Mud-Slide

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Photo by The National Guard | CC BY 2.0

At some time in the 1970s, it became obvious that homo politicus, the propertied white male that our dearly beloved Founding Fathers had originally entrusted with the vote, and others over the centuries that were begrudgingly allowed to join them in the privilege, had been transmuted into homo economicus. Now treated as human capital, we are but factors in GDP enhancement, our political lives curtailed by the rise of neoliberalism.

When I turned the key in my car’s ignition recently to flee the Thomas Fire, California’s largest and almost certainly exacerbated by global warming, I was both victim and perpetrator, caught in the ouroboric moment of the snake eating its own tail. When, in October 2016, I cast my postal vote for Jill Stein, I was supporting the sham of American democracy in full knowledge that the institutions supported by this byzantine mechanism regularly victimize my economic, social and recreational opportunities while at every moment endangering life on the planet.

How can I show solidarity with others in our shared and authentic political interest? What level of energy sacrifice is necessary to escape the pay-back of geo-historical forces? What level of anarchic action is required to amend our democracy’s dysfunction without disastrous personal reprisals imposed by the state? Can we do good within a corrupt system with which we are complicit? Or, as Adrian Parr notes, in her startling new book, Birth of a…

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