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ANATOMY OF TORTURE — Historian Christopher Dietrich on the 100-year-long history of American torture; Jeffrey St. Clair on the implications of giving impunity to the CIA’s torturers; Chris Floyd on how the US has exported torture to its client states around the world. David Macaray on the Paradoxes of Police Unions; Louis Proyect on Slave Rebellions in the Open Seas; Paul Krassner on the Perils of Political Cartooning; Martha Rosenberg on the dangers of Livestock Shot-up with Antibiotics; and Lee Ballinger on Elvis, Race and the Poor South. Plus: Mike Whitney on Greece and the Eurozone and JoAnn Wypijewski on Media Lies that Killed.
If You Can't Clean It Up, Don't Make It

Confronting Industrialism

by DERRICK JENSEN

Some of the most important questions confronting us are: what should we do about this culture’s industrial wastes, from greenhouse gases to pesticides to ocean microplastics?

Can the capitalists clean up the messes they create? Or is the whole industrial system beyond reform? The answers become clear with a little context.

Let’s start the discussion of context with two riddles that aren’t very funny.

Q: What do you get when a cross a long drug habit, a quick temper, and a gun?

A: Two life terms for murder, with earliest release date 2026.

And,

Q: What do you get when you cross a large corporation, two nation states, 40 tons of poison, and at least 8,000 dead human beings?

A: Retirement with full pay and benefits. Warren Anderson, CEO of Union Carbide. Bhopal.

The point of these riddles is not merely that when it comes to murder and many other atrocities, different rules apply to the poor than to the rich. And it’s not merely that ‘economic production’ is a get-out-of-jail free card for whatever atrocities the ‘producers’ commit, whether it’s genocide, gynocide, ecocide, slaving, mass murder, mass poisoning, and so on.

Do we even care? We already know they don’t …

The point here is that this culture is clearly not particularly interested in cleaning up its toxic messes. Obviously, or it wouldn’t keep making them. It wouldn’t allow those who make these messes to do so with impunity. It certainly wouldn’t socially reward those who make them.

This may or may not be the appropriate time to mention that this culture has created, for example, 14 quadrillion (yes, quadrillion) lethal doses of Plutonium 239, which has a half-life of over 24,000 years, which means that in a mere 100,000 years that number will be all the way down to only about 3.5 quadrillion lethal doses: Yay!

And socially reward them it does. I could have used a whole host of examples other than Warren Anderson, who was playing on the back nine long after he should have been hanging by the neck (he was sentenced to death in absentia, but the US refused to extradite him).

There’s Tony Hayward, who oversaw BP’s devastation of the Gulf of Mexico and who was ‘punished’ for this with a severance package worth well over $30 million. Or we could throw another couple of riddles at you, which are really the same riddles:

Q: What do you call someone who puts poison in the subways of Tokyo?

A: A terrorist.

Q: What do you call someone who puts poison (cyanide) into groundwater?

A: A capitalist: CEO of a gold mining corporation.

We could talk about frackers, who make money as they poison groundwater. We could talk about anyone associated with Monsanto. You can add your own examples. I’d say you can ‘choose your poison’ but of course you can’t. Those are...

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