Re: [-empyre-] Crusades, Collapse, 'n' Stuff

>From another part concerning the south American condition I mostly agree
with Ana. But south America being a singular multiplicity of people coming
from UE migration and US history of repression specially representative of
western American (North and South) modernity, having integrated
revolutionary from melting populations and Indians, while receiving migrated

Caribbean critical materialist culture from an heritage of traditional
western materialist and revolutionary culture, at the horizon of the anti
colonialist revolutionary tradition.

They want fight against the global order of the world claiming at last their
autonomy while knowing both of their past and of our past inside and

That absolute singularity of each region of the world reacting and
aggressing cannot definite an internationalist vision of the fights
nowadays, I mean.

More the world is global more it calls its proper entropy by creating
increasing diversity of singular reactions of mass (critical powers and
critical mass becoming properly social mass) : because the proper subject
being the question of bare life from all the parts, the question of
surviving, the bare life lively appears as random critical solutions as
events or experiments ? whatever the repression, the reaction of surviving
cannot be submitted.

On 3/12/06 18:53, "Ana Valdes" <> probably wrote:

> Thank you for an interesting approach to the subject Crusades and Art
> and Activism! As I wrote before my interest for the Crusades is mostly
> about the narrative used by the pope and for the nobility to mobilize
> the whole Europe to travel to unknown territories and colonize foreign
> peoples in the name of Christianity.
> The same strategy was used later when the Pope, again, granted Spain
> and Portugal the right to conquest, colonize and enslave a whole "new
> world" and it's inhabitants. The 500 years old domination of South and
> North America for white foreigners to the land is still a proof of
> "succesful colonization". As Frantz Fanon wrote in "Black Skin White
> Mask", the strategy is to make an alliance with the colonized and
> offer them to be the administrators of the colony and send back to the
> metropolis the plundered goods.
> Fanon was refering to Algery, but I find the example useful to analyze
> how the Latinamerican and Northamerican oligarchies felt themselves
> most committed to their "masters" in Europe than to their brothers and
> sisters in distress.
> Today, when we see how the whole latinamerican continent is shifting
> loyalties and separating themselves from the US and from Europe, is
> relevant to discuss the methods and the aims.
> I hope Susan Meiselas, who made a great job taking pictures of the
> Sandinist revolution in the 70:s is reading this and can participate
> with a short statement about her work in Nicaragua and Kurdistan!
> For me her and Cecilia Parsbergs work, to go back with the images to
> the people portrayed, is an example of poetic justice and non colonial
> committment.
> Ana
> On 12/3/06, Henry Warwick <> wrote:
>> Crusade is irrelevant.
>> What matters are resources and the control and production of them.
>> The vagaries of culture are simply accidents of history. If Mohammed
>> had convinced millions of people of atheism, or if the Xians hadn't
>> completely mangled the golden rule from a double negative that
>> encourages passivity to a double positive that recommends
>> interference, I am sure the events would have played out differently,
>> but the fundamentals would still have been the same.
>> What we are facing is something quite different.
>> =======================================
>> The Crusaders aimed to free Europe of the economic hegemony of
>> Islam,  not to destroy Islamic civilization.
>> =======================================
>> And if one insists on using the lens of Crusade, then one can see
>> that the west seeks hegemony over the oil that the Islamic locals now
>> enjoy - but is that Crusade? I think not.
>> As I said, I don't think it's relevant. Also, I am uncertain as to
>> whether it is actual or reasonable to think of a Western Roman
>> "collapse", as much as it was a strategic withdrawal by the elite to
>> more profitable places. Constantine could see, from his heinously
>> expensive wars in Gaul, that Western Europe was a dud - a money pit,
>> a black hole where wealth gets poured in and little else comes back.
>> In energistic terms, it had a negative ER/EI - Energy Return divided
>> by Energy Invested. He went broke chasing the barbarian army around
>> France, and converted to christianity to loosen up the funds in a
>> dominantly christian run Treasury.
>> Once he got back, he put his plan into action and declared the
>> Official creation of the Eastern Roman Empire. And every rich family
>> in rome with any sense at all invested in the east. West of Roman
>> Power? Celts. Illiterate pagan "savages". To the north? Picts. Nutty
>> people from Scotland who painted themselves blue, which gets them all
>> hopped up and crazy. And the Northeast was populated by Huns and
>> Goths and other unsavoury groups. To the South? The Sea, and beyong
>> the sea? Excellent farms hard up against the largest desert on the
>> planet. To the East? All The Money In The World. Big Rivers, and the
>> ancient civilisations of what is now Palestine, Egypt, Greece,
>> Turkey, Iran, India, China, and the Silk Road through Afghanistan...
>> Let's see, Celts vs. Greeks. Picts vs. India. Goths vs. Persians.
>> Hmmmm. Not a hard choice to make there!
>> Within 200 years, Rome was done, while still inhabited, and the
>> Empire lived on: a few hundred years later it was still enough of a
>> potent social notion that Charlemagne crowned himself the Holy Roman
>> Emperor....
>>  From a post in a Bay Area Energy group, by Dave Fridley, author of
>> the SF City Council Depletion protocol study proclamation (for which
>> he deserves a medal, IMHO):
>> "In Roman times, 85-90% of the population were the energy producers--
>> that is, the farmers--whose surplus energy supported the 10-15% of
>> the population (including the emperor, army, musicians, artists,
>> vagabonds, merchants and so forth) who were not directly involved in
>> energy production. In
>> the US today, 3% of the population (and vast amounts of fossil fuels)
>> provides the surplus to support the 97% of the population not
>> directly involved in energy production. In that regard, only the
>> "elite" of the empire would have even noticed a material change with
>> "collapse"."
>> Today, North Americans and Europeans are the elites.  Again, Fridley
>> writes:
>> "Although some Roman historians lamented the passing of the Republic
>> (which lasted for about 400 years--longer than ours--til about 40
>> BC), I've never read anything of a self-aware group that looked at
>> the material conditions of the empire and predicted collapse over
>> some centuries in the future. That, I think, would be pretty much
>> unlikely at the time, since in Western civilizations, at least, it
>> wasn't until
>> the publication of Thomas More's Utopia in 1516 that we ever viewed
>> the future as a better place than the past, and thus see decline as
>> something odd. Before then, the "Golden Age" of man--what
>> civilizations aspired to, were always those of the past, and history
>> was considered a process of degeneration. With this kind of world
>> view, what exactly would "collapse" mean to one of the elite Romans
>> and how exactly would it have mattered to the 90% of the population
>> who lived in stasis?"
>> It's also important to remember why the romans would even bother
>> invading some where as distant as England and Wales... Why? Tin. the
>> Phoenicians were in Wales 1500bce. At the time, there was so much tin
>> in Wales, it came up out of the ground in extremely rich ores of
>> black, shiny, almost metallic, material. It was harvested and sent
>> back to Phoenicia to make bronze. The Romans were Iron Age people,
>> but bronze was still a vital metal, and tin had many other purposes.
>> The production of tin peaked during Roman times and went into
>> depletion. England became worth less to the Romans, and yet another
>> reason to abandon Western Europe.
>> So, to talk of a "collapse" of the Roman empire, as Fridley notes, is
>> an act of 20/20 hindsight. After Constantine gave up on it, it took
>> centuries for Rome to be sacked and leveled by the nations it had
>> violently oppressed. The Romans had no sense of a "utopian future",
>> so calamity was always the word of the day. Again Fridley:
>> "Compare this as well to the worldview of the Chinese, who developed
>> a sophisticated view of rise and fall that came from thousands of
>> years of dynasties rising then collapsing. To a Chinese, this was a
>> natural phenomenon, and they created a whole phenomenology around it,
>> including the concept of "mandate of heaven" (tianming) that gave the
>> emperor his right to rule, and the withdrawal of the mandate that led
>> to the collapse of the dynasty, usually indicated by natural
>> disasters. It survived to the 20th century even...the massive
>> Tangshan earthquake of July 1976 was commonly seen as the event that
>> withdrew the mandate of heaven from Chairman Mao, and indeed, he died
>> 2 months later and his regime overthrown."
>> And a few years later the Gang of Four would sing musical commodities
>> like 5.45:
>> Out on the street: assassinate all of them
>> look so desperate declare blood war
>> on the bourgeois state too!
>> Watch new blood on the 18 inch screen
>> The corpse is a new personality
>> Ionic charge brings immortality
>> Guerilla war struggle is the new entertainment!!!
>> Fridley continues:
>> "...Kunstler (I believe) had a good insight into this as well. He
>> remarked on the phenomenon of "temporal amnesia"--the fact that we
>> forget how things were after a period of change, such as living in
>> the same place for a long time. This building is replaced. Those
>> trees are planted. Social security benefits are reduced. Copays go
>> up. Food prices creep up. After 10 years, things are materially
>> different, but do you really remember how it used to be? Over several
>> hundred years of collapse, who in Rome or Mesopotamia or any of the
>> other major civilizations that collapsed have had the historical
>> context to talk about "collapse"?"
>> What we have, and the romans didn't have, are the basic laws of
>> physics that govern all energetic systems. One big rule is: you can't
>> get more energy out of a system than what is already there. There is
>> no energy fairy. When most work is done by hand, your farmers are the
>> energy producers. When most work is done by hand, most work is in
>> energy production.
>> Another big rule is: In a closed system, energy is never lost, it
>> simply degrades in quality (thermodynamics - entropy).
>> These facts speak far beyond any localised temporal curiosities of
>> "culture" or "religion" or any quibbling about that. It's all really
>> very simple: look at yeast in a sugar/water solution. Do the math.
>> The earth's carrying capacity for humans has been exceeded
>> (youngquist: Geodestinies). The remaining conflicts of civilisation
>> will be over the remaining energy stores and metal deposits (Klare:
>> Resource Wars) The total energy content of society will retreat. Per
>> capita energy and resource consumption peaked in the early 1980s (per
>> Campbell and Duncan). The west has been innovating to do more with
>> less. however, this cannot continue indefinitely (see first big
>> rule). The non-west (the so-called South) has been bearing the brunt
>> of it all and if resources reduce too quickly, many of those nations
>> will go into a Malthusian die off. Some (east Africa) already have
>> (declining rainfall and increased population have produced a
>> "Malthusian" situation where pressures on a less-productive resource
>> base have exploded into conflict - per, and
>> some are quickly descending (Nigeria - New Yorker Article by George
>> Packer - Lagos as the model of the city of the 21st century).
>> Without natural gas, there will be no miracleGro and the productivity
>> of the planet's farms will drop dramatically. Richer nations will
>> have more resources to feed their people. The rest won't and will die
>> off. Nations with especially abundant food resources (such as N.
>> America) will be using substantial amounts of food for fuel to power
>> their heavy transport systems (trucks, trains, aircraft, mining
>> equipment). Eventually that will be abandoned, due to population
>> pressures.
>> Nations of the middle east, predominantly Islamic, will face an even
>> tougher time - similar to those presently faced in Africa.
>> Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum (former Prime minister of UAE):
>> "My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I drive a
>> Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, his son will drive a Land
>> Rover, but his son will ride a camel."
>> Crusade models don't really work: they presume the primacy of the
>> superstructural cultural machine as guides for substructural resource
>> exploitation. In fact, the superstructural issues (crusade, war
>> against terrror, jihad, "somebody's got a bad case of the Mondays",
>> rock and roll, hip hop, TV, whatever...) is actually just the excuses
>> proffered by the elites to motivate the workers to act against their
>> own self interests and murder other members of the working/peasant
>> class, so that resources may be acquired in order to maintain the
>> facade of civilisation that maintains socio-political heirarchies as
>> linguistic amplifications of the social dominance patterns common to
>> primates.
>> It's late - I have to go sleep now.
>> my best regards to all,
>> HW_______________________________________________
>> empyre forum

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