose and to changing course. Therefore, short term policies may be undertaken that further distance the whole organization of political economy them from any representation or sustainability in the name of maintaining such an organizational systemic drift unchallenged and ever subsidized. In the process, political/civil and consumer material desires for choices are reduced and winnowed into forced clientelism to such large consolidated properties that become key to everyone's "survival" in the short term. However, this is only serving the purposes of ever larger supply-side managed short-run projects of further consolidations with greater externalities and greater bankrupting subsidizations attempting to maintain unchallenged that engrossed scaled organizational arrangement that hardly had economics as the source of its origins in the first place instead of just cronyism at root. In this way, the active reduction of choices--ideationally and materially--becomes the sick principle through which that consolidated and administrative clientelism is kept in place against public political and consumer demands by that ongoingly winnowed lack of options. Options may keep bubbling up from below regardless due to human inventiveness, and it is an open historical question whether there can remain in the long term a strong enough power to keep repressing them over time as people attempt to give themselves wider choices against such a toxic delimited arrangement in their lives.

Let us look environmentally now--at the ecological implications of ever growing attempts to shore up an unrepresentative and unsustainable political economic crony consolidation by subsidies, violence and reduction of choices intentionally (instead of this consolidation coming innately from markets and as a legitimate choice). This means ever larger biodiversity loss, regional cultural loss, and regional material market/diversity losses. If such economic shakeouts paint ourselves into a corner, then such cultural shakeouts and ecological shakeouts make it a triple corner (in the market sense of the term 'corner,' as well) of leaving only a tiny number of delimited species, cultures, and material commodity 'choices' (sic, so called) that serve ongoing consolidated wealth management and rent alone. Market competitions 'as ideology' become a strong appeal to legitimate and to distract from such growing non-market privatization and non-market consolidation. However, real markets are increasingly a materially extinct context given a few or little choices and an equal number of consolidated suppliers. People can come to exist in a winnowed desert of options, while statist ideologists distract and call it choice and freedom that has led to such consolidated commodity and organizational choices alone. Some people may even believe such propaganda, since in thee cultural shakeout and material choice shakeout, people may have been unexposed to any other cultural ideas of interpretation, and by material shakeout have been driven out of our heritage of different material uses and even memories of how to recover them.

All three issues tend to come together. A combination of the fever of abstract images of the future, delusions about the durability of military consolidations, and ongoing triple shakeout erosion (economic, cultural, and ecological/material options) of other living choices lead us toward self-selected collapse only. This may lead to elites turning on each other, fighting over the remains of such a crony edifice. This potential elite pact breakdown may lead toward an increasing martial and nepotistic context in a neofeudalized world of consolidated wealth, powerful and legally untouchable dynasties of recidivist psychopaths and militarists fighting for jurisdictional autonomy for themselves, fighting each other and revolutionary citizens themselves in their attempt to keep dominating an ever larger captive consumer and civic politics. This may mean an ever larger phenomena of urban cities and common shared consumption, instead of feudalization being equated as being such a rural place.

However, from within such divisions of crony elites, an opening for grassroots bioregional expressions begins to exist. It may be sponsored clientelistically by different elite factions despite themselves, as they are looking to maintain themselves factionally against each other and thus factions of elites increasingly may come to sponsor greater regionalized input into their faction to survive against other elite factions (that may be encouraged to do the same). Thus, all these different regionally sponsored leaderships once securely on one faction's or another's side (or even reforming lower-class militaries originally sponsored by such factional elites though now sick of them) may soon find that they as a group can reformulate their jurisdictional alliances against past elites now. They may seize the chance for themselves against divided and weakened universal elites, by developing more representative regional arrangements against them that cease to require them as leaderships at all.

So in such a divided elite context absorbed in their greed in picking up the last crumbs for their nepotistic selves, if they fail to seriously attempt to reestablish a novel stability, the abstract ideals of their past states and global empires may collapse into this unrepresentative and degradative crony arrangements of neofeudalism, past or present. This path choice tends to leave a large "dark age" in which many people have little cultural desire to believe in any of these wider state/cultural delusions anymore as required in their lives. People have been rendered immune to such false futures for a time. This path choice tends to leave a large "dark age" (or "bright age") in which ecologies recover along with bioregional cultural and material familiarity. So in many ways such a context of declining states and empires can be a bright future age since it is a context of both ecological and cultural regeneration and recovery on the rich compost of empires.

However, more regularly in retrospect, in such periods humanity snaps back into bioregional place only after such mistaken futures are attempted over and over in human and environmental history. It has been more of a default instead of a project in other words. I am suggesting with the Bioregional Hellenization we should make it a project. I am suggesting with the Bioregional State, it provides added thoughtful required checks and balances that were missing in the past, elements missing that encouraged such corruptions of the state into crony unrepresentative and degradative consolidations of political economy. I am suggesting in Ecological Reformation a four-fold reinvention of our social lives is required instead of only added state checks and balances being enough to get there. A future for durable democracy and sustainability is beyond simply thinking about state-level checks and balances, though involves thinking about cultural and regional checks and balances in education, in consumption, and in finance as well.

Without these, in comparative retrospect, we encourage repetitive tragic drift into crony consolidation, feudalization, degradation, and ever more repressive situations typically chosen to keep it in place.

However, after generations, lessons learned the hard way more by default and plan, may be easily forgotten in the next segment of a headlong rush into a mistaken future.

Another path would be such consolidations built on cross-regional alliances--against other militaries or against decayed elites. Such examples of more ideal bioregional states were like the Swiss Confederation fighting against the Holy Roman Empire, the 'golden' period of the early Athenian-led Greek city alliance against the Persians before they won and set up the greed of an Athenian empire over its allies that led into the Peloponnese Civil War destroying the undue greed of Athens, the Iroquois Confederation merging to fight off other groups, or the early United States merging to fight off the British Empire--before the U.S. Civil War ended that experiment.We should find ways of making this path more durable, because it is the only path that is a future without an ongoing tragedy. That more triumphant path is toward a Bioregional State, a Bioregional Hellenization, and an Ecological Reformation.

Back to the False Future of Cosmopolitanism, Now at a Global Scale

However, to the contrary of the claims of Castells, Habermas or Beck, any close encounters with these three kinds of cosmopolitanism at this global state of affairs would be a global tyranny instead of their "global democratic governance." You are unable to have a democratic globalization or a democratic world state, period. There are five interactive better options for a better future.

[1] Instead, multiple fluxing national states are a regime to keep for achieving three ideals for the future. First, a national state is a wide enough context for articulating democratic expression and improving it for a cross-bioregional framework, and thus is much better than bioregional autarky. A federated bioregionalism is better than secession for many rationales. Even if secession is a natural right of self-determination, that fails to mean that choosing it leads to better outcomes instead of a divide and conquer context more likely to fail entirely in the face of consolidated military consolidation.

[2] Second, a national state is a plural enough context allowing for changing fluxes of identity easily in communities over time, and,

[3] third, is a way to keep any sense of individual freedom that depends on plural national states to move defensively in and out of, looking for better options, instead of depending on single corruptible states to protect people.

[4] Fourth, true cosmopolitan ideals of universal human civil rights are a form of check and balance themselves. However, universal human civil rights are different and yet come from the senses of contextual individual freedoms, that themselves only come from a combination of that nation state plurality and an individual global freedom of movement and relocation in the context above. First, universal civil rights are unable to be supported by an intruding nation state or a globalist state. This is because of the corruptions in these ideals that this entails, mentioned above. For instance, how many sick cynical tyrannies have NATO, the US, and other countries of Europe created worldwide under the false pretext of invading for some other group's 'human rights violations'--even to the extent of merely pretending such events were occurring, or sometimes even horrifically creating or funding real humanitarian disasters or terrorism first in other countries just to have a pretext for their imperialist invasions later while falsely claiming to remove them instead of just create them by their own invading actions? All offensive war is destructive of universal human civil rights. Second, true cosmopolitan ideals of universal civil rights can be facilitated only by the contextual individual freedoms created by living in the context of the other three better options, above. So singular states or empires are unable to create or protect universal human civil rights since these are a cultural project, period, and only a context of plural national states and their contextual human freedoms maintain such a culture. Singular states or empires attempting to justify their actions by appeals to such cosmopolitanisms destroy them.

[5] This innately means that a global human freedom of movement is required. This falls somewhere inbetween being a principle of the true cosmopolitan ideals of universal human civil rights and the contextual individual freedoms (that catalyze greater contexts of the former). However, first, a global human freedom of movement fails to mean a singular global jurisdictional state will protect or project it, instead of innately erode it and manipulate it into its own forms of tyranny. Second, that global human freedom of movement hardly means that people should 'expect' that any local national state will respect such a right either. After all, such freedom of movement in and out of different jurisdictions depends on the plural national context between states, instead of depending on any singular national state either. Then how to encourage it, you might ask? Well, the best encouragement would be simply the ongoing plural national state contexts itself: vacating of tyrannical frameworks toward reassembling better arrangements, because of two interactive effects from that. First, like minds create novel areas of community toward such better and more representative ideals for themselves, as well as because in the inverse, second, the 'suction' of a loss of people (whether lower class labor ethnicities or minorities, or other groups) tends historically to force unrepresentative leadership to reconsider a change of their repressive policies, toward such better more representative ideals.

So, to summarize, what if there is a conflict between different national and/or bioregional community standards and such universal human civil rights? Then the national or bioregional community standards prevail, yet in a context in which people are allowed the freedoms of global international movement and vacating from such potentially local cultural tyrannies. Only this kind of 'voting with one's feet' to leave a tyrannical civil rights context is a tangible check and balance against it, and only that kind of mass flight from it may encourage contexts of internal reforms toward it and catalyze external social movements (ideational and geographical) toward it as well.

What if some people want to use the ideas of global freedom of movement to apply to commodities? No, freedoms of movement apply only to human beings instead of commodities. Different nations and bioregions have increasing priority to set their own higher localized standards on commodities and material issues, instead of these principles of freedom of movement capable of being enforced tyrannically from the outside (whether on people or on commodities). The latter is only a supply-side ecological tyranny. [1] [2] [3]

Thus national plurality is required to continue in the interests of an open future (instead of a closed one), in the interests of individual civil freedoms (that can only exist when multiple rule systems exist for individuals to choose and to travel freely among--particularly if one goes sour and repressive), and in the interests of regional representation and multi-ecological feedback. All three points would be demoted by a tyrannical world state.

Thus the bioreigonal state supports a form of nationalism though hardly a singular nationalism though the context of a plural nationalism as a check and balance against tyrannical projects of a world state that would innately curtail all three points above and be less optimal, or even a repetition of the tragedies of past cosmopolitan empires that are unsustainable. Why begin a doomed global cosmopolitanism?

Why create something that innately creates that triple tyranny? (Referenced above in the inverse, the triple tyranny many globalists want would be [1] the demotion of plural national states, [2] the demotion of universal civil rights and freedoms of movement, [3] and the demotion of capacity of national, regional, and any kind of ecological feedback against their unrepresentative, degradative global ecological tyranny. You see the globalists' growing global ecological tyranny enshrined in the global neofeudalism of frameworks of the GATT/WTO and various other current projects like the TTIP and TPP.

Thus enshrining a fluxing plurality of multiple nationalisms is required for an actual future into triumph for communities, environments, and individual freedoms, instead of a new world order's triple tyranny. Cosmopolitanism has always been an excuse for a triple tyranny historically, from Achamaenid Persia or the Roman Empire onward into the Roman Catholic Church's Empire, the Mongol Empire, the Venetian or Genoan Empires, the Spanish/Hapsburg Empire, the Portuguese Empire, the Dutch Empire, or the misnamed Pax Britannia, Pax Americana, mission civilisatrice, the Russified Empire of the USSR, or NATO. This includes the unelected cosmopolitans covering up widespread pedophilia and child rape of those driving the white tanks of the United Nations. This includes the misaligned green globalist movements that lack any sense of actual communities they are protecting instead of grandstanding and carbon-profiteering over. The Club of Rome is not your friend, it is your enemy humanity--one in a long line of similar sounding cosmopolitanisms designed to take you on a short ride to nowhere.

Castells thinks that this is only an "ancestral fear of the other". To the contrary, this is a pragmatic and real fear. Our ancestry is repeatedly inventing images of the cosmopolitan future that delude ourselves into justifying the worst of crimes at ever larger scales. Based on past history, all cosmopolitan futurisms encourage the worst of unrepresentative and degradative power relations, and thus they plant only the seed of their own failure in the three ways mentioned above. In every case, cosmopolitanism in the past (and the present, in faux green cosmopolitanism) has sold a false bill of goods for a crony unrepresentative and degradative arrangement in whatever ideology encourages the proper suspension of disbelief of the horrors unfolding in its name. All empty cosmopolitanism have left a depraved and sickening wake of destruction behind since 'the end justifies the means.'

So far, human and environmental history is a repeating tragedy with small highlights of triumph where multi-regional bioregional arrangements choose to cooperate against such cosmopolitan tyrants. Such cosmopolitan tyrants however tend to have refusal to acknowledge the horrific means they use to push the loftiest of interventions over the real communities and regions which have always been the only hopes for humanity.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Iceland's Faux Commons Revolution: Rewrites Constitution to Avoid Privatization, Yet Primes Future Instances of it by Nationalization

There is a wide debate on proper ways to facilitate commons' jurisdictions, democratization and sustainability by land tenure changes. In this post, the bioregional state's ideas of a 'thirded choice' in land tenure (and what this term means and why it is ideal) is explored.

An Ecological Reformation in the organization of our consumption and development (which includes land tenure changes) has been discussed before with promises to expand on the topic. This is an ideal time, because what is happening in Iceland is an object lesson why the nationalization of their remaining land (despite their interpretations) is unable to serve as a protection against privatization and degradation. Iceland may be working on solutions against corrupt privatization and working on protections against future degradation of their land. However, the dichotomous interpretations that blame privatization and degradation on abstract markets and, ergo, the interpretations that full nationalization is an "opposite" to this (instead of a catalyst of it) is a false interpretation that will disappoint them in the future. Full privatization or full nationalization will hardly result in a long-term durable land protection for democratic or sustainable development of their country. We should transcend a dependence on mentally projected false dichotomies in policy analysis, and instead work from clear historical and contingent cases of what privatization is: a drift of nationalized jurisdictional control and devolution depending on that first step of nationalization, instead of nationalization being the opposite of privatization.

First come the accolades before the criticisms. Globally, little Iceland is chatted about in awe and inspiration for jailing their privatizing neoliberalist bankers who wrecked the Icelandic economy and stole their savings via currency and debt/credit manipulations. They pulled down the currency and the country in 2008 when their banks crashed. Many lost their life's wealth.

As a result of being a very small country, combined with banker crimes, governmental secrecy, and mutual cronyism in privatization in 2008 that ratcheted up risk and debt for all while rewarding a tiny psychopathic elite with profits, Iceland's economy near collapsed in 2008.

However, equally as a result of being a very small country, near revolutionary situations in tiny countries are far easier to organize--particularly if they are island isolates. This happened. It reminds me of what Rousseau said:
The larger the area which a constant number of inhabitants occupy, the more difficult it is to revolt; because it is impossible to take concerted action quickly or in secret, and it is always easy for the Government to get wind of plans and to cut communications: but the closer together a numerous people draws, the less can the Government usurp from the Sovereign [i.e., the people]; chiefs deliberate as securely in their chambers as the Prince does in his council, and the crowd assembles as quickly in public squares as troops do in their barracks. In this respect great distances are therefore to a tyrannical Government’s advantage. With the help of the support groups [points d’appui] which it sets up, its force increases with distance, like that of levers. By contrast, the people’s force acts only when concentrated, it evaporates and is lost as it spreads, like the effect of gunpowder scattered on the ground and which ignites only grain by grain. —Rousseau, Social Contract, book, 3, chapter 8
Iceland's growing political revolution after 2008 rejected a state subsidized bail out and pampering of the banker psychopaths that wrecked their economy and destroyed their bank savings. By 2015, instead of ongoing criminal banker pampering you see in wholly doomed European, U.S. and Canadian contexts, many of Iceland's banking CEOs were in jail for their financial crimes--as their brothers and sisters in crime should be worldwide. There was a bailout of sorts--though only of national citizens wealth hurt by the psychopathic bankers. Meanwhile, foreign bankers who had lent Icelandic banker's money were left bankrupt or taking the loss in the market as they should, instead of allowed to heap their bad market calculations as a burden of debt on the blameless Icelandic population with transnational criminal bankers carrying on as before.

However, an unknown saga is the Icelandic constitutional rewrite that came from this political revolution. I can't resist using this word saga in its proper north-Atlantic epic context, because it is truly an epic story most missed. We have intentionally missed it because of censorship of this story in the international media, argues Project Censored below.

This saga began in the events of 2008. By 2012, Iceland in large majorities disagreed with the narrative that they the public should pay for private banker's malfeasance, and instead they felt it was time to blame certain bankers' bad decisions directly for the country's economic dislocations and wealth loss. By 2015, many bankers were in jail. However, second, instead of accepting the narrative that it was just a 'market problem' Iceland interpreted there was something wrong with their state if it had allowed such malfeasance to continue. By 2012, Iceland had voted to rewrite some of its constitution by a combined citizens' constitutional convention followed by a national referendum. The former constitutional convention was built from a random sample of actual citizens for ideas, instead of career politicians. The career politicians that had benefited from the disastrous drift of privatization opposed both the constitutional convention and the national referendum on its recommendations of constitutional change to avoid such problems in the future. However, in this political revolution, the convention occurred and the referendum occurred and novel constitutional planks were voted upon anyway. All six convention-recommended constitutional changes passed with large majorities. (See below links for details on these six).

However, the point here is not entirely to laud Iceland in a novel saga, though to comment on a Greek tragedy they are taking part in now, and to issue a trenchant warning to Iceland to avoid institutionalizing a framework in which future corrupt privatization may occur despite themselves. What do I mean?

I mean that Iceland is attempting the same kind of centralized environmental rights, nationalization strategies, and/or vast privatization-and-depopulation strategies that were such a failure in Ecuador and which continue to be such a failure for the vast dystopian neo-feudal land tenure empires of 'land trusts' run by groups like the World Wildlife Fund or the Nature Conservancy. Ecuador, the WWF, or the Nature Conservancy have done little to protect the environment by their land tenure consolidations of jurisdiction, according to any evaluation of their history. Instead, they have done more to protect their own crony land tenure consolidations that are associated with ongoing environmental degradation and their own propaganda to the contrary. So all these centralizing strategies--whether nationalizing state-based or privatizing corporation based--are basically the same strategy of depopulation and external management under different discourses of talk.

Dearest Iceland, first, the case of Ecuador is worth learning from for its rather clear lessons that any kind of environmentally inspired 'nationalizations' are really just loading the gun for the next (crony privatization) shot at your head and at your environment. In other words, a nationalization strategy 'on the environment' is really potentially self-destructive of what they are attempting to achieve.

Dearest Iceland, second, other equally consolidated cases of jurisdictions in the neo-feudal private (really very secretive) World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy are worth learning from as well for their own rather parallel clear lessons. These lessons are that any jurisdictional centralization and depopulation under any guise (whether nationalized state empire or advertised glossy marketing strategies of private empire) are both elite-desired ideological diversions, in which they get material jurisdiction over wider areas of the environment from you the people naively, and you only get pushed off the land with empty promises and ongoing postponement of action and improvement. History shows both these kinds of consolidated, depopulating land tenures create crony deals for environmental destruction out of sight while they lie to the contrary and while people believe their lies.

However, any evaluation of both these national statist-based land trust empires or these massive private land trust empires show bald attempts in a decolonizing world after WWII to invent distractions for neo-colonialism and recolonization under an environmental guise. (This is hardly to say all versions of environmentalism are like this. Elsewhere, the bioregional state has argued that there are several competing narratives and leaderships in environmental thought. Both these environmental nationalizations and these neo-feudal global private land trusts are the same very false kind of environmentalism, an environmentalism of massive promises with little to show for it except a record of hypocrisy. And if it can be demonstrated that these methods of nationalization or neo-feudal private land trusts fail to save the environment over the past 50 years, what is the "real reason" for their durability as strategies then? Both are false because these are the same degradative and unrepresentative imperialists as before, now donning forester outfits and expecting you to fall for it since they hardly change their colonial crony empire antics and are now just learning to do it  through nationalization of land and via global private land trusts.

This globalist and imperial branch of environmentalism (of which various regional nationalizations fit well into the corrupt deals of a wider crony corporate empire) has two main goals. The first is the goal of keeping the same degradative policies and elites in control under novel symbolic politics with ever postponed promises, since they found themselves increasingly challenged worldwide after WWII particularly in an era of decolonization and spread of nationalism. So those who are pushing nationalizations of land tenure and global corporate private land trusts are attempting novel tactics for the same global imperial strategies to keep themselves in power in changed cultural circumstances of opposition to their old tactics. The second goal is to keep you under their centralized (public or private) ideological thumb on interpretations about effective environmental policy. They are attempting to keep you from challenging their leadership toward far more effective ways of actually protecting the environment. If you believe in either of these nationalization or neo-feudal private land trust strategies, you have been bamboozled. See some of the links above. The bioregional state can save the pandas and the environment better than they can. For better ideas, look to Bolivia or to New Zealand.

Returning to the case of Iceland, avoid being fooled below by rhetorical swells. There is a seeming citizen and journalistic hype about a 'commons' being instituted here. However, it is misleading verbiage and mere analogy to talk of an oxymoronic 'national commons' as they do, instead of the actual fine-grained multi-regional commons. Read the fine print of their referendums. There is nothing mentioned about any commons being instituted. This is just another faux 'environmental nationalization' as happened tragically in Ecuador. In their own Greek tragedy, national rules were introduced in Ecuador with an equally great symbolic pretension and promise to be a constitutional device that would work well against privatization for the environment and work for the Ecuadorian people in the future. However, little actual 'on the ground commons' checks and balances were instituted against the potential (and later, the reality) of using these novel centralizing jurisdictional powers against the people or against the environment. In fact, by 2013, that "national protected" land in Ecuador is far more conveniently boxed up for sale to Chinese state oil companies:

Ecuadorians Protest Proposed Nationalized Rainforest Land Sale to China (1 min 5 sec)

Oh, if only such dichotomous rhetorical ploys were true that people only had to fear corruption and privatization and love nationalization and justice. Like Ecuador at the time, Iceland now thinks privatization is their only enemy, yet where do they think the privatization came from? It came from having such centralized nationalized jurisdiction over the banks in this case (and now, the Icelandic environment) in the first place. So this nationalization policy is hardly thoughtful. This is because it is nationalization by the same (or by future) crony groups that catalyzes, causes, and precedes privatization of that national jurisdiction instead of thinking privatization and nationalization are some kind of metaphysical cosmic opposites fighting timelessly in the world against each other. Instead, historically, privatization and nationalization are the Janus faced twins, grinning at you in your ignorance and scowling at you behind your back awaiting future chances. Look into many cases of privatization in history to see my point that what is being privatized is such nationalized jurisdictions, instead of thinking that nationalized jurisdictions are 'security' against privatization. To the contrary, do it right in the future instead of repeat this silly crony privatization tragedy by ignorant decisions. Do it right by simply assuring that privatization is avoided in the future by avoiding nationalization in the future as well. Avoid falling for either if you really want to support the commons instead of just manipulate people in aggregate symbolically, in words, to lull them once more into loading the gun on themselves and pulling back the trigger, and just creating the same tragic nationalization situations that await and catalyze avaricious and degradative dreams of privatization to take root in the future in the first place.

However, does this mean the bioregional state supports total 'bionationalization' (to coin a phrase used before here), meaning monopolies on land held in regional-commons based property only? To the contrary, all kinds of jurisdictional monopolies are corruptions waiting to happen, whether total private property, whether total cooperative property, whether totally commons-held based property ('bionationalization'), and whether total state 'nationalized' property. The bioregional state has argued before (concerning the Ecological Reformation in consumption), that property in land by watersheds should be held in balanced regimes between private property, commons/cooperative regionally held property, and 'bionationalized' (commons held) property, because any kinds of monopolies in land per region is bad, whatever ideology they develop to legitimate themselves.

This is because the bioregional state is more than just about 'state design.' The bioregional state is a form of checks and balances in state politics, yes, though a form of wider cultural and material checks and balances beyond state politics as well, into these material issues. These other wider checks and balances beyond the state are what is termed the Ecological Reformation: toward developing educational, consumptive, and financial checks and balances as well toward greater democratization, choice and sustainability. As the working definition of the bioregional state says:
Bioregional democracy (or the Bioregional State) is a set of electoral reforms*, green constitutional engineering additions**, and larger Ecological Reformation like commodity reforms*** designed to force the political process in a democracy to better represent majority concerns about the economy, the body, and environmental concerns (e.g., water quality), toward developmental paths that are locally prioritized and tailored to different areas for their own specific interests of sustainability and durability. This movement is variously called bioregional democracy, watershed cooperation, or bioregional representation, or one of various other similar names--all of which denote democratic control of a natural commons [2] and local jurisdictional dominance in any economic developmental path decisions--while not removing more generalized civil rights protections and other conflict resolutions of a larger national state.
* - This is the informal level of politics that requires greater checks and balances to create a competitive party system that competes for 100% of the vote instead of competes to exclude the electorate. This is achievable with proportional representation with majoritarian allotment (PRMA), and watershed based election districts [2] (among other things), described in the book. A truly competitive party system creates sustainability by creating representative elites. An unrepresentative-elite-biased, gatekeeping party system creates unsustainability by rejecting such concerns by building a formal institutional arrangement and materials policy that is designed to be degradative and unrepresentative.

** - This is the formal level of politics that requires greater numbers of checks and balances to avoid an unsustainable, unrepresentative state developmental policy; in an unrepresentative, unsustainable society, the state becomes formally structured to serve informal gatekeeping interests and forms of gatekept clientelism instead of to serve multiple real locations within its territory. This means green constitutional engineering: the phrase exclusively for the additions to the formal state apparatus. Plus, this means Ecological Reformation: the phrase for taking into account more than the state in how to improve the representation of a state elite's larger dynamic interactions with other power interests in society like the sciences/research institutions, consumption institutions [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8], and financial institutions. In this way, 'green politics' is hardly a special category of politics, and it is hardly best served by an ideological party since environmental concern and support for health, ecology, and local economics comes from across the political spectrum for green politics. Green politics is a natural form of politics in that it merely means fully representative democracy, where elites are representative instead of gatekeeping on development policy concerns.

*** - This is the level of material politics and potential conflicts between different commodities for the same positional use, where the outcome gets biased toward unsustainable, unrepresentative choices without a formal means to maintain multiple local choices of materials for the same social uses. This is an important material check and balance on power in corrupt materials domination. Demotion of local ecological self-interest, its ethnobotany, and the resulting natural bioregionalism worldwide leads to unsustainability. Different durable human uses of local commodities are a resourceful, material, and market-based check and balance against the collusion of corrupt state, science, finance, and consumptive powers actively demoting or passively gatekeeping against our many choices for sustainability we already have.
So what does the bioregional state recommend, with these above points in mind?

There are actually six points of policy recommended for achieving sustainable, durable, and democratic material issues in consumptive issues, and the following point #5 of that list is germane here because it deals explicitly with land tenure checks and balances in property-holding jurisdictions. Plus, this land tenure point is just one of four recommended policies in the conclusion below.

This point #5 is the most pertinent one concerning these issues of mistaking nationalization is better for the environment or mistaking full commons collectivism is better either. It is additionally the most pertinent one for those still believing full privatization is the better route either.

Instead, among these three battling options, no one version of property relations should completely win. What is better is an ongoing check and balance in land tenure by watershed because only that principle keeps ongoing public regional decisions about land tenure as a more debated and truly public and democratic issue with more open choices toward the future:
5. There are other points I will add later [and I am doing it in this post about Iceland]--like issues of assuring a lack of domination in any singular hegemonic form of land tenure property relations in any regional land ownership/leases/rents in particular watersheds. This means a check and balance between different kinds of property relations: meaning simultaneously having [1] forms of 'bio'nationalization (regional collective ownership of a natural good or aspect of their economics--instead of a nationalization and removal of regional oversight); [2] forms of private property; and [3] forms of co-operative owned property. A major form of corruption and degradation (human and environmental) is distant unrepresentative state political primacy over the material relations of a region. [This would include how the distant state can uphold both nationalization and privatization in property relations instead of pretending the state does only the former and instead of pretending 'the market' or 'private people' do only the latter. However, in any purist arrangement, such corruption could happen. Therefore...] [t]o the contrary, a background of a thirded choice in property relations (to be maintained or adjusted based on ongoing regional issues) maintains a consumptive check and balance on material and cultural politics as well so that open ongoing choice and capacity to change with cultural, technological, and ecological changes can more readily remain the open-ended hegemonic force in a region's culture, materials, and politics. [In this way,]...[i]f it gets corrupted itself, there is appeal to a higher level outside of the bioregion/watershed to move toward some form of conflict resolution over it only if there is a bioregional commonwealth form of bioregional state. (Most people's ideas of secession [or total regional commons property] for instance ignores the fact that secession or regional myopia may fail to make a moral or sustainable environment either, environmentally or culturally [because of cultural inequalities within a region that are one of the beginning causes of systemic environmental degradation by environmental injustice upon them, or, because of other places and peoples always outside any watershed, in their own watershed, and their jurisdictional rights matter equally as well as environmental feedback toward sustainability even in other watersheds, particularly if their downstream feedback, if properly aligned in nested watershed court jurisdictions, innately works toward sustainability in all watersheds instead of only in their own.] [First for civil issues of inequality that is one of the roots of systemic environmental degradation via environmental injusticies upon them and the environment at large,] [it is] best to have the local repressed people have a choice of plural watersheds to live within so they can leave and thus avoid failing corrupt ones, [and if they decide to stay and fight it] as well...[it is better] to have other [wider] jurisdictional frameworks beyond a single watershed that can check and balance any regional corruption if it so occurs. For example [of solving the material issues that tend to be connected to the civil inequalities], redisribution can take place when a particular category of the above any category becomes more than 49%-50% of a watershed. Thus a ration of 33/33/33 is the ideal, though there is an allowance for the real pragmatic world of different watersheds simply keeping any category from being 50% of a watershed. For example, if private property, 'bionationalized' property (regional oversight of common goods/property), and cooperative property...

[Note there is nothing mentioned here about 'nationalized' property in any region as legitimate--as nationalized property is seen as the route of corruption and privatization drift as noted above. A central state in the bioregional state obviously exists, though its delimited jurisdiction (as noted in the definition above) is over [1] universal civil rights (because regionalism itself historically, if having jurisdiction over everything, has hardly always been interested in equal universal civil rights instead of more interested in protecting civil inequalities) and is over [2] multi-regional conflict management between regions,[3] while leaving 'material' issues to peoples on the ground to decide. So moving away to other watersheds or appealing to the larger levels of jurisdiction are both available in the bioregional state. The latter larger levels are there for regional citizens to appeal to if their own regional levels become corrupt, unrepresentative, and degradative, and the check and balance on the corruption of the larger level itself is that it has little 'material' oversights for owning or rearranging material issues on the regional level at all. This has been discussed elsewhere.]

...[had] one section become closer to 50/30/20, then redistribution of property would take place to balance out giving the watershed greater choices of property once more so that no singular form of property power ever dominates the human and ecological open future of the watershed. Only in this context will the people in a region be capable of making optimal decisions for themselves on ongoing changes instead of being gatekept in a certain direction by supply side or systemic interests in their region. Equally if there is "too much" bionationalization or co-operative ownership, then the forced sales go toward private property as well to balance it out back toward 33/33/33.
To repeat the above, the bioregional state avoids any purist kind of property relations in land tenure--particularly nationalization. For land tenure, there are four recommendations here in the bioregional state towards greater commons self-management, democratization, and sustainability: 

Look into many cases of privatization in history to see my point that what is being privatized is such nationalized jurisdictions, instead of thinking that nationalized jurisdictions are 'security' against privatization. To the contrary, do it right in the future instead of repeat this silly crony privatization tragedy by ignorant decisions. Do it right by simply assuring that privatization is avoided in the future by [1] avoiding nationalization in the future as well--and do it right [2] by creating this 'thirded choice' of property relations instead. This is [3] entrusted into ongoing regional jurisdictional hands as a deliberative process, and [4] entrusted as well in a larger bioregional state conflict management arrangement to check and balance against any regional corruptions that would stop that ongoing deliberative process. That check and balance would be threefold: via other watersheds complaining of the former watershed's polluting actions, or it would be by its own citizens capable of leaving that corrupt watershed for greener pastures, or if they were staying, by having recourse on larger jurisdictional levels to complain about corruption in their own watersheds).

Use all four strategies if you really want to support the commons instead of just manipulate people in aggregate symbolically, in words, to lull them once more into loading the gun on themselves and pulling back the trigger, by just creating the same tragic nationalization situations that await and catalyze avaricious and degradative dreams of privatization to take root in the future in the first place.

Links and further comments below:

9. Icelanders Vote to Include Commons [sic] in Their Constitution
September 30, 2013

In October 2012, Icelanders voted in an advisory referendum regarding six proposed policy changes to the nation’s 1944 Constitution. In response to the question, “In the new Constitution, do you want natural resources that are not privately owned to be declared ***national property?*** [not commons based],” [and] Iceland’s citizens responded with a decisive “yes.” Eighty-one percent of those voting supported the commons proposal. [The other article says 83%].

The constitutional reforms are a direct response to the nation’s 2008 financial crash, when Iceland’s unregulated banks borrowed more than the country’s gross domestic product from international wholesale money markets. As Jessica Conrad of On the Commons reported, “It is clear that citizens are beginning to recognize the value of what they share together over the perceived wealth created by the market economy.”

[A Short Digression on Historiography:

However, 'the market economy' failed to create what she is talking about. That is the failed imagination of what is going on here and why this Greek tragedy is taking place, since what she is describing is not a case of a market economy at all though an historical case of a politicized crony privatization against market economies, and a nationalization of risk that encouraged those crony privateers to do it. And that crony world is what we typically live within, instead of 'the market economy'. However, this intellectual failure to blame a Janus faced case of corrupt state leaders and corrupt market leaders for collectively creating an unrepresentative mess that has nothing to do with aggregate citizen/consumer support or blame at all is really part of the failed reductionist Marxist imagination in analysis concerning what is going on here (in analysis and in solutions based on that analysis). Instead, such historical cases of cronyism are a politically primed arrangement and a corrupt economic/bank/firm based arrangement instead of merely a market primed one. This point is almost universally lost on intellectual "critics"--who can be some of the most conservative 'thinkers' you will ever see. Their mistaken ideological analysis is of course one of the rationales why such "critics" ignorantly and reflexively reach for setting up nationalization cum privatization as their "solution" without even thinking about it either. They really and honestly think their analysis is correct that nationalization is the polar opposite of privatization instead of seeing nationalization as the key action in a potential future Greek tragedy of privatization. They prime it themselves though their miscomprehension of nationalization which shields them from considering a more historical case based view of how they are making their own degradative downfall more likely by false actions to escape it.

This false bubble of the "social misconstruction" of this issue as a "market failure" is really why it is going to continue in other words, perhaps. Of course there are problems with markets as well, though the main problem is people thinking about politics and history in dichotomous purist mental constructs of abstract markets in all cases as friends/enemies and/or of abstract states in all cases as friends/enemies.

Yes, there are problems with particular contexts in cases of historical markets just as there are problems with particular contexts of historical states.

For the latter state issue, the problems of particular states have been analyzed throughout the book Toward a Bioregional State (2005), and have been analyzed in previous posts for the problems of particular arrangements of education, materials, and finance in interaction with them as well. On that point, we require an Ecological Reformation, and moreover to get it, mere models of singular ideological parties of any stripe by themselves are unable to achieve it.

Meanwhile, for the former issue, the problems of particular markets discussed elsewhere are the 'supply versus demand' dynamics typical of more consolidated monopolies or monopsonies, and from that, problems may develop contingently from unchallenged and unrepresentative raw material regimes as a major factor to blame for environmental degradation (instead of the 'only factor'--see ecological tyranny). So instead of so blithely writing off abstract markets, abstract markets are a mental construct instead of a 'materialist' analysis. And instead of blithely trumpeting abstract states (or instead of blithely writing them off either), abstract states are a mental construct as well, instead of an historical analysis.

Abstract markets or abstract states--that some laud or hate--are equally mental constructs instead of a proper analysis. Thinking in any dichotomies is an oxymoron, because in reaching for predictable dichotomies no one is encouraged to think at all much less do research on historical cases that quickly collapse any dichotomies you throw at them. Any dualistic dialetics like that have problems in their historical analysis because of their closed predictions (whether 'ideological' or 'material') which are in your head that is thinking about history, instead of which is in empirical cases of history. Cases of history are always open-ended unpredictable dynamics in space and over time based on chosen strategies and tactics with and against each other (and of always many more aggregating groups in competition, alliance and accommodation than just two!). Hegel and Marx led to a dead end on those two problematic points (that they assume history is dialectical and closed/predictable in the future), so let's start over in modern historiography based on cobbling together what has been learned in history and in the social sciences over 150 years beyond them. Trialectical dynamics is more demonstrated in our comparative past and present. We can note what particular open choices of trends were made in the open past and present and what happened after such choices. In comparative retrospect, some choices and their results were representative/sustainable and good (though generally very temporary, so how can we improve that?). In comparative retrospect, some choices and their results were unrepresentative/degradative and bad (so how can we minimize or check against that kind of choice developing?) Either way, multiple different choices and strategies are always contingently interactive instead of having predictable outcomes. Concerning human-environmental history and causality, we only can talk in comparative retrospects about open choices and implications from choices in the past, instead of projecting falsely about an unpredictable future. So we might use that historical knowledge of our open history in the past to understand how particular choices led to particular trends. It is that (and not empty fatalistic predictions of the future which mislead) which can help us now to craft better choices into a future as a triumph for how to build more durable representation and sustainability. Anything is better than remaining in this repeating Greek tragedy in which the main modern characters and audiences are ignorant of the degradative repetitions they are encouraging by their choices that look quite like the past--at least so far.

In conclusion, using dichotomies in anything is hardly thinking with evidence in mind. Perhaps this social misconstruction of all markets as "market failures" that really sometimes aren't market failures is another topic, for another time. Equally, perhaps this social misconstruction of a love/hate of all states (as having all to be either "state failures" or "state salvations" as well!) is another topic, for another time.]

After the October vote, Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir said, “The people have put the parliament on probation.”

Censored #9

Icelanders Vote to Include Commons [sic] in Their Constitution

Jessica Conrad, “Icelanders Vote to Include the Commons in Their Constitution,” Commons Magazine, November 2012,

Thorvaldur Gylfason, “Iceland: Direct Democracy in Action,” Open Democracy, November 12, 2012,

Student Researcher: Pedro Martin Del Campo (Sonoma State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Andy Lee Roth (Sonoma State University)