Has The Government Betrayed “The Public Trust”?

A lawsuit known as Juliana v. United States was brought by the nonprofit group Our Children’s Trust, and the plaintiffs are 21 youths, now between 11 and 22 years old. They accuse the US government of failing to tackle man-made changes to our atmosphere, thereby failing its duty in what is known as the “public trust doctrine”: a centuries-old principle that the government acts as a steward, or trustee, of natural resources and must protect them for use by future generations.

listen here: https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/has-government-betrayed-public-trust

No shit kids, but good luck getting your day in court, or justice. You can trust the “public trust doctrine” is to protect capitalists using the public’s-distrust-crowd-sourced-state-via-tax-theft-vehicle to keep the public at bay, or the labor theory of property alienated from the public.

Unrelated, sort of, and dated, but 2 things from Engles come to mind in escaping the vehicle called the state or the vehicle called capitalism:


…our view that state power is nothing more than the organisation with which the ruling classes, landlords and capitalists have provided themselves in order to protect their social prerogatives, Bakunin maintains that it is the state which has created capital, that the capitalist has his capital only by favour of the state. As, therefore, the state is the chief evil, it is above all the state which must be done away with and then capitalism will go to hell of itself. We, on the contrary say: do away with capital, the appropriation of the whole means of production in the hands of the few, and the state will fall away of itself. The difference is an essential one. Without a previous social revolution the abolition of the state is nonsense; the abolition of capital is in itself the social revolution and involves a change in the whole method of production. Further, however, as for Bakunin the state is the main evil, nothing must be done which can maintain the existence of any state, whether it be a republic, a monarchy or whatever it may be. Hence therefore complete abstention from all politics. To perpetrate a political action, and especially to take part in an election, would be a betrayal of principle. The thing to do is to conduct propaganda, abuse the state, organise, and when all the workers are won over, i.e., the majority, depose the authorities, abolish the state and replace it by the organisation of the International. This great act, with which the millennium begins, is called social liquidation.

…In this society there will above all be no authority, for authority = state = an absolute evil. (How these people propose to run a factory, work a railway or steer a ship without having in the last resort one deciding will, without a unified direction, they do not indeed tell us.) The authority of the majority over the minority also ceases. Every individual and every community is autonomous, but as to how a society, even of only two people, is possible unless each gives up some of his autonomy, Bakunin again remains silent. The International, then, must also be reorganised according to this model. Every section, and in every section every individual, is autonomous.

Letter from Engels to Theodore Cuno, January 24, 1872 source

Is there a betrayal here too? Is the difference as Engles points out, “an essential one”? Would there be a difference in outcome if the state fell first or capitalism fell first? Could or would they collapse simultaneously? Does it really matter? Capitalism could exist sans State, no? Could there be a State in absence of capitalism? Who birthed whom, or nurtures who? I’m running away from answering these now (or maybe ever). Maybe choosing a side is important for a strategy to bring about a fall. We certainly do (or get away with) many things sans State in spite of its often overarching dominion, and it still stands, but “some of us are more equal than others.” On that note, I don’t care which falls first or if they go together at once, just “go to hell itself” in any dis/order. What is “autonomy,” or self-law, if not libertarianism or anarchism? Freedom is to be freed from dominion, free from the bondage of monopolies in power, whether they be at home, the workplace, among friends, or under the umbrella of a State. In other words, freedom as choice, not a right granted, and freedom as anti-capitalism to escape theft (interest, rent, and profit).

against policy (a tiny manifesto):

The notion of “policy” presumes a state or governing apparatus which imposes its will on others. “Policy” is the negation of politics; policy is by definition something concocted by some form of elite, which presumes it knows better than others how their affairs are to be conducted. By participating in policy debates the very best one can achieve is to limit the damage, since the very premise is inimical to the idea of people managing their own affairs. (p.9)

Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, David Graeber


Eleven years later there’s more from Engles on the matter he discussed above :

Since 1845 Marx and I have held the view that one of the ultimate results of the future proletarian revolution will be the gradual dissolution of the political organisation known by the name of state. The main object of this organisation has always been to secure, by armed force, the economic oppression of the labouring majority by the minority which alone possesses wealth. With the disappearance of an exclusively wealth-possessing minority there also disappears the necessity for the power of armed oppression, or state power. At the same time, however, it was always our view that in order to attain this and the other far more important aims of the future social revolution, the working class must first take possession of the organised political power of the state and by its aid crush the resistance of the capitalist class and organise society anew. This is to be found already in The Communist Manifesto of 1847, Chapter II, conclusion.

The anarchists put the thing upside down. They declare that the proletarian revolution must begin by doing away with the political organisation of the state. But after its victory the sole organisation which the proletariat finds already in existence is precisely the state. This state may require very considerable alterations before it can fulfill its new functions. But to destroy it at such a moment would be to destroy the only organism by means of which the victorious proletariat can assert its newly-conquered power, hold down its capitalist adversaries and carry out that economic revolution of society without which the whole victory must end in a new defeat and in a mass slaughter of the workers similar to those after the Paris Commune.

Does it require my express assurance that Marx opposed this anarchist nonsense from the first day it was put forward in its present form by Bakunin? The whole internal history of the International Workingmen’s Association is evidence of this. From 1867 onwards the anarchists were trying, by the most infamous methods, to conquer the leadership of the International; the main hindrance in their way was Marx. The five-year struggle ended, at the Hague Congress of September 1872, with the expulsion of the anarchists from the International; and the man who did most to achieve this expulsion was Marx…

Engels to Philipp Van Patten In New York, April 18, 1883 source

In the end, or to the end, the goal is to escape the clutches of, or to expel, capitalism and the state, either one first, and ultimately without both. A diversity in tactics and asymmetry if we have to, any means or ways to de-legitimize capital and the state, that is the goal. A death slow or fast, but a death nonetheless. And it seems an end goal (or the beginning if you like) as Marx and Engles saw it, also involved the “ultimate result” of the “dissolution of… [the] state.” Anarchism. Of course for them anarchism is a post-capitalist point, the death of capitalism begets Anarchism. Anarchy is Order with many paths to that “end” goal, paths both individualist and collectivist in nature and nurture. In this way, the order is derived from the chaos of many paths, and perhaps “without origin” or end as well (ἀρχός archos, ruler, is related to αρχή arkhē, “beginning, origin”). Are rulers the end of beginnings?

To alienate or not, to be on the left or the right? That is the question.

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