End Capitalism – Save the Ecosystem (leaflet)
We’re now in a planetary mass extinction, comparable to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. Species are dying out far faster than new ones are developing. If present trends continue, we may reach collapse within one decade and human extinction within three, so articles about flooded coastal towns in 2100 miss the point.
The die-off has many causes – for instance, we’ve made the ocean our sewer – but the biggest cause is global warming, which is accelerating far faster than most people realize. The bigger it gets, the faster it grows, because of feedback – that is, some consequences are also causes. For instance, when the ice melts, less sunlight is reflected into space.
Governments are doing too little, too late, about ecocide. They’re ruled by big corporations who block any laws that might reduce their profits. Bill McKibben, leader of 350 Dot Org, almost explained this in his 2012 article “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” He said that if we are to stay below the dreaded 2ºC rise in temperature (which is actually too high anyway), we must leave in the ground 20 trillion dollars’ worth of proven reserves of fossil fuels. McKibben seemed to blame the fossil fuel companies for not doing this. He failed to mention that in our current economic system, it simply is not possible for corporations to walk away from 20 trillion dollars. They must lie, cheat, steal, do anything they can to get that money, even if it kills everyone else. Thus, if we are to avoid extinction, we must change our economic system.
Don’t look for “market solutions” — they caused the problem. The market price of gasoline, or anything else, is far from its true cost. Ecocide is externalized as an unmeasured side effect. The “efficiency of the market” is a lie.
And the market has other huge drawbacks too. Trade favors to the trader in the stronger bargaining position, making him stronger still, increasing inequality, dividing us into poverty and plutocracy. Just a few people own the robots taking all our jobs.
And money is power. It was, long before the Supreme Court said so. The only way to end rule by the wealthy class is to not have a wealthy class. And power corrupts, as the Stanford Prison Experiment proved. Wars will continue as long as companies like Halliburton and General Electric profit from them; whistle-blowers are imprisoned. And on a personal level, you keep your stuff in your house, I keep my stuff in my house, and I can’t care about you while competing against you. Universal alienation yields homelessness, bullying, and shootings.
Mere reforms can’t save us, for the problem is not just a straying from principles into corruption. The problem is the principles themselves, which need replacing. It’s like the game Monopoly, which always ends with all the players but one impoverished . That’s in the rules, not just chance or cheating. “Business as usual” will kill us all soon if continued. The alternative – learning to cooperate, care, and share – will avert extinction, but will also create paradise. The first step is to get more people talking about it.
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2017 Dec 22, version 3.17. Underlined blue phrases are links to related materials. The ODT version fits on two sides of a half page, which makes a good size for a leaflet.
At the Earth Day Festival in Nashville, on April 23, 2016, I walked around and around the festival wearing this sign and handing out a slightly earlier version of this leaflet.
I don’t thrust my leaflets upon people. If I did that, a lot of them would simply end up on the ground. I only hand a leaflet to someone who reaches toward me for one. And they have some idea of what they’re getting, in advance, because of the big sign I’m wearing. The size of the sign has other advantages: It attracts attention, so people notice that I’m handing out leaflets; and I guess it looks a little funny, so people do not feel at all threatened by me. I managed to distribute around 80 copies of the leaflet. Lots of young people people asked me to pose for a picture with them.
Here is one particularly amusing event at the festival. Around the middle of the afternoon, some guy who was very sure that his religion is the right one set up a microphone and started haranguing the crowd. Apparently he couldn’t be evicted because he had paid for an exhibitor’s space and was obeying all the rules, though he was not really behaving as the festival organizers had intended. He drew a large crowd of people, who were apparently intrigued by him but also angered by him; they didn’t like him at all, as he preached fire and brimstone, put down gays and Muslims, etc. Someone later explained to me that the nutty preacher’s real goal was to get someone angry enough to punch him, after which he would sue that person; apparently some of these nutty preachers make their living from such lawsuits. ~~ Anyway, here’s the funny part: Wearing my anticapitalism sign, I went through the audience this guy had accumulated, and to each person I would say “I’m not with him” and I’d point at the preacher. Nearly everyone howled with delight and laughter when they heard what I said, and a very large percentage of them accepted copies of my leaflet..