Don’t Spank Your Mother

You don’t spank your mother do you?“, the friendly man asked. I looked up and saw him grinning. He was commenting on my technique – I was learning to build a cob house. What I was doing is putting “loaves” of cob – which is just clay, sand and straw mixed up – in a course to make a wall. After you do a few, you need to step back and “massage” the wall into proper plumb and form. I had been smacking my wall trying to get it to move a little inward. The friendly voice suggested that I stop slapping at it and put more slow moving muscle into it. It’s a bit of natural building humor, but the message sticks, “Don’t spank your mother.” It reminds me a little of the Mother Nature margarine commercials of the 70s – “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.”

Mom Nature sees through the rug we’ve been sweeping our garbage under.

Democracy Now! interviewed David Suzuki at the Rio+20 summit recently. Here are some of his comments:

But overall, the science is in: the planet is in terrible shape. And the difficulty is that meetings like this are doomed to fail, because we see ourselves at the center of everything, and our political and our economic priorities have to dominate over everything else. If we don’t come together and say, “Look, let’s start with the agreement that we are biological creatures, and if you don’t have air for more than three or four minutes, you’re dead; if you don’t have clean air, you’re sick,” so, surely, air, the atmosphere that provides us with the seasons, the weather, the climate, that has to be our highest priority. Before anything economic or political, that has to be the highest priority.

But what you’re getting is a huge gathering, as we saw in Copenhagen two years ago, a huge gathering of countries trying to negotiate something that doesn’t belong to anyone, through the lenses of all of the political boundaries and the economic priorities, and we try to shoehorn nature into our agenda. And it’s simply not going to work. A meeting like this is doomed to fail, because we haven’t left our vested interests outside the door and come together as a single species and agreed what the fundamental needs are for all of humanity. So we’re going to sacrifice the air, the water, the biodiversity, all in the sake of human political and economic interest…

how many of the political leaders that were here in 1992 are now here again? Very, very few, if any. So, these guys come, they make a lot of nice words, and they say, “Oh, yeah, we care about this. We’re going to do that.” Nobody holds them accountable, because they go out of office, they go on to become billionaires or whatever they do.

We are not only collectively spanking our mother, we are standing by watching her get raped, mauled, and poisoned. The multinational puppet masters must really enjoy their underground (or outerspace) lairs because there aren’t going to be any good vacation spots by the time they use her up. Perhaps those puppet masters are already advanced in age or terminally ill and they aren’t concerned about being alive on this planet. Of course there’s always the possibility that they are psycho or socio pathic.

Suzuki is right. If we wait for our current government systems to move us in the right direction,we will all file off that cliff of environmental destruction like lemmings into the sea. What to do? The Occupy movement taught us that we are at some kind  of critical point and that we can organize.

In Spain, the people got sick of banking shenanigans, where the bankers convinced the People to trust them, then turned around a couple of years later and sold them out while deriding the customers for making bad investments. The former head of the IMF – who is also the leader in the leading banking group in Spain – is now under investigation and will face criminal charges. The People knew something was wrong, even if they didn’t have a clear picture of exactly how they were getting abused, they took to the streets and demanded change. It’s the only way to get things done when it’s not business as usual crawling at an intolerable pace. Here’s an excerpt from that story (video or full transcripts from Democracy Now!).

OLMO GÁLVEZ: Well, I normally talked about “we” because this is not something one person is doing. It’s a whole movement of people. The action against Rodrigo Rato, the ex-head of the IMF who is now in Bankia, that’s how it took part. It was a group of lawyers and activists from different groups. They thought that they would—we could sue Rodrigo Rato. And then they started distributing the message. Most of the people agreed that it was a good thing, that we should support it. So, we did it all together.

AMY GOODMAN: I don’t think people in the rest of the world and the United States understand that it was grassroots movements, it was the activists, that actually got Rodrigo Rato indicted today.

OLMO GÁLVEZ: Yes. Well, actually, not today. Today it was institutions always come a few months or a few weeks later. But the fiscal general del estado, the—or, public general attorney—

AMY GOODMAN: The attorney general of Spain.

OLMO GÁLVEZ: The attorney general, he started investigating Rodrigo Rato, or he said publicly that he was investigating Rodrigo Rato, one day after we put the legal suit. And—

AMY GOODMAN: One day after you sued him.

OLMO GÁLVEZ: Yes. In order to finance that, we did it through a crowd funding platform.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean?

OLMO GÁLVEZ: We needed about 15,000—

AMY GOODMAN: Crowd funding platform?

OLMO GÁLVEZ: Yes. We needed about 15,000 euros for legal proceeds. And most—well, all the lawyers are working pro bono, but they still needed—there are still some expenses to do that. That’s a very expensive trial. And in order to get that money, what we did is open a crowd funding platform, and we asked everyone for, well, a little amount of money, from five euros, 20 euros, 30 euros. And in less than 24 hours, we were able to raise the money.

Bravo to the People of Spain. If they can organize around banking, maybe they will be listened to about other grievances.  And what of Americans? On Wednesday I posted the Declaration of Independence. It is mostly a list of grievances, of abuses of government that became intolerable. Our Founding Fathers knew that with time comes the need to check again and again whether or not the system is working. A quote from the Declaration of Independence:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

They are spanking our Mother. What are we going to do about it?

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