The Mental Illness of Nationalism Run Amok

Sanity in Distress

Sanity in Distress

Wow, has the Pavlovian dog of nationalism ever been turned loose with the dust-up in New Brunswick over the non-singing of the national anthem in a public school!

Erik Millett, the Principal of Belleisle Elementary in Upper Belleisle, New Brunswick has been raked over the coals by Members of Parliament and the public because he pulled the plug on the daily singing of O Canada by students at Belleisle Elementary. (Check out the foaming-at-the-mouth commentary in the linked article.)

Never mind that the policy has been in place at the school for over a year. Never mind that a similar policy is in place in most schools in British Columbia and Alberta. Never mind that it seems to have lapsed the brains of the two New Brunswick “errand boys sent by grocery clerks” (masquerading as MP’s) that education is a provincial responsibility.

Never mind all that. It seems to be an appropriate time to trot out the pooch of rampant nationalism. The media, in conjunction with the “outrage” of the federalist MP’s, has played and positioned this one well. It begs the question: Why?

BTW, judging from the mug shot of Mr. Millet in the media, it’s a relief to see a Green with some balls. At least there is one Green who is hip to bioregionalism and the related albatross of the industrial nation-state.

Erik Millett

Erik Millett

Update, February 1, 2009, The State Wins: NB School Ordered to Resume Playing O Canada

If the state doesn’t get them when they’re young, it doesn’t get them. The notion of voluntary conditioning is alien to the public. Ask the average “Joe the Plumber” from where his/her nationalism stems and the answer may very likely be that it is a genetic precondition.

The simple fact is that it is not “natural” to believe that one holds a shared reality with someone 5,000 kilometers away. The large nation-state is a bastardized tribe. Allegiance to such a bastardized tribe is artificial. Management of the mob, i.e. management of the media (anthem, flag, CBC, etc.)  that supports the social hallucination is the primary responsibility of the federal state. Without the media of control, the hallucination collapses.

Children are left singing inside the hallucination nation to overpower the tug of a true regional and tribal identity.

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Novacadia Now: Secession-By-Default

(Note: This post was originally submitted to Vermont Commons for publication in the next hard-copy edition. The editorial angle and changes to the article which have been requested will likely warrant the preparation of what will amount to a new piece. As such, it can be posted as a stand-alone.)

Thomas Naylor of The Second Vermont Republic has outlined in a previous issue of Vermont Commons why secession is such a difficult sell. Although the marketing hurdles raised by Mr. Naylor warrant considerable reflection, it can be argued that secession, as a political philosophy and act, is a difficult sell because it is the wrong “widget” and/or “better mouse trap” that is being sold. It is even more so the case when at the preliminary stages of “missionary sales” with related brutal cold-calling. It also applies not only to the dynamics and logistics of secession, but also to its labeling and packaging. A product feature that frightens and/or alienates the “political consumer” is not about to generate any great political returns. It simply will not sell. Holding to a business analogy, the “secessionist business venture” stands to be bankrupt before it is even out of the gate.

It is put forward for consideration that secession is merely a symptom of a larger historical dynamic. In and of itself, secession is not a primary historical driver, one of the major fault lines of social and political transition. It is an element and reflection of the latter. To focus political strategy and tactics on a symptom, as opposed to focusing on the cause, is a mistake that will generate a plethora of self-defeating consequences.

That secession is not a driver in and of itself is the position taken by The Novacadia Alliance. In particular, it is argued that the primary social and political driver of our age is the collapse of industrial civilization, as is made starkly evident by the descent onto the Post-Peak Oil slope of reduced energy availability. This energy descent will transform our social, economic and political institutions inside out, the social institution of the large industrial nation-state inclusive. This message is neither alarmist nor negative. The message is deceivingly optimistic and sellable. It is: Be conscious and prepare, prepare, prepare!

By employing a re-adjusted (value-added?) premise for secession, the secessionist political initiative is transformed from a subjective grasp inside a philosophical vacuum to an historical inevitability with proximity to scientific certainty. Civilizations are born, they live, they die. Within a historical context, we deal with secession-by-default and adapt to such accordingly at local and regional levels. The fringe and marginal constituency currently supporting secession is reinforced by a beleaguered middle class searching for answers to a crumbling financial reality. Furthermore, the middle class is identified and targeted as the historically designated and legitimate social agent to carry secession to fruition. We shift from the finger painting of a limited rebellion to the canvass of a revolution in perception and crafting of political will.

Massive and cheap energy flow-through has been the direct source and collateral for the growth of the industrial nation-state, the growth of the American Empire inclusive. It stands to reason, from a thermodynamic and entropic interpretation of events, that maximum institutional and ecological disorder pushing against a closed system, i.e. the earth, will result in implosion and collapse. The large nation-state, as a redundant institution, will implode because it must implode. If a balloon is blown up to its maximum limit, it bursts, leaving behind shards of rubber. The analogy to large nation-state devolution and implosion is that simple. The actual parameters of the shards, i.e. determination and governance of negative entropy, will be open for human re-invention.

As such, an alternative “marketing strategy” for North American (NAmerican) secessionist initiatives might be along the lines of:

 

  1. The perception and acknowledgement that the immediate 100-year era of Post-Peak Oil is the actual secessionist “widget” that needs to be sold.
  2. The social and political benefits of secession are features inherent in the “product” of Post-Peak Oil acceptance, i.e. secession equals survival.
  3. Secessionist devolution and implosion on the NAmerican continent will follow along regional lines, as opposed to individual state/provincial secessions, the New England and Maritime designation of Novacadia inclusive.

It is likely that the third point nudges the VC reader onto new intellectual territory. The balance of this article deals with a preliminary introduction to the notion of Novacadia in particular, and to the merits of regional secession in general. It is a beginning, but a beginning happens to be the only place where one can make a start.

It is put forward for consideration that by the end of the current century the two nation states of America and Canada will be displaced by several regional and autonomous eco-states. This is the position that has been brought to the secessionist table by the Novacadia Alliance. Those secessionists who maintain that 48 independent nations, plus Canadian equivalents, on the NAmerican land mass is reasonable merely hamper and subconsciously sabotage the forging of a sound and marketable political analysis. It is imperative to address the issue of secession with a 2009 analytical microscope, complimented by systems theory and thermodynamics, as opposed to one that peers myopically and longingly out onto a romantic political landscape of either 1776 or 1865.

For secessionists the fundamental issue lies with the most proper, the most reasonable, and the most balanced size of the jurisdiction to be governed, primarily as relates to population size and only secondarily as relates to physical size. The most reasonable and most balanced size, in turn, translates into reasonable rights and liberties, reasonable safety and civic integrity for its citizens, and the reasonable functioning of a free market economic system with like financial infrastructure. This principle of reduced size is the bedrock of secessionist philosophy. Reduced size will be the consequence of nation-state implosion.

Novacadia is the region that consists of the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and the American states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Vermont retains its status as the secessionist flag ship within this bioregional distribution channel; it is the political nucleus attached to both the development of regional identity and the weakest link in the American federal state (complimenting Quebec in Canada). That Vermont is leading the secessionist charge in Novacadia is simple fact.

The secessionist designation of Novacadia borrows from the bioregional model. Within this model, a political designation based solely on geographical factors such as mountain ranges, watersheds, prairie land, rivers, etc. quickly becomes convoluted for practical political purposes. Although the evolution of events and political context over the last two decades have largely made bioregionalism (and attendant Green politics) as a concrete political tool redundant, it is not necessary to throw the baby out with the bath water. From wherever it is possible to realistically borrow and most effectively aid secessionist goals surely does no harm.

The identification of Novacadia as a future autonomous eco-nation remains an element of conjecture. But all secessionists are currently constrained by conjecture. They tread on uncharted political territory. There is no secessionist crystal ball. There are no maps, no charts. Secessionists are pioneers; they are the mapmakers.

The combined population of the three Maritime provinces and the three New England states of Novacadia is approximately five million people. This is a reasonable population size for civic conduct and administration. More importantly, it is an optimum population size to house, feed and employ within greatly reduced economic parameters and expectations. Economic self-sufficiency will be at a premium. Within this regional population of five million, the three largest cities are Greater Halifax with a population of 370,000, Saint John at 122,000, and Manchester at 108,000.

The vast majority of Novacadia’s population is rural. With a pre-determined economic shift to a predominantly agrarian economy complimented by small-scale secondary industry in a Post-Peak Oil world, this is crucial. An agrarian economy, coupled with a small population and compact channels of distribution, makes the economic challenge of self-sufficiency that much easier to attain. Novacadia is novel in that political power already resides in the country, and not in the city. This is a political opportunity of extreme importance.

Novacadia is endowed with ocean coastline which directly implies a seafaring nation. The natural resources to support this industry are in place. A serious development of tidal energy, as opposed to corporate posturing, could make Novacadia energy self-sufficient. The shared coastline more than compensates for a rough, but useable, highway infrastructure. Upgraded and new rail lines would be welcome. Most importantly, the sea is a cultural tie. It is a common point of identity. This cultural tie highlights a bioregional social dynamic that a people “are of place.” A regional identity is innate; it evolves naturally. It does not have to be artificially hammered into minds beginning at kindergarten age and relentlessly reinforced with gaudy symbols and social spectacles for the duration of a lifetime.

In many ways, the economic possibilities for Novacadia are merely a return to the pre-industrial, pre-tariff economies of New England and The Maritimes when natural north-south trade relations existed. These economies were primarily agrarian and, due to seafaring capabilities, mercantile in nature and in practice.

As a region that has largely been bypassed by industrial development, Novacadians share a relatively undamaged natural environment and a shared history of hardships, of living within material means, and of a condescending arrogance displayed towards them by the “more developed” metropole.

In a Post-Peak Oil world, social and economic relations and institutions will be turned on their heads. What once was a liability becomes the richest of assets. Underdevelopment becomes an asset; a rural political base becomes an asset; traditional community ties become an asset; small population becomes as asset, and so on. There is almost a poetic justice, a long overdue karma of sorts, to identifying the Novacadian secessionist adventure on the very soil where European settlers first stepped to embark on continental expansionism.

It is imperative for Novacadians to acknowledge the historical conditions for secession as they exist in the present, conditions which were not created by secessionists and which quickly approach a crisis and, as such, call to be acted upon. To undo the institutional construct of the large industrial nation state, an artificial imposition that has been in place for two centuries, is no small task. It is the historical condition abetted by political synergies that will unravel the artificial identity of large-scale nationalism. Secessionists need merely to perceive the opportunities afforded by societal implosion and adapt accordingly. This is the unfolding of history; it need not be taken personally.

No one yet knows how the hybrid secessionist initiative of “radical right meeting radical left” will actually present and play itself out. However, the political hybrid slowly begins to come into focus. The future already exists; it’s just not here yet.

Most of the work to be undertaken over the next two decades will be to agitate and to educate, as the revolution that is proposed is largely a revolution of thought, a revolution of perception. As a people are “of place” a contemporary ownership of identity is more a matter of acceptance than it is a matter of needing to be crafted. Although covered by layers of a fawning and false patriotism, a regional identity already exists. This is easily verified by walking over to the nearest mirror and saying out loud, “I am an American. I am a Novacadian. I am a Vermonter.” Which statement feels right and carries the greatest challenge of responsibility within the context of global civilizational decay and collapse?

During times of crisis, one looks to one’s neighbors. This is as true on the regional level as it is at one’s immediate community level. The social motivators inherent in a Post-Peak Oil world will drive political intellects and imaginations towards perceptions that currently are barely imaginable. One could venture a reasonably safe guess that at this time the notion of Novacadia is yet such a perception. What requires building is the organized notion, the spark of political imagination with relative features and benefits.

As a simple woodworker, I can only conclude by saying that before it can be built it first has to be imagined. As for the actual marketing once it is built, that is simple: Build it and they will come.

These are early days. Welcome to the womb of political imagination.

Condition Overview: An Introduction

It is strongly suggested that for anyone who wishes to be brought up to speed to an alternative interpretation of events (relative to the corporate media) to view this video: THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS, The Great Depression of the 21st Century. It was presented by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky in Montreal, January 14th.

Prof. Chossudovsky’s name may be familiar to some as the Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He was also an instrumental research source for Mike Ruppert for the writing of Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil.

If you wish, you can weave Prof. Chossudovsky’s writings and a reading of Rubicon in with Chris Martenson’s Crash Course which deals with the inter-relationship of the three E’s (economy, energy, environment).

Lastly, remembering that this is a secessionist blog, you may choose to cap a wrap with Post-Peak Oil and NAmerican Regional Secession.

Then again, you can go back to doing exactly what you were doing.

A Scent of Foreboding

A Spark of Uprising

A Spark of Uprising

The scene has been duplicated in several European cities over the last few weeks. This one happens to be in Reykjavik. The scene is duplicated in Latvia, Lithuania and, of course, in Greece.

Gerald Celente, the widely-recognized Director of The Trends Research Institute, has issued a Code Red to his subscribers in the aftermath of the Obama inauguration. Steve Quayle issues the following warning: “The ‘artificially manipulated’ spot price (of gold) is designed to keep the little guys out of the Market and fixated on the Controlled movements to keep you from seeing the Big Picture. At some point in the next 60 days major financial shock waves will make acquiring physical Gold and Silver at any where near these prices extremely difficult. The price of Gold is being touted by the major players behind the scenes as rising to 3-4 times their current level when the manipulation stops.” The American Chronicle reports that the revolution in Mexico has begun. And on it goes, as you know from your own research and internet connections.

I ask of you to not only look at the image above (that’s easy), but to pull in a couple of other senses: smell it…taste it…perceive it with your third eye and with your intuition.

And now I ask you to tack several months, a year, two years onto the image and your perception of it while sitting somewhere in what is still the relative comfort of NAmerica. Do the institutional fault lines waver in your imagination? Does the imaginary construct of the “nation state” retain its threads of legitimacy? Does the political validity of the NAmerican secessionist movement caught asleep-at-the-wheel warrant consideration and re-evaluation? Catch my drift?

The Obama Pink Lenses: Scratch ’em, scratch ’em, scratch ’em!

“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” – Thomas Jefferson

Green Party of Canada: A Tired, Old Dinosaur

The Green Party of Canada (GPC) has finally released proposals for the ailing national economy with an Economic Stimulus Package. As usual, it is too little, too late, and too irrelevant.

The GPC is now down to 5% national support (likely closer to 3%-4%), carrying a choking debt-load, and straddled with a leader, Elizabeth May, who seems to be as unpopular within the party as she is with the general public. This is not a good mix…for the GPC, that is. It is a great mix for ex-Greens who await the final collapse of this centralist, nanny-state, run-of-the-mill, liberal, establishment party.

The entry onto the depletion slope of a Post-Peak Oil world makes the GPC policy proposals somewhat redundant. They constitute a lie. The GPC is still pitching, through rose-coloured lenses, the prospect of a smooth transition to a Green economy/world. Such position is either a combination of vanity and delusion or crass political opportunism, neither of which is acceptable.

The GPC is a tired, old dinosaur. The wisest thing for tuned-in Greens to do would be to withdraw financial and philosophical support, let the party crawl away and die a reasonably quiet death. A bioreginal, back-to-basics, eco-political direction is available, in some cases as close as autonomous provincial Green parties. Let the Central Canadian, urban hand-wringers, social workers and delusional feminists who control the GPC dangle on the rope for which they have so stringently clamoured. In this day and age, all myopic fools deserve a just destiny.

The GPC’s adherence to IMF, OECD and G20 guidelines in the Stimulus Package is disquieting. With a UN party girl like Liz May at the helm, such overtures seem to be the norm. Her political simplicity, coupled with the party’s affiliation to a Global Charter, merely positions the GPC to be an unwitting Bilderberg patsy.

With the recently announced news of Ms. May’s move to New Glasgow from Ottawa, the GPC may as well strike a leadership search committee. This move has as much to do with schmoozing the Liberal base in Central Nova in order to prime the pump for that nomination as it has to do with anything else. The guess is ventured that Ms. May has her sights on the Environment Ministry in an Ignatieff government. Outside of tweaking from Dion to Ignatieff, this guess has not been altered in two years. If Ignatieff proves to be as much a Green dolt as was Dion remains to be seen.

A 25-year era of liberal Green political posturing has passed with no results. There will be no Green nirvana “stewarded” in by enlightened, touchy-feely, matriarchal principles. A new generation of Post-Peak Oil warriors and amazons waits in the wings.

It’s over. It’s finished. Let it go.

Secessionist Plug in The New Yorker (Whither James Howard Kunstler?)

The prestigious and uppity New Yorker has graciously given the NAmerican Secessionist Movement a bit of a plug…tucked away in the last para of the abstract for an article called The Dystopians. What is not mentioned is that even though James Howard Kunstler did address the Vermont Independence Convention in November 2008, hosted by the Second Vermont Republic, he came out against secession in his very presentation: “I’m personally not an advocate of national breakup or secession.”

I’ve been kicking around a post between my ears re the above contradiction, i.e. Kunstler speaking out against secession as a guest speaker to a secessionist convention. The organizers could have vetted the speech, thus neutralizing Kunstler’s anti-secessionist sentiment. I can assure you that Kunstler’s site generates more hits than the SVR’s.

It is just one more PR misfortune. Of course, Kunstler is entitled to his opinion re secession. But the Vermont convention was a political event, and speakers are, as a rule, vetted accordingly. If Kunstler was brought in as a marketing hook to fill the Vermont Legislature’s chairs with university students, then fine. But the trade-off seems to have back-fired.

Let us not forget that Kunstler’s invitation to address the Vermont conference must be seen within the context of his seemingly strong secessionist empathy as written in The Long Emergency: “It would be reasonable to wonder whether the United States will continue to exist as a unified entity, and what kind of strife the Long Emergency could ignite region by region.”

If Kunstler blind-sided the secessionist movement only he and the organizers of the convention know. That would have been his prerogative, although a questionable prerogative. If he did indeed blind-side the movement, then it can be scratched up to just one more lesson on the political and PR learning curves. It stands to reason that at a secessionist event the very topic under discussion will not get dumped on nor marginalized by a keynote speaker. A political utterance is qualitiatively more loaded than the comfort of liberal proselytizing on a stump of safe hypotheses and increased book sales.

It looks like I’ve just written the post that I’ve had in mind.