[permaculture] what is "politics" exactly...?

Sean Maley semaley at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 7 13:56:19 EST 2007

Don't forget Daniel Quinn in your reading list (esp "Ishmael" and "The Story of B").  For that matter, jeffvail.net and anthropik.com write about these issues.  There are other web sites, too.  A recent movie - whatawaytogomovie.com - explores many of the driving forces and their website has a comprehensive list of reading suggestions connecting ecological reality with our "culture of make believe".

Maybe even start with the story of Gilgamesh, Tablet 5:

Breaking the spell that blinds us to reality seems oddly difficult to break.  It's like having a blind spot, seeing the gestalt shift, or dealing with cognitive dissonance.  Quinn's writing has been known to "get through" to the most, which is why he is featured in the above movie.  Then again, many read Ishmael and can't get past a Gorilla being frustrated explaining this, which symbolizes the whole point; others merely get dismissive, even if they see some of what's being said.  Anyone who really gets it will be really really interested in Permaculture (assuming they get this message, too).

In this light, Communism and Capitalism are siblings, if not twins.  How can we be fighting over how to (politics) manage a household (economy), if we don't even study it (ecology)?  Ultimately, politics is a dialog on how to not shit where we sleep?

----- Original Message ----
From: Keith Johnson <keithdj at mindspring.com>
To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, December 7, 2007 12:48:17 PM
Subject: Re: [permaculture] what is "politics" exactly...?

Stimulated by Paul Cereghino's assertion (or recommendation) that

    Permaculture design (even as applied to politics) should focus on
 analysis of actual processes and phenomena, flows, source, sink, etc...

I Googled Ecology of  Politics and Political Ecology to see what was
there that might correspond with Permacultural perspectives and found, 
not surprisingly,  an interconnected web of familiar thoughts, people, 
books, theory and practice including:

    Social Ecology: In response to the social and ecological crisis in
    which we find ourselves immersed, social ecology advocates a
    reconstructive approach that promotes a directly democratic,
    confederal politics. As a body of ideas, social ecology envisions
    moral economy that moves beyond scarcity and hierarchy toward a
    world that fully celebrates diversity*.

        Social ecology is, in the words of its leading exponents, "a
        coherent profound critique of current social, political, and
        anti-ecological trends" as well as "a *reconstructive,
        ecological, communitarian, and ethical approach to society*".

        What literally defines social ecology as "social" is its
        recognition of the often overlooked fact that *nearly all our
        present ecological problems arise from deep-seated social
        problems*. Conversely, present ecological problems cannot be
        clearly understood, much less resolved, without resolutely
        dealing with problems within society. To make this point more
        concrete: *economic, ethnic, cultural, and gender conflicts,
        among many others, lie at the core of the most serious
        ecological dislocations we face today*--apart, to be sure, from
        those that are produced by natural catastrophes.

    Ivan Illich (who distinguishes between /environment as commons
    the /environment as resource)

    /Political ecology (which Wikipedia defines as) the study of how
    political, economic, and social factors affect environmental
    The majority of studies analyze the influence that society, state,
    corporate, and transnational powers have on environmental problems
    and influencing environmental policy. There are many approaches to
    these issues, and some scholars give weight to the role that access
    to natural resources plays in structuring political and economic
    life: particularly how land degradation, 'fortress'-style wildlife
    conservation, or deforestation influences a range of social
    relations and politics.

    A number of books (for which I have created a new category at
    Permaculture Trading Post called Eco-Politics
    and invite you to suggest other titles to add)

    Deep Ecology

    Noam Chomsky

    Dave Foreman (Earth First)

    Peter Kropotkin


    Inclusive Democracy

    Green syndicalism


    Gaia philosophy




    Ecopsychology (what Mollison was teaching when he met David
    Holmgren, I've been told).

    Thomas Berry

    Appropriate technology

    Joanna Macy


    Amory Lovins

    William McDonough

    Paul Hawken and Natural Capitalism

    The Natural Step

    Derrick Jensen

    Jarred Diamond

    Vandana Shiva

    Arundhati Roy

    E.O. Wilson

    ...and much more. If Permaculture represents "the connecting
    science", these provide many opportunities to connect the dots and
    build bridges between our local cultures and the living planet.

Paul Cereghino wrote:
>> Permaculture design (even as applied to politics) should focus on 
>> analysis of actual processes and phenomena.  Flows, source, sink, 
>> etc...  If natural systems are are the source of inspiration for 
>> ecological design, what is the source of inspiration for political
>> More critically... what is the effective transitional system from 
>> current state to target state (least work greatest effect).
Keith Johnson
"Be fruitful and mulch apply."
Permaculture Activist Magazine
PO Box 5516, Bloomington, IN 47407
(812) 335-0383
Switch to Solar Power the Easy Way
Blog: http://kjpermaculture.blogspot.com/
also Patterns for Abundance Design & Consulting
also Association for Regenerative Culture
also APPLE-Bloomington (Alliance for a Post-Petroleum Local Economy)
 It's a small world after oil.
also Bloomington Permaculture Guild 

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