Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pro-Black Out, Anti-Capitalist

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it."  

-Martin Luther King

Capitalism is an environmental disaster. It's a system based on perpetual growth, high return and low risk (low pay for those who create the high return), and uses an alienating foreign currency (dollars, yen, euro,yuan) that directly opposes the well fare of our planet and all humans.

  Our planet's true currency is clean air, clean land, and clean water, and our human Buddha nature currency is wisdom and compassion, and that's what we should invest in. Our true currency is based on balance; capitalism is based on imbalance. Capitalism is about acquiring surplus. Surplus is not natural. Even in terms of agriculture, surplus is a response to market projections. Did you know that organic farms plan on losing 20% of the harvest? We sow more than we can sell based on projected loss. We're lucky at Green Gulch to have a forgiving kitchen that will serve what we can't sell. We are still eating squash from last years harvest, and let me tell you, there are only about 10 different ways to cook squash. But I think that's the way it should be. This food isn't a refuge, it's to sustain this life for the sake of enlightenment, like we chant everyday.

But what can we do to resist? Here's what I did: I took my measly 9,000 out of the market when I was told that my mutual fund couldn't detail the nature of my investment. Apparently, you need to have about one hundred million invested to get that kind of attention. I moved to a Zen center where I could get away from 9-5 work, a salary that was heavily taxed for federal interests, like war abroad, and started to do without. Only to find that our organization has a capital investment plan with a social responsibility clause that does not prohibit investment in petroleum industry. We moved with our Ecosattva environmental group to get the clause redefined to include a petroleum prohibition, but we heard that won't be possible at the moment. We also heard that our sentence that asked we only invest in companies that are beneficial for all beings would make investing impossible (my hope exactly!).

So, who's the dummy? I pulled my investments out, I cut off my salary ( I took about a 44,000 dollar pay cut to pursue the life I'm living right now), and can't see through the murk of my future, only to be included in an institution's participation of what I see as evil, what I see is the opposite of saving all beings.

So I look at my wife, as she knits, and I sit here. She says, do you love me, and I say, very much, but I'm in pain, and I don't where I can live. She says, you can live with me, and I say can you live with me? Because I'm not sure I can live here. And we talk about humanure, closing the loop, living without electricity, and what that might mean for us. And I kind of know that there is no out there that is separate from in here. I also know I love it here, and I love the people here. I also know there is no capitalist and no non-capitalist. But I disagree, I am perplexed, at how we go on, reaping the benefits of a system that is exporting violence, ecoside, and patriarchy and accept it as an "Industry standard" or a necessary evil.

And If  people who move to a Zen Center and organic farm can't be convinced that capitalism causes ecoside, where in the world could I go?

You know, my grandmothers, one a seamstress, one a union grocery store worker, and my grandfathers, both soldiers then a welder and a roofer, were on the short end of the capitalist stick. Pop (James Keith) jumped out of an airplane and his chute didn't open, his back was ruined for life. He roofed with that back. Bampa (Gaetano DiPrimo) was an infantryman in Korea, then worked for a trucking plant for the rest of his life. Nanny (Veronica Glenin) was proud of her union job. And grandma (Gail Canterbury) worked in different factories, embroidering, inspecting gems and typing. They worked so hard, and somebody got rich because of their work. My parents continue to struggle, mired in debt. They deserve freedom, all of them.

Why isn't it obvious that equality just comes from equality? There cannot be a man at the top. We cannot try and turn a profit off another human being.

I can't wait for the blackout. I lived 5 beautiful months in Alaska at negative 30 degrees, and the worst thing about it was being alone. I can't wait until farming is just a part of being human, and instead we identify as priest, painter, singer, poet, sculptor, storyteller, hunter as our affinity, and not our job.


  1. Well said farmer monk, very well said. I have much to think about.

  2. You may have read my poem "Enough" on my blog last November. I wrote it when I was seeing the whole thing clearly and feeling much like you. I've made my own end runs at changing institutions, and sometimes had a little effect when I worked in politically smart ways, a nudge here, a nudge there. I find I often see things eccentrically. To deeply realize the truth about wealth and poverty, about the values of capitalism and the flourishing of the triple poison in our politics, is to see from outside the system. One has had to discard a lot of conditioning to see it. Then, what to do? Indeed.

    That poem is the one my daughter loves, and I think it provided a vision of a simple, grounded life that helped her move toward a life she loves, which includes a vegetable garden that mostly feeds the rabbits. So was I wasting time when I sat and wrote poetry? which what I most loved to do, and was drawn to as if by electromagnetic force, all the while squealing that there was important work to be done in the world.