It was another one of those mornings when I realized that I was born in the wrong century.

It was another one of those mornings when I realized that I was born in the wrong century.

The chattering of fully engaged jackhammers shattered the pre-dawn serenity, as a literal armada of construction workers marched their way down our old community park to make way for a new neighborhood commercial center. As the sound of the last ancient trees in our city were being reduced off to their certain fates, as toothpicks or furniture reverberated between my ears, it suddenly became clear that this was the punishment for the sin and debauchery of being apart from the norms. Damn…ethics, or the lack of thereof, can be so cruel.

I slid out from under my cozy blanket into the morning air. Not a good day to be me. A full blown, Catholic guilt styled hangover from the liberation of Carlo Rossi a full day of drudgery from my Economics professor's voice telling me that I might flunk, her subject for disagreeing to her personal perspective on globalization, and now this, the synchronized dance of the bolo's chopping down on their senseless fiscally unstable mission to destroy their last native vegetation-based ecosystem on this town didn't send a fellow reeling with optimism. What a shitty day.

You were born in the wrong century. You and everything you believe in are 150 years out of date.

What the hell does this mean? Was this the lingering ghost of high school guidance counselors trying to tell me to abandon my pre-industrial anarchist beliefs and grow up? Was this just the passing panic of every fanatic who suddenly realizes that they might just maybe, be wrong? A wise philosopher Wittgenstein (or was it Hank Williams?) once noted that one's subconscious was always in tune with the truth in our minds or our hearts. He had better be wrong on this one.

You were born in the wrong century…It is strangely ironic, bizarre even that while the rest of the world is doped up on the possibilities of the "information age," the global free market, and accompanying consumer oriented, macro-megapolies, most of the more dedicated anarchists folks on the punk, skate, hippie, gothic and rave subcultures have turned to the other direction. While the rest of society revels the fact that they can e-mail people in Germany, that the new Star Wars has better special effects and the economy is doing so well as to promise them a computer with better memory to power a complete Counterstrike Compendium, or perhaps a new cell-phone, a large number of us in the fringe have become enthralled with the idea of living apart from the blessings of capitalism and focus on the communal life of the early 18th century. While the rest of the world is thinking bigger, we are thinking smaller.

So, perhaps this isn't so odd. All of our subcultural niches were founded on the disbelief and denial of existing societal standards, actualizing this through an often-fanatical opposition to everything and anything proposed by the MAN. Perhaps it is our natural, liberty spiked punk response to the 'global community' and the plans of transnational enterprise, as Robert Hoyt (a famous Earth First musician) put it, "slam on the brakes and make a U turn from the brink."

But I think there is something more to this neo-back to the land, punk-farmer thing than mere nonconformity and opposition. For one thing, we are not the only fringes that are making the move away from global servitude and towards simple, yet self-sufficient living. Christian Fundamentalists, Black, Latino, Muslims Indigenous Peoples and Native nationalists, the intellectual Right and Left, and just about every rural people on earth are likewise attempting to reclaim whatever liberty and autonomy they have left through lifestyle transitions back to basics. Here in the Philippines it is visible with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's (MILF) instigation. On other countries people are literally fighting and dying to retain their autonomy in this age of expedited economic exploitation and cultural imperialism. From the Zapatistas in Mexico to the Native Polynesians in the South Pacific to the indigenous fisherman on the coastal periphery of Norway, to the militias of the Western United States, out battles and strategies are the same. As funny as we are in our little secondhand patchy clothes/bad haircuts/guitar playin', skateboardin' subculture, we are truly part of something much larger.

Secondly, if you take a look at the folks that are making these moves away from the suicidal servitude of urban life, it isn't your run of the mill street punk with a 40oz glued to their lips and a needle stuck in their arms. From my point of view, today's punks seem to be more experienced (it ain't so much a matter of age as what they've done and seen) folks that have been punks and activists for a long time have come to the conclusion that to live free, we must have unrestrained personal access to the means of survival: to land. There isn't an adolescent sense of smash everything nihilism or a naïve posi-core "the world will change if we can unite the punks and skins" element. There aren't even typical jaded parasites one would associate with drop out culture in any form.

Today's punks are environmentalists with a good sense of what has to be done.

They are like authentic Filipino leftists that migrate to the provinces to wage their battle against the capitalist swine system on the frontline. This is punk truism at its finest, an anarcho-individualst statement similar to that of Che Guevara. Rural migration to launch an 'anarchist primitive communal' region.

Aside from rural migration there is also that statement of diminishing the greedy, corporate ideals promoted by globalization by utilizing the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT).

Waging battle against those two local industry-killing menaces has had its share of minor victories. The Battle of Seattle is one good example.

I guess you're probably asking why I am littering this piece of paper with all this self-righteous anarcho-punk shit?

For starters I am opposed to capitalism.

I strongly reject a socio-economic system that is fundamentally based on private ownership as its primary means of production and exchange. I think that a system that is driven by an exploitive logic that sees human beings as capital, as well as ecosystems, natural resources and culture simply as commodity is absolute garbage. I refuse an idea, which implies that the world is only valuable in terms of profit, competition and efficiency.

Did you know that the capitalist system has destroyed more than 80 per cent of our natural ecosystems and is preparing more annihilation for its commitment to development. It has commited genocides to thousands of indigenous, ecologically harmonious tribal cultures, ranging assimilation to the market economy to physical forms such as involuntary displacement, and mass murder. It created the fundamental need for fossil fuels, powering cars that kill humans and animals, and road construction that levels rainforests and promotes urban sprawl. It gave birth to the pollutive meat industry, which commits everyday the slaughter and suffering of numerous animals for food. Moreover it tears down rainforests to level more ground for cattle gazing. Now it claims to solve humanity's hunger (which they made in the first place).

In the Philippines alone, only 18.3 per cent of the archepelago are covered with forests in 1999, off the 70 per cent in 1900. Only less than 4 per cent are the remaining virgin areas. These ecosystems did not disappear into thin air, but of various, but of thin air, but of various human methods of resource extraction namely: logging, minning, factory farming and land conversion for human housing industry and tourism.

I want to live in an environment that is free from the overabundance of carbon monoxide. A world where people do not plunder their natural resources for profit. I strongly believe that it is substantial to establish a society in a clean environment where pollution, high radiation levels and extinction of species do not exist. I believe that a clean environment would intensely be beneficial for development.

I think that there is an existing class struggle between the vast majority of society (the working class) and the tiny minority that currently rule. Thus a direct action should then be taken to balance the scales.

I actively oppose all manifestations of prejudice within all circles of society. I contest racism, sexism, (religious) sectarianism, and homophobia. It is vital that respect should be put into practice towards the diversity of people that walk among us.

Furthermore, I reject the ideology of 'neo-liberalism', whereby corporations and investors are exempted from all political and social measures that interfere with their so-called "success:"

Moreover I am anti-imperialist, I am opposed to patriarchy and I denounce all forms of exploitation and oppression. I assert a worldview based on the respect of our differences and the autonomy of groups, individuals and peoples.

What I'm saying here is to hear out and appreciate the alternative lifestyles of the so-called 'lowlifes' of society. Support the do-it-yourself (DIY) ethics of the different deviant subcultures. And promote a more cleaner and environmentally anodyne standard of living by patronizing non-corporate forms of consumer products.

Support the campaign for a change in the government's Memorandum of Agenda in the context of the Muslim problem and military operations, which had become too costly and too risky for our country's budget (Food not Bombs!), or by boycotting products of the bizarre whims made up of top-hatted Rockefellers and Bill Gates and their senseless petty greed that is very much bourgeoisie in nature.

If you are fond of veggies then why not try being a vegetarian and prevent the senseless deaths of innocent swine, cattle and other mammals that are to be served as 'Cold-Cuts' to the Cancer promoting business of fast food chains.

There are also more uncomplicated ways to help out in preserving the environment like: turning of the lights and other electrical appliances when they're not being used; by recycling paper, bottles and tin cans; or by applying a more specified procedure of garbage segregation; we can also help by halting our use of hairsprays and aerosols that emit Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) that harm our Ozone layer; or by simply being kind to your pets is enough to prevent the destruction of our planet.

So I guess the rudimentary concept that I'm trying to imply here is that we must refuse the greedy, capitalist system if we want to save our planet.

Meanwhile, as globalization continues to be one of the main slogans in international politics, its has only manifested itself in economic matters, and its impact in political and humanitarian developments are still hardly visible to the naked eye.

Isn't it time now to consider our alternatives?

1 comment:

Alix Dep said...

me, i've always thought i was born in the right century. i mean i can't imagine living in the time of Thomas Hobbes in which life was "brutish and short". though i find the gowns that women wore in previous centuries as cute, i just can't bear life without the modern amenities that 20th-21st century brings us. this may be superficial but you know, this is exactly what people of past centuries longed for - the security and the comforts of life. be grateful that you've been born into this century. man has arrived, in the present century nonetheless. man has achieved what his ancestors can only dream of, and even beyond that. though you would say that our modern inventions that make life easier comes with a price - the greater capacity for self-destruction (the nukes). a favorite prayer of mine comes to mind: Disturb us Oh Lord... when having fallen in love with time, we have ceased to dream of eternity... and, in our efforts to build the new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to grow dim". how ironic that this prayer's author is (some say) Sir Francis Drake - a man of the Elizabethan age.