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Ah yes, now I remember writing, and thinking, and pondering (and throwing my various opinions out at the world)… sorry ’bout that 8-month or so interruption.  Life tends to get in the way of one’s best laid plans, I guess.

And when I left off, I was thinking a lot about- in fact, even working in my spare time on a book- the importance of integral theory to the political providence.  Conversely, I was also thinking a lot about the many ways in which integral thinkers get politics all wrong.  For instance, I just came across a new (to me) site by integral heavy-weight Corey W. deVos, a guy who I generally like (OK, I’ve never met him).  This despite the fact that I have some serious disagreements with his take on “integral politics”.  But it’s nothing personal against him, since the mistakes he makes are rampant throughout the integral community.

In particular, my attention was drawn to a post up on Mr. deVos’ site which is more or less a mini-manifesto on the wonders- the integral nature even- of green capitalism.  As I’ve said before, I’ve found that in general the integral community is liberal (in the American popular sense, liberal to social democratic in the European political sense) and very, very defensive of capitalism.  They like it.  A lot.  At the very best they’d like to see it look more like the capitalist-socialist hybrid that is popular through much of Europe.  But the integral community is, from what I’ve seen, more or less 98% upper-middle class or better.  Even those “without money” come from privilaged backgrounds (not surprisingly, there’s a high concentration of ‘whiteness’ too, since economic standing and racial make-up are so often related, though, again just from what I’ve seen, the racial mix of the integral community is a bit more diverse than the socio-economic mix).

And while I’m on this tangent (I will get to Mr DeVos’ post and my opinions of what’s wrong with it), a word about the integral community’s general economic background (and connected political leanings): it’s no coincidence at all that the integral community is by-and-large made up of individuals whose economic lot have enabled them to have a higher degree of education, and have afforded them the leisure time to ponder the sorts of bigger picture questions that might lead one to come to an integral vantage point of the world (Kosmos, whatever you’d like to call it).  There are, in fact, little if any people (let alone currents) involved with integral theory (or practice or interests) from Harlem, East St Louis, or South Central LA.  There are, however, hotbeds of integral activity in Boulder, Ashville, Burlington.  Speaking in strictly political terms, people who benefit from a political (economic) system are going to be loath to embrace the destruction of that system, even if the destruction of that system were to bring about a net gain for the majority, or even the planet.  Instinctually, we want security and safety, and if we have it, well, it becomes quite a thing to root for something else to take its place, no matter the pros or cons.

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Regular readers here are no doubt familiar with some of my criticisms of the “green movement” (be it capitalism, primitivism, or whatever).  Of course this is not the same as saying that I’m not greatly concerned about the environment or the Wholeistic health of our planet.  I’m also not at all anti-technology (though I do have a romantic appreciation for many old-timey, non-mechanized methods).  It would seem hugely important, especially at this juncture of time, for us to continue to develop and employ technological solutions to our industrialized world in order to preserve our very survival.  But the idea of some sort of “green-wash” that will solve all our problems and make our world inherently better and sustainable is just bogus.  

Take, for example, the Toyota Prius.  Now, if I didn’t have two-foot ravines of mud to traverse through every April-May, if I didn’t have six months of icy and snowy roads to maneuver over, and if I didn’t have a practical need for the kind of hauling that I’m afforded by my pick-up truck, I would be quite tempted to drive a Prius or some other hybrid or otherwise “more environmentally sound” generation of vehicle.  But technological innovations like the Prius should not be confused for any sort of real, substantive change that we can ride into a bright and promising future.

Why? Because behind any product of a capitalistic system (whether the “market capitalism” of the U.S. and Europe or the “State capitalism” of China, Cuba, and the U.S.S.R.) lies greed, exploitation, and human misery.  What good, really, comes from the Prius when we read things like this:

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A recent blog-post over at CrimeThInc. has gotten a bit of attention from green anarchists (er, “eco-terrorists” in the language of Homeland Security and the FBI) as well as fans of the fashion mag Elle.  In the magazine’s latest issue (their annual “green issue”, which, among other things, is printed on 10% post-consumer paper and even excitedly declares that “going green” is so fashionable these days that the color itself is promising to be high-society’s “new black”).  Apparently, at various stores throughout the county Elle Magazine fans have been confused to find a “retraction” sticker plastered at the start of one particular article inside every single copy of the mag.  The article is an interview with FBI rat “Anna” who infiltrated the social networks of green anarchists (and their like-minded CrimeThInc. culture), eventually setting up several activists by encouraging then to plot a bombing campaign.  When the activists, lured into a bugged cabin rented by “Anna”/the FBI decided that rather than make bombs they’d rather just smoke some pot and make some dinner, the FBI pounced on them in order to capitalize on the situation in which several self-described anarchists were in a building with all the necessary ingredients for manufacturing explosives.  At trials in what has come to be known to folks on the radical left as the “green scare”, many were shocked to learn that their supposed comrade in struggle, “Anna”, was the Fed’s top witness against them; “Anna” was little more than a COINTELPRO-style FBI agent sent in by the Fed to entrap radicals.  Eric McDavid, one of the radicals caught in this trap, was recently convicted and faces up to 20 years in prison.  As of yet, there is still no official word from Elle Magazine clarifying whether or not the retraction stickers are legit or not.  [UPDATE: Elle’s parent company has apparently issued an official statement declaring to be victim’s of a hoax].  The safe bet, of course, is that Elle‘s uncritical interview (and the sarcastic tone of the “retraction”) are ample evidence for the theory that they’ve become direct targets for the mischievous green anarchist crowd.

While my regular readers no-doubt know that I don’t have any particular outpouring of support for primitivists, green anarchists and their lifestyle-anarchist cousins, I must say the “retraction” sticker easily won me over with spot-on facts dressed up all pretty and sarcastically:


…. in the current political climate it is irresponsible to even pretend to give a fair hearing to radical anti-capitalists…. Capitalism may be threatening life on earth, but there’s simply no other option—that is, not unless you’re willing to join the ranks of the eco-terrorists. 


A pdf of the sticker is available here.  Infoshop‘s original article about Elle‘s interview with “Anna” can be found here.  And the actual article (sans “retraction” sticker) is viewable here.