Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Worlds of Pharmakopeia IV: Tobacco, Euro-Colonialism Murders another Native Plant

Posted: November 10, 2014 in absurdity, addictions, advertising, Africa, African slaves, agriculture, American colonialism, American plantation killing centers, American slavery, anti-smoking legislation, anti-tobacco coalitions, aristocratic lords, Asia, ATF, Atlantic Ocean, Black Gold, botany, Bresil, burning, cancers, cannabis, capital, capitalism, Caribbean Sea, chemical adulteration, chemical-industrial surgery, chemicals, chewing, Christian anti-smoking groups, cigarette packs, cigars, climate, coffee, colonial markets, colonial monopolies, colonial penetration, colonialism, commodities, commodity fetishes, contrabandists, coolness, corporate health care costs, corporate patents, corporate taxes, coughs, credit, crops, Cuba, cultivation, cultural activities, cultural associations, cultural life, cultural links, culture, death, drink, drugs, elite consumption, elites, emphysema, empire, empires, Euro-american civilization, Europe, European aristocrats, European civlization, European colonialism, European empires, European imperialism, European invaders, European monarchies, export commodities, factories, factory work, fashion, flora diversity, food, freedom, fumes, fuming poisons, gardens, genocide, gentlemen, Glasgow, habit, hatred, health, history, Hollywood, human condition under civilization, imperialism, imprisonment, Industrial Capitalism, inhalation-exhalation, intoxication, investors, Jamaica, kidnapping, kiosks, labor, landed estates, laws, leaves, legal crime, legal criminality, legal theft, manufacture, mass murder, media manipulation, medical experts, Mercantile Capitalism, metropolitan markets, Mexico City, missionaries, mode, monopolies, murder, natives, new women, newspapers, nicotine, official medicine, ownership, papers, pastes, penal slavery, pipes, plantation slavery, planters, plants, playing cards, power, private property rights, processing, production, profit, public education school administrators, publicity, puffing, punk musicians, rebellion, refinement, rock musicians, royal companies, royal monopolies, self-proclaimed owners, sensuality, Sevilla, sexual fetishes, shaving, shipping, slave owners, slavery, slaves, smoke, smokers, smoking, smoking breaks, smoking jackets, smoking parlors, snuff, social parasites, soil, sugar, tea, the Americas, the body, the modern State, the modern world, the State, tobacco, tobacco industry, tobacco lords, tobacco shops, transporting, urban life, US government war against tobacco, Virginia Tidewater Plantation, war, war against working class smokers, weight, weight control, women models, work, work to death, workers, world history
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Only in our evil, modern world do native flora varieties arouse such enduring hatreds.

There still exist the sick hatreds against cannabis sativa, psilocybe semilanceata, erythroxylum coca, and there is one plant that receives the coveted prize in pure hate, nicotiana tabacum.

What is so strange about this hatred is that this same plant was integrally important for European colonialism and industrial capitalism in world history. European and Euro-American civilizations could not have progressed as they did without the native american gift of tobacco plantations, working slave labor to death, and then, the tobacco processing, factory work, building even larger ships, international marketing and sophisticated advertising.

How did such an enjoyable American plant associated with native community peace, and smoked through pastes, leaves, hand-made pipes and even chewed, transform into such a European commodity fetish under global capitalism?

Nicotiana tabacum was once a naturally growing, medicinal and spiritual plant for America’s native nations. European colonial invaders, investors, and murderers transformed the plant into an export drug of commodity for elite consumption under the inexhaustible profit-making schemes of capitalism.

Columbus and his invading men did not just murder, imprison and sell native slaves on the island of Cuba during the 1490s. They also spotted some, ‘naked’ Carib natives smoking a herb placed in some leaves. The scent was quite intoxicating and the natives seemed to enjoy the community based smoke. They did not inhale, yet the effect of the plant was calming after they had eaten some fresh, delicious food, and the herb even had a sensual effect on the smokers. The European imperial-colonial invaders found another gift.

They stole the native plants from the Caribbean islands and transported them to Europe. The Europeans took a peculiar liking to them. In the 1500s, the Portuguese colonial invaders in the Americas, called Bresil, began to cultivate the native crop. It seemed to grow well in sub-tropical and tropical climates. When introduced into European aristocratic, social-parasite gardens inside of the great landed estates, tobacco plants sprouted quite well. Tobacco could also grow in mild, temperate, oceanic climates. The European elites were on to something.

During the seventeenth-century, some monarchs, political thugs and tyrants began to hate the plant. King James Stuart of England, Sultan Ammurath IV of Ottoman Turkey, and Czar Mikhail Romanov of Russia, represented some of the anti-tobacco elite crowd, while Pope Urban VIII actually had a papal bull written against the plant in the 1640s.

Yet the European colonial empires of Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal had succumbed to the gods of capital. Each empire set up their own royal monopolies for the plant. The annoying question was where to grab the labor in order to work long hours in the hot sun: picking, drying, curing and transporting the leaves. The Europeans had made themselves the self-proclaimed owners of nicotine tabacum, so at first, they used local penal labor to work them to death in order to enrich the tobacco lords or planters. Where could one find a continual supply of slave labor?

An even greater economic windfall emerged through such an American cultivation – the theft of human chattel, or the kidnapping, murder, transporting and working to death of African slaves.

The Portuguese had first established their monopoly of the Blackened Brown Gold during the late sixteenth-century and early seventeenth-century, (about 1560-1660). Due to the importance of such American export plantation crops, such as tobacco, the English, Dutch, (the Netherlands), and the French established their own ‘African’ slave monopolies. A plant associated with community peace and enjoyment, took on the ominous tones of legal crime, kidnapping, imprisonment, mass murder, genocide and working people to death. Tobacco actually helped birth mercantile capitalism.

Mercantile Capitalism implied royal European controls of an export commodity, such as tobacco, sugar, coffee, tea, chocolate, salt and kidnapped African slaves, while it established permanent credit to slave plantation owners in order for them to purchase a continual supply of Africans and other penal slaves, (the European looking, or white ones). The American plantation-slave owners and European tobacco traders-ship investors made their profits through inflated price sales in the home or European metropolitan markets.

Meanwhile, European navies and missionaries tried to open greater markets for the American products in the Asian continents. Slowly, nicotine snuff and tobacco smoking had spread into the Islamic world culture, then Persia-Iran, the Indian sub-continent, Central Asia and ultimately into the Far East, China and even Japan.

In the eighteenth-century, the European tobacco manufacturers developed the smaller ‘cigarette’ varieties, and for those that preferred to chew, snuff boxes. All of this cigarette finery was for elite European consumption.

Elaborate, silver inlaid snuff boxes entered the world of fashion conscious, French aristocratic-parasite bums. In Britain, gentlemen established new cultural activities, fashions and spaces besides fencing, hunting, dances, card games, tea and reading – the smoking parlor with the smoking jacket.

A good tobacco smoke was always perfect after a good meal, with some intoxicating liquor or with some fine coffee. European grifters-Latin lovers, such as the Venetian, Giacomo Casanova, also took up the habit, and so tobacco grabbed some important cultural associations within European culture: sensuality, refinement, power and a coolness under pressure.

Most importantly, King Tobacco had changed the colonial-metropolitan relationships. The Scottish Tobacco Lords transformed the city of Glasgow into the premier tobacco import-export port. These same ‘lords’ would build their mini castles along Jamaica and Virginia Streets.

Those same streets had the infamous names of the most infernal, African slave killing centers in world history.

Virginia, once a colonial outpost of disease and hardship, had become the British Empire’s premier, tobacco plantation colony on the Tidewater during the 1700s. Is it any wonder that most of America’s revolutionary founders came from this proud plantation region made rich through the marvelous drug of tobacco?

During the same eighteenth-century, the Spanish colonial authorities had established the first urban factory for cigar-cigarette paper rolling and export packaging in Mexico City. Earlier, the Spanish had established the city of Seville as the premier processing center for cigars. For over a century in colonial Spanish America, and well before Metropolitan Europe, both men and women had been openly smoking tobacco cigarettes on the public streets. American fashion and prominence had come to Europe – mainly through the marvelous and medicinal herb of nicotiana tabacum.

Throughout the nineteenth-century, the 1800s, tobacco manufacturers had developed better technology in curing and rolling for three particular products: cigars, cigarettes, (blond and black versions), and chewable snuff.

The first tobacco companies consolidated themselves, while they competed with each other for the monopoly share of the smokers and chewers’ markets. This modern tobacco industry also encouraged the adulteration of tobacco through chemical engineering in order to hold their monopolies. Tobacco products even had molasses, rum, opium or honey mixed into the final product.

Tobacco eventually became part of modern, European and Euro-American cultural life. Royalty, lazy aristos, middle class-respectable clerks, and working class dock workers took up the smoking habit. The problem was that many of the men inhaled the nicotine fumes. Certain political-economic elites, Women Christian Temperance clubs and health workers noticed the persistent coughs of regular smokers. The modern anti-smoking movement had begun.

Meanwhile, tobacco shops and kiosks became one of the standard sights found on most city streets around the world, and where they also featured other items for sale, such as newspapers, books, shaving kits, pipes, rolling papers, pen knives, board games and playing cards.

In the twentieth-century, the 1900s, the tobacco industry transformed the world of advertising and mass marketing. A few tobacco monopolies had controlled the sale of ‘cigarette packs” and they made fortunes on the drug.

Smoking found associations with soldiers during World War I and for most wars afterwards. In the 1920s, cigarette companies targeted their advertising to the ‘new woman,’ thanks to the propaganda genius of the Austrian-American, Edward Bernays. Hollywood’s golden age featured most of their stars regularly smoking the sacred plant. Can anyone forget the famous pictures of Humphrey Bogart and James Dean without cigarettes dangling from their mouths?

While tobacco use seemed to sell exponentially – and especially in Asia, the anti-smoking forces mercilessly attacked the drug. Medical experts exposed the correlations between nicotine use and cancer, emphysema and other incurable maladies.

An anti-smoking coalition emerged. This motley prohibitionist group included family survivors of smokers who had died bad deaths, medical professionals, public education school administrators, and Christian religious groups,. Political-economic elites also joined their ranks, since they wanted better workers not taking so many smoking breaks, inclusive of less corporate health care costs.

Tobacco prohibitionists began to push for greater anti-smoking legislation. By the 1980s, they had succeeded in seizing the State.

In some urban cities in the United States, smoking is highly expensive, heavily taxed, and there are petty, minute federal, state and municipal laws that dictate where a person can or cannot smoke in public. Any street vendor trying to sell cheap cigarettes from another state, now has the felon tag of a ‘contrabandist,’ and can end up in prison or even have the cops murder him. The US government has a well-armed regulatory agency against tobacco, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, or the ATF, and so the US government has declared another war – this time against tobacco.

Yet, millions of young women, and especially models, smoke tobacco in order to help them not gain weight. Rock artists, punk musicians and other fringe artists regularly flaunt the burning cigarette in the mouth while they play their guitars brutally. Even some right-wing political activists have proudly taken the puff. The cigarette has its own sexual fetishes, and due to the US government’s war against it, now has associations with rebellion and freedom.

The history of nicotiana tabacum shows us once again, the absurdity of the human condition under civilization. A plant that once helped natives in the Americas ensure community peace and unions through the spiritual worlds, has undergone a terrible and irreversible chemical-medical-industrial-state regulated surgery.

European colonial elites had imposed this condition. They did this without the consent of the native victims of their genocides. The addictive desires for naked profits enabled another genocide against kidnapped Africans.

Most assiduously, certain corporations have claimed their own patents or imposed ‘ownership,’ on this natural plant, while they have mixed harmful chemicals into the industrial melting pot, creating a type of fuming poison. Finally, the contemporary State, ruled and administered by shameless sociopaths, constantly devises sinister means in punishing the working class smokers of the drug.

Tobacco was never the original enemy to stamp out. The sinister legacies of our European colonial settler states, once again, carry all the historical blame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cutting down the Restaurant Dependency

Posted: July 9, 2014 in abuse, Africa, alternative, Amerikan Empire, aristocrats, Asia, back kitchen, bad attitudes, bars, bartender, bouillon, bourgeoisie, busboys, business ventures, cafes, capitalism, capitalist division of labor, care, cash, cereal and vegetable diet, cheapness, chefs, China, cities, class based diets, class position, clubs, coffee, comfort, community, condiments, conspicuous consumption, consumption, cooks, coops, copping free drinks, corporate, culinary skills, culture, customers, diet, dining ambience, diseases, dishwashers, dives, divide and conquer, eating out, eighteenth-century, elites, elitism, ethnic restaurants, Europe, family run restaurants, fees, feudalism, fine dining, fine foods, fine restaurants, food consumption, food cultures, food idolatry, food markets, food service, food wholesalers, foods, France, French Revolution, fresh foods, freshness, front staff, global capitalism, gluttony, gourmet, Hangzhou, hard drugs, healing, health, health inspectors, hearty diet, herbs, hiding money, high worker turnover, home cooked meals, hospitals, hosts, Ibn Battuta, illegal immigrants, illnesses, inheritance, institutionalization, Jewish merchants, labor, legal theft, local dishes, lower classes, main courses, managers, Marco Polo, maritime spice routes, markets, marks, meat and fish diets, megalopolis, menu, microwaves, money, Muslim merchants, out of town visitors, overpriced drinks, owners, Paris, peasants, petit bourgeoisie, plate presentation, plates, pre-prepared plates, preps, price gouging, private cooks, profit, profiteering, public health, restaurant hells, restaurant options, restaurants, restaurer, reused food scraps, rich and lazy, savage capitalism, scams, sensuality of food, servers, service industry, service industry workers, shared kitchens, sickness, side dishes, slave wages, small business owners, smells, soups, South China Sea, South Seas, spices, staff, stale foods, stalls, stealing, Sung Dynasty, table d'hôte, tastes, taxes, ten course meals, the art of cooking, the rich, the wealthy, thirteenth-century, tips, travelers, traveling, unclean dives, uncleaniness, under the table work, upper classes, veggie cooperatives, waiters, workers, youth hostels
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The wonders of feeling served, cared for, and looked after represent some of our greatest life experiences. Even when we are physically ill, good rest and wholesome care help us to achieve that piece of mind and marvelous plateau of comfort. These actions display the gifts of unconditional love and they can eventually lead to true healing.

One of the most brutal aspects inside the culture of modern capitalism has been its perversion of such care. Whether they have the names of ‘health care, culinary centers,’ or ‘festival parks,’ capitalism has mugged and institutionalized the older enchantments of strong familial relations and community bonds into their profit-making enterprises.

These institutions have even gone farther into the crimes of legal theft and profiteering. The occult history of restaurants actually began in China during the 1200s, and for our modern restos, in France during the 1700s.

On a rough day in 1760s Paris, a coarse gentleman was clumping in the thin, narrow, cobblestone and nasty dirt, medieval streets of the city. The season was the beginning of an early winter in late November. The cold air was dead with frost, yet whips of cool wind fury could brutally bite the toughest soldier. He was also walking during the ratty, early morning hours. The sky had possessed an overcast grey muddy tinge that led to more foreboding.

The man wore his black hair in long locks with a tail at the end. He was clothed in an overcoat, a vest, a white blouse shirt, and unlike other wealthier men at the time, had on worker pants, while his long black leather boots covered his lower pant legs. He was of medium height, mostly clean-shaven, except for a permanent stubble on the chin and cheeks, and his face had that look of deep thought mixed with the pains of human suffering. He suffered from a mysterious illness inside his belly, a common ailment for that historical time.

He was actually walking to a ‘restaurant,’ a specialized medical dining hall that would hopefully ‘restaurer,’ or restore his health. There were a few in Paris, and this one was famous for its large spoon and bowl over the front door that advertised its palliative care. In those days, they still didn’t use numbers for specific addresses.

When he finally arrived at the care place, there were already a group of men, women and children sitting at the common table. The common table had the name of ‘table d’hôte,’ or the host’s table. He sat down at the end and already felt a nagging feeling.

The hostess suddenly slammed the large soup containers, hard bread, and salt in the middle of the large wooden, dirty table. The center mass of sick people began to hog the soup for the best choices of boiled chicken scrap, ‘bouillon,’ or broth, and seasonal cooked veggies. The bowl went around the table and so the people at the ends had to deal with what was left over. Eating at these places was often a surprise, since the meals often sat for a long time in large pots over the kitchen fire. Such was the ‘pot luck’ in those days. The tired man ate his food and paid his usual cheap ‘écus’ for the simple fare.

He also noticed some out-of-town travelers from the provinces at the table. The hostess charged them the ‘traveler’ fee, which was more expensive. He felt lucky in that he was a ‘Parisian’ local and knew the going rate. Until this very day, many restaurants are notorious for trying to fleece and legally rob unwary customers and out-of-town visitors.

This type of restaurant lasted until the French Revolution of the 1790s. By the beginning of the nineteenth-century, the 1800s, unemployed cooks that had previously worked for the parasitical ‘aristocrats’ began to advertise their culinary skills. If they had any capital, they could open a ‘restaurant’ for the ‘bourgeoisie,’ or upper class, owner-elites. These elites wanted to taste the exquisite plates from the previous epoch of sensual-gluttonous, aristo dining, represented by ten course meals.

The cooks offered ‘menus,’ or selected plates for the day at fixed prices and at certain eating times of the day. The cook owners cut up the tables to make sure there was greater privacy for the paying diners. Such was the birth of the modern restaurant that still spits out its notoriety.

Fine restaurants have continued to thrive as the ultimate conspicuous show of elitism and consumption. The wealthy elites can eat the ‘fine food,’ and enjoy the restaurant ambience, while they thumb their noses at the lower classes that cannot often afford to dine out.

Restaurants would soon perfect their harsh, capitalist division of labor. First came the owner, then the day-to-day manager, next the hot cook, or main cook, ‘le chef,’ and later, the front staff, waiters and hosts, or ‘serveurs.’ and finally the rest of the back staff – busboys, prep and assistant cold plate cooks – and the lowly dishwasher-general cleaner. But in China, five hundred years earlier, the restaurant existed as the extension of the spice and food market.

During the Sung dynasty in China, around the 1230s, this political dynasty had constructed a new capital and market center called Hangzhou. Hangzhou was not an ordinary city for those times. This megalopolis sold every type of imaginable fish, meat, vegetable and fruit – and most importantly, herbs and spices. Within the massive market, the traveler could find Muslim merchants coming from their routes in Africa and Asia, and even well-traveled Jewish merchant traders resided in the city. Famous world travelers visited the site, such as Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta. The city was also the most populous city in the world with over one million inhabitants.

Within the canal and urban jungle labyrinth of markets, buyers and sellers, the visitor could taste the culinary wonders of the world. The majestic stories were quite famous concerning the beautiful city on the lake and the green hills surrounding it. The wonderful foods, tastes, exotic sights, stalls, markets, herbs, smells, and spices enchanted Europeans accustomed to the harsh medieval cereal, legume and vegetable diet.

European elites began to desire a more refined table and palette, and they also wanted more culinary art diversity and a regular diet of diverse meats and fishes.

Local food preparers in Hangzhou prepared stuffed dumpling delights, and mixed noodle and soup plates. These European elite desires for the gourmet plate led to the colonial sea race in order to find another maritime route to India, China and the South Seas, (or the South China Sea lands of Malays, Siamese, Khmers, Laos, and Annam-Champa, or Vietnam).

Six hundred years later, elite Europeans would become the colonial-imperial curse on the Earth. European elites had idolized the sensuality of food over the healthy and hearty diet of the European peasant. The display of wealth and class power had trumped the warm feeling of family and community around a simple, yet tasty fare.

Our modern restaurant is the sacred symbol of food idolatry, small time savage capitalism and the fraudulent display of class position. The resto ultimately serves the rich and lazy that refuse to cook for themselves. The elites want the culinary arts that come with money, yet they refuse to do the labor. Someone else must labor, and labor mercilessly, in order for the money people to enjoy the experience – and the profiteering.

This vice is especially true for the restaurant owners. They might know a lot about food, and a few might even have worked as chefs before, but their main hankering is for a profit, or taking advantage of the mark, or customer, and the laboring staff. If this means buying cheap, genetically modified wholesale food for consumption, leaving out side dish food in metal canisters with plastic wrap for over a month, charging triple prices for cheap drinks, or even taking half-eaten food scraps and putting them in the general use bins – they will do it. The restaurant owner truly wants to make a profit, not feed humanity out of love.

Some restaurant owners have never done kitchen work in their lives. They simply inherited the joint from their parents, or as small time capitalists, they went into restaurant work because they thought that the money would come quickly and easily. They often hire their friends and buddies from previous business ventures, and who also know very little about food and drinks, to manage the dives. Woe unto the service workers that have to deal with these restaurant hells. If the city health inspectors really did their jobs, they would close those rancid places down.

US Restaurants often attract the most vicious, petty, mean, and cheap bosses from the small business owner class, or the petit bourgeoisie. Due to the heavy use of cash, the restaurant racket, like construction, can easily hide the underground economy, or ‘under the table’ money, from the government. In America, the owners can get away with paying a slave wage to the front staff, since the marks, or the customers, are partly required to pay the servers’ wages through ‘tips.’

Also in America, restaurants like construction, hotels and cleaning services, are the mainstays in hiring illegal immigrant workers, In restaurants, they all tend to work and stay hidden in the back kitchen. If the kitchen workers complain, then a call to the Immigration Service will suffice. I have even seen with my own eyes, Latino-mestizo workers from Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador doing the hot cooking in varied ethnic restaurants, such as Indian, Japanese, French, Ethiopian and Thai places!

I have my own personal work stories. When I was younger, I only worked in the back kitchen as a dishwasher for the desperation of needed travel money. I usual bolted when I had made enough cash, or the managers just fired me for religiously taking my breaks. I noticed that many of the young cooks were serious hard drug addicts and a few even sold hard drugs from the back doors.

The waitresses also acted nasty and rude. There were some serious infighting and petty hatreds between the cooks, hosts and servers. The restaurant boss had successfully used the old divide and conquer strategy. No wonder coffee was always free to the wage and tip slaves. Worker turnover was always high.

The workers often counterattacked by making deals with the bartender, including sleeping with him or her, in order to cop free drinks – after the lazy owner went AWOL from the job. The cooks stole copious amounts of food for their own late night deep-frying. The petty and pathetic servers with bad attitudes even made fun of the regular customers to the other staff, who generally ordered their usual meals and drinks – and yet tipped those assholes well.

Some Anarchists counter the anti-restaurant arguments by arguing in favor of vegan-cooperative ventures, or small, family owned restaurants and ethnic food enclaves. But these restaurant options suffer from the same diseases of capitalism – making more money.

If all restaurants use funny money, than they have to make some base profit in order to survive. In family ethnic restaurants the bosses are still bosses and often demand that all the workers share their tips with the owner, which is one of the last holdouts of feudalism. In order for alternative coops to make money, they have to cut corners too, and especially with food freshness. Vegetarian-vegan hipster cooperatives are often the worst abusers of reusing old breads, rice, millet and quinoa, and nuking pre-prepared plates, often made a few days ago, inside of their multiple microwaves – so much for freshness.

If a regular customer that likes to go out to eat and could see inside the actual kitchens and operations of restaurants, then he or she would refrain from visiting them regularly. The real issue, and especially for us Anarchists, is not succumbing to the vicious culture of global capitalism. We continue to pay the servers through our tips in order to help a cheap small business owner make a profit.

We could do the cooking labor at our homes, or at someone else’s house where the fare is often better than the resto variety. At least we know the freshness content of the food we are using. Cooking is also an art, and it is open to all of us humans, since we all do art in some form. Eating out is quite expensive too.

In our contemporary world, we cannot simply avoid restaurants and ban them completely from our lives. But we can cherish those special visits and occasions at our local eating place with family and friends and during festivities.

For those of us that travel, we often have no choice in the matter. If we are in a foreign country, then we would also want to try the local dishes. Youth hostels offer a good option for travelers since most of them have shared kitchens for guests.

We should always remember that the modern restaurant began as an informal medical place for the sick. If we are alive and still healthy, then let’s control our own food consumption and share the cooking within our own families and among our own small, friendly communities.