Capitalist patriarchy is bad for everyone involved.
This week I'm reading two news stories in concert with one another. Both represent a major challenge to the educator teaching for eco-literacy. In the first, published just over a year ago in The Guardian, a report found that a mere 100 companies are responsible for 71% of the global carbon emissions, devastating our environment. The author, Tess Riley, writes, "ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron are identified as among the highest emitting investor-owned companies since 1988." These are also some of the biggest political donors in the U.S. and have clearly bought our government (as well as Canada's, since even Trudeau is making a mad rush to destroy our planet!)! And as a final piece of news, new SCOTUS (U.S. Supreme Court) Justice Kavanaugh demonstrated which issue is his top priority by moving to destroy the environment. "Then on Tuesday, the Supreme Court, at the request of the Trump administration, dismissed an appeal of a D.C. Circuit decision that prevented the EPA from regulating a powerful greenhouse gas." Well, it should be clear to educators that big capitalist governments and big corporations aren't on our side. They're not on the side of Mother Earth, nor on the side of our children, who will be lucky if they can live in the environment they're destroying. Trudeau and Trump may differ on identity politics, but they don't differ on the roots of those challenges, capitalism and its ecological destruction in the name of "development."
Terry Eagleton recognized the problem in his book on culture: "Today's cultural politics, by contrast, is not generally given to challenging [capitalist] priorities. It speaks the language of gender, identity, marginality, diversity and oppression, but not for the most part the idiom of state, property, class-struggle, ideology and exploitation." Similarly, much music education scholarship wants to address gender, identity, marginality, diversity and oppression without addressing the roots of injustice, that is the state, property, class-struggle, ideology and exploitation. Without addressing these roots, we can never address the fruits of our poisoned tree. E.g., if there weren't rich men wanting free labor in cotton fields and sugar plantations to fuel their factories in the U.S. North and England, American slavery wouldn't have happened. And so, Justice Kavanaugh hires all women law clerks, and is lauded even while the hierarchical horror show that he represents remains unchallenged. All we will have is more women who buy into his capitalist version of oppression; and when they find themselves in positions of power, will likely continue it.
But I want to say capitalism is patriarchy; at least one some level. Both are systems of UPS and DOWNS. And the system is itself UNJUST, whoever finds themselves to be the UP and whichever "other" is the DOWN. There is a vision that is women's equality, but equality within capitalism won't due; rather patriarchy, the system itself, is the core challenge feminists address. As bell hooks writes: "Males as a group have and do benefit the most from patriarchy, from the assumption that they are superior to females and should rule over us. But those benefits have come with a price. In return for all the goodies men receive from patriarchy, they are required to dominate women, to exploit and oppress us, using violence if they must to keep patriarchy intact. Most men find it difficult to be patriarchs." If we instead switch the UPS and DOWNS, rather than ending capitalist patriarchy, we'll just find women as a group "benefiting" but also paying the price hooks discusses, being required to dominate, exploit, and oppress using violence to keep the patriarchy intact.
I recommend a fundamental rerooting of music education in place, where local ways of being (including our personal and cultural histories) can provide alternatives to global businesses and big governments, the two forces that keep capitalism intact. Cultural sustainability cannot occur without ecological sustainability. Cultures emerge in actual places, and our species-being (a Marxist term Eagleton uses) is that of a creative agent within the natural world. The fruits and roots, both, need to be addressed.
As an additional note: My book is 12.50 USD to rent on the Routledge website. Or better yet ask your librarian to interlibrary loan you a copy. There's no reason money should be a barrier in the 21st Century. It's in 125 libraries, so there should be a copy near enough to you for you to check it out. I was inspired by voices as divergent as Ivan Illich and Thomas Berry, Karen Warren and Vandana Shiva, Gustavo Esteva and Madhu Suri Prakash, Arne Naess and Bill Devall; and music educators like Vincent Bates, June Boyce-Tillman, Roberta Lamb, Tom Regelski, and many others. There is enough information out there to begin fighting this globalizing, ecology-destroying trend. Marx was right that capitalism is destroying itself; but the problem is, we won't survive to find another way to live, a more sustainable and regenerative way, if we let capitalism destroy itself and our Mother Earth at the same time! We need to act locally. I don't think we should wait to receive salvation from above in the form of Trudeau or Trump. There's too much money in politics for either to ignore the 100 companies that are killing so many of us through their hurricanes, heat waves, and droughts; not to mention overt private wars against indigenous people, such as the ongoing murders in the Amazon rain-forest and Niger river delta.
Look at your neighbor. Talk to them. Listen to them; and make them listen to you. Musick in your community. Write songs. Perhaps revisit other ecological songs like Paradise, the Garden Song, S.O.S., or God Bless the Grass. Every community, rural, urban and even our suburban deserts, need to work on this. Perform ecological informances in your town commons, or at the super market. Act.