Thursday, May 26, 2011

Traditional Peoples Ban Logging

In the Philippines, "Green Guerillas" (click link to go to You Tube Video, in 3 parts) assist the indigenous tribespeople in ousting the logging companies and imposing a complete ban on logging for export, with limited use for domestic purposes. They are resisting a government that has aligned itself with imperialist forces of globalization trying to outlaw tribal autonomy and attack Old Growth forests.

I cannot think of a modern struggle more in keeping with the spirit of our Germanic ancestors in their struggles against Rome to preserve their sacred groves.

This represents a tremendous moment, where warriors have aligned themselves with traditional law, to preserve the habitat and tribal autonomy of the indigenous peoples in this area. They have pro-actively begun reforestation, with a diverse variety of native vegetation, to counter the depredations of economic, imperial extraction.

The tale of imperial extraction is, unfortunately, an old story. "To feed the insatiable appetites that such greed spawned, forests, observed Seneca, had to be ravaged. The material needs of Rome's wild building schemes were met, in part, by lumberjacks felling trees ... Rome sacked the barbarian world for the resources it needed. In the process Rome transformed the conquered provinces according to its own image : a former wilderness tamed by human hands. After a century of Roman rule, the landscape of the provinces began to resemble the civilized countryside of Italy. These changes led one writer at the end of the second century A.D. to exclaim, "...There are few places now that are not accessible ; few unknown ; few, unopened to commerce. Forests have given way before the plough, cattle have driven off beasts of the jungle, and where once there was but a settler's cabin, great cities are now to be seen." (John Perlin, A Forest Journey : The Role of Wood in the Development of Civilization, W.W. Norton & Company, New York/London, 1989 , p. 115, and after first ellipsis, p. 124.) This was a fundamental reason for resisting Rome, because conquest and transformation into a province destroyed the habitat and turned the homeland into a resource extraction area, followed by a fierce pace of deforestation. We must remember that at the outset of European conquest, tribal Europe consisted of settlements nestled like islands within virtual oceans of forest. "The Romans encountered ... densely forested conditions when they expanded into western Europe ... For native Romans like Caesar, accustomed to cultivated fields and large cities, the vast wilderness of what we now know as the "Old World" set the Roman imagination ablaze much as the "New World" of North America fired up European consciousness some fifteen hundred years later. The vastness of the forest of Hercynia in Germany hypnotized many a Roman. Pliny ... humbled by its pristine quality, leading him to believe that the forest had been "untouched by the ages" and remained unchanged since the world began. Its seemingly immortal state led Pliny to believe that the Hercynian wilds "surpassed all marvels."" (Ibid, p. 108.) The forests themselves helped shield the native tribes from the onslaught of imperialism. "The forests, however, slowed the pace of subjugation. The native populations relied on the cover of the forest to increase their odds in their battles against a better armed and more organized foe trained in open-field warfare." (Ibid, p. 110.) In defending the forests, the tribal warriors were defending their people and their customs ; in defending their people and their customs, they were defending the forests.

I suggest that all heathens study this video in a spirit of solidarity, and with an eye for parallels with the many battles in which the generations surrounding Arminius engaged. In this way, connection to the larger humanity that is under the gun of empire can be fostered, transforming what might remain idle theoretical engagements with ancestral material into palpable solidarity with pagan tribespeople struggling to defend their own heaths all around the world.

This video, contemplated with a deep mind, offers the possibility for modern heathens to pierce beneath the veil of imperial warfare, and rediscover the notion of guerilla warfare aligned with traditional, indigenous law that characterized their barbarian ancestors. It is this kind of comparison with living practice on the ground that allows our source documents about our own ancestors to come alive, so that we can align ourselves with their authentic spirit, a spirit which has the power to fire up our own insurgent spirits to blaze against the darkness of empire in our times. The opportunity to learn about the kind of warfare practiced to protect grove and tribe and unique customs is powerful, allowing us to move from generic militaristic sentiments and jingoism to the more specific kinds of struggle in defense of the folk that the Gods honored, lending their forces of strength, fierceness, justice, and wisdom. The living comparison allows us to penetrate beneath the feudal scum that overlays like a film our later Scandinavian documents, to understand the pre-feudal, odal warriors who defended their beloved Mother Earth. This also allows us to shed the deplorable right-wing mentality imposed upon this traditional material by fascists of all stripes and genealogies, who sought to utilize it to justify their neo-feudalism. Herein is a chance to glimpse and get at the genuine juice.


Anonymous Brun Russellson said...

An excellent post, Siegfried! It is far past time that Heathens outside of Europe begin to engage with the local Native peoples in soladarity! Thanks for highlighting this important issue.

11:51 AM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

Thank you. I think that solidarity can be helpful both ways. The fact of the matter is that a living example is always better than a textual one. The living example helps the textual example come alive. It is amazing, yes, how much was able to survive all these centuries through folklore, but on the other hand, it must be admitted that much was lost. Living cultures often have that other element. By lending help to them, we are helped in the process. It seems pretty clear, for example, that the model the Native Americans provided helped the English colonists to revivify the liberational aspects of their own tribal traditions that had passed down through English law. Thomas Jefferson studied the Saxons to see how their more freedom-oriented law could help shape the new American republic.

1:50 AM  

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