Reports on the end-game of a world driven by the law of value

End-game : ecocide and extreme capitalism.

  Thorn Moor Bog
Above: Levingtons peat strip mining on Thorne Wastes, South Yorks,1997, part of the largest raised wetlands in western Europe. Although  the horticultural abuse tailored for DIY stores has now ceased the damage will remain for centuries. Above:  Typical Large Heath habitat  on Thorne Wastes cheek by jowl with Levingtons depredations  

 

 Though the opposition to the Twyford Down bypass is now a distant memory, during the 1990s most everyone had heard of it. This was the most visible tip of similar protests, like the opposition to the extension of Manchester's "Ringworm" airport and the Bingley bypass in W Yorks. And for a brief moment it looked as if the battle against car culture was turning in our favour and the "great car economy" so stridently proclaimed by Mrs. Thatcher as against "socialist" rail and bus travel (i.e. nationalized, and definitely not to be confused with socialized industry) was being put out to grass. However the greening of town and country was much exaggerated and today no one is any doubt the car lobby is set to make a big comeback. And this time it will go largely unopposed. Unchallenged and almost on the nod, construction companies by hitching up to the PFI (Private Finance Initiative), are seizing and shaping the terrain in a manner the notorious 1960s transport minister, Ernie Marples, could only jerk-off dreaming about.

What in the meantime has happened? Well, though never ending defeat is bound to breed intense apathy, the real explanation lies elsewhere. It is the ending of dole culture that more than anything else has led to a decline in the quality of protest. Only state benefits allowed young, impoverished, largely middle class youths with something of a vision, to occupy construction sites on projected routes. Though they were often extremely naive, only a person devoid of imagination (and how their number is increasing!) could fail to be moved by the tunnelling, the tree top living, aerial ropeways, booby traps and so on, This guerrilla architecture has more potential than any piece of architecture at present being constructed legitimately and has a great potential, beginning with our unliveable cities. But meanwhile the new, totalitarian gospel of work – presenteeism – has decimated the more creative side of protest and opposition is now a long, drawn out yawn - endless marching, the signing of petitions, legal manoeuvres and home owners protesting at falling property values in areas where property prices are already sky high. This is particularly true of the present opposition to the proposed citing of London's third airport on the irreplaceable Rainham Marshes.

Seeing how the subject of the more imaginative aspects of eco protest are strapped to their desks, work stations and tools and who, not so long ago had the freedom to toss them to one side for a year or two, it is now more than ever essential eco protest links up with a critique of political economy. It has been threatening to do for some time but the ground may now be more fertile then ever. For the name of the game is suicide capitalism and ecocide and even Atari will not have the virtual scenarios to match the violence and scale of the impending destruction to come.  

Edward Newman: A Critique: Plus a compilation of his statements and facts on the butterflies of Yorkshire in the mid 19th century. Some very interesting finds!

 A Revolutionary Critique of E O Wilson : A Revolutionary Critique of E O Wilson : The sociobiogist and myrmecologist E O Wilson came to eventually specialize in the study of ants through a childhood interest in butterflies. Beginning with entomology no other entomologist has laid claim to such a broad field that includes the study of human behaviours. Such inclusiveness began with the positivist Auguste Comte who was much interested in the biological sciences. Though proclaiming to be progressive it always ends up endorsing the status quo and is therefore reductive. The author of the 'Diversity of Life' is no exception. He, like many another animal behaviourist and geneticist, is blind to the richness and diversity of human life in historical societies especially in those insurrectionary moments when 'the world (is) turned upside down', a phrase the historian Christopher Hill uses to describe radical currents in the English civil war of the 1640s. Through E O Wilson the term bio-diversity, following the Rio Summit of a decade ago, has been popularized and enshrined in legislation the world over. But as we have found out through our efforts to preserve the Dingy Skipper, the law is practically a dead letter. But the fact that Wilson found it imperative he move beyond the fascinating, though rarefied micro-world of ants, means that other conservationists, through dire necessity, are also feeling the need to grope towards a far more considered and accurate socio-biological totality which can no longer pretend capitalism is a none issue.

Open Letters to Susan Stead:  Regarding the Lepidoptera of Woodhall Quarries, Bradford, West Yorks. Open letters as a means of persuading the hands of Leeds Council in the hope of preventing redevelopment as car park and land fill. So far the campaign has had positive results.

 Hydrology & A Critique of the Eco-City: Thoughts on the eco-city and the failure of early emancipatory projects such as psychogeography to redefine urbanism.

 Political Economy & Butterflies: Musings on Hegel and E B Ford.

 Energy & Extinction : A long discussion on present energy options and the often dire options the state now has to confront.

 Energy & Freeman Dyson : In the form of letters and related to the above web, a discussion on the limitations of Freeman Dyson in relation to Rimbaud and William Blake, as well as Dyson's failure to adequately grasp the lunacy of present society.

 G(eneral)M(otors) Food : On GM foods and the coming bio-economy and bio-assembly lines leading  eventually to a bio-mass maufactory: a new medical Fordism of designed and cultured parts. To be developed and added to as time passes--------------.

 Street One & Codlings :  Memories of butterflies and moths before the age of environmental planners: The wild life rich brownfield experience of Aycliffe Trading Estate, Co Durham in the 1950s.

 Icteric 1966:  Some Remarks on Butterflies?. Followed by a precursory examination of the events surrounding the article on butterfly swarms and art/anti art events that decades ago in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne anticipated  the ethos of the Turner Prize but also pointed to its revolutionary transcendence.

 Fuel Convoy: On the Fuel protests by hauliers and small farmers in the Autumn of 2000 plus our and friends leaflet handed out to the Convoy participants. "Whilst many of the less ideologically befuddled poor supported this movement, it was left to the professional middle-classes to denounce the blockaders (most of whom earned peanuts compared to these well paid professional liars) as 'greedy' and 'voracious'.

 Reflections on Romanticism:  A line of radical research a keen young academic might like to pursue and elaborate upon, this is basically a series of notes relating to the self-destruct of the arts in relation to English and Germam romanticism with emphasis on the revolt and transformation of poetic form.  Comments on Goethe, Schiller, Hegel, Marx, Heine, Keats Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley and Mallarme wrapped up in "Dialectical Lines for Insects" bringing together John Ray, Von Frisch and others...

 Fabre, Darwin, Dalton & 'DNA' Watson meet Lautreamont :  Perhaps to be read in conjunction with 'Reflections on Romanticism', this is the point where  the horrific potentialities of the bio-economy seem so prescient in the creatures which inhabit 'The Songs of Maldoror'.

 As Common as Muck:  A surprising encounter with a considerable number of Adonis Blues on August 25th 2005 on Ranmore Common Surrey, set off a train of thought and drift encompassing psychogeography, chance encounter, the changing relationship between town and country and the frightening conclusions science now has to accept in embracing an autonomous critique of political economy.

 Leeds: Geology as Subversion?:  Thoughts on the changing face of  a derive encountering scientific specialisms and its ambient historical background in Leeds - the UK's second city and financial centre.

 Derives Housing & Real Ecos:  The mid-1970s and the Lucas Aerospace Plan and community architecture. Jack Common and a Newcastle urban derive. Historicism and Aestheticism. BedZed, the Stern Report and a Thames barge. Eco capitalism as the final saviour of markets and humanity. Written in the summer of 2007, the sub-titles in themselves provide all the explanations needed though the theses at the very end are the points really needing to be remembered.

 Scientists and Conservation:  A critical discussion of Bernal, Haldane, Levy and Needham plus a social assessment of the ecologists of the end of most life like Lovelock, Fortey and Lynas with a passing critique of Colin Tudge etc.  The "businessmen of  domesday" and the contemporary lies about much conservation come in for stinging attack.

 On George Bataille: The Accursed Share : - versus sado-masochistic aestheticism and shock marketing:  Although this text is about a concrete overlap between art and science in Georges Bataille's 'The Accursed Share' written in the mid 20th century, its real subject is about a proposed recombined DNA human being in Genesis P Orridge's marketable "pandrogony" and the aesthetic counterpart of Craig Venter's recent experiments combining DNA's to create new species.

 Bio-Economy or Bio-Industrialisation?:  A discussion about the heavily capitalised bio-economy fields and how ecology has been press-ganged into a free market vista of hyped stock market quotations as the virgin rain forests and Antarctica are patented in a future trillion dollars industry. Craig Venter is to the forefront of this ghastly experiment and this text should be read in conjunction with the one on Georges Bataille.

 Land Art, Icteric & Wordsworth : On the egos and pretensions of the Land Art giantism movement which we had a hand in preparing. What a disaster and what would Wordsworth have thought?

The following pages are largely extracts from personal diaries kept as records of field trips and where possible photographs taken on these rarely fruitless days are included.

On these field trips the years frequently slip away and we are taken back to our childhood and early youth when, out doing the same, a glory would follow us wherever we went. Freud's definition of happiness comes to mind: "Happiness is a subsequent fulfillment of a childhood wish and that's why money never brought happiness because it was never a childhood wish." Sadly it is no longer true as money, to an ever increasing extent, invades childhood, destroying all hope of happiness. And this is why children are now rarely interested in nature. because it is insufficiently monetarised. With the advent of consumer capitalism nature is, for today's children, no longer a storehouse of dreams and so therefore, as adults, they are unlikely to experience that profound pleasure in saving nature which also awakens the shattering, and for that reason, suppressed memory of childhood . The conservation movement would greatly benefit if it were to take Freud's profound comment as utterly relevant to its concerns.

The Silver Studded Blue  :  Photos and notebook from Fairmile Common near Oxshott in north Surrey - the only 'London' site of the butterfly in 2003 

The Brown Argus Puzzle in Yorkshire : On the appearance/disappearance of the Brown Argus on semi-derelict industrial sites in South & West Yorkshire, 2003-4. Letters and photographs between ourselves and Bill Smyllie, the world's leading expert on the Brown Argus/Northern Brown Argus.

Yorkshire Marble Whites : Photographs and commentary on Yorkshire Marbled Whites at Little Stones, South Yorks and Brockadale, West Yorks. Though Marble Whites are an indigenous Yorkshire species both colonies are introductions.

The Grayling Colony in Healey Mills Marshalling Yards : In August 2003 we discovered a large Grayling colony numbering several hundred in these  semi-abandoned railway sidings in West Yorks. Land locked and far from coastal sand dunes it is undoubtedly the most unusual Grayling colony in the UK. This has led to speculation it  is an introduction. If the Grayling were to be found in other railway sidings far from the coast, like the extensive ones at Doncaster, York and Leeds, it would go a long way to settling the matter once and for all.

Purple Emperors : Photos taken one summer day in 1997 on Ashtead Common, south London, on an old oak of very great age, The sap was still however rising and several  Purple Emperors had gathered to nectar on this champagne of sap bleeds. At some time over the past centuries most of the old oaks on Ashstead Commom have been struck by lightening and are like huge upended splinters of wood, their bark turned to charcoal in places and, in others, bleached white by the sun and centuries of frosts.  So many Purps? gathered in this unlikely spot was an incongruous sight as normally they are photographed alone resting on oak leaves. This desolate habitat seemed, particularly when we first looked at the photographs, to sum up the bleak future of butterflies when, to quote Rimbaud's  marvellous line, 'even the last butterflies are thirsty', or else the photos unintentionally ended up looking like a moment in the formation of German Expressionism with more than a hint of the icy, dead landscape of a painting by Casper David Friedrich.

Oleander Hawk :This fake photo prefaces a section on butterflies and moths in which extraneous features we don't normally associate with wild life are emphasized The photographs must be allowed to speak for themselves as in the case of the safari Lion surrounded by a Piccadilly Circus of tyre tracks. Yet this fake photograph could also be real. If interested press to find out more.

 

 The following section documents the continually changing occurrence of butterflies, especially in South & west Yorkshire. Most of what is reproduced here first appeared in A4 or A5 pamphlets which were then handed out to interested individuals or groups. It was a simple gesture designed to counter the dominant tendency to make money out of everything. We all should begin to think of losing money, not making it, especially where nature is concerned.

The pamphlets were also anti copyright - so anyone was free to use the information without needing to seek our permission beforehand. Where possible, the original  presentation has been adhered to and the pamphlets arranged in a more or less chronological order, beginning in 1999 with a pamphlet on the recent explosion of Green Hairstreak numbers in the vicinity of Halifax and Bradford. As time went by similar increases were recorded particularly as regards the Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Purple Hairstreak and now, possibly the White Lettter Hairstreak. And something of the same pattern, that sudden, unmistakeable presence, was evident among Purple Hairstreaks as with Green Hairstreaks in the same locality. A few years later large colonies of Dingy Skipper were discovered and at the same time the largest landlocked Grayling site in the UK was found. All are recorded here. Alarmingly, most of these newly discovered Dingy Skipper colonies are threatened with immediate destruction by a blinkered state machine that is encouraging the destruction of brownfield environments like quarries and colliery spoil heaps

Green Hairstreak Discoveries in West Yorks :This first Green Hairstreak pamphlet was an appeal for more information on the changing habits of the Green Hairstreak prompted by the glorious spring of 1997 when on the hills and moors of West Yorkshire the butterfly appeared almost everywhere there was a covering of its foodplant, the bilberry. This really was unprecedented and caught everyone - as others were later to testify - by surprise.

 Green Hairstreaks Take Bradford  The second pamphlet produced three years later was based on the realization that behind our backs the butterfly had dramatically 'invaded' the huge metropolitan district of Bradford city and was living cheek by jowl beside old (and not so old) industrial workings. The final section of this A4 pamphlet contained a sizable selection of photographs emphasizing surroundings and habitat because we felt field guide photography was of limited value and tends to create a distorting genre that, especially today, does more harm than good. We give our reasons in an accompanying text on photography which cites Walter Benjamin, Eric Hoskin, Kant and Hegel's Philosophy of the Fine Arts, etc.

Pictures From The Gloom :  An uncompleted project which remained in maquette form.  How Green Hairstreaks responded to a truly ferocious storm on Otley Chevin, West Yorks in May 1999. Had this phenomena been observed before? 

Wintry Green Hairstreaks in West Yorkshire : The tale continues with a series of photographs of the exceptionally early, and freak emergence of the Green Hairstreak in March 2003 into a landscape practically devoid of greenery and flowers. It is set alongside a sombre text on the horrors of global warming whatever the illusions to the contrary in clder climes. It ends up with reference to he Permian extinction noting that academics always pull their punches.

Aberrations Among the Butterflies of West Yorks : An unfinished, rather scrappy, attempt to get to grips with a subject that had long interested us. Why had butterfly (and moth) aberrations been of such enduring fascination in Britain from the mid 19th Century onwards? Obviously there were biological reasons for this (hereditary factors and the origin of species) but there were also  social, political even aesthetic ones that have been passed over in complete silence. When dealing with this question we inevitably found ourselves referring to the symbolist movement and in particular to the French poet, Mallarme and the Huysmans of 'Against Nature'. By beginning to break up all known forms of art both were moving from literary symbol to a search for practical ways of intervening in everyday matters. This theoretical framework forms the backdrop to previous research on the Green Hairstreak, Ringlet and Meadow Brown butterfly in West Yorks that emphasizes their variability. The whole idea  was in fact spurred on  by a new book about to be published on the butterflies of Yorkshire through the auspices of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union. We had been invited to write a section which, although the end result was far too big for such a project, had the merit of forcing us to put down ideas we had been chewing over for some time. This is the result.

The Purple Hairstreak Invades Bradford :  A pamphlet produced in spring 2002 recording how this butterfly - unknown & unseen - had arrived in big numbers.  How long had they been there? Most everywhere there were oaks the insect was to be seen - eventually. Bradford had suddenly become like the North Downs of Surrey, perhaps even more so. It concludes with an addition (not included in the original pamphlet) arising from our discovery of the butterfly in Skipton, a gateway town to the high Pennines. We concluded the butterfly is like a 'virtual' butterfly because here it spends most of the time perambulating about the leafy twigs rather than flying. A question arises: are some of these colonies extremely old, pre-dating the paleo-industrial era?

Blue Female of the Common Blue In West Yorks  A pamphlet discussing derivatives of the ab: mariscolare as the now dominant female variety replacing the 'typical' female. Why has this happened? Focused mainly on Bradford it includes photographic comparisons of  the blue female from elsewhere in West Yorkshire including  Brockadale ( Pontefract) and Healey Mills. Southern England is also brought into the picture.The conclusion is somewhat premature. In fact the typical form is staging something of a comeback by appearing to emerge before the blue female, creating, for some unaccountable reason, a  genetic segregation in time. 

Dingy Skipper Colonies in the Ex-Yorkshire Coalfield : Found in order to be lost? The changing face of the new urbanism as the sign of nature rules over its actual demise amidst the vanquishing of the miners. Nowhere is this more evident than in the former South Yorkshire coalfield.

Dingy Skipper Report   A long and often despairing account of the biocide now facing the Dingy Skipper on most ex-colliery locations and other brownfield sites in South & West Yorkshire. Eschewing convention in these matters space is devoted to the government's housing program and the central role owner occupation plays in modern day political economy. The more the government meets its target of house price deflation, the more it will be matched by a similar deflation in the numbers of Dingy Skippers, at least in the north.

The Ringlet: Old and New Friends in the Bradford area : Relying on old nature diary notes, an account of the Ringlets difficult and complex journey through the Metropolitan District of Bradford from the early 1990s up to the present day. Plus some provisional theoretical speculation on a European montane species. 

Kineocology: The Butterflies of Industrial Dereliction :  An account of various films recently made on the butterflies of vacant lots in West and South Yorkshire. Some of these films of various lengths were shown at a recent biodiversity conference in Bradford. Since then more venues have been arranged. Anyone wishing to show them should contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Filmscripts.Miner/butterfly Destruction. Part 1

Filmscripts.Miner/Butterfly Destruction. Part 2

Filmscripts. Miner/Butterfly Destruction. Part 3

Filmscripts concerning some very disreputable films which for certain will never be seen anywhere. Ones that Bill Oddy would go apeship over. Still they are more the truth by miles about what's happening to the Dingy Skipper on the northern colliery spoil heaps than any information presented elsewhere. This is not spin......

MAYBEY BABY: A revolutionary critique of Richard Maybey  : This critique concentrates on Richard Maybey's recent book, "Beechcombings" This guy has become a renowned, ecologically inclined, often well-crafted, natural history writer of somewhat radical persuasions. And here we hesitate because this disposition is paper thin as Mabey constantly shies away from radical conclusions especially in relation to concrete interventions inherited from "the revolution of modern art and the modern art of revolution". On the contrary, Mabey is deeply alarmed by these ineluctable conclusions. Though ecology implies an inter-disciplinary approach, there is plenty of baulking when a more fruitful dialectical approach is suggested particularly one that engages in an updating of the critique of political economy and the state and Maybey and his followers deeply shun, even venemously dislike this pathway to liberation...

Fuck the New Nature Writing : Essentially inseparable from "Mabey Baby" this text delves further into the eco-engage of the 'new' nature writing and its failure to encounter total revolutionary critique though providing hints here and there of what could be if only pushed further. Entailing, among other things, a critique of the form of the novel, the article traverses today's dominant tendency whereby nature is treated as a form of show biz entertainment, implying death through consumerism via the hospitalised beauty of the great 'butterfly' dome at St Alban's etc.... and in passing examining somewhat Buglife, Pestival and Workers' for Climate Action!

2009.The Microscope: Eye of the Age. Surveillance or pathway to liberation? : This is a text-cum-film on a quest into small organism ecology, increasingly deploying microscopes fixed to the lens of a movie camera. In this instance the subject of research is a dead Dingy Skipper butterfly found at Maltby Colliery in 2008. Initially this close-up approach was technically experimented with when observing Green Hairstreaks on and from Ovenden Moor between Bradford, Halifax and Keighley in west Yorkshire in 2007 and can be viewed here too. The moor was full of bilberry beneath the huge blades of a wind farm. Only ten years ago there were no Green Hairstreaks here set within a landscape of ancient coal workings, quarries, bell pits and days eyes as part of the huge excavations of the Silkstone seam which was closed in this area circa the 1850s. In this strange and profound landscape Green Haistreaks now fly in their thousands....

ROTTENBUGGER: aka David Attenborough : David Attenborough is a master of the black arts of pseudo conservation as uber-celebrity and veritable demiurge who, along with a few of the select, will save the planet. On the contrary, the guy is an 'unwordly' falsifier; a nature illusionist. All this means is that the eco movement is not only in desperate need of a critique of capitalism, it is also in need of a critique of the state along with all those other celebrities who wish to save the world through artistic posing.