After The First Frost, the Compost
Notes on Palestine and the “demographic crisis” of Europe
The first frost came a few days ago, after weeks of unseasonable sun and warmth. It felt late, and particularly abrupt, but with that statement I could just as easily speak to Palestine as to the weather here.
I’ll be honest — I’m still quite wrecked over all that. I try not to get “swept up” in geopolitical moments. I try not to stare too hard at events over which I have no control. I try not to, but this time just feels too urgent.
Why, though? I’ve known of the situation in Palestine for my entire life, and I’ve always sensed that some moment of reckoning would happen in those lands during my lifetime. It’s inevitable: you cannot keep a couple of million people in a walled-off open-air prison camp forever; eventually, they will react in ways any human in such a situation would react.
What’s severely jarring about this time? Well, a lot else in the world feels likewise headed towards inevitable conclusions, too. John Michael Greer just published an essay that covers a bit of this:
As I write these words, to start with, Russian forces on the eastern front of the Russo-Ukrainian war have pushed their way through the Ukrainian lines and are moving to encircle the fortress city of Avdeevka, the linchpin of the Ukrainian defenses in the western Donbass. At the same time the war between Israel and the Hamas militant movement is blazing, as 300,000 Israeli troops converge on the Gaza Strip while Israeli and Hezbollah forces exchange rocket fire across the northern border. An assortment of other wars flare elsewhere, unnoticed by most people in industrial nations; the outrage fanned by our corporate media is as always highly selective.
Nor can the US simply keep printing money and churning out unpayable IOUs to cover the gap and keep the economy humming away, as we’ve done for the last fifty years. The deficit spending of the last half century was possible because the US dollar was the global currency of trade, and economic globalization forced every bank around the world to stockpile dollar-denominated investments as a basis for credit-based cash flows. Now the global economy is coming apart as other nations realize that the ongoing inflation of the dollar imposes a hidden tax on every transaction, and Russia demonstrates that being able to make everything you need within your own borders has certain hard advantages. The dollar isn’t going to be forced out of global trade all at once, nor will any one competing currency replace it overnight. Instead, the dollar faces the same death of a thousand cuts that doomed the British pound sterling’s once-inviolable status as global reserve currency.
Greer’s list wasn’t meant to be exhaustive, and there’s a particular situation I’m really quite worried about here in Europe.