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Total Liberation: Revolution for the 21st Century

Total Liberation: Revolution for the 21st Century
by Stephen Best, Ph.D

Proceedings of the 2nd International Meeting for Environmental Ethics in Athens, 2010

(watch video of presentation HERE)


Prologue to a Problem

We are winning many battles in the fight for freedom, rights, democracy, compassionate ethics, peace, interspecies justice, and ecology.
But we are losing the war.

The war against greed, violence, plunder, profits, and domination. The war against transnational corporations, world banks, the US Empire, and Western military machines. The war against metastasizing systems of economic growth, technological development, overproduction, overconsumption, and overpopulation.

Despite recent decades of intense social and environmental struggles, we are nevertheless losing ground in the battle for democracy and ecology.

In the last two decades, neoliberalism and globalization have destroyed social democracies, widened gaps between rich and poor, dispossessed farmers, and marketized the entire world. Alongside good-old fashioned imperialism and resource extraction, people now confront genetic engineering, biopiracy, the patenting of genes, and the control of the seed supply. McDonaldization swallows up diversity as agribusiness engulfs the world�s farmers. Corporate power is growing as people power is shrinking.

Signs of ecological distress are everywhere, from shrinking forests and depleted fisheries to vanishing wilderness and rising sea levels. Throughout history, societies have devastated local environments, but only in the last two decades has humanity upset the planetary ecology to bring about global climate change. Moreover, we now live in the era of the sixth extinction crisis in the history of the planet, the last one occurring 65 million years ago in the age of the dinosaurs. Unlike the last five, this one is caused by human activity; we are the meteor crashing into the earth. Conservation biologists predict one third to one half of the world�s plant and animal species might vanish in the next few decades. By 2050, the world�s population will be nine billion, and the meat consumption in China will double; the spike in global meat consumption has prompted the United Nations to write that the only viable path for a sustainable future is a global shift toward a vegan diet.[i]

The global capitalist world system is inherently destructive to people, animals, and nature. It is unsustainable and the bills for three centuries of industrialization and market-growth are now due. This system cannot be humanized, civilized, or made green-friendly; rather, it must be transcended through revolution at all levels�economic, political, legal, cultural, technological, moral, and conceptual.

Read the rest of the essay here.

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