Though many try to dismiss the #Occupy movement, people continue to awaken around the world and unite. Mike was contacted with a list of questions by Occupy London Stock Exchange. These questions were so good because they perfectly illustrate just how quickly the movement is learning and how powerful it has yet to become. — JB, Supervising Editor
How would you describe the current crisis? (As in, is it a crisis of finance, politics, energy…? or all of the above!)
MCR – This is a crisis of human industrial civilization. Everything is on the table and everything is collapsing, including our faith and beliefs in many venerable sacred cows. Addressing the issues of finance, politics or energy alone or separately will not solve the fundamental problem, which is that we live in a global civilization and culture predicated first and foremost on infinite growth, which is obviously no longer possible.
You have been charting problems in democracy, politics and society for decades. Is there anything *new* about what’s going on today?
MCR – What’s new is that there is no more room to focus on the false or half-measured “solutions” that we have been manipulated into pursuing until now. Those are all that every activist movement has focused on for decades, with amazingly predictable and terrible result. Humanity’s back is against the wall (finally). We solve this problem completely or else many of us (many more than have to) are going to die and suffer that don’t have to. No sacred cows can be exempt from examination or challenge. In fact, it is our most=sacred cows that must be challenged first! Our revolution must be complete and total, resulting in the death of the infinite-growth paradigm. Nothing less will do.
The revolution — as Jefferson might say — must be complete and thorough.
If you were President for the day, what’s the first thing you’d do?
MCR – Tough question. My first instinct would be that I would resign, because the American presidency is a prisoner of the banking system, housed in a government with three branches that are all controlled by banks, not to mention the administrative machinery. I think the first and easiest thing to do would be (assuming I had powers the presidency currently does not possess) would be to implement the terms of a constitutional amendment just offered by Florida Representative Ted Deutch called “Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy” or OCCUPIED. This is something I believe that every #Occupy in the U.S. should jump on immediately and that every #Occupy around the world should adapt for their own country.
Though not a perfect or final solution, it would instantly cripple the powers that be. Assuming that I had dictatorial powers I would immediately scrub the airwaves clean of all commercial advertising paid for by lobbying groups, especially those connected to energy and banking interests.
Also, assuming I had dictatorial powers, I would immediately eliminate all corporate tax deductions for energy. This idea was originated by my colleague Colin Campbell in Ireland and it’s a brilliant way to incentivize conversion to renewable energy where possible.
In conjunction with that, I would issue an Executive Order directing all federal agencies to immediately prosecute banks and corporations for well-documented crimes and I would make it clear that failure to comply with those directions would result in immediate job loss, loss of civil service protections, and loss of all benefits for all federal employees failing to comply.
I would immediately fire almost everybody at the EPA and staff it with a clear mandate to do what its name implies, protect the environment. I would order immediate halts to fracking and then I would order a safe shutdown of every nuclear reactor in the United States within 120 days. These reactors must all be shut down before collapse and infrastructure failure make them impossible to control. Fukushima is far from contained and Japan is mortally wounded as a result. There are around 450 nuclear reactors in the world. Now that would cause enormous economic dislocation and hardship for many. But all those hardships and worse are coming (here) anyway. This would force an immediate, locally based conversion to other forms of energy, none of which can ever fully replace nuclear.
I would not be able to order an immediate crash program to (only partially workable) forms of renewable energy because under the infinite-growth, profit-based paradigm they don’t stand a chance and we see alternative energies being crushed by the beast of infinite growth all over the world. People like Colin Campbell, Richard Heinberg and Matthew Simmons understood this and wrote about it for many years.
But that’s only the barest beginning. Our fight will not be over until fractional reserve banking, compound interest and fiat currency have been forever removed from the human (and planetary) experience. Those three things constitute the heart of the beast and until and unless they are removed, the beast — like cancer — will always return like a Zombie.
I do not believe that anyone sitting in the Oval Office will be able to accomplish this alone because the American political system is so corrupt, with so many embedded rules favoring the banks, that it essentially has to be torn down and rebuilt from scratch. If you leave the foundation intact and build a new house on top of the old foundation, the new house will look remarkably the same as the old one. I do not believe the United States can hold together as a single nation for more than two years at this point due to dwindling energy resources and collapse. Those plus the governing Thermodynamic Law of Entropy.
What’s it like for you, as an ex-cop, to see the trillion-dollar frauds and theft that goes on?
MCR – It is still as aggravating, painful and frustrating as it was when I discovered CIA smuggling drugs into the country thirty-four years ago. I still take great satisfaction in seeing real bad guys go to jail.]
Are you optimistic about the future? Are there glimmers of hope…?
MCR – There are big glimmers of hope. I see an awakening I have waited a lifetime for taking place at almost the speed of thought. But certain things are unavoidable. There can be no return to growth. Prosperity (as we have conceived it) will not be returned, any more than any of the missing pension funds, benefits and services will. The streetlights that have been going off around the world for three years will not come back on again. Infinite Growth is over and demands expecting that (e.g. a restoration of wages, benefits, lower prices, better living conditions) cannot be achieved for seven billion people.
There are no entitlements in nature, except the right to struggle to stay alive. It is how we as Post-Petroleum Humans choose to survive that will make all the difference. There must be a complete cultural transformation to a resource-based economy in harmony with the planet that we live on. I do see that awareness emerging fairly quickly throughout the #Occupy movement. Whether it will be enough or in time to prevent total extinction events is in question. We are all watching this movie to see how it ends.
As the crisis unfolds, do you have a support network around you in Sonoma County?
MCR – A huge one! I love it here. That’s why I’m here. Sonoma County is perhaps one of the two or three leading regions in the world for leadership on sustainability, permaculture and making a transition to a post-petroleum way of life. Transition US is headquartered here. The Post Carbon Institute is here. I’m here. Some of the leading lights showing the way into a new human paradigm not only live but also walk the walk here. Plus, and this is extremely important, there is a broad base of experience in tribal culture and intentional community here. This is one of the best laboratories in the world for the creation of new lifestyles that, thus far, are proving to be much more satisfying that what is so obviously crumbling and dying all around us.
How do you see your own personal journey intersecting with the Occupy Movement?
MCR – Ha!… The short answer is that everything I have been through, endured, or done for the past 34 years has prepared me to be of service right here and right now, in this time and place. #Occupy is, in my opinion, humanity’s last hope to achieve real change in a functional civilization. I truly believe at a core level that Spirit has forged me for this time and I remain in awe at the (to me) obvious superhuman intelligence I see manifesting now. It’s like Einstein said, “Once you know there’s a God, it makes no difference whether you believe in one.” And I witness spiritual power on a daily basis throughout the movement. Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come, especially when Mother Earth is backing it.
What’s been the most exciting thing for you about spending time at Occupy Santa Rosa?
MCR – Watching the speed with which learning/awareness occurs and seeing all of the things sprouting from the sacred space that #Occupy is holding open for all humans. In the space of maybe five weeks, I have met more kindred souls, more focused and more awake than I have in the last five years. I am also energized by the unwillingness of #Occupy to give up. The movement is like blades of grass forcing their way up through the concrete and plastic sidewalks of industrial civilization.
What worries you about Occupy?
MCR – What worries me most is its openly-stated openness to all comers without even the barest guidelines for community conduct aside from non-violence. In Santa Rosa, as in almost every one of the #Occupy locations I’m aware of, everybody is having serious problems with criminals, addicts and the mentally challenged. In many cases, authorities are telling these people to come to our camps and I think we are all suffering from the intended results.
The movement must mature and impose some adult conditions, backed up by teeth, to remove disrupters, for anyone who violates community agreements specifically tailored to the realities and needs of each location. Speaking for the 99% does not mandate sinking to the lowest common denominator found therein. Tribal models are by far, in my opinion, the best way to do this. After all, that what our species used for perhaps 40,000 years and they worked! We were all tribal once.
Does Occupy Santa Rosa have a message for OCCUPY LSX Stock Exchange?
MCR – I can only speak for myself in the belief that OSR would feel the same way. Get creative and be extremely sensitive to the unique qualities of your own location. At OSR, we are moving towards a Community Supported Occupations (CSOs), in partnership with Transition activists, permaculture food growers and local businesses and interest groups that are already politically well-respected within the community. There is real power in that. I know because with those liaisons working for us the Santa Rosa City Council realized that in a very short time period the only things left capable of maintaining order and achieving anything will be local governments and the resources of each particular community.
There is a tension between local & global in the Occupy Movement. Does a local community movement (like OSR) function well enough on its own, or does it have to be part of a ‘global’ system?
MCR – Setting and enforcing a global template beyond the barest standards is both unwise and foolish. Look at Europe. Any attempt to bind or make things bigger is doomed to fail. Things break down, not up. OSR, deeply imbued with the core beliefs of #Occupy does not need and is not asking for top-down hierarchical support. The possibility of useful solutions emerging decreases inversely with application of imposed global solutions. That is the antithesis of what this movement is about.
Place determines almost everything and I would be extremely suspicious of any group seeking to influence or manage the entire movement. And the truth is, I think, that most #Occupy camps would just rightly ignore anything that came down to them this way.
Are you in favour of the ‘Tobin Tax’ / Robin Hood tax? This is a bone of contention in OccupyLSX!
MCR – Doesn’t excite me in the least. Until you change the way money works, you change nothing. It would never be passed or enacted in the infinite growth monetary paradigm and any efforts put towards that end would be a criminal waste of time and energy. I’m sure the bankers would like to lead #Occupy down into this cul de sac. What the Robin Hood tax says is, “Leave infinite growth in place. Leave the banks in power. Leave the politicians in power. Let them earn their greedy inexcusable profits and then just feed ourselves in a parasitic partnership with the criminals. Yuk! I will not be an accomplice to the way the system operates. All the Robin Hood tax does is essentially demand a bribe. It is also quite parasitic.
I think it’s clear that there’s an immensely powerful and insatiable global system of war & greed that peaceful, enlightened humans are up against. What are your tips for winning this thing?
MCR – Until you change the way money works, you change nothing.
Have you moved on from 9/11? And do you think the official story of 9/11 will hold forever?
The official story has actually been quite thoroughly disproven already. The question is not whether that will happen. The question is, will people stop believing in lies? That’s out of my control, isn’t it?
I have not been involved with 9-11 truth in any way shape or form since late 2004. It is a lost cause and it is now moot when our only concern must be survival. I refuse to discuss it or waste energy on 9-11. If, however, the collective consciousness chooses to acknowledge the crime it has also been complicit in concealing and deems the addressing of that crime as an essential step in saving lives as we move to a new paradigm, then I would assist in any way possible. That would begin by just handing them a copy of Crossing the Rubicon and shutting up. However, I will not listen to any of the fools who ask me to spend time discussing it now. They are good candidates for Darwinian deselection in my opinion.
What’s life been like, post-Collapse? How are you enjoying your ‘icon’ status?
MCR – “Icon”… Geez… I’m the same guy, saying the same things I’ve been saying for three decades. I do enjoy the respect that’s coming now and I endeavor to be worthy of the trust people place in me. It is immeasurably gratifying to see people truly grasping the message I have been carrying for so long, even though some of them were calling me a nutcase just a few years ago. Survival now is based upon change without punishment. I don’t think I’d call this period “post-Collapse” yet. I’d call this “mid-collapse” with maybe five years more of that before we really see something resembling the shape of a steady state on which we can constructively build a new human paradigm.
The best part about all this for me is seeing people like Philadelphia Captain Ray Lewis and Marine Sgt. Shamar Thomas come forward, along with the serious dialogue that is being forced by honorable people in various institutions. We are seeing official resignations as a matter of principle, in governments, churches and universities around the world now. That’s something I have not seen since the 1970s. I believe that OCCUPY LSX’s greatest achievements have been replacing violent UK riots with peaceful demonstrations, and through your moral courage, compelling the Church of England to examine itself and choose whether it serves God or Mammon. The entire movement is grateful to OccupyLSX for that because these are the places where something real and effective must be changed before any substantive and productive reform can take root and flourish elsewhere.
This is not about the existing system needing an oil change and a tune up. This is about rebuilding it from scratch where even the most basic assumptions are challenged, re-examined and overturned where appropriate.
What does the next 12 months hold? (for you & the planet)
MCR – We need to focus on the next 12 weeks. That may be all the time we have to press for change before chaos sets in. We are at a critical moment under a ticking clock. The global economic system will likely be totally dysfunctional by next February. And the possible outcomes range from complete extinction (in the event of nuclear war over economics or climate collapse) to the removal of infinite growth with a chance to rebuild on existing physical infrastructure while we still have energy and other resources to do that with.
For about eight years I have been saying that we would get to a point where it would be impossible to predict the future because of chaos and the obviously quickening speed of events. My focus and outlook is increasingly shifting to just where I live in Sonoma county. It is truly up to us to determine the outcome and there will be no other opportunities after #Occupy except on the immediate local level.
What slogan would be on your Occupy banner?
MCR – If I were to design a flag for #Occupy, our symbol would be the tent. Has anyone ever seen a mortgage on a tent? A two-car garage? A satellite dish? The tent is our symbol of our true freedom from The Matrix and it has been from the start. The tent symbolizes our inner and outer liberation from all the traps of industrial civilization. If Occupiers around the world began demonstrating that it is possible to live a happy and more fulfilling life free from all the crap of industrial civilization, we will have achieved victory. It was our tents that scared the bad guys more than anything and I don’t know if the movement ever really appreciated that.
Now we may have to give them up in some places and that’s fine. But the power of that symbol is vastly underestimated within the movement.