Trees Are Socialists

Maybe Anti-Speciesist Mutualists

Whether in a forest or a neighborhood landscape, plants, or trees in particular, are a network of cooperation where trees live and die with fungus via the socialist mantra “from each according there abilities, to each according to their needs,” or “from each tree according to their neighbor’s needs.” Trees show us how to stand. If humans could only learn not cut each other or other species down.

The videos below made me remebre a Rush song, The Trees.

There is unrest in the forest,
There is trouble with the trees,
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas.

The trouble with the maples,
(And they’re quite convinced they’re right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light.
But the oaks can’t help their feelings
If they like the way they’re made.
And they wonder why the maples
Can’t be happy in their shade.

There is trouble in the forest,
And the creatures all have fled,
As the maples scream, “Oppression”
And the oaks just shake their heads

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights.
They say, “The oaks are just too greedy;
We will make them give us light.”
Now there’s no more oak oppression,
For they passed a noble law,
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw.

According to Niel Peart, when asked if the song had a meaning he said, “No. It was just a flash. I was working on an entirely different thing when I saw a cartoon picture of these trees carrying on like fools. I thought, ‘What if trees acted like people?’ So I saw it as a cartoon really, and wrote it that way. I think that’s the image that it conjures up to a listener or a reader. A very simple statement.”[1]

Perhaps not, but it certainly says something, maybe about civil rights or law vs. natural law. At a minimum, it is about “trees acting like people,” and maybe “fools.” Perhaps he was playing with the interviewer in that he thought it was a weak question. Regardless, in the end, it appears Peart was wrong in that the trees help each other, and the paradigm we are/were often led to believe with nature, and trees in particular, that competition is king, is not necessarily a rule. Peart, at that time anyway, was an Objectivist steeped in the ideology of Ayn Rand. He may have missed the forest for the trees. There are three types of symbiosis, capitalism being analogous to parasitism or theft, and socialism analogous to mutualism. The former does occur in nature, but the nurturing and benefits from mutualism and commensalism are not entirely absent, especially in the case of some forests. climb, I must


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