Chris King – dhushara.com – 13th May 2020 - 4th Oct 2021
For Nisa and Greta
Keynote Introduction: The Elucidation in a Nutshell
The corona virus pandemic has brought home, in no uncertain terms, the vulnerability of human society and the human species to self-induced crisis caused by human misadventure through human impact on the biosphere. It has also shown us how a simple agent on the very edge of being a living system can both threaten the health and lives of a significant percentage of the human population and at the same time cause a world-wide economic shutdown to avoid runaway mortalities. By being both highly infectious and potentially as deadly as Ebola to a vulnerable elderly sector of humanity, Sars-CoV-2 has shown us how human misadventure can strike simultaneously at our public health systems and economic house of cards.
Fig 1: Two forms of misadventure due to human impact on biodiversity. Mass graves in Manaus, capital of the Brazilian Amazonas, due to a pandemic caused by a zoonotic viral transfer between species, driven by trafficking in wild animals in cramped conditions, is a fast-acting crisis complemented by the slowly developing crisis of destruction of the rain forest, which has suffered severe burning in 2019 under Jair Bolsanaro’s presidency in Brazil and also in neighbouring countries, threatening to cause a tipping point catastrophe for the planet’s climate and biodiversity. At the same time Bolsanaro, a signature right-wing populist leader using confrontational politics, is systematically downplaying the threat to human life, by undermining social distancing. We thus need to consider how we, as a climax species, have arrived at this situation of human induced biodiversity crisis, both threatening planetary stability and inducing pandemic threats to our own health and survival, due to relentless exploitation of nature.
This scenario, with a lightning fast time-scale, exploding exponentially into new crisis dimensions by the day, has intimate parallels to the climate and biodiversity crisis, which we also witness, but on a much more gradual time scale of years, which allows governments and business leaders to fool us into thinking we can somehow carry on with business as usual and address the consequences later.
This elucidation seeks to get to the roots of this phenomenon and why governments, politicians and business leaders worldwide find themselves unable to address issues directly connected to human survival and the survival of the ongoing biological diversity of the planet, on which we are utterly and completely dependent as a species.
To understand this, we absolutely have to come to terms with what humanity is as a sexual species and how our political systems grew out of a reproductive conflict between the sexes, driven by a prisoners’ dilemma in which the ongoing generations of humanity arise from the inescapable paradox of fertilisation and parenting that requires both sexes, despite having divergent reproductive strategies, to coexist in sustainable survival over evolutionary time.
Humans tend to define themselves culturally as individuals in terms of economics, careers, religious beliefs, and creative pursuits. We see ourselves as autonomous beings and tend to recoil from innate influences, by sex or evolutionary notions. Most people consider themselves above mere animals, having the right to decide their fate and dominate nature for commerce or development.
But it is the immortal web of fertility in sexual reproduction that defines our biological nature and it is the not-so-subtle differences in reproductive investment between women and men which have made the whole process of human emergence possible and turns the future of the human species into a make-or-break situation. Basically, although we all like to feel free to determine our individual destinies, there are fundamental differences between male and female reproductive strategies that are essential to our ability to live in the biosphere as a species.
Darwin in his second book on "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex" cited two processes, one intrasexual - male-male competition and one inter-sexual - female reproductive choice as the key. Humans are also evolved to form long term partnerships through mutual mate selection which is what falling in love is all about, but female reproductive choice is pivotal to the emergence of human intelligence and to the capacity of the human species to form a society and culture capable of sustaining itself symbiotically with the biosphere over evolutionary time scales.
Although we have much greater individual variation than sexual differences, given our highly adaptable brains, and can take on almost any role in society, there are deep differences between male and female reproductive investments, which can and do manifest in ways which none of us fully understand, nor realise the devastating consequences they can have for our future survival. While men are more slanted to make competitive short-term winner-take-all investments, and to take mortal risks and commit violence on occasion to do so, women invest with a much longer term view of the survival of all their children and grand-children in the natural environment. Women experience this continuity in birth itself, giving them blood-for-blood experience of the continuity of life, which men lack.
When the transition occurred from palaeolithic gatherer-hunter society to the neolithic, there was an explosive increase in inter-male competition in which male clans wiped one another out and taking the women as booty. This effect was severe enough to cull nearly all the Y-chromosome lineages, leading to the reproductive sex ratio climbing from an historical 1 man to 2 women to 1 man to 17 women, so it is indelibly marked in our genomes. Men increasingly asserted reproductive rights over women, who were required to be faithful, denying them the ensuing partner choice that still exists in ancient gatherer-hunter cultures such as the San.
With the emergence of urban societies based on animal husbandry and agriculture, this became a cultural institution enforced by dire penalties. The end result was that female reproductive choice went underground, either repressed or covert. Societies evolved through a number of violent autocratic patriarchal forms until we arrived at two great institutions of patriarchy, democracy and capitalism. Democracy has become an ideal of social liberation but it arose as a purely patriarchal remedy for tyranny, by a long series of adaptive struggles, depending on its very electoral instability to avoid retreat into totalitarian despotism.
Given the dominance of adversarial democracy, as a form of male reproductive combat over a supplicant electorate, and venture capitalism - the pillar of winner take all male competitive enterprise, reinforced by the institutions of law and order and the influence of business as usual, the flux of human society continues to be propelled in a direction we can all see is unsustainable and likely to result in a planetary climate crisis, a mass extinction of life and a vastly diminished carrying capacity for the human population.
This doesn't mean that all women in modern society make astute reproductive investments because we are all seduced and deceived by the cultural influences in which we exist and given four thousand years of patriarchal society, many women have developed strategies to succeed in a patriarchal culture, or are ill-equipped to make astute strategic decisions in the interests of human survival through lack of an astute matriarchy. But it does mean that the deranged direction human society is taking is a product of short-term venture-risk male reproductive investment which makes all ability to plan for long term survival impossible in the cult of the exponentiating gross national product.
This article arose from the Corona virus pandemic, itself a product of human misadventure, where the entire world flux of economic business as usual was in the words of the US CDC director "brought to tits knees" in one one fell swoop stopping in its tracks, at least for a period, the very flux of development that was leading humanity to a crisis tipping point. While some male leaders made an effective response to this, many others, including the leaders of the US, the UK and Brazil failed miserably to anticipate the obvious, caring more for their electability and the economy than the lives of their own citizens. By contrast, it became notable that several countries with female leaders, were mounting a more effective response protecting the value of life through decisive yet compassionate action. This became itself a tipping point in understanding why we are in this situation and how to correct the root problem.
Two other female inspired world movements have arisen during this crisis in ways which are novel and cause a planetary sea-change of heart. Greta Thunberg, rightly said the adult generation were stealing the next generation's carbon footprint and natural heritage, leaving them nothing to survive on and the children of the world rose up. Black Lives Matter was founded through a single hash tag. Black Power was the earlier male-coined meme, just as we know men seek power over. Alicia Garza simply made a Facebook post with the three words "Black Lives Matter" and Patrisse Cullors added the hashtag # and a new meme was born which says it all in a nutshell that's fertile. It's not just that Black Lives Matter but that lives matter more than power over. Both Greta's actions and statements and those of the three BLM founders have resulted in global waves of support bringing out children all over the world and lately demonstrators worldwide against racial injustice supported by all the races on Earth. This shows how the female reproductive investment surfaces and can really change the world.
The key to this is through men, women and children realising that the fix comes from reincorporating the female reproductive investment in the continuity of life as a prima facie sine qua non of existence. It's do or die. If the women and children of the world think the future of the planet needs to be our top priority, even if the stock market suffers, if they get together, the recalcitrant men will have to fall in line for their own survival. This is a pivot to survival by the human family.
We know we have evolved from apes and before that from fishes and amoeba, and we know that evolution cumulatively shapes our genetic destiny. Central to this is mutual sexual selection which is every bit as powerful as natural selection because it sits right at the portal of the next generation through fertility. This means that sexual selection has shaped our brains, our bodies and our psyches to be optimally adapted to make use of the social context in which we have emerged as a cultural species. To suggest anything else enters the futile world of hopeful monsters.
Every species survives and continues to survive through the mutual reproductive investments of its male and female individuals and humans are pivotally dependent on reproductive choices, and in mammals, which bear live young, the female reproductive investment is pivotal because it involves a far greater emphasis on parenting and in humans this is at a maximum in terms of risk and long years of child-rearing with or without a male partner.
Sexual selection has caused us to be who we are both physically in terms of nubile breasts which are both milk-bearing and fatty unlike other apes to indicate socially that a woman has the enticing resources to bear strong children. Human females have become neotenous having little facial hair and more child-like features and men have gained large penises which give a genuine indicator of genetic fitness. Females have developed covert ovulation which makes it difficult for a partner to know when she is fertile. Humans have also evolved the menopause to avoid reproductive competition between mother and their daughters.
Sexual selection has also shaped our brains and our cultural roles so that men, to immortalise themselves have to take sometimes mortal risks competing with other males, while women can all too easily become pregnant if they are fertile and their survival interests are intimately connected with the hard won ensuing survival of their children and grand-children.
A key step in being able to recognise what needs to be done is recognising the deeply pivotal nature of the female investment in the continuity of life that flows out of live birth and looks to the continuity of life as a primary reason for existence. This is the grounding human culture currently lacks and which needs to again take its place in the sustainable future of our species.
The diversity of cellular life falls into three great domains – the archaea, bacteria and the eucaryotes, from which all the complex multicellular organisms evolved. The archaea are primarily geological organisms occupying extreme environments while the bacteria are metabolically active, both as photosynthesizers and decomposers. The eucaryotes arose from a symbiosis, in which an archaeal species began engulfing respiring bacteria, living off their metabolic energy. A later symbiosis with photosynthetic bacteria also gave rise to the plants. These respiring endosymbionts still exist in every cell of our bodies in the form of mitochondria, the energy batteries that perform respiration converting oxygen to carbon dioxide making sugars and other molecules possible and giving us the energy to walk, to run and to think using 40% of our energy for our brains alone. Ultimately the archaeal cell became the information centre of our nucleus and the vast majority of the bacterial genes on which we depend migrated to the nucleus. This arrangement is shared by all higher organisms from amoeba, and protists, to plants animals and fungi.
Fig 2: All multi-celled organisms arose from a symbiosis between the two complementary prokaryotes arising from the common ancestor of all life on Earth, an archaeal and a bacterial cell. All branches of the eukaryote tree contain sexual members, making sexual reproduction also a founding eukaryote characteristic.
Very early on in the evolution of eucaryotes, the incestuous forms of sexuality driven by viral exchange of genes used by bacteria and archaea gave way to sexual reproduction. The origin appears to run all the way back to the last common ancestral eukaryote which wiped all its predecessors off the face of the Earth, as every branch of eukaryote life, including single celled species, appear to have active or cryptic sexuality. Sexual reproduction enables the evolution of vastly more complex organisms because sexual recombination enables the shuffling of individual genes between the parental genomes to make new combinations which still contain a full indexed set of the required genome of the organism, so the degradation of mutational change can be offset by some of the offspring retaining a fully viable or sometimes an even more successful genetic complement.
Many of the features necessary for the evolution of nervous systems are also founding eukaryote characteristics, including excitable ion channels, receptor proteins and the neurotransmitter molecules we associate with the conscious brain, which occur also in single celled eucaryotes as social signalling molecules.
There are two forms of eukaryote sexuality, conjugating and dyadic. Fungi use conjugating tubes to exchange genetic material and can have any number of sexes, but the majority of organisms, including all animals have dyadic sex, in which two cells fuse to make a zygote. However, this merging immediately gives rise to a protoplasmic sex war, because the paternal and maternal mitochondria can fight to the death when fusion takes place, with the zygote losing up to 90% of its resources in the ensuing war for genetic survival between the two parental strains of mitochondria. Thus only a few protist species, such as the slime mould oomycota, and the alga chlamydomonas, have isogametes that look alike.
although a simple single celled protist, exemplified by the malaria plasmodium, has sperms and ova.
In the majority of eucaryotes, one sex, the female, has an ovum consisting of a large cytoplasm-filled cell and the other sex, the male, contributes only its chromosomal genes and perhaps the kinetochore forming the flagellum in the form of a sperm. This means the endosymbiotic mitochondria and their genomes are inherited exclusively down the female line, thus securing their own immortality and the complex organism can continue to flourish. Even simple single-celled protists such as apicomplexa have such sperm-ovum fertilisation. This applies to all animals and to plants as well, where cycads and ginkgos have sperms and ova and higher plants pollen and seed germs.
From this point on, the reproductive strategies of the sexes become polarised, with males principally investing in fertilisation and females having a major investment in parenting to ensure their genes survive. There are endless exceptions to this polarisation. In animals with external fertilisation, this polarisation is less significant and either or both sexes may share parental duties in ways which involve major responsibilities taken by males alone, particularly in fishes and amphibians. In birds, which like mammals are warm blooded, most species have a cooperative relationship often involving social monogamy in which both sexes share food gathering, and egg warming roles.
However, with the emergence of warm-blooded mammals, evolution proceeded from marsupials like the platypus laying eggs, through to pouched animals, like kangaroos with milk glands nurturing tiny offspring, to the internal fertilisation and live birth of placental mammals. Internal fertilisation and live birth threw off the constraints seen in birds, leaving the males free to focus almost exclusively on fertilisation as a reproductive strategy and females more heavily invested in parenting in a way which has led to only 3% of mammals being socially monogamous and given rise to classic sexual conflicts, both in violent reproductive conflicts between male animals for access to the fertile females and continuing risks of infanticide of offspring.
Fig 4: Humans share with all animals a polarised fertilisation process in which the male sperm provides only nuclear genes, while the female provides both these and cytoplasmic resources in the ovum, including mitochondria polarising the reproductive investment. In mammals due to live birth this becomes more extreme and the human organism is even more polarised due to a massive pregnancy with significant risk to the mother and long-term lactation and early parenting.
Charles Darwin, in addition to writing “The Origin of the Species”  also highlighted the role of sexual selection in the shaping of Homo sapiens as a species in “The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex”  . In doing so, Darwin correctly pointed to the central role sexual selection has played in human emergence. Darwin’s view of sexual selection focused on intra-sexual competition to access receptive females, and intersexual selection exerted by females discriminating among prospective partners. This leads to female reproductive choice and male reproductive combat, as being complementary drivers of sexual selection, particularly in mammals where giving birth to live young maximally polarizes male and female reproductive investments.
Looking at our immediate primate sibling species, we can see both of these processes in action. While gorillas have harems where one male has a group of females, chimpanzees are promiscuous within the alpha-male dominated troop  . Basically there is acontest for power and access to females between the male members of the troop. Overt estrus guards against male infanticide if the dominant male(s) doubt the offspring is one of their own. Although this appears to be male dominated reproductive choice, females will also sometimes seek covert liaisons “on safari” with a lesser male partner  ,  .
By contrast, in bonobos, leading females have a high degree of social dominance and reproductive autonomy  ,  ,  . They have enlarged vaginas which enable two females to also have orgasmic sex, sometimes many times more often than male-female encounters. A young female bonobo’s sexual swellings act as a passport of 'implied fertility' so she can wander freely from group to group and have sex with strange males in the forest without fear of attack, looking for a group with individuals she can bond with and be safe. She invites sex from the other females. Once accepted, her sexuality flowers. She rapidly gains almost continuous sexual swellings, which grow in volume with every cycle till they reach full size at about ten. Frequent sex is a social means for a troop to relieve stress together, often at the sight of food. However, unlike humans, sex in both chimps and bonobos is over in a matter of seconds.
Fig 4b: (5, 6, 9) Chimp, bonobo and human penises compared. Both chimp and bonobo penises have penis bones (the macula) aiding voluntary copulation and neuro-sensitive penile spines (5A), with a very short copulatory period. The human penis is notably larger and testes smaller than chimps (5), where the testicles are dwarf penis due to needing excess sperm in a promiscuous species. Bonobo and human clitoris (5C,10). Bonobos have a large clitoris enabling female-female erotic contact and also have an overt oestrus. The human clitoris is smaller but highly sensitive, with more nerve endings than the human penis. Unlike chimps, which mate to the rear (4) bonobos mate face to face and often stare deeply into one another's eyes and French kiss.
Humans also have highly significant adaptions which are a product of a unique interactive sexual selection process between our ancestral women and men. Unlike chimps and bonobos, our penis has neither a macula bone facilitating voluntary coitus nor penis spines which promote sensitivity and encourage a very short mating time. Human men have a larger flaccid/erect penis requiring a convincing display of sexual prowess – a genuine indicator of evolutionary fitness – to satisfy the female, epitomized in falling head over heels in love on a crazy first night. Unlike chimps and bonobos, where the females have an overt oestrus declaring themselves to be fertile and in heat, women have covert ovulation which it is harder for a man to be able to tell when a woman is ovulating, counterposed by a menstrual period when the woman is clearly infertile. Women also frequently, although not always have an escstatic orgasmic response often even more intense than a man. Both these factors give a very strong indication that female reproductive choice in humans has operated relatively unrestrained over evolutionary time scales.
Human females have become more neotenous, as if they are evolutionarily more advanced, having less body and little facial hair, finer bones, a more rounded head with less prominent brow ridges, a more child-like voice and even larger tear ducts. Women have also evolved hourglass waists, large hips and breasts which are both milk bearing and enhanced with fat indicating abundant fecundity. Humans, unlike chimps, have also evolved the menopause to avoid reproductive competition between mothers and their daughters, giving grandmothers a pivotal role in the survival of offspring.
Women and men are deeply involved in having sexual intercourse on an ongoing basis, not just in oestrus, as a fundamental and central foundation of human relationship that is the core of a long lived family bond in which human offspring require concerted early parenting over at least five years to become autonomous. This picture is consistent with a high degree of mutual mate choice in a context in which female reproductive choice has a central and pivotal role in the evolution of human social and cognitive intelligence.
Approximately one century after Darwin, in the 1970s, scientists realised that intra-sexual selection can continue after mating, because widespread polyandry (as occurs in a wide variety of mammals) leads to sperm competition. This realization raised the possibility that intersexual selection can also occur during and after mating if polyandrous females can bias sperm utilization constituting ‘cryptic female choice’ (CFC) and by 1996  that this could also be a source of selective processes that bias fertilisation toward the sperm of specific males  .
This research is ongoing. In 2015  researchers discovered that mouse ova were able to bias fertilisation to significantly avoid sibling sperm versus sperm from an unrelated male. In the process of writing this article in 2020 new research has emerged  using follicular fluid and sperm of several sets of partners having IVF in an in vitro selection trial. This shows that human follicular fluid can act to either enhance or suppress the approach of sperm based on the sperm’s genetic characteristics, possibly through histocompatibility factors, and that these selective factors will not necessarily favour the partner of woman but presumably the most viable genetic complement in terms for example of disease resistance. In a follow-up paper this process has been extended to multiple stages during the sperm migration from the vagina towards the unfertilized egg. It is likewise noted that women, particularly when ovulating, are particularly sensitive to exotic male odours which indicate high histo-complementarity to their own genes. So we find female reproductive choice is an integral process to organismic evolution operating both at the level of each living woman and of her ova.
Mammals have also inherited XY chromosomal sexual determination which adds to this picture. The males are XY having a unique X chromosome and a degraded male-determining Y which was originally the other X, but has shrunk to the point where it contains only a few functional genes in addition to the male-determining SRY. By contrast, the female XX has two X copies. In all cells in a female, except for the sex cells, one or other X has to collapse or the female would suffer a toxic overdose of X genes, so one collapses at ‘random’ in somatic cells. This means that human females are X chromosome chimeras, with some parts of their body, including parts of their brains having the paternal X and others the maternal X, exactly like the patches on a female tortoise-shell cat, which arise this way.
Several of the X-linked genes have important functions in brain development and human intelligence, so this means that the wider variance of reproductive success in males due to some men having no children while others have multiple partners during their lifetime, while females can always get pregnant, is complemented by an increased variance in astuteness, resulting in some very acute men and some very obtuse ones. This in turn feeds back on the male investment in fertilisation to strongly select for the X-linked genes uniquely expressed in males which promote intelligence, while the same genes in females may promote astute reproductive choice, provided the females are able to make these choices.
Fig 4c: Darwin Family tree (Turner). His grandfather was the founder of Wedgwood Pottery and his cousin, Galton, was a prolific writer and the founder of the Eugenic movement. The pedigree shown in the figure was said, at the beginning of the century, to indicate that genius is a Y-linked dominant, but it could equally well be explained by X linkage. Charles Darwin received Joshua Wedgwood's X chromosome and therefore his intelligence through his mother (II-3), and Erasmus Darwin's brilliance having reappeared in Francis Galton via his mother (II-7), rather than his father. Mary Howard (I-3), was also related to the Galtons.
The XY pattern contrasts with birds, where ZW sexual inheritance is sexually determining for the female while the male is ZZ. These have profound and subtle effects. In mammals, the females tend to live longer and in birds, the males because having two copies of the major sex chromosome confers more adaptive stability. The Y is actually a relic of the original pair of X autosomes and small parts of the X and Y still need to cross over in meiosis to maintain genetic fitness, while the other parts of the Y are a kind of genetic desert interspersed with duplicates of key male genes to facilitate internal recombination to maintain fitness. Nevertheless, the huge difference in the sizes of the X and Y show a relentless attrition of the Y due to lost viability and dependence on the X alleles.
Several of the X-linked genes have important functions in brain development  and human intelligence, so this means that the wider variance of reproductive success in males due to some men having no children while others have multiple partners during their lifetime, while females can always get pregnant, is complemented by a moderately increased variance in astuteness, resulting in some very acute men and some very obtuse ones. This in turn feeds back on the male investment in fertilisation to strongly select for the X-linked genes uniquely expressed in males which promote intelligence, while the same genes in females may promote astute reproductive choice, provided the females are able to make these choices.
Some 10% of known human genetic defects that can cause mental impairment reside on the X chromosome, even though it carries less than 4% of known human genes. The complete sequence of the X chromosome  , confirms that an unusually large number of its genes code for proteins important to brain function. Researchers have also found that in some traits linked to intelligence, such as verbal skills and good social behaviour, male twins were more alike than female twins indicating X-linked genes in which the females are chimeric  . Genes on the X chromosome seem to have evolved rapidly to provide us with the necessary brain power  .
The recombinational barrier in the X in males makes the X one of the most stable in the mammalian genome, both because they are expressed exclusively in haploid form in males, they need to be more strongly conserved and because mutation rates are much lower in females who produce a relatively small number of primordial eggs early in embryogenesis, as opposed to males, which produce vast numbers of sperm throughout life leading to increasing mutational loads 4 times higher. Nevertheless, human X chromosomes have both generated and received an excess of genes through retro-transposition that has continued throughout mammalian evolution. The stability and inheritance of the X may have paradoxically exposed X genes to more intense pressure to evolve. As genes became transferred between chromosomes, those involving intelligence that became transferred to the X become exposed to acute sexual selection by females because in males, the X chromosome genes get a chance to shine, or to fail, each time they pass through the male line. Geneticists have pinpointed a variety of genes on the X chromosome that still seem to be in the process of adopting new roles in the brain. JARID1C seems to be evolving from a similar gene called JARID1D, which is found on the Y chromosome. If men inherit a damaged version of the JARID1C gene on their single X chromosome, they develop mental disabilities. The fact that the healthy Y chromosome version cannot compensate for its defective cousin hints that JARID1C is becoming more crucial to the brain as it evolves  .
The prisoners’ dilemma is a classic strategic paradox, in which two prisoners are tempted to defect and betray one another, and pass the blame to get off the charge, rather than incur a light or moderate sentence if they both cooperate and stay silent. This is a temptation into mutual jeopardy because mutual defection causes both to get a dire penalty by implicating one another. Virtually all strategic social encounters in which the players endure to fight another day are prisoner’s dilemma games of strategic competition between defection and cooperation, in which temptation into mutual defection is a tragic outcome.
A controversial and revolutionary idea is that female genes encouraging female sexual selection for intelligence are strongly linked to genes for high intelligence selected for in the male. Early in human evolution, researchers suggest  , females developed a preference for intelligent males. According to their theory, the genes for super-intelligence and for the preference of intelligent males were closely linked, and so were inherited together. And because superior intelligence also aided survival, the process wasn't kept in check by natural selection — unlike other sexually selected characteristics such as the peacock's tail, which makes its bearers more vulnerable to predators. These X-linked genes then ran away together without any limitation by natural selection, because of the adaptive advantage of intelligence, in the "mating mind"  complementing the strategic bluffing of Machiavellian intelligence, in the prisoners' dilemmas of social and sexual cooperation and deceit.
Finally, we come to the climax of the evolutionary story, in humanity, in which this runaway process a little like the peacock’s tail, leads to increasing brain size, then limiting humans to predominantly a single birth at a time, with significant risks of mortality to the mother and a long period of subsequent breast feeding and early child-rearing, either supported by a male partner, or her maternal family. The menopause in humans, which does not exist in the chimpanzee, appears to be likewise an evolutionary adaption to aid the survival of human offspring, avoiding a reproductive conflict between mother and daughter, in favour of long term matriarchal family support.
Fig 5: Human sexual polarisation is at an extreme among mammals in the form of a huge, generally single birth, pregnancy due to the large head size, with significant risk of mortality to the female, followed by long periods of lactation and early child rearing in a slowly developing infant, requiring intensive social nurturing to survive and prosper in a complex human society. Maternal mortality rates in many African countries rise above 0.5%, with Sierra Leone, Chad and South Sudan rising above 1.1% (1100 per hundred thousand), giving a good indication of the risk to the human female over evolutionary time scales.
This places humanity in the position of being one of the most sexually polarised species of vertebrate, with a massively different female reproductive investment, hugely tilted towards avoiding mortal risks in childbirth and with a huge long term burden to feed and care for a slowly growing family, having one child at a time, travail and vulnerable, while the men can sew wilds oats to abandon, either by being a resourceful husband, or by philandering deceit, or by gaining power and resources over and above other men in their immediate sphere.
I am not talking here about anatomical sexual dimorphism, but differences in mortality risks and reproductive burdens  . There are mammalian species, from the mandrill to the elephant seal, with more marked differences in size or appearance, but the polarisation in humans is driven by the disproportionately higher female mortality risk and parenting burden over many years, resulting from human pregnancy. All mammals, bearing live young have a polarised reproductive strategy, with males principally investing in fertilisation and females in parenting in which males takes sometimes mortal risks in sexual combat to reproduce and females have to be choosy, which is why only 3% of mammalian species are socially monogamous. Human males place a higher investment than other mammals in parenting, but the reproductive investment is more skewed on the female side towards mortal risk and an irreversible parenting burden lasting years. By contrast other female mammals have little risk of death in childbirth and their offspring generally reach independence over a single season.
Genetic and hormonal sexual determination is also a complex affair  with a variety of variants adding to a whole spectrum of states in human individuals, from multiple X's, to form individuals such as XXY, through defects in genes for receptors such as complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, which nullify the sexually promoting and determining effects of key hormones. People with CAIS have Y chromosomes and internal testes, but their external genitalia are female, and they develop as females at puberty. While mammalian sexual determination is primarily attributed to the Y male-determining SRY, other accompanying Y genes also alter sexual characteristics, and there are now known autosomal genes such as WNT4 and R-spondin 1, both on chromosome 1, which have key female determining functions, meaning the female is not merely a passive default state. A double copy of WNT4 in XY individuals can result in intersex characteristics with a rudimentary uterus and Fallopian tubes. On the other hand, if R-spondin 1, is not working normally, it causes XX people to develop an ovotestis - a gonad with areas of both ovarian and testicular development. Some individuals can literally become chimeras of both sexes if non-identical twin merge in utero and some can literally be hermaphrodites with organs of both sexes. CAH or congenital adrenal hyperplasia, is an adrenal condition which causes both ovarian cysts and increasingly male characteristics in females with an increased attraction to other females, due to increased androgens. The serial brother effect, in which a series of male children have successively higher probabilities of identifying as 'gay' is attributed to an intrauterine immune reaction of the mother against ancillary sexual determining factors in the male offspring. Many of the anatomical and physiological features of sexuality are maintained throughout life through a dynamic interplay of hormonal factors which can also lead to a variety of variations, such as gynecomastia in men due to increased conversion of testosterone to estrogen via aromatase.
Notwithstanding this seething variety, the overwhelming majority of human individuals are male or female and the broad outlines of sexual complementarity underpin the original virtue of our evolutionary origins. However, when thrown off balance by cultural patterns of sexual dominion, they cast a profound shadow across the human species, which is formative on human cultures and, when not recognised and understood, can and does have unforeseen and deleterious consequences, which we shall explore.
Many of these discordant, yet complementary aspects of human sexuality appear to be intrinsic to the emergence of Homo sapiens in a gatherer-hunter context, where the human population was small, resources were abundant and the women provided up to 85% of the diet through collective gathering of plant foods, while the men focussed on the hunt and securing meat for sexual favours. Thus the birth of spoken language is consistent both with females gathering plants and other food and talking together about social issues, and through mothering conversations with their infants where the growing child learns to speak. While the women engaged many conversations on the grape vine about the character of their social relationships and sexual partners, the men spent many hours in hushed, or silent pursuit of the prey.
This also spills over into some of the most endearing family characteristics of mutual sexual selection, , with men bringing home skilfully caught game, playing entrancing music, telling entertaining fables and securing the respect of their womenfolk through good husbanding and consistently providing security and resources to enable young families to prosper , for at least the four and a half years needed for a young child to become socially able to survive  , and fending off male intruders, while the women are able to make astute reproductive choices, forming the cultural fabric of society and teach their children how to live sustainably in a way which has been described as requiring only a few hours of hard work each day, complemented by long hours of social activity round the camp fire to keep track of the social intrigues of coexistence and who can be trusted to be of continuing good character in fluctuating circumstances. Anne Campbell in “A Mind of Her Own: The evolutionary psychology of women” notes that this is not just a passive identity – women have forged their own strategic way forward, acting through their own competition, rivalry, indirect aggression, and unfaithfulness, to shape their own destiny.
There is considerable evidence that the emergence of human social creativity, language and super-intelligence occurred because neither sex had the ultimate upper hand in reproductive strategy and that both had to run while standing still in the red queen race of a prisoners’ dilemma, which we will call sexual paradox, because, in the sustained unstable equilibrium between the reproductive strategies of the two sexes, evolution of human intelligence and social existence emerges.
Fig 6 Left: Fulton cave drawing 1000 BC celebrating the first menstrual rite, Drakensberg Mountains, Natal. The central figure is a young enrobed woman undergoing her first menstruation ceremony in a special shelter. Circling her are clapping women, female dancers and (in the outer ring) men with their hunting equipment. Two figures hold sticks; the women bend over and display 'tails' as they imitate the mating behaviour of elands. Among living San, such rituals are intimately connected with success in hunting. Top centre: Scored ochre block. Blombos (c 77,000) possibly used cosmetically. Lower centre: Pea-sized shell ‘jewelry’ pierced and showing wear from leather thongs. Blombos cave (c 75,000). Similar shells have been found at Skhul in Israel dating back to 100,000 years. Right: Venus of Laussel, Gravettian Upper Paleolithic culture (c25,000). In her right hand the figure holds a crescent moon notched with thirteen markings: the number of lunar cycles in a year. Her other hand, as if to instruct us of the relationship between the cycles of the moon and women’s menstrual cycles, rests on her uterus.
Many of the unique features of human sexuality, from a large but perfidious erectile penis without a supporting bone as in other primates, standing as a genuine indicator of sexual fitness to the female, complemented by cryptic ovulation opposed by menstruation, with no pronounced oestrus to keep the men guessing, ecstatic clitoral orgasm supporting the strength of female choice, suspected tendencies toward menstrual synchrony and lunar priming in females living by natural sun and moon light all add up to an evolutionary emergence driven by astute female reproductive choice mediated by mutual partner selection through male displays of prowess and character, consistent with mammalian XY chromosomal inheritance.
There is clear evidence, spread from Africa to Europe (fig 6), that female fecundity was celebrated as a pivotal and highly sacred respected foundation of the ongoing fabric of life. In the culture of the San Bushmen, a girl’s first menstruation was and is celebrated as a pivotal rite of passage, in the same way we celebrate births deaths and marriages, an epochal event having profound psychic influence over the success of male hunters, as well as celebrating incipient fertility, as confirmed in the rock drawings in fig 6 and accounts photographed and documented in the current era.
In !Kung San society, all manner of sexual liaisons occur, from partnership and serial monogamy, through open polygyny, to a variety of affairs pursued with passion by some members of both sexes, although extramarital sex is 'forbidden' by the male elders unless to entertain an age mate of the husband. There is at least begrudging respect for a woman's determination to love whom she will, with some intermittent male violence, often mediated by the group. Wife sharing has also been reported. The infrequent custom of /kamberi allows men to exchange wives for a while if the women agree. 'If you want to sleep with another man's wife first let him sleep with yours'. However, a husband may be enraged if he finds his wife has been unfaithful and may kill the competitor with a poisoned arrow.
The San have been immortalised by anthropologists as 'the gentle people', and indeed they have fought no wars that anyone can still recall, but this does not mean that retaliatory violence is alien to them. Accounts of 22 homicides which had taken place among traditional foraging !Kung San during a 50-year period, amount to about 29.3 homicides per million persons per annum, a figure common to large Western cities. Bearing in mind that the men are lethally armed with poisoned arrows, and there is no central authority, this is hardly surprising. There is no 'government' to keep men in awe, no impersonal authority to decide who is right and who is wrong. As one of the !Kung men in an argument about a marriage put it to his adversary, their dispute could be quickly settled with an arrow. Just one little (expertly poisoned) arrow!
The Sandawe, another ancient African culture, who also speak a click language and share deep evolutionary roots with the San, celebrate dances of phek'umo at sunset, the only illumination allowed being the light of the moon. The women carry their arms high in a stance representing the horns of the moon, and the horns of game animals. The women select their partners from among the opposing row of men by dancing in front of them with suggestive motions. The selected partners then come forward and begin to dance in the same manner as the women do. The movements become more and more erotic; some of the women turn round and gather up their garments to expose their buttocks to the men. Finally, the men embrace the women and they lift one another up in turn, embracing tightly and mimicking the act of fertilisation. The women are the moon; the men, the sun. The whole rite has the explicit purpose of 'making the country fertile'.
Likewise, we see in the many venus figurines of Europe dating back 25,000 years a clear tradition of sacred respect for female fecundity, also associated with the horns of the moon (fig 6), echoed in the culture of Catal Huyuk, with both goddess fertility figures, and representations of the hieros gamos as sacred sexual union leading to the birth of offspring, as in fig 8. This relationship of mutual sacredness continued through to the time of Sumer, which formed a founding urban culture in the fertile crescent based on the union of the shepherd kings and the planter queens.
Fig 8: The Hieros gamos, left at Catal Huyuk (7500), centre right Negev desert, right, Sumeria, embodied in the courtship of Dumuzi the shepherd king and Inanna the planter queen, in a complementation that made Sumer in many ways our founding culture, and also underlies the Tantra of Shakti and Shiva via the Indus Valley civilizations.
However, there is indelible evidence in the human evolutionary record of a significant difference in a polarised reproductive strategy, complementary features of male and female brains and homicidal differences between the sexes which has left a semi-permanent mark on the human genome and with it carries a continuing record of an evolutionary feature of human sexual polarisation that because it has occurred over much longer evolutionary time scales than the urban cultures of antiquity, remaining embedded in our genetic nature to this day.
Some of these themes of gatherer-hunter evolution have been cited in terms of sexual differences in the brains, , and cognitive and emotional processes of males and females, still underlining all of us in modern society because the gatherer-hunter phase is still the longest phase of human emergence and has thus had the greatest evolutionary influence. While it is naēve to claim that “men are from Mars and women are from Venus”, and individual variations can far exceed average sexual differences, there are nevertheless noticeable differences in the way the sexes tend to operate, for example contrasting navigation by landmark in females with mental rotation and tracking descriptions used by venturing males, in the same way accurate targeting contrasts with and complements a detailed knowledge of which plants and locations make good food and medicine amid foraging that can continue to sustain families over successive seasons. Sexual differences in mathematical ability favouring males are hotly debated, . Any differences are small and don’t apply to mathematical concepts.
Fig 9 (1) Overview of some notable sexual differences in the human brain. (2) Connectome studies show higher proportions of connections in males are within each cortical lobe while in women there are more between left and right lobes. (3) Active areas in language tend to be more bilateral in female brains(right) than male (left). (4) Incidence of aphasia in stroke tends to affect females more in frontal regions and males in parietal regions. (5) Response to an unpleasant experience, in the amygdala, differs between men, who respond in the right amygdala and are drawn to central features, and women who respond in the left amygdala and remember more of the context. (6) Individual male and female brains are highly variable, so that individual differences in brain function, compounded by neural plasticity are greater than average sexual differences. (7) In an experiment involving elicitations of empathy watching a person in pain when they have either played fairly or unfairly in a prisoners’ dilemma game shows men are less empathic than women with cheating, consistent with higher levels of male altruistic punishment.
This polarisation is not just physical but extends to the psychic in terms of major structural differences in average brain structure that extend beyond the obvious sexual differences in attraction to the opposite sex. We understand hormonally and genetically derived heterosexual orientation has a clear biological and evolutionary basis in ensuring the continuity of the species, as in all animals, but it is also true that all socially intelligent species evolve in ways which optimize each sex’s brain and behaviour, both to sustain the species as a whole, and through the opposing forces of sexual selection, favour characteristics that ensure the survival of each sex. Humans are in no way and exception to this and, like the extremes of human pregnancy, humans have highly articulated processes of sexual selection, making for highly significant differences in male and female brains as a function of the complex sexual societies humans form, complements natural and social selection, as a key factor in optimizing social complexity.
This is a highly emotive topic that is debated back and forth between proponents of cultural viewpoints that humans are maximally adaptive cultural beings with few determining influences on their personal autonomy and those for whom sexual differences including those in the brain are intrinsic to our biological nature as organisms.
Consistent with the XY chromosome sexual determination discussed previously, males tend to show greater variability on many traits. For example having both highest and lowest scores on tests of cognitive abilities. Despite average sex differences being small and relatively stable over time, test score variances of males were generally larger than those of females. Males were more variable than females on tests of quantitative reasoning, spatial visualisation, spelling, and general knowledge and with the exception of performance on tests of reading comprehension, perceptual speed, and associative memory, more males than females were observed among high-scoring individuals .
Cerebral lateralization is a feature which was initially studied in men, particularly those suffering from wartime brain injuries which affected a person’s ability to speak, or form verbal concepts, leading to our understanding of Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas in the left cortex for verbal articulacy and semantic fluency. This has in turn led to notions of the left and right brain as centres of ordered cognitive power as opposed to creative impulse or intuitive hunch, with the right hemisphere consigned to a subsidiary role in articulate cognition. However, as the brain scans in fig 9(3) show, these patterns can be more bilateral in some women, who may combine creative and analytical use of language. It is notable that girls often exceed boys at socio-linguistic development during childhood and adolescence.
The evidence that cerebral lateralization, which is clearly more accentuated in men, has deep mammalian evolutionary roots is clear from studies of rats, where male’s right cortices are thicker with statistical significance in areas 17, 18a, and 39, but the slight left increase in female rats is not significant. Notably if the female has their ovaries removed at birth, they adopt the male pattern, indicating this is a sex hormone driven developmental pattern. Moreover, the brain circuitries involved are similar in rodents and humans. A dopaminergic asymmetry in basal ganglia function appears to under-lie the process. We can thus conclude that cerebral lateralization is not a specific hallmark of human cognitive supremacy, but a deep evolutionary characteristic of mammalian sexual dichotomy. These studies show that sexual differences in the human brain have a deep evolutionary basis in mammals, extending beyond sexual orientation into highly significant differences in cortical organisation between the sexes, affecting major features of structural organization.
There is a fundamental reason why sexual differences, including those in the brains of humans are a natural result of the evolutionary process. Evolution results from complementary processes of mutation and natural and sexual selection. Each of us gains our genetic identity from a warp and weave of sexual transmission in which all our genes both on the sex determining X and Y and the 22 autosomes are threaded independently through male and female organisms of the species. Sexual selection is cooperative only to the extent that fertilisation is the outcome, but otherwise, each sex in a given species is selecting for genes which promote their own genetic survival. The term sexually antagonistic co-evolution  ,  haunts the tree of life from the arthropods to the vertebrates. If sexual differences in the brain lead to greater overall fitness of a species, these differences will be relentlessly selected. In a climax species like humanity, with complex societies, complementary differences enhance complexity and become one of the hallmarks of the climax species we are.
A key feature having fundamental social implications, in which women differ from men is shown in fig 9(7), where men are more prone to altruistic punishment when observing cheaters in a prisoners’ dilemma game. In altruistic punishment, which is also associated with specific neural processes, , , one strategically defects against a perceived defector even though one will not benefit and indeed might suffer, to maintain the integrity of the social order. This is the basis of the rule of law, but it is also an unholy truth of morally prescriptive religions, as noted in fig 12. In studies of evolutionary strategies involving prisoners’ dilemma games, tit-for-tat, which is the basis of altruistic punishment, proved to be one of the most highly effective strategies. However, it is also prone to potentially endless cycles of retaliation that are endemic in inter-clan strife. “An eye for an eye” sums up the Achilles heel of unmitigated altruistic punishment. As noted in fig 9(5) responses in the amygdala differed in men and women where males’ right responses were more focal and females’ left responses were more contextual. Notably romantic love showed similar patterns of activation in men and women watching images of their loved one and others, except for a more bilateral activation in women. By contrast men did not elicit the same activations as women when the same tests were applied to motherly love – women observing photos of their children.
By contrast, in a brain experiment in which women played prisoners’ dilemma games, mutual cooperation was associated with consistent activation in brain areas that have been linked with reward processing, consistent with activation of this neural network positively reinforcing reciprocal altruism, motivating female subjects to resist the temptation to selfishly accept but not reciprocate favours. This has again been linked to food-sharing in gatherer-hunter societies, where women collected most of the diet and a social win-win arises from cooperative behaviour. One can immediately see that if an emphasis is placed on altruistic punishment to the exclusion of reciprocal altruism, we will end up with repressive societies driven by punishment, rather than cooperation.
We can thus see that, despite human cultural adaptability, there may be certain key differences in male and female social interactions which, although small in individuals, can collectively predispose whole human societies to deleterious outcomes, if the natural complementary strategic balance of the sexes is disrupted by cultural traditions which reinforce one sex's reproductive strategies over those of the other.
Nevertheless, human individual differences are significantly greater than average sexual differences, so that humans are not genetically programmed as individuals to have type-cast male or female brains and are sufficiently neuroadaptive as individuals to be able to undertake a full variety of social roles – the hallmark of human autonomy and adaptive intelligence. Indeed, some brain researchers claim that the discovered sexual differences are largely compensatory – for example that females, while having a slightly smaller brain, compensate for it by having greater cortical complexity.
We can easily understand and appreciate that humans are sufficiently neuro-adaptive that neither sex is deprived of real social opportunities by their genetic sex, so that both men and women can become truck drivers, doctors, politicians, mathematicians and revolutionaries. However, one can also see that cultural barriers particularly to women achieving in many areas are endemic across societies and that these are a product of patriarchal attitudes and institutions ingrained and endemic in human cultures since the neolithic.
These polarities also clearly have a basis in sexual differences and particularly when not recognised or understood for their deep significance, can and do have a major and potentially devastating effect on human societies, spanning coercive social moralities and punishments, genocidal violence and war and deep differences of how much to invest in winner-take-all short-term advantage, as is the male reproductive strategy, by comparison with long-term survival in an enclosing ecology, key to the female strategy of survival of the continuity of life across hard-won generations of her offspring.
Notwithstanding sexual differences, uniting both sexes in one experiential universe is the fact that the human brain is also the crucible of the fundamental mystery of subjective consciousness. This remains the most central and the deepest paradox in the scientific description of reality and likely has a cosmological basis, in the complementarity between subjective and objective descriptions of reality. While we have now come to understand the structure of the complex natural world around us, we access this purely through our subjective conscious experiences, from waking life, through dreaming to visionary and psychedelic experiences complementing, but often dissociated from, our experiences of the physical world. This is also the motivating force underlying religious systems, in which unphysical realms, from heaven and hell to the afterlife are entertained as potentially cosmological and utopian descriptions of the conscious condition.
As noted, the underlying genes supporting brain function also have a very deep evolutionary basis, with the earliest eucaryotes, exemplified by Naegleria gruberii, a free-living amoeba close to the root, possessing key components necessary for brain function, including excitable membranes, ion channels, and the G-linked protein receptors key to neurotransmitter function, used in single-celled organisms as social signalling molecules.
Tracing human evolutionary history in terms of female and male patterns of genetic inheritance depends on investigating the evolution of the Y-chromosome which is carried exclusively down the male line and the mitochondrial genome which passes almost exclusively down the female, leading to the concept of the African ‘Eve’.
Fig 10: MtDNA, Y-DNA and X-divergence evolutionary trees. Both mtDNA, , and Y-DNA trees, ,  show exceptionally deep roots for San bushmen and to varying degrees the Western (Baka/Biaka) and Eastern(Mbuti) pygmies. Deep analysis of the location of the African “Eve” deduced by mtDNA traces her to around 200,000 years ago in the Okavango wetlands, . The Y-DNA tree also has deep roots to the San, but there are also deep Y linkages to people from the horn of Africa, implying a migration south east involving several other peoples, now in Tanzania such as the Sandawe who also speak click languages like the San., The X-divergence tree also establishes that human emergence has occurred in a context of moderate polygyny of the founding populations, consistent with a 2 women to 1 man reproductive sex ratio. The age of “Adam” is subject to more uncertainty with ages ranging from 120,000 years upwards, but is likely to be more recent, given the wider variance of male reproductive success. The inset tree of polygyny based on X divergence top right, shows a tree of human peoples descending from a polygynous root.
Because we expect that men have a greater variance in reproductive success than females since they depend on fertilisation, we expect there to be a shorter number of generations back to ‘Adam’ the last ancestor of all existing males, than the number back to ‘Eve’. This will in turn mean that the average reproductive ratio will be more than one woman to a man because some men have no children and others many often by more than one partner. Over long time scales, this results in an effective reproductive sex ratio of about 2 women to each reproducing man.
Comparisons between mitochondrial and Y-chromosome inheritance support a somewhat older African ‘Eve” - mother of all living people, with San Bushmen having genotypes closest to the root going back up to 200,000 years ago also closely linked to pygmy populations, such as the eastern Mbutu and western Baka/Biaka. The L0 branch of mtDNA shows evidence of extremely old divergences between two Khoisan types L0k and L0d going back 140,000 years, suggesting a separation of some 100,000 years, possibly caused by long term drought in Africa.
Estimates of the ‘Adam’ are much more uncertain and vary from somewhat younger, around 120,000 years ago, to very much older due to the discovery of additional divergent Y-haplotypes. The root of the tree suggests an Adam possibly coming from groups having links to populations in the horn of Africa who may have, with the San, formed an ancient population before the Bantu expansion, and then migrated south east, including the Sandawe, who like the San have click languages, and the Burunge, Gorowaa and Datog of Tanzania. It is not essential that the male and female progenitors came from the same group, because migrating males can end up reproducing with local females in populations they come to dominate, or mingle with, during migration, as evidenced genetically in pygmy populations. The overall picture is consistent with a reproductive sex ratio of about 1 man to 2 women, due both to greater variance in male reproductive success and to polygyny throughout the last 150,000 years of human emergence, which still exists in ostensibly monogamous societies due to med divorcing and siring a second family. It is also consistent with more genetic differences in the X chromosome between human groups compared with the non-sex chromosomes than would be expected if equal numbers of males and females tended to mate over human history, due to men having only one X and some men not managing to sire a daughter.
However more recently, between 10,000 and 5,000 years ago, a detailed study comparing Y-chromosome evolution with mitochondrial genome evolution has found that there was a catastrophic collapse in Y-chromosome diversity, leading to a reproductive sex ratio of 1 man to no less than 17 women. One can fantasize that this was a result of many instances of the Genghis Khan phenomenon of several generations of despot having huge harems, as about one in 200 men today sport a Khan Y-chromosome. But this massive culling of Y-chromosome diversity happened earlier and across all continents, implying a second more devastating cause – male inter-clan genocidal warfare, in which dominant clans wiped out the men of neighbouring clans, taking the women as sexual hostages and dealing to the children as they saw fit.
Fig 11: Left The ‘Mariana trench’ in Y-chromosome diversity across human societies between 10,000 and 5,000 years ago leading to an effective reproductive sex ration of 1 male to 17 females attests to a huge homicidal culling of male-male homicide knocking out whole lineages, believed to be driven by inter-clan conflict, in which the men were killed and the women taken as sexual partners. Right: The sustained vastly higher rate of male-male homicide is clearly evidenced across existing human cultures, with 96% of the perpetrators being male and 79% of the victims.
First, patrilineal corporate kin groups produce a population structure through a culturally transmitted ideal, resulting in high levels of Y-chromosomal homogeneity within each social group due to common descent, as well as high levels of between-group variation. Second, the presence of such groups results in violent intergroup competition, preferentially taking place between members of male descent groups. Casualties from intergroup competition then tend to cluster among related males, and group extinction is effectively the extinction of lineages. As success in intergroup competition is associated with group size and as larger group size may be associated with increased conflict initiation, positive returns to lineage size would accelerate the loss of minor lineages and promote the spread of major ones, further increasing the speed of genetic drift.
This interpretation, dependent on the accentuated social consequences of patriarchy on the existing sexual differences between men and women, can be immediately reinforced by asking the troubling question of what the world-wide homicide rate is for each sex, as both perpetrator and victim, which appears in a United Nations report as shown in fig 11 right, where men are 95% of the perpetrators and 79% of the victims. Again, this is a pattern repeated across the continents, so it isn’t just a cultural feature alone. We need to come to terms with this in our own cultures, not just in the disproportionate incarceration rates of the under-privileged, or the questionable notion of deterrent sentences, but the policies and institutions entrenched in our own dominantly patriarchal cultures.
We like to pride ourselves in our personal autonomy and freedom of choice and bridle at the thought of any form of genetic determinism which dooms us to activities, especially homicidal tendencies we have little or no control over. This is again a deep evolutionary trait going back to gather-hunters like the San who move in small bands priding their ability to fend for themselves and make their own decisions, while depending also on immediate neighbours in their social orbit for a sustainable life. But none of these features are deterministic as such. Individual variation exceeds any such genetic differences and we remain free to seek our own destinies, as autonomous human beings, but deeply evolved sexual differences can nevertheless become devastatingly evident both in the way whole societies shape their institutions and moral imperatives, and particularly in times of stress, and manifestly in times of conflict.
Of all the sexual differences that are most profound and dangerous to human life and safety, and are the key to the whole human dilemma, are those involving reproductive choice. Men have throughout history suffered unrelenting paternity uncertainty, while women absolutely know the children they have given birth to are their own flesh and blood. This is a raw truth that remains as fierce for humans as it is for chimpanzees and lions. It results in extreme sexual jealousy on the part of males, homicidal retaliation against intruding males, physical violence against female partners suspected of infidelity and an unrelenting desire to monopolize and repress female reproductive choice.
Human societies have resolved this question in two ways. In the matrilineal process, women don’t necessarily live with their sexual partners and the children are reared in the maternal family, with the uncles taking major roles. In the more predominant patrilineal system, a woman lives with her husband, generally with the paternal family, except perhaps for delivering her first child with her mother, and from this point a regime of suppression of female reproductive choice ensues. Marriage, whether monogamous or polygynous then becomes an instrument to repress female reproductive choice in favour of obedience to the husband, and the husband’s family and clan, so that honour and the paternal gene line is preserved.
We can see the very beginnings of a transition to patriarchy in San culture, where although a young woman would likely have her first child with her mother’s family, there are inherited male positions, such as the 'headman', having the same social status as those members of "aged years", although these are said to be essentially empty of real power over others. Thus although the headmen may admonish a woman for infidelity and try to arrange an outcome favourable to the husband, this is not directly enforced. "Of course we have headmen! In fact, we're all headmen... Each one of us is headman over himself." The San deities are also males representing the creative principle and the vagrancy of misfortune with shadowy female consorts,  although they have no moral imperative but stand philosophically in the existential dreamtime rather than, prescriptively ordering human affairs.
The transition to patriarchal dominance, , which has spread across the planet since Neolithic times forces female reproductive choice underground. While men regard it as an entitlement to sew wild oats as widely as they may, constrained only by another man’s jealousy, women also have major genetic needs for reproductive choice. If they get pregnant to a man it means a significant mortality risk, and a long time of time-consuming commitment to nurturing and raising a slowly growing offspring. In all socially monogamous mammals and birds, social monogamy doesn’t mean genetic monogamy, or one sex’s entire evolutionary strategy becomes knocked out and the species natural selection will suffer. Thus occasional covert sexual relations are the norm to enable a female to choose the best genes she can find for at least some of her offspring, as well as the necessary survival benefit of a resourceful partner common to socially monogamous species.
With the transition to patriarchal dominance we thus enter into all those features of historical and present human societies, in which violent repressive measures are enshrined in religion and culture, from female genital mutilation designed to cut off female sexual desire physically, to lethal invocations of stoning for adultery, sequestering and chaperoning women, honour killings, immolating the widow under suttee, foot binding, and requiring hymens to be intact at marriage and showing the blood of first intercourse, cemented in Western culture through the original sin of Eve, doomed to be obedient to her husband as he is to be to God because she harkened to the serpent, thinking it would make them wise, so that they lost their sexual innocence and donned fig leaves because of their carnal knowledge, in what is described instead as the primordial knowledge of good and evil, seeking to become as Gods.
Fig 12: Many people tend to look at the practices in these images as alien to human values, but they are an indelible sign of patriarchal culture violently repressing female reproductive choice, which spans virtually every world culture, including the West and is something we cannot afford to deny in human nature in terms of its evolutionary foundations at our own peril for survival. Top Left: Gulbar married a man 3 years before but he was torturing her on daily basis. She ran away to her mother's house. The next day her husband came and asked her to return home, otherwise he would kill her, she refused, but when he found her alone, threw petrol on her body, set her on fire and he himself escaped. Lower left: The honour killing of a 14-year-old girl, Rimsha Wassan, who attempted to exercise her free will regarding marriage was killed at her house in village Pir Guddu near Kotdigi, a stronghold of former home minister Manzoor Wassan. Police have arrested main accused Zulfiqar Wassan, who is also said to have been involved in three honour killings before. Centre: Rokhshana aged between 19 and 21 being stoned by the Taliban in 2015 for eloping with another man, after twice being forcibly married against her will to older men by her family. In the video Rokhshana's voice can be heard growing increasingly high-pitched as the stones strike her with sickening thuds. The woman and the 23-year-old man she was allegedly eloping with had fled from their families in a bid to find a place to be married. The man was merely lashed. Top right: Heat map of a woman’s clitoris in sexual arousal confirming its retention as an evolved characteristic of human reproductive bonding. Lower right: Female genital mutilation in Egypt generally involving removing both the labia and clitoris.
The transition to patriarchal culture is covertly documented in Genesis, as a confirmation of patriarchal sovereignty, where Jacob, in fear of his brother Esau, has to sojourn for twice seven years with Laban, the maternal family of his mother Rebecca, to secure firstly Rachel and by Laban’s intrigue, the elder Leah as well, before eventually escaping with the best cattle and his brides, and children. When Laban comes in hot pursuit to seek to regain the teraphim (house gods signifying the family line) stolen by Rachel, she hides them under her menstrual skirt, thus acting as the female ‘agent’ using her very fecundity to transfer female sovereignty to the patriarchal line, which became the twelve tribes of Israel. Yet to this day, Jewish inheritance still passes through the mother, rather than the father.
In Judges, the concubine of Bethlehem-Judah is accused of 'whoring' by going back to live with her father-in-law for a period. When the Levite returns to claim her, the father-in-law keeps saying to tarry longer. When the couple eventually leave and turn into a Benjaminite town, men of Belial ask to 'know the man within'. In an attempt to avoid sodomy, the host offers his daughter, which they refuse. He then offers his concubine, who is raped and abused and dies on the doorstep, while her master sleeps peacefully. He cuts her in twelve pieces and sends them to all the coasts of Israel setting off the Benjaminite wars, which are eventually resolved by moving four hundred virgins of Jabesh-Gilead to their husband’s homes, capped by the abduction of the daughters of Shiloh to satisfy the remaining Benjaminite men. As noted by commentators, the story is a glaring affront to those matriarchal traditions which expected the son-in-law to stay with the wife's family, as Jacob did.
We know that successive historical urban ‘civilizations’ have been shaped by the rise and fall of empires, often driven by huge assemblies of male warriors, with huge loss of life, right through to major genocidal wars in the last century involving male leaders with single-minded political ambitions. Since the emergence of large urban civilizations based on extensive agriculture and animal husbandry, we have been living in a patriarchal paradigm beset by male violence, accompanied by an expanding population driven also by the male desire to procreate, so as to dominate neighbouring societies. Indeed, the foundation of patriarchal morality is the requirement to suppress intra-social advantages to increase inter-social dominance.
Hence the moral deity has become a spiritual driver of frequently oppressive social systems seeking military supremacy, extrapolated to the point of utopian dominion, generally accompanied by in invocation to reproduce as a sacred duty, to out-populate the unbelievers, exemplified in both Christianity and Islam and still evident today in the differential reproduction rates of adherents to these major religions in an already overpopulated planet upon whose habitats, climate and biodiversity we are increasingly driving to a deleterious tipping point of potential no return.
Fig 13: Differential reproduction rates of major religions and unaffiliated.
So the question now arises in the current context of what in the world we can do to enable humanity to develop a genuine paradigm of long term future goodness in ensuring our survival in our enclosing biosphere upon which we depend, rather than exploiting it to the point of collapse or long term attrition.
Hence we turn to the forms of government, policy formation, social influence, knowledge and opinion formation and the cultural paradigms of electoral democracy and venture capitalism that shape at least those countries we have some power to influence and change.
The Evolution of the Greek Model
Democracy originates from ancient Greece, established in 508/7 BC by Cleisthenes, an Athenian noble, in response to the endless struggles between conflicting tyrants of the noble families, themselves the strong men of family clans tracing their origins back into mythological antiquity. It arose as a compensating antidote to these patriarchal clan struggles, in the form of an electoral coalition of all the Athenian men of fighting age. In most of antiquity the benefit of citizenship has been tied to the obligation to fight war campaigns. Women, slaves and foreigners were specifically excluded, meaning only about one in ten Athenians were citizens, but it was still a fundamental innovation, resulting in the most direct form of pure democracy in history, in which the citizens decided all policy matters directly, rather than electing representatives to form a government, and in which officials were chosen from the citizens by random lot - both being devices to bypass the corruption rife in clan and later aristocratic dealings.
Democracy didn’t come about by a single revolution, but by an unstable dynamic, in which vying parties, through the very process of their strategic dissonance gave rise by degrees to a more refined political system through a succession of governmental crises. These crises take the form of a recursive series of prisoners’ dilemma encounters of polarized coexistence, in that the participants are opposing complementary forces contained within one political, economic and social system. In particular, Greek democracy arose from two sets of opposing forces both integral to civic life: (a) a struggle between strong leaders who tend to become tyrants and a court or assembly, of powerful landholders protecting their collective interests and (b) a struggle between rule by the aristocracy and collective decisions by the common people. In the historical ebb and flow of these asymmetric forces, in which mutual defection is a lose-lose, more complex and structurally sensitive forms of government arose.
Athenian democracy grew out of village assemblies. The Demos of Democracy is the Greek word for “village”, or “deme”, also meaning "the People". Young men, who were 18 years old presented themselves to officials of their deme and, having proven that they were not slaves, that their parents were Athenian, and that they were 18 years old, were enrolled in the “Assembly List.” As a member of the Demos, this young man could participate in the Assembly of Citizens that was the central institution of the democracy. So the Athenian Demos was the local village, the population generally, and the assembly of citizens that governed the state.
In the earliest history of the Greek world, as far as anyone can tell, the political landscape consisted of small-time “kings” ruling over their own homes and immediate surroundings. In certain places, individual kings acquired power over larger territories, and influence over neighbouring kings. Theseus, when he had gained power in Athens, abolished the local governments in the towns; the people kept their property, but all were governed from a single political centre at Athens. The Attic peninsula thus became a unified political state, with Athens at its centre.
During the 8th and 7th centuries BCE, Athens moved from being ruled by a king to being ruled by a small number of wealthy, land-owning aristocrats. Aristotle’s Constitution of the Athenians, a description of Athenian government, says that the status of “King” became a political office, one of three “Rulers” or “Archons” under the new system. “Appointment to the supreme offices of state went by birth and wealth; and were held at first for life, and afterwards for a term of ten years.” Later, six other Archons were added to the role.
Around 620 BCE, the Athenians enlisted Draco to make new laws. The new Constitution gave political rights to those Athenians “who bore arms,” in other words, those Athenians wealthy enough to afford the bronze armour and weapons of a hoplite. Draco’s laws were most notable for their "Draconian" harshness - there was only one penalty prescribed, death, for every crime, from murder down to loitering.
Poor citizens, in years of lean harvests, had to mortgage portions of their land to wealthier citizens in exchange for food and seed to plant. Having lost the use of a portion of their land, they were even more vulnerable to subsequent hardships. Eventually, many lost the use of their land and became tenant-farmers, effectively slaves to the wealthy. The resulting crisis threatened both the stability and prosperity of Athens. In 594, however, the Athenians selected Solon to revise their laws.
Solon took steps to alleviate the crisis of debt and to make the constitution of Athens more equitable. He abolished the practice of giving loans with a citizen’s freedom as collateral. He gave every Athenian the right to appeal to a jury, thus taking ultimate authority for interpreting the law out of the hands of the Nine Archons and putting it in the hands of a more democratic body, since any citizen could serve on a jury. Otherwise, he divided the population into four classes, based on wealth, and limited the office of Archon to members of the top three classes.
Formerly, the Council of the Areopagus, which consisted of former Archons, chose the Nine Archons each year — a self-perpetuating system that ensured that the office of Archon was held only by aristocrats. Solon had all of the Athenians elect a short-list of candidates for the Archonship, from which the Nine Archons were chosen by lot. The office was still limited to citizens of a certain class, but it was no longer limited to members of a few families. There was an Assembly, in which every citizen could participate, a Council of 400 citizens chosen probably from the top three property classes, with the Areopagus being charged with "guarding the laws". So Athens under Solon had many elements that would later be a part of the radical democracy – democratic juries, an Assembly and a Council, selection of officials by lot rather than by vote – while retaining many oligarchic elements in the form of property qualifications and a powerful Council of the Areopagus.
Tyrannies were common in the Greek world during the 6th century, as certain individuals made themselves champions of the poor in order to seize power. The city descended back into a state of strife, with various factions, each with its own interests, vying for power. This state of affairs continued until an Athenian named Pisistratus, after several failed attempts, finally established himself as Tyrant over the Athenians. Like all tyrants, Pisistratus depended to a certain extent on the goodwill of the people for his position, by ensuring that both rich and poor Athenians received fair treatment, but his sons were in the end despots who were forcibly overthrown.
After the end of the tyranny, two factions led by Isagoras and Cleisthenes competed for power to reshape the government of Athens. When Isagoras and the Spartans occupied the city and tried to disband the government and expel seven hundred families, the Athenians rose up against them and drove them out. Cleisthenes’s ensuing reforms aimed at breaking the power of the aristocratic families, replacing regional loyalties (and factionalism) with pan-Athenian solidarity, to prevent the rise of another tyrant.
Cleisthenes made the “deme” or village into the fundamental unit of political organisation. The peninsula of Attica consisted of the coast, the countryside, and the urban area around Athens. To encourage Athenian politics to focus on interests common to all Athenians, rather than regional interests, Cleisthenes re-organised the population. Each of the 139 demes he assigned to one of thirty “Thirds”. Ten each of the Thirds were coastal, inland, and in and around the city. These Thirds were then assigned to ten Tribes, in such a way that each Tribe contained three Thirds, one from the coast, one from the inland, and one from the city. Each of these ten Tribes sent 50 citizens each year to serve on the new Council of 500.
But, with the Demos newly unified and the authority of the older, more aristocratic system undermined, the danger of tyranny remained. Cleisthenes sought to avert this danger by means of his most famous innovation. Every year the Assembly of Athenian citizens voted, by show of hands, on whether or not to hold an ostracism. If the Demos voted to hold one, it took place at another meeting of the Assembly. Then, each citizen present scratched a name on a broken piece of pottery, called ostraka. If at least 6000 citizens voted, the names on the pot shards were tallied, and the “winner” was obliged to leave Athens for a period of ten years. He did not lose his property or his rights as an Athenian citizen, but was banished. The Athenians used the process to remove the leaders of various factions, both champions of the democracy and those who favoured more aristocratic controls.
A final reform occurred after the Persian war, when less wealthy citizens, by serving in the navy had saved the city. Under Solon, the Court of the Areopagus had retained its role as overseer of the constitution; it could punish citizens, fine them, and spend money itself without answering to any other governing body; and it oversaw cases of impeachment. Ephialtes brought about a reform of the Court of the Areopagus by denouncing the Court before the Council and the Assembly, which resulted in the archons (the future members of the Court of the Areopagus) being chosen by lot, not by vote, and it lost some of its authority. It retained authority over trials of murder, wounding, death by poison, but not for lesser serious crimes, and also also investigations of political corruption, presenting its findings to the Council and Assembly for any further action.
The office of “General”, or Strategos, was one of the few in the Athenian democracy that was elected, rather than chosen randomly by lot. It was also the only office which an Athenian could hold for multiple successive terms. And, the Generals – ten in each year – enjoyed certain powers that made this office potentially a platform from which an Athenian could wield extraordinary influence over the affairs and policies of the city. A general could introduce business for discussion in a meeting of the Assembly on his own authority. This led to several futile wars.
In 404 BCE, the Spartans destroyed the Athenian fleet. After a period of siege, while the Spartans blockaded the harbors of Athens, the city surrendered, and its fortunes fell into the hands of the so-called Thirty Tyrants. These were Athenians selected by the Spartans to form a puppet government. This lasted only one year before pro-democracy forces regained control of the city’s affairs. After the tyrants were overthrown the city returned to democratic rule.
In 411 BCE, the Athenians brought an end to their democracy and instituted an oligarchy by, first, appointing ten “Commissioners” who were charged with re-writing the constitution. These Commissioners proposed a new Council, consisting of 400 men, with service limited to the wealthier citizens. Five men would be selected as “Presidents”, and these would choose 100 men for the new Council, and each of those 100 would choose three others, thus creating the Council of “400”, or in fact 405. This new government claimed that a Council of 400 was “according to the ancestral constitution” and would have the power to choose 5000 Athenians who would be the only citizens eligible to participate in assemblies. The new Council collected an armed gang, confronted the democratic Council, paid them their stipends, and sent them home. A series of short-lived governments followed, including one in which the power was in the hands of 5000 Athenians, until democracy was again briefly restored.
On the motion of Teisamenus the People decreed that Athens be governed as of old, in accordance with the laws of Solon, and the statutes of Draco. Such further laws as may be necessary shall be inscribed upon tables by the Law-Givers elected by the Council and named hereafter, exposed before the Tribal Statutes for all to see, and handed over to the magistrates during the present month. The laws thus handed over, however, shall be submitted beforehand to the scrutiny of the Council and the five hundred Law-Givers elected by the Demes, when they have taken their oath. Further, any private citizen who so desires may come before the Council and suggest improvements in the laws. When the laws have been ratified, they shall be placed under the guardianship of the Council of the Areopagus, to the end that only such laws as have been ratified may be applied by magistrates.
The Athenians also passed a law of general amnesty, to prevent an endless cycle of retribution for wrongs committed on both sides of the civil strife. An inscription survives that records a law limiting the Council’s authority. After two anti-democratic revolutions, this law says that in matters of war and peace, death sentences, large fines, disenfranchisement (loss of citizenship), the administration of public finances, and foreign policy the Council cannot act without the approval of the Assembly of the People. With this restoration, Athens re-established a radically democratic government.
Athenian society was however one which extolled the virtues of men above women. Greece was a patriarchal class-driven society with slavery, in which women were excluded from political life and were lifelong minors under the guardianship of a male.
When Zeus the male high god at the centre of the pantheon overthrows Kronos he swallows his own first wife Metis thus preventing her bearing a son, fearing she would give birth to powerful children, in the same process, assimilating to himself her power of procreativity, so that he is able to give birth to Athena. We thus see, not just woman or female reproductive choice, but the very capacity of women to contribute to the nature of the offspring unravelled by the patriarchy. Of course there is a hidden twist to the tale because Metis anticipated this becoming pregnant to Athena who then burst out of Zeus’ head.
Fig 15 Far left: Hoplites the citizen soldiers of
ancient Greek city states. Left: Priapos (god Bes)
c500 BC from a brothel in Ephesus. Right: Zeus abducts his great-grandson
Ganymede in an incestuous homosexual act of paedophilia to become his lover and
cup bearer on Olympus. 470 BC Temple of Zeus, Olympia. Far right: Cleisthenes.
In the Athenian cosmology, woman becomes an empty vessel for male procreativity:
"The mother is not the true source of life.
We call her the mother, but she is more the nurse,
The furrow where the seed is thrust.
The thruster, the father is the true parent:
The woman but tends the growing plant".
Apollo in Aeschylus' "Eumenides" or "Furies"
The idea that only the male was procreative spilled over into excessive absorption with male sexuality in men loving men, and 'passing on one's manhood' to under-age boys. Pederasty was an institution sanctioned by the Olympian gods and mythical heroes. Zeus, Apollo, Poseidon and Heracles all had pederastic experiences. So did many of the most illustrious real-life Greeks including Solon, Pythagoras, Socrates and Plato. The act was part of the foundation of an elitist, military culture that elevated the idea of the penis beyond biology and religion to the rarefied heights of philosophy and art. The pederastic act was the culmination of a one-on-one mentoring aimed at passing on arete a set of manly virtues including courage, strength, fairness and honesty. Believing Anaxagoras, in a bid to father only sons, men even had their left testicle removed.
However, the pure democracy of the original Greek model was possible only because the number of arms-bearing males forming the decision-making body were small enough to be able to meet and make collective decisions together. These pure forms of direct democracy have survived to this day only in situations where such a public meeting can be held and constructive business completed. Appenzell, the last Swiss cantonment to give women the vote in 1990, and then only when compelled by the federal government, is one of the last two cantonments operating the Landsgemeinde or "cantonal assembly", dating from the middle ages. Eligible citizens of the canton meet on a certain day in the open air to decide on laws and expenditures by the council. Everyone can debate a question. Voting is by those in favour of a motion raising their hands. Until the admission of women, the only proof of citizenship necessary for men to enter the voting area was to show their ceremonial sword or Swiss military bayonet. This gave proof that you were a freeman allowed to bear arms and to vote, as in the Athenian male-military coalition model.
The Roman Solution: Republic as a Transitional form of Government Towards Democracy
A republic (Latin: res publica – "public affair") is a form of government in which the country is considered a "public matter", not the private concern or property of the rulers, thus forming a partial evolution from autocracy to democracy. The term developed its modern meaning in reference to the constitution of the ancient Roman Republic, lasting from the overthrow of the kings in 509 BC to the establishment of the Empire in 27 BC. This constitution was characterised by a Senate composed of wealthy aristocrats wielding significant influence; several popular assemblies of all free citizens, possessing the power to elect magistrates and pass laws; and a series of magistracies with varying types of civil and political authority. The primary positions of power are attained through democracy or a mix of democracy with oligarchy, or autocracy rather than being unalterably occupied by any given family lineage or group. With modern republicanism, it has become the opposing form of government to a monarchy. As of 2017, 159 of the world's 206 sovereign states use the word "republic" as part of their official names – not all of these are republics in the sense of having elected governments, nor is the word "republic" used in the names of all nations with elected governments.
Fig 15: The Catiline Orations are a set of speeches to the Roman Senate given in 63 BC by Marcus Tullius Cicero, one of the year's consuls,
accusing a senator, Lucius Sergius Catilina, of leading a plot to overthrow the Roman Senate.
The Roman Solution: Republic as a Transitional form of Government Towards Democracy
A republic (Latin: res publica – "public affair") is a form of government in which the country is considered a "public matter", not the private concern or property of the rulers, thus forming a partial evolution from autocracy to democracy. The term developed its modern meaning in reference to the constitution of the ancient Roman Republic, lasting from the overthrow of the kings in 509 BC to the establishment of the Empire in 27 BC. This constitution was characterised by a Senate composed of wealthy aristocrats wielding significant influence; several popular assemblies of all free citizens, possessing the power to elect magistrates and pass laws; and a series of magistracies with varying types of civil and political authority. The primary positions of power are attained through democracy or a mix of democracy with oligarchy, or autocracy rather than being unalterably occupied by any given family lineage or group.
The transition of Rome from a monarchy to a republic led to severe internal social tensions and political turmoil. The population was divided, certain wanted a monarchy, others a republic, others favoured the king of Clusium and others wanted to form part of the Latin civilisation. The nobles who had overthrown the king and his family had not come to an agreement regarding the type of government that would replace the monarchy.
The consuls, which would later replace the leadership of the Roman kings, were not put in place immediately, but many years later. Many historians believe that in the first stages of the Roman Republic, a praetor maximus was appointed for one year only. Later his duties would be split in two by choosing two consuls at a time to govern Rome.
The position of chief magistrate was not exclusively for the "patres", who formed the Roman senate, and controlled the army and the priests since the time of Romulus, as there is evidence that shows plebeians, common civilians, becoming consuls up until 485 BC. The political instability led the strongest factions to form alliances between themselves. From 485 BC, the patricians no longer allowed commoners to take part in the government and began to control all civil and religious matters.
With modern republicanism, it has become the opposing form of government to a monarchy. As of 2017, 159 of the world's 206 sovereign states use the word "republic" as part of their official names – not all of these are republics in the sense of having elected governments, nor is the word "republic" used in the names of all nations with elected governments. .
The Evolution of Electoral Democracy in England
All democratic national governments currently operate through forms of electoral democracy where the people do not make decisions directly but elect representatives to a parliament who make the policy. To understand the emergence of parliaments we need to examine the convoluted history of how one of the founding parliaments that of England struggled with on-going social conflict to arrive at the sorts of government we have today.
We now look at the evolution of the English Parliament as a democratic system, again to explore the dynamics that, by a series of contradictions, has led to what has become a central model of electoral democracy in the current era. Again we explore this as an unstable dynamical system leading to a uniquely responsive complex system refined by the very dissonances that led to its evolution.
Under a monarchical system of government, monarchs usually must consult and seek a measure of acceptance for their policies if they are to enjoy the broad cooperation of their subjects. Early kings of England had no standing army or police, and so depended on the support of powerful subjects. Under the feudal system instituted by William the Conqueror, in 1066, he sought the advice of a council of tenants-in-chief, people who held land, and ecclesiastics before making laws. The laws of the Crown could not have been upheld without the support of both the nobility, who had economic and military power bases of their own through major ownership of land and the feudal obligations of their tenants, including military service The clergy were likewise a law unto themselves, as the church had its own system of religious law courts.
In 1215, the tenants-in-chief secured the Magna Carta from King John, establishing that the king may not levy or collect any taxes (except the feudal taxes to which they were hitherto accustomed), save with the consent of his royal council. First drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between an unpopular King and a group of rebel barons, the Magna Carta Libertatum or "Great Charter of Freedoms" promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons. The charter became part of English political life and was typically renewed by each monarch in turn. Lord Denning has described it as "the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.".
The Great Council evolved into the Parliament of England. The term (French parlement or Latin parlamentum - an occasion for speaking) came into use during the early 13th century and first appears in official documents in the 1230s. Initially, parliaments were mostly summoned when the king needed to raise money through taxes. After Magna Carta, this became a convention. When King John died in 1216 and was succeeded by his young son Henry III, leading peers and clergy governed on Henry's behalf until he came of age, giving them a taste for power that they would prove unwilling to relinquish.
When Henry III took full control of the government, leading peers became increasingly concerned with his style of government, specifically his unwillingness to consult them on decisions he took. In 1258, seven leading barons forced Henry to swear to uphold the Provisions of Oxford, superseded, the following year, by the Provisions of Westminster. This effectively abolished the absolutist Anglo-Norman monarchy, giving power to a council of fifteen barons, and providing for a thrice-yearly meeting of parliament to monitor their performance. In 1264, after protracted conflict with the King, Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester summoned the first parliament in English history without any prior royal authorisation partly to head off dissention of the nobility that he had overreached. The archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls and barons were summoned, as were two knights from each shire and two burgesses (an inhabitant of a town with full rights of citizenship) from each borough. Knights had been summoned to previous councils, but the representation of the boroughs was unprecedented.
During the reign of Edward I, which began in 1272, the role of Parliament in the government of the English kingdom increased due to Edward's determination to unite England, Wales and Scotland under his rule by force and to unite his subjects in order to restore his authority and not face rebellion. Edward therefore encouraged all sectors of society to submit petitions to parliament detailing their grievances in order for them to be resolved.
Montfort's scheme was formally adopted by Edward in the so-called "Model Parliament" of 1295. The attendance at parliament of knights and burgesses historically became known as the summoning of "the Commons", a term derived from the Norman French word "commune", literally translated as the "community of the realm".
In 1341 the Commons met separately from the nobility and clergy for the first time, creating what was effectively an Upper Chamber and a Lower Chamber, with the knights and burgesses sitting in the latter. The Upper Chamber became known as the House of Lords from 1544 onward, and the Lower Chamber became known as the House of Commons, collectively known as the Houses of Parliament.
During the reign of the Tudor monarchs, the modern structure of the English Parliament began to be created. The Tudor monarchy was powerful, and there were often periods of several years when parliament did not sit at all. However, the Tudor monarchs were astute enough to realise that they needed parliament to legitimise many of their decisions, mostly out of a need to raise money through taxation legitimately without causing discontent. Thus they consolidated the state of affairs whereby monarchs would call and close parliament as and when they needed it. By the time Henry Tudor (Henry VII) came to the throne in 1485 the monarch was not a member of either the Upper Chamber or the Lower Chamber. Consequently, the monarch would have to make his or her feelings known to Parliament through his or her supporters in both houses. Proceedings were regulated by the presiding officer in either chamber. From the 1540s the presiding officer in the House of Commons became formally known as the "Speaker". A member of either chamber could present a "bill" to parliament. Bills supported by the monarch were often proposed by members of the Privy Council who sat in parliament. In order for a bill to become law it would have to be approved by a majority of both Houses of Parliament before the monarch gave their royal assent or a veto.
After his succession in 1625, Charles I quarrelled with the Parliament of England, which sought to curb his royal prerogative. Charles believed in the divine right of kings, and was determined to govern according to his own conscience. From 1642, Charles fought the armies of the English and Scottish parliaments in the English Civil War. After his defeat in 1645, he surrendered to a Scottish force that eventually handed him over to the English Parliament. Charles refused to accept his captors' demands for a constitutional monarchy, and temporarily escaped captivity in November 1647. In January 1649 he was executed for treason.
The House of Lords was abolished and the purged House of Commons governed England until April 1653, when army chief Oliver Cromwell dissolved it after disagreements over religious policy and how to carry out elections to parliament. Cromwell later convened a parliament of religious radicals in 1653. The House of Lords was abolished and the purged House of Commons governed England until April 1653, when army chief Oliver Cromwell dissolved it after disagreements over religious policy and how to carry out elections to parliament. Cromwell later convened a parliament of religious radicals in 1653. Cromwell gave a huge degree of freedom to his parliaments, although royalists were barred from sitting in all but a handful of cases. He ended up dissolving each parliament that he convened when he found it became troublesome.
The revolutionary events that occurred between 1620 and 1689 all took place in the name of parliament. After the death of Cromwell there were a series of parliaments convened by contesting groups. The "Rump Parliament” recalled the earlier full "Long Parliament" which then voted to dissolve themselves and call new elections, arguably the most democratic for 20 years although the franchise was still small. This led to the calling of the "Convention Parliament" which was dominated by royalists. This parliament voted to reinstate the monarchy and the House of Lords. Charles II returned to England as king in May 1660. The word Tory designated early supporters of strong royal power. Tories were monarchists and traditionalists, especially at the time of the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660.
In the seventeenth century, the English parliament consisted of aristocrats and wealthy men who formed alliances and majorities based on personal interests and loyalties. During the years from 1678 to 1681, and the constitutional crisis known as the Exclusion Crisis that most members of the English parliament, formed into two "parties", the Whigs and Tories, forming the basis of ensuing two party systems worldwide.
In the summer of 1678, Titus Oates's made the revelation of a "popish plot" to murder Charles II and massacre English Protestants. The plot was a fabrication, but because Charles had no legitimate children and the heir to the throne was his Catholic brother, James, duke of York, Oates's revelations provoked anxieties about what would happen should the king suddenly die and be succeeded by his brother. The English associated Catholic rule with religious persecution and tyrannical government.
Between 1679 and 1681 opponents of the Catholic succession (soon to be christened the Whigs) introduced three bills into successive Parliaments to exclude James from the throne. Initially, the Whigs were the party of the liberal and reforming aristocracy. In contrast to the Tories, who tended to support the monarchy and conservatism, the Whig Party attracted people more favourable to constitutional reforms. The Whigs conducted their campaign against the duke of York, not just in Parliament, but also in the press, at the polls, and in the streets, whipping up popular anti-Catholic sentiment to try to convince Charles of the necessity of diverting the succession and organising mass rallies and petitioning campaigns in support of their position. Three bills were presented but none passed due to various intrigues including Charles proroguing parliament before they could pass legislation, or refusing to call it.
James II, who was openly Catholic, married to Mary of Modena, attempted to lift restrictions on Catholics taking up public offices, bitterly opposed by Protestants in his kingdom. They invited William of Orange, a Protestant who had married Mary, daughter of James II to invade England. William assembled an army. When many Protestant officers defected from the English army, James fled the country. Parliament then offered the Crown to his Protestant daughter Mary. Mary refused the offer, and instead William and Mary ruled jointly, with both having the right to rule alone on the other's death. As part of the compromise in allowing William to be King – called the Glorious Revolution – Parliament was able to have the 1689 Bill of Rights enacted.
After the Treaty of Union in 1707 the Parliament of England was dissolved to form the Parliament of Great Britain. During the early eighteenth century, the Whigs dominated British politics. At general elections the vote was restricted to freeholders and landowners, in constituencies that had changed little since the Middle Ages, so that in many "rotten" and "pocket" boroughs seats could be bought, while major cities remained unrepresented, except by the Knights of the Shire representing whole counties. Reformers and Radicals sought parliamentary reform, but as the French Revolutionary Wars developed the British government became repressive against dissent and progress towards reform was stalled. The Tories re-emerged as a major force in British politics in 1770 - as a more modern party of traditional values supporting the opportunities created by the industrial revolution and imperial and commercial expansion. The American War of Independence ended in defeat for England in 1783 and in the wake of the French Revolution of 1789, Radical organisations sprang up to press for parliamentary reform, but as the French Revolutionary Wars developed, the government took extensive repressive measures against feared domestic unrest aping the democratic and egalitarian ideals of the French Revolution and progress toward reform was stalled.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created on 1 January 1801, by the merger of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland. The principle of ministerial responsibility to the lower House did not develop until the 19th century – the House of Lords was superior to the House of Commons, both in theory and in practice. Members of the House of Commons (MPs) were elected in an antiquated electoral system, under which constituencies of vastly different sizes existed. Thus, the borough of Old Sarum, with seven voters, could elect two members, as could the borough of Dunwich, which had almost completely disappeared into the sea due to land erosion. Many small constituencies, the pocket, or rotten boroughs, were controlled by members of the House of Lords, who could ensure the election of their relatives or supporters. During the reforms of the 19th century, beginning with the Reform Act 1832, the electoral system for the House of Commons was progressively regularised. No longer dependent on the Lords for their seats, MPs grew more assertive.
The claim for the women's vote appears to have been first made by Jeremy Bentham in 1817 when he published his Plan of Parliamentary Reform in the form of a Catechism, which was taken up by William Thompson in 1825, when he published, with Anna Wheeler, An Appeal of One Half the Human Race, Women, Against the Pretensions of the Other Half, Men, to Retain Them in Political, and Thence in Civil and Domestic Slavery: In Reply to James Mill's Celebrated Article on Government, which had stated: "all those individuals whose interests are indisputably included in those of other individuals may be struck off without any inconvenience ... In this light also women may be regarded, the interests of almost all of whom are involved in that of their fathers or in that of their husbands."
In 1832 the Whigs led the most significant modernization of the British Parliament the Representation of the People Act, that introduced wide-ranging changes to the electoral system of England and Wales. There had been calls for reform long before this, but without success. It met with significant opposition from the Pittite factions in Parliament, who had long governed the country and was especially pronounced in the House of Lords. Nevertheless, the bill was eventually passed, as a result of public pressure. The Act granted seats in the House of Commons to large cities that had sprung up during the Industrial Revolution, and removed seats from the "rotten boroughs": those with very small electorates and usually dominated by a wealthy patron. The Act also increased the electorate from about 400,000 to 650,000, making about one in five adult males eligible to vote. It has been argued that it was the inclusion of the word "male" in the 1832 Act, thus providing the first explicit statutory bar to women voting, which provided a focus of attack and a source of resentment from which, in time, the women's suffrage movement, to fight for women's right to vote, grew.
The Tory party became the Conservative Party in 1834. In the 1850's, the Whig Party became the most important element in a union with the Radicals to form the "Liberal Party, which eventually in 1988 merged with the Social Democratic Party to form today's Liberal Democrats. The first Labour MPs were elected in 1900 as representatives of the Independent Labour Party.
The supremacy of the British House of Commons was reaffirmed in the early 20th century. In 1909, the Commons passed the so-called "People's Budget," which made numerous changes to the taxation system which were detrimental to wealthy landowners. The House of Lords, which consisted mostly of powerful landowners, rejected the Budget. On the basis of the Budget's popularity and the Lords' consequent unpopularity, the Liberal Party narrowly won two general elections in 1910. Using the result as a mandate, the Liberal Prime Minister, H. H. Asquith, introduced the Parliament Bill, which sought to restrict the powers of the House of Lords. (He did not reintroduce the land tax provision of the People's Budget.)
The Parliament Act 1911, prevented the Lords from blocking a money (taxation) bill, and allowed them to delay any other bill for a maximum of three sessions (later reduced to two), after which it could become law over their objections. However, the House of Lords retained the unrestricted power to veto any bill outright which attempts to extend the life of a parliament. When the Lords refused to pass the bill, Asquith countered with a promise extracted from the King in secret and requested the creation of several hundred Liberal peers, so as to erase the Conservative majority in the House of Lords. In the face of such a threat, the House of Lords narrowly passed the bill.
Fig 18 Left: Heavily outnumbered by men, women turn out to an Auckland polling booth in November 1893 to vote in their first election after securing the right to vote. The overall turnout of female voters was unexpectedly high. Centre: Kate Sheppard promoted women's suffrage by organising and public meetings, writing letters to the press, and developing contacts with politicians, culminating in a successful petition to NZ parliament with 30,000 signatures. Right: Suffragettes on their way to Women's Sunday, 21st June 1908. This was the first major, country-wide demonstration for women's suffrage. Between 200,000 and 300,000 people gathered in Hyde Park, making it one of the largest ever single demonstrations up to that time.
Proceeding from the avowedly patriarchal origin of ancient Greek democracy, it is thus a proof of patriarchal principle that women only began to gain the democratic vote a full two and a half millennia later. The first was at the end of the 19th century, when New Zealand gave women the vote in 1893, underlining the deep relationship throughout history between patriarchal dominance and democracy. In the UK womens suffrage finally succeeded through two laws in 1918 and 1928. In 1918 after the war, a coalition government passed the Representation of the People Act, enfranchising all men over 21, as well as all women over the age of 30 who met minimum property qualifications. This act was the first to include almost all adult men in the political system and began the inclusion of women, extending the franchise by 5.6 million men and 8.4 million women. In 1928 the Conservative government passed the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act equalizing the franchise to all persons over the age of 21 on equal terms. Two years after the UK, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote, ratified on August 18, 1920, ending almost a century of protest. France had instituted universal male suffrage abolishing all property requirements to allow men to vote in 1792, but ironically, woman didn't get the vote in France until 1945 and in Switzerland women gained the vote in 1971 and in cantonal elections only in 1990, underscoring how deep and long the association between patriarchal dominance and democracy has been.
Neither have individual woman leaders in this avowedly patriarchal tradition necessarily been willing or able to transform the situation for the better when in power, with leaders from Margaret Thatcher to Indira Gandhi taking the authoritarian path of the authoritarian right.
This again goes to prove that individual variations are great enough that individual variation exceeds sexual differences so that a person of either sex can display features in contradiction to their own sex’s reproductive strategy, with a female leader acting to support a right-wing patriarchal ideal of unrestrained private enterprise, or institute a state of emergency providing for imprisonment without trial.
However, there are also evolutionary features supporting these contradictions. Although we have been shaped for some 150,000 years by gatherer-hunter natural and sexual selection, we have also had 4,000 years of sometimes oppressive patriarchy applying its own selective pressures. In societies where boys are preferred, with stratified classes such as India, there is a pattern of hypergamy, where lower-class daughters endeavour to ‘marry up’ to higher-born sons. There is thus a selective advantage in high-born women preserving the patriarchal status quo so that her sons will have the added cultural opportunity of siring more offspring, thus securing her own reproductive fertility through the patriarchal system that favours her position.
For a time, New Zealand had two alternative female leaders, both of who became prime minister. Jennifer Shipley was renowned for divisive new right policies such as dissolving family trusts to make elderly people pay for their health care, despite a national health service. Helen Clark led a labour government for three terms, which was socially conscious and humanitarian, but she did so by holding her cabinet in line with strict leadership discipline, leaving no strong contender to fill her shoes when she moved on, after losing her fourth term election, to head the UN Development Program. It was thus only after several terms of right-wing government that New Zealand again has a female prime minister Jacinda Ardern, heading an MMP coalition government leading us through the Covid-19 crisis, using a mix of empathy and firmness to bring the people as a whole on-side with a nationwide lockdown, from which we are only emerging as the cases drop to single figure digits, with two days in a row of no positive cases to report.
By examining the histories of ancient Greece and the English Parliament, influential as it has been as a founding catalyst for Western democracy, we have confirmed that democracy did not arise as a sudden revolution, but by contrast, has arisen from chaotic events in which various parties caught in a prisoners’ dilemma of social coexistence, through their own dissonant investments have gradually brought about increasing levels of democracy as a complex system, evolving at the edge of chaos, as much of biological evolution also has done. By contrast, the extremes of the sudden revolutions of France, Russia, and China have led either to civil war and loss of life or to sustained periods of totalitarian and oppressive leadership, again amid pogroms and significant loss of life and liberty.
Democracy, in its modern forms, is a product of the age of enlightenment, which induced examination of the standards by which people ruled and gave validation to the idea of human rights, and has in turn become a facilitator of free-thinking ideas and opportunities in society and commerce, but it can become subverted by populism, disinformation and political propaganda, leaving the major issue of survival on an enclosing biosphere unattainable so far, because of underlying patriarchal motifs ingrained in the institutions of capitalist society, which we shall address.
This brings us to the current epoch, in which the forms of electoral democracy we are all too familiar with hold sway in the uncertainty of unfolding world events.
Fig 20: The diversity of modern political systems forms a spectral ring of variations. Systems of government, from soft to hard, form a graduated spectrum, where increasing polarisation on either side leads ultimately to totalitarian autocracy. The dynamics are driven by opposing social forces, of the left and right, forming shades of socialist, or capitalist government. Totalitarian systems form one extreme pole – a regime of top-down order which becomes oppressive, by resisting change from below. By contrast, in democratic societies, elections are periods of maximum uncertainty, leading to unstable land-slide swings of government, thus representing the opposite unstable, chaotic pole at the front. With the exception of some mixed member proportional representation (MMP) systems, which favour coalitions, democratic societies are dominated by two-party systems. In their first-past-the-post forms, these constitute the two adversarial forces, involved in prisoners’ dilemma paradoxes of betrayal for advantage. The winner-take-all nature of first-past-the-post is constitutionally prone to tyranny of the majority, or a minority in a where the winning party may not even secure the popular vote overall, due to a majority of electorates not necessarily reflecting the popular vote particularly given gerrymandering. This adversarial conflict has deep parallels with male reproductive combat, where there is a winner-take-all struggle for genetic possession of the females of the herd. At face value the dichotomy between left and right is a reflection of the age old asymmetric struggle between the commoner and the aristocrat that runs back to Greece. Populism and the politics of social division seeks to subvert the democratic process, by cultivating a strategic minority as a “base” that can, through their leader, achieve power for their own ends.
In autocratic systems, we have a single regime of authority by a tyrant or single dominant party. Electoral democracy disrupts this regime of oppressive order by subjecting government to an electoral process in which the will of the people holds sway, leading to government through periodic dynamical instability, as pictured in fig 20. As we have noted in the evolution of the English parliament, this evolved into a contest between two dominant parties, the Whigs and Tories. The British parliament is also a first-past-the-post system in a winner-take-all electoral decision, in which the party winning the most seats in parliament becomes the government and the losing party becomes the opposition, tasked with holding the governing party to account. This has the advantage of making a clear-cut decision, but it has fundamental pitfalls which can rapidly lead to injustice.
The evolution of democratic systems thus tends to oscillate between fully democratic systems and defective republics, in which the ability of the ruling party to manipulate the electorate in the name of the rule of law and the power of government to retain continuity of power undermines the will of the people. The US Republican and Democrat parties form political archetypes of this transitional state, to partial and full democracy, with the Republican party seeking to control power through a variety of means, including gerrymandering and the politics of power and deception to ensure continuity of control based on a conservative base comprising only around 25% of the population, a situation promoted by first past the post and electoral college systems where a party can win without securing the popular vote.
Because of its knife-edge dynamics and the ability to win most electorates without securing the popular will, first-past-the-post electoral democracy is constitutionally inclined to result a tyranny of the majority, in which the policies and legislation of the winning party act to protect the interests only of those supporting the government in power, to the exclusion, or outright detriment of the opposing minority. Given the fact that the electorate or electoral college tally does not necessarily represent the majority vote, it is also constitutionally liable to result in a tyranny of a strategic minority if this minority can secure a majority of the electorates, especially given gerrymandering by the party claiming victory. It is also generally oppressive to the cultural diversity of complex human societies.
The tendency to adversarial party positions results in a major polarisation pervading democratic politics across the world stage, between the right, which leans towards a set of patriarchal beliefs in individual enterprise for winner-take-all gains, in its harder forms veering towards fascist dictatorship of the strong leader. In opposition to this is the left, espousing support for the working class and the 'nanny society' of the welfare state, which in its extreme forms we again find a totalitarian tendency, turning social equality into a big-brother society maintained through the illusion of class warfare run by nepotistic cliques of one party state officials. Democracy thus survives as an unstable system, caught between the extremes, with autocratic tendencies held in check by the very chaos of uncertainty of the electoral process.
In its first past the post adversarial competing two-party form, democracy becomes a veritable male reproductive combat ritual for the winner-take-all spoils of the blind lady justice of the voting population. This underlines that fact that the two party system has arisen from male-only representation in which traditionalist and reformist aristocrats have vied for control of the future of government. Male reproductive combat is a winner-take-all defection against other males for the reproductive command of the female ‘herd’ in precisely the way first-past-the-post is a winner-take-all defection between two parties for the electoral vote. In this sense, it is reproductively predatory.
Bearing in mind that democracy has been an exclusively male dominated process until the turn of the 20th century, this needs to be recognised as more than a mere analogy and represents a subtle play of the human male desire to command exclusive power played out in the political arena. Laying bare how central male reproductive combat is to democratic electoral systems, Klofstad et al. found that the deeper the voice of a contestant of either sex the more popular they were, with the deeper voices gaining between 60 and 80% of the vote, indicating markers of testosterone dominance are more influential than a candidate’s policies and trustworthiness.
In our founding gatherer-hunter societies, by contrast, there was an unstable equilibrium between the reproductive and social investments of coalitions of women, who gathered the majority of the diet and were not dependent on their men folk and the men seeking to adopt the tokens of culture amid paternity uncertainty while providing meat, hunting and story-telling skills to secure sexual favours. In this founding dynamic, it is the prisoners’ dilemma of complementary driven by asymmetric reproductive investments that provided a sustainable context for the emergence of human super-intelligence. This prisoners’ dilemma paradox forming the key to human cultural emergence, was a red queen race, in which neither sex had the upper hand, rather than a male-driven adversarial reproductive conflict over the spoils of the herd. We can thus see that our enshrined political system of democracy, on which we depend for our rights and freedoms remains poisoned by a ‘spermatogenic’ patriarchal dynamic ingrained so deeply that neither sex can comprehend or appreciate its devastating effect on our capacity to address fundamental issues of survival in the enclosing biosphere, let alone the collective responses required to successfully fend off without internal conflict a debilitating pandemic caused by the effect of these very patriarchal imbalances on the biosphere.
Populism, which is also a prominent feature of first-past-the-post electoral combat is a process in which a confrontational politician harnesses a strategic minority of voters, sometimes with extreme, unrepresentative views to strategically subvert the electoral process often through a campaign of misinformation aiming to secure control over the democratic process and carry it towards a position of absolute power of the populist leader.
To compensate the glaring pattern of perpetual conflict, of adversarial two party winner take all contests, societies have sought a variety of means to modify the divide-and-rule of adversarial democracy. The US federal government has a written constitution and three houses President, Senate and House of Representatives to provide a set of checks and balances against the potential tyranny of any other branch. This has many parallels to the three British houses of Commons, Lords and the Monarchy. However, in practice, it doesn’t remedy the problem but creates an expensive cumbersome top-heavy governmental system, prone to intractable conflicts between the houses, and an opacity more easily served by business interests and professional lobby groups than the average citizen. Because the president is elected by electoral college, there is no guarantee that they secure the popular mandate.
Other countries have sought to dilute the adversarial two-party combat of first-past-the-post with various forms of proportional representation, such as STV (single transferrable vote) and particularly MMP (mixed member proportional), in which each party has list members in addition to their electorate members up for re-election to include to ensure membership of each party in parliament is proportional to the popular vote, leading to coalitions of smaller parties and more representative forms of government. Although this advantage is sometimes parried by a rise in back-room deals between parties, includes un-elected list candidates and has a tendency to unstable alliances, MMP does serve to provide a more ecosystemic form of democratic process, which has a greater probability of serving the interests of diverse minorities and is much better positioned to deal with the two problems we are addressing – pandemic crisis and climate and biodiversity crisis. It also comes some way to reflecting the more cooperative reciprocal altruism of female social coalitions.
As of 2020, in New Zealand, we have an MMP government formed by a coalition of three parties Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens with a formal coalition between the first two, in which the Greens provide confidence and supply, after NZ First rejected a coalition with the largest party National holding at the time 45% of the vote, due to loss of trust between that party and NZ First. This arrangement appears to be working well although naysayers would claim the largest party was robbed of the right to govern. It demonstrates a refreshing counterpoint to Trump’s divisive confrontational politics of deceit, abuse, and misinformation, particularly when our Prime Minister brings her newborn child to the UN, as both a leader and a nursing mother.
Electoral theory shows that changes in an electoral system can produce almost any outcome in a closely fought election. Economist Kenneth Arrow discovered one of the most fundamental paradoxes of voting. He set out four general attributes of an idealised fair voting system - (1) that voters should be able to express a complete set of their preferences; (2) no single voter should be allowed to dictate the outcome of an election; (3) if every voter prefers one candidate to another, the final ranking should reflect that and (4) if a voter prefers one candidate to a second, introducing a third candidate should not reverse that preference. However Arrow and others went on to prove that no conceivable voting system could satisfy all four conditions. In particular, there will always be the possibility that one voter, simply by changing their vote, can change the overall preference of the whole electorate.
In “Electoral dysfunction: Why democracy is always unfair”, the mathematician Ian Stewart shows that virtually all voting systems lead to paradoxes of one sort of another. First past the post ranks well in stability and accountability, but is a dud in fairness. With several candidates a candidate can win without even getting a majority, so most votes are literally wasted. A runoff doesn’t solve this either because the two highest candidates may come from the same political side of the spectrum if there were a multiplicity of opposing candidates. Preferential voting can lead to paradox in which everyone wins because the preferential order of the voters chases its tail. MMP avoids such paradoxes but leads to list candidates and unstable coalitions of government so it is fairer but less stable and sometimes less accountable.
Although elections to the US House of Representatives use a first-past-the-post voting system, the constitution requires that seats be "apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers" - that is, divvied up proportionally. In 1880, the chief clerk of the US Census Bureau, Charles Seaton, discovered that Alabama would get eight seats in a 299-seat House, but only seven in a 300-seat House. In the proportional paradox, increasing the total number of seats available to balance the parties to their proportional vote can reduce the representation of an individual constituency, even if its population stays the same because the way the proportions are rounded down and then compensated for by an integer number of additional seats can change the balance in the rounding so an electorate loses representation.
Fig 21 Corruptions and paradoxes of electoral democracy: (a) Rounding of “proportionate” assignment of seats can deny a seat to a state which would have received one had there been one fewer seats overall. (b) Two examples of districts involved in racial gerrymandering and three ways of estimating compactness highlight obvious gerrymandered districts. (c) Cracking and packing used to gerrymander an election combine packing opponents into a few districts where their votes exceed 50% and are wasted, while spreading the remainder into a majority of districts where the opponents lose. The efficiency gap counts the losing and wasted votes as a proportion of the whole. (d) Clear example of Republican gerrymandering in Pennsylvania. (e) Increasing Republican bias in the efficiency gap across US states. (f) 3D election map of the 2016 election shows an asymmetric state of conflict between two divergent populations – a thinly dispersed predominantly Republican rural electorate and an intensively packed predominantly Democrat urban electorate whose needs and aspirations are diametrically opposed. In this case the electorates are both being driven by the divisive politics, accompanied by calculated disinformation and in turn driving it towards division through fear of the loss of their cultural franchise. This has resulted in the perfect asymmetric electoral warfare of a classic tyrant. The Republican electorates in the 2016 and 2020 elections do not represent a majority of the population. Trump, a financial 'aristocrat' from New York postures as the saviour of the working class from the rural and 'rust belt' electorates, using a populist strategy to coral a minority base of supporters to frustrate the popular vote, in a campaign riddled with lies, misinformation, claiming the free press is fake news, colluding with foreign states to influence the election and attempting to obstruct justice in the ensuing investigation, in the classic manner of the aristocratic tyrants of ancient Greece acting as defenders of the lower class, who drew their society into misadventure, from which democracy struggled to emerged as a remedy.
Central in all these systems is the allocation of electorate boundaries, because many elections such as GW Bush’s first election was won against Al Gore with less than half the popular vote, as was Donald Trump’s n 2016 against Hilary Clinton. Gerrymandering, choosing election boundaries to favour a candidate or party, is named after a 19th-century governor of Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry, who created an electoral division to bias the vote whose shape was so odd as to remind a local newspaper editor of a salamander. Gerrymandering has become a continuing and increasing feature of the underlying corruption of the US electoral system, which is dependent on first past the post and electoral college voting which can be manipulated to frustrate the common will. Disputes rise to the Supreme Court amid constitutional issues. A variety of methods devised by mathematicians, ,  try to assess objectively the degree to which political parties undermine the democratic principle in a way which can convince the courts.
As noted in fig 21(f), the divisive politics of adversarial two-party systems can also enter a perfect storm feedback loop when the two parties are representing two very different electroates, such as the US case, where there is an asymmetric state of conflict between two divergent populations – a thinly dispersed predominantly Republican rural electorate and an intensively packed predominantly Democrat urban electorate whose needs and aspirations are diametrically opposed, both being driven by divisive politics and in turn driving it through fear of the loss of cultural franchise.
In many ways Winston Churchill's comment thus remains true: “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…”
In response, given the access to information flows facilitated by the internet age, some advocates seek a return to forms of direct democracy not interfaced by elected, or unelected party representatives, including forming decision-making committees by lot as we saw in the early Greek democracies. In a position piece on such developments in Europe, Nathan Gardells comments: For the first time, an Internet-based movement has come to power in a major country, Italy, under the slogan “Participate, don’t delegate!” All of the Five Star Movement’s parliamentarians, who rule the country in a coalition with the far-right League party, were nominated and elected to stand for office online. And they appointed the world’s first minister for direct democracy, Riccardo Fraccaro. “Referenda, public petitions and the citizens’ ballot initiative are nothing other than the direct means available for the citizenry to submit laws that political parties are not willing to propose or to reject rules approved by political parties that are not welcome by the people. Our aim, therefore, is to establish the principles and practices of direct democracy alongside the system of representative government in order to give real, authentic sovereignty to the citizens.” However the five star are now struggling to hold a mandate, amid a resurgence of a nationalistic populist movement with whom they initially cooperated to form a government.
Another participatory tool being used around the world from Iceland to India, is “crowdlaw” – “a form of crowdsourcing that uses novel collective intelligence platforms and processes to help governments engage with citizens. In Taiwan, the new Referendum Act that took effect in January 2018, means the public has “more say than ever in the country’s future.” Running against this trend, the idea of direct democracy has retrenched instead of advanced in the Netherlands. After a non-binding 2016 referendum that expressed euroskeptic sentiment, the Dutch Parliament abolished the referendum law, worried that it would lead to populism.
The difficulty with government by referenda is that there are few safeguards against absolute tyranny of the majority, even it is when razor-thin, or achieved through a campaign of misinformation and foreign interference, as with Brexit. The process is also prone to populist sentiments, as there are no constitutional, or institutional safeguards of accountability for the decisions made, and no moderating influence of a governing track record to establish trust in the proposed agenda, which could become irreversibly repressive on cultural diversity, causing diverse minorities to suffer disproportionately.
Many features of venture capitalism, particularly those that lead towards a tragedy of the commons and a tipping point into climatic crisis, also display graphic features of human reproductive imperatives - distinctively those of the spermatogenetic reproductive strategy of males to accumulate resources exponentially in a winner-take-all venture strategy central to the tragedy of the commons, in the absence of a contravening and complementing female long-term investment strategy across multiple generations, as illustrated for example in the Long Time Project, co-founded by Ella Saltmarshe and Beatrice Pembroke.
The classic Tragedy of the Commons, enunciated by Garret Hardin, is a laissez-faire prisoners' dilemma of mutual economic disaster in which it serves everyone who can, to pillage the commons to its extinction, because if they don't, someone else will. The notion of "Rape of the Planet" – a male sexual crime against Mother Nature – is a central manifestation of patriarchal venture capitalism lacking a balancing long-term out-front feminine reproductive nurturing strategy to maintain the viability of a closing circle of the biosphere. It is this balancing strategy we need to incorporate integrally into our ongoing processes to avoid capitalism threatening our economic and biological viability. The patriarchal competitive winner-take-all investment environment in the electronic age leads to an ever sharpening set of instabilities in which instruments such as futures, originally intended as arbitrage to mediate commodity price fluctuations, themselves become heightened volatility instruments of rapid trade, leading to instabilities, especially in volatile times such as the triple witching hour - the last hour of the stock market trading session on the third Friday of every March, June, September, and December when three kinds of securities: Stock market index futures, Stock market index options and Stock options expire together.
Capitalism is based strategically advantageous use, or misuse, of monetary resources, just as male reproductive investment has a major component of the resource-bearing male securing the sexual commitment of one or more female partners, or by spreading wild oats by enticement and deceit. Classically a majority of ethnic societies are polygynous, with a man able to secure sufficient income to support two wives, frequently doing so. Thus the proportion of men in polygynous marriages in such societies is around one in eight or 1/23, reflecting the inverse cube power law noted in the distribution of capital in human societies. Thus the distribution of financial wealth in capitalist societies is closely tied to the human male reproductive imperative. Nowhere in natural ecosystems do we find one individual possessing a million or a billion times the resources of another member of the same species, except in terms of male reproductive imperatives, where an alpha male bearing the right resources in bulk, display, fighting prowess or monetary or military capital can capture 100% of the reproductive resources of all the females he can command, just as Genghis Khan and his sons did resulting in 1 in 200 men today still having the Khan Y-chromosome.
Another patriarchal feature of capitalist economics is an obsession with exponential growth, to the exclusion of any understanding of how to benefit long-term from inevitable cyclic changes and non-linear feedbacks that arise in natural systems. An exponentiating resource, by its very nature, is unsustainable long-term in any finite environment such as a planetary biosphere. While natural growth is a feature of all living systems, the universal application of exponentials to the economic condition in terms of expectations of an endlessly increasing gross national product, or share and futures markets as an indicator of health has parallels only with male reproductive resource seeking. The health of an economy is not measured by exponential growth, but by long term robustness and the quality of human life it can sustain. An exponentiating economy, like the population explosion, is a long-term threat to our survival through habitat destruction, resource depletion and an unsustainable dynamic that has no day after tomorrow. It is literally a pandemic upon the biosphere with significant risks for human survival as the unrestrained predator. Economics also needs to be able to model itself on the non-linear feedback principles linking natural populations of species to be able to respond intelligently long-term to fluctuating market and natural conditions.
Fig 22: Gross domestic product (top-left) and world population (top-right) have both tracked exponentially between 1300 and the present. These are both unsustainable trends in terms of an enclosing biosphere, and represent a patriarchal fixation with winner-take-all resource expansion, essentially at the expense of the long-term resources able to sustain life and humanity. Human population is behaving as a biosphere pandemic exactly as the Covid-19 pandemic (lower-left) in its exponential climb in the US before social distancing began to reduce the infection infectivity coefficient. Notice that the more Covid cases in NY results in a population decrease, illustrating how two biological populations interact, just as in the black death dip (top-right). A model system (lower right) with three interacting species, each reproducing exponentially, shows how living populations fluctuate sustainably. Human populations are always subject to such fluctuations, through famine, disease or violent conflict. Sustainable future strategies depend on including the carrying capacity of the biosphere and its genetic and biological diversity and non-renewable planetary mineral resources into the feedback system to enable sustainable economic and ecological planning for the future. This cannot occur while short-term patriarchal imperatives dominate world decision-making. It also takes the long-term investment strategy of female reproductive investment as an integral part of the mutual decision-making process to be a viable undertaking.
Other features of capitalist investment, including winner-take-all intellectual property rights, the tendency to short term boom and bust investment at the expense of long-term sustainability, the reckless risk-taking preparedness to pass irreversible tipping points unless damage is exhaustively proven in advance, all reflect the male reproductive imperative's venture risk strategy - preparedness to die to secure reproductive immortality. This is well illustrated in the ballad of Matty Groves facing the risk of death to fertilize Lady Arlen, thus possibly siring a high-born child who will have riches, the choice of many eligible women and thus many offspring. No woman can afford to intentionally risk her life to reproduce because she can only give birth if she IS alive, although in this tragic, tale having invited Matty in as a desirable party while her husband is away, as women are wont to do as part of their genetic reproductive insurance, she curses the Lord for his violent deed and is also murdered.
Fig 23: "Matty Groves" is a ballad probably originating in Northern England that describes an adulterous tryst between a young man and a noblewoman that ends when the woman's husband discovers and kills them. The song dates to at least 1613, under the title Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard and illustrates the fact that male reproductive investment to get a high born lady pregnant is still a survival strategy if his offspring survive and grow up to a privileged situation.
Steady state economists such as Herman Daly, Richard Heinberg and Brian Czech try to make clear that growth pursued over and above what the natural environment and non-renewable resources can sustain is unsustainable bad economics, which may benefit the perpetrator but overall reduces our long-term collective wealth. However, nature itself is stable amid climax diversity and natural fluctuation. This leads to ecological economics, in which the priority is modelling our economic system on natural principles to enable society to coexist over time with the biosphere on which we depend for our survival.
Penetratingly, John Stuart Mill, one of the founders of economics, both hypothesized that the "stationary state" of an economy was the desirable condition, and at the same time, in his work "The Subjection of Women" claimed that society and gender construction was holding women back and that the oppression of women was one of the few remaining relics from ancient times, a set of prejudices that severely impeded the progress of humanity.
Edmundo Braverman's blog "Go get Somebody Pregnant" has an interesting insight into the sexually charged relationship between sowing wild oats, ramped up personal debt and a competitively hungry trading drive. Commenting on an associate's incipient fatherhood honing his approach to business he notes: "It instantly brought me back to my old stockbroker days because, believe it or not, management encouraged knocking someone up all the time for this very reason. … Management understood the correlation between outside pressure and increased production, and you never saw this more pronounced than when one of the guys had some girl pull up pregnant. … That's [also] why they wholeheartedly supported guys getting into enormous amounts of consumer debt. … you'd see a level of motivation and resourcefulness come out in them that you hadn't seen before. … There was certainly no altruistic intent behind my old firm encouraging guys to have kids, but the end result was the same: increased production."
And there is clear evidence from a 2008 research study,  for sexually physiological responses in male stock traders, whose testosterone levels soar on days they make above average profitable trades. This has led to concern they may then become susceptible to excessive risk taking due to a continuing rise in hormones in the "winner effect" useful for ongoing sexual conquests but which in a trading situation could lead to whiplash losses. However, exposure to market volatility and the resulting stress elevated cortisol levels, can potentially lead to a psychological state known as "learned helplessness" where risk aversion may lead to stasis. In men these opposing forces could lead to sentimental boom-bust instability. Paradoxically another study has shown that both high and very low testosterone lead to heightened risk taking, possibly for opposite reasons. Men on the bottom of the social heap need to take risks to reproduce because they have no other choice. Low serotonin is thus also associated with male delinquency.
By contrast with male boom and bust short-term investment another more recent survey in 2012 by Rothstein Kass found that the few hedge funds led by women far outperformed the global hedge fund index. This pattern has continued. In 2018 hedge funds run by women outperformed the industry average by 20% over the previous decade. The HFRI Women index, which pulls in the performance of hedge funds run by female managers, showed these funds returned 9.4% on average in 2017, pushing 10-year returns to over 70%. By comparison, hedge funds across all strategies and genders returned an average of 8.5% last year, and have generated returns of 50% since 2007, according to HFR.
Women hedge fund managers have substantially less assets, because it is harder for a woman to win the money. Jane Buchan, chief executive of Paamco, a $24bn fund of hedge funds notes "To get that same level of assets as a man, you have to outperform by 200 basis points". KPMG, the accounting firm that acquired Rothstein Kass in 2014, in 2017 found 79 per cent of US hedge fund professionals believe it is harder for women to attract capital from investors than for their male counterparts. The disparity between the number of men and women working in the industry is one of the highest in finance, the Northeastern study found. Only 439 hedge funds employ a female portfolio manager, compared with 9,081 that employ a male investment manager. However, as of 2019, many of the highest-profile hedge fund launches this year are led by women.
Fig 25 Left: Women are still under-represented in hedge fund portfolio investment. Right: LouAnn Lofton, a reporter for The Motley Fool, asked the Oracle of Omaha, "Do you think you invest like a girl?" Buffett answered, "I say I'd probably plead guilty."
The reasons attributed to this success were that women are more averse to high risk strategies than men, making them potentially "better able to escape market downturns and volatility" and thus make better long term investors. Author LouAnn Lofton whose book title states "Warren Buffett invests like a Girl" says women "trade less and their investments perform better, that they are more realistic, that they are more consistent investors, and that they tend to engage in more thorough research and ignore peer pressure". Notably' when it comes to the higher risk, venture capitalist arena, women are harder to find - just three women ranked at positions 36, 47 and 82 in the latest top hundred 'Midas list' in Forbes magazine.
However, the presence of women in prominent positions in major corporations doesn't necessarily lead to a change in the capitalist zeitgeist any more than it has in adversarial politics. Business as usual is built on a complex edifice of patriarchal institutions, from company and corporate structures, through banks, commercial law and regulatory regimes all designed to keep the flow of business as usual operating. We cannot thus expect the appointment of Ginni Rometty as CEO of IBM (now executive chairman), Sheryl Sandberg to Facebook, or Marissa Mayer to Yahoo (now of Lumi Labs after resigning when Yahoo was sold to Verizon) to result in iconic qualitative changes in the way these corporations operate in the competitive business environment.
There are also poignant lessons to be learned from the history of radical feminism, which show unbridled female-only strategies can have every bit as disquieting outcomes. Susan Faludi notes in the New Yorker that virtually every feminist who founded a radical movement was subsequently banished from the group. Shulamit Firestone was forced out of New York Radical Women after she and two associates were accused of being ‘defensive’ and ‘unsisterly.’ Marilyn Webb was forced out of Off Our Backs - because she was the only one with journalistic experience, being told 'You can’t write at all; you have to help other people', and banned from accepting public-speaking engagements.
Jo Freeman was ostracized by members of the group Westside she had helped found. “There were dark hints about my ‘male’ ambitions – such as going to graduate school,” she said. Carol Giardina was ousted from her Florida group by “moon goddess” worshippers who accused her of being “too male-identified.” “I don’t know anyone who founded a group and did early organizing” who wasn’t thrown out. It was just a disaster, a total disaster.”
The emerging lesbian wing browbeat Kate Millett into revealing that she was bisexual, and then denounced her for not having revealed it earlier. Millett had a breakdown and was committed to a mental hospital. Firestone, who had been denounced by feminists for violating the “We’re all equals” ethic by accepting a small book advance, when the women wanted to collectively own the copyright, and for appearing on “The David Susskind Show”, developed schizophrenia and eventually died alone in her apartment, apparently from starvation.
Anselma Dell’Olio, founder of the New Feminist Theatre, in New York warned that women’s “rage, masquerading as a pseudo-egalitarian radicalism under the ‘pro-woman’ banner,” was turning into “frighteningly vicious anti-intellectual fascism of the left.” After Ti-Grace Atkinson resigned from the Feminists, a group she had founded in New York, she declared, “Sisterhood is powerful. It kills. Mostly sisters.”
Fig 26: Left: Rise of the Gini coefficient in terms of time
versus advent of horticulture shows a steep increase in inequality
in the Old World associated with use of livestock.
Right: Variations in financial inequality from 1300 in Europe in response to previous lethal pandemics.
In parallel with the evidence of the Neolithic culling of the Y-chromosome (fig 11), is evidence for increasing inequality in large old-world urban civilizations. The research team worked with archaeologists around the world to collect data from 62 sites in North America and Eurasia dating from before 8000 B.C.E. to about 1750 C.E. (They also included one modern hunter-gatherer group, the !Kung San in Africa). From the distribution of house sizes, they calculated each site's Gini coefficient, a standard measure of inequality, discussed below.
Fig 27: World Gini coefficients as percentages. South Africa, Namibia and Haiti are among the most unequal countries in terms of income distribution – based on figures of the Gini index estimates from the World Bank – while Ukraine, Slovenia and Norway rank as the most equal. According to the Palma ratio Ukraine, Norway and Slovenia were the most equal countries to live in when considering distribution of income between the richest and poorest in society. South Africa, Haiti and Botswana had the starkest inequalities in income. Top right: Income shares of the top 1% and 0.1% of people in the US command an increasingly disproportionate share of the total income. Lower right: The world’s richest 62 people command as much income as the entire bottom 50% of the world population, scarcely a fair distribution of world resources and indicative of a very high Gini top trend.
Gini coefficients, fig 27, represent the area of total income taken by a population, ranging from zero, indicating that each person has exactly the same amount of wealth, to one, representing a society in which a single person has all the wealth. The researchers found that inequality tended to gradually increase as societies transitioned from hunting and gathering to farming, supporting long-held hypotheses about how agriculture intensified social hierarchies. In a gatherer-hunter society such as the San, a rough estimate of the variance in male resource accumulation suggests an inverse cubic law where 1 in 8 = 23 males accumulate twice the average male resource. This coincides reasonably with the incidence of polygyny of about 1 in 8 and corresponds to a Gini coefficient of about 0.3. About 2500 years after the first appearance of domesticated plants in each region, average inequality in both the Old World and the New World hovered around a Gini coefficient of about 0.35. This figure stayed more or less steady in North America and Mesoamerica. But in the Middle East, China, Europe, and Egypt, inequality kept climbing over time, topping out at an average Gini coefficient of about 0.6, roughly 6000 years after the start of agriculture at Pompeii in ancient Rome and Kahun in ancient Egypt. The authors propose that domestic animals may explain the difference between the New World and the Old World: Whereas North American and Mesoamerican societies depended on human labour, Old World societies had oxen and cattle to plough fields and horses to carry goods and people.
Consistent with these findings, another study demonstrates that, in contrast to men, rigorous manual labor was a more important component of prehistoric women’s behaviour than was terrestrial mobility through thousands of years of European agriculture, at levels far exceeding those of modern women. Humeral rigidity exceeded that of living athletes for the first ~5500 years of farming, with loading intensity biased heavily toward the upper limb. Inter-limb strength proportions among Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age women were most similar to those of living semi-elite rowers.
Gini coefficients in the modern world range similarly from as low as 0.3 in egalitarian societies such as in Scandinavia up to 0.7 in countries having both a rich elite and a low level of income for the bottom half of the population. Gini coefficients in developed capitalist economies are higher with an extreme excess of income in the very top categories, resulting in a hard J-shaped distribution, but the highest of all are in developing countries with an elite. The top six countries are all African: Lesotho 0.632, Botswana 0.63, Sierra Leone 0.629, South Africa 0.625, Central African Republic 0.613 and Namibia 0.597. The US with 0.47 is high but not as high as Mexico at 0.483, or surprisingly Costa Rica with a strong democratic record at 0.503. The UK has a lower value at 0.324, but has very entrenched land ownership in which aristocracy and gentry own 30%, corporations 18%, oligarchs and bankers 17%, the public sector 8.5% and the public only 5%. The lowest is Slovenia at 0.237 with Scandinavian and several other European countries in the mid-twenties, with Germany on 0.27 and France on 0.31.
Gini figures are subject to instability, both because of grainy low levels of sampling among the highest income earners and because of ambiguities of how to tally negative income at the bottom end due to debt. Both ends also tend to misreport their figures, leading to the use of relative measures, such as the Palma ratio, of the richest 10% share divided by the poorest 40% share, on the basis that middle class incomes tend to represent about half of gross national income, while the other half is split between the richest 10% and poorest 40%. However, all the above estimates are probably too soft, because the richest are extremely adroit at hiding their incomes in convoluted corporate dealings, opaque trusts and offshore tax havens, as the Panama and Paradise papers aptly demonstrate. The true figure is thus likely to correspond more closely with the harder G figures quoted by Chinese research, Oxfam and the UN for world values of 0.7 – 0.8, despite efforts to reduce extreme poverty in developing countries.
Fig 27b Left: Beyond the boundary: The inner green shading represents the proposed safe operating space for nine planetary systems. The red wedges represent an estimate of the current position for each variable. The boundaries in three systems (rate of biodiversity loss, climate change and human interference with the nitrogen cycle), have already been exceeded. Right: The Doughnut Economics model forming a closing circle balancing the outer limits of the sustainable biosphere with the inner shortfalls of human society spanning health, education, energy, food, gender equality and social equity.
A revolutionary female-inspired economic antidote to the paradigm of the GDP and exponentiating growth imperatives, comes from Kate Raworth, who holds positions at both Oxford and Cambridge, in her 2012 discussion paper "A safe and just space for humanity" , forming an interactive template for regenerating a fair, sustainable social dynamics in the closing circle of the natural planetary ecosystem and environment, originally prepared under the auspices of Oxfam in the run-up to Rio+20.
This is built on a 2009 Nature article "A safe operating space for humanity"  in which Johan Rockström and colleagues propose numerical boundaries for seven parameters: climate change, ozone depletion, ocean acidification, biodiversity, freshwater use, the global nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, and change in land use. The authors argue that we must stay within all of these boundaries in order to avoid catastrophic environmental change.
In Kate Raworth's own words:
The goal of the doughnut is to meet the needs of all people within the means of the planet. Sometimes when I present the idea of Doughnut Economics, people say. "Is this capitalism? Or is this communism? Or is it socialism?" And you think 'Really Are these the only choices we have?' The -isms of the last century? Can we not come up with some ideas of our own and create new names for them and see new patterns?
Governments in every country are almost addicted to citing GDP figures as if this was proof of success and yet it's so clearly not. Because we have climate breakdown and Covid lockdown and financial meltdown, we have to pursue something far richer to move from this pursuit of endless growth, which we can now see is hitting us with crisis after crisis, moving too a goal of thriving. And the doughnut is possible to turn not into a single number, but into a dashboard. We can hold policy makers to account and say every year you need to talk about how you are making progress on these different dimensions of the Doughnut.
The outside of the doughnut is created by leading Earth system scientists just a decade ago. These are the nine life-supporting systems of planet Earth. To have a stable climate, healthy oceans, recharging fresh water. And they drew these and called them the planetary boundaries.
But I thought if we go to the centre of the circle where we use hardly any of the Earth's resources, that's not thriving, that is actually death and destitution for billions of people. We need to convert Earth's lands for food, for water, for housing for energy. So I drew this inner circle and so just as there is an outer limit of humanity's pressure on the planet so too there must be an inner limit. o the hold in the middle is a place where people are left falling short on the essentials of life. It's where people don't have the food, water, energy, healthcare, housing, education, political voice that every person has a claim to meeting. We want to leave nobody in this hole. Get everybody into the green ring of the Doughnut itself.
And I think smart policy makers realised that they don't need a solution to financial crisis and a different one to climate crisis and a different one to health emergencies. They need a paradigm that no longer pushes for endless growth, but instead focuses on thriving, on resilience and on well-being within communities. We began with downscaling in rich cities, in high-income nations because they are the ones that have the greatest obligation to transform, to come back within the planetary boundaries. But I believe the framework that we've created can absolutely be adapted and used in low income countries and cities.
Since 2012, there have been initiatives to downscale the Doughnut Economy, so it can apply to individual countries and cities, starting with developed economies where there is an impending need to face these realities, with projects in Amsterdam and "Regenerate Costa Rica" and the spinoff DASH project where researchers have applied the Doughnut to the needs of 150 countries.
As noted in the introduction, the world crisis caused by the Sars-CoV-2 corona virus is a crisis of human misadventure due to exploitation of wildlife habitats driving species into crisis and bringing varieties of wild species into unnaturally close contact due to trafficking and animal markets, where species with endemic viruses such as bats, come into close proximity with animals from civets to pangolins. The misadventure of this crisis has been compounded by human negligence in the face of such impact because we already suffered threatening outbreaks of related corona viruses SARS and MERS, both with high death rates, with infections of each reaching over 20 countries before they were contained, so a third and more devastating pandemic is the wages of negligence.
Humans are subject to an ever-richer spectrum of epidemic diseases because of their intimate interaction with many different wild and domesticated species often under highly unnatural cramped and stressed conditions where outbreaks are a natural consequence. Other diseases such as measles have also come from a zoonotic origin in that case from rodents via rinderpest disease in cattle. HIV and ebola have also been transferred from animal hosts. Plague has also been transferred multiple time from rodents, including the rat and last century the marmot used for fur. Given the exponentiating human population, with mass global travel and densely packed urban populations, Homo sapiens remains a sitting duck for Malthusian epidemics correcting the imbalanced human population impact on the biosphere.
In this situation, Sars-Cov-2 represents a uniquely strategic potential threat to human health, economy and quality of life which remains unresolved. The ACE-2 receptor that is its binding target is widely expressed, not just in the upper airways, but deep in the lungs, the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels and is thus expressed in organs from the kidney and liver to the heart and brain. It combines both the high infectivity of the common cold, able to be turned to an epidemic in days if uncontained, because a single ‘superspreader’ with a huge viral load just before they begin to feel ill can spread it to up to 200 people in a large gathering, combined with the severe lethality of SARS when it infects the lungs or enters the bloodstream, as it does in 12% of people, particularly those over 65.
Consequently, as of 10th April 2020 as I write, it has infected over 4 million people with over 200,000 deaths to date, with deaths in New York City soaring over 2400 per million, two times worse than the highest epidemic peak of smallpox in the 19th century.
The other confounding thing about the about Sars-CoV-2 is that it has bought the entire economic activity of the world to a virtual standstill except for food and medical supplies. It constitutes the first time in world history that half the world’s population has been placed in effective house arrest in a lockdown spanning countries planet wide. Hence it is the most devastating challenge to business-as-usual the planet has ever faced.
This also highlights the fragility of the capitalist economy, where competitive business practices mean that many industries, such as the airlines, have to operate on borrowed capital to survive in the concrete jungle of competing routes and the moment travel, or other activities like the hospitality industry, are curbed for health reasons, many sectors of the economy literally go bankrupt overnight, and go down like a house of cards, in a complete contrast to ecological survival of living species where fluctuations due to predators, diseases, famine and flood require all species to have resilience to adverse conditions, cemented through the cumulative nature of genetic evolution mutation and natural selection. This is completely absent in the patriarchal model of venture capitalism, for which split seconds on the future market, hours in the stock market, days in production industries and three months in terms of economic planning, constitute the only horizons in competitive focus.
This also means that predictions of economic doom are ill-founded, because rebounds from short term health crises, where the death rate is contained, can result in a quick rebound recovery, but the lesson remains that cumulative continuity of life should be the basis of the economy rather than vice versa. The one proviso is that countries in recovery accept a responsibility to alleviate any ensuing consequences such as a third world famine.
Fig 28: (1) The Sars-CoV-2 viral structure. (2) The spike protein open reading frame and folded structure. With one of the three linking points to the ACE-2 receptor in the open (binding) state. (3) The ACE-2 blood pressure receptor and the cellular TMPR protein which activates the binding process. (4) The ACE-2 receptor permeates the body and organs lining the blood vessels. (5) The RNA replicase in resting conformation. An associated protein in corona viruses also provides proof-reading capability. (6) Unrooted evolutionary tree of Sars-CoV-2 mutational strains coloured by locality. Purple is China, yellow is Europe and red is the US which shows several divergent strains on different branches, which have arrived from both Asia and Europe.
There are a number of reasons why the virus is a worthy adversary. Its large genome largest of RNA viruses at 30,000 bases is supplemented by a unique error-correction mechanism which allows a single stranded RNA virus to have a larger genome without suffering a mutational collapse. While this may mean it evolves more slowly, potentially aiding a vaccine, it also means it can edit out mutation-inducing antivirals such as ribavirin which are nucleotide analogues. It is also prone to structural genetic recombination events with other corona viruses when different species are brought into close proximity and which may become sicker due to ill-treatment in transit. Recombination means that whole evolutionary features such as the particular spike protein that binds far more effectively to the ACE-2 receptor than other corona viruses can be coupled with other core genomes, resulting in a highly noxious chimera.
As humans have no immunity to this virus and there is so far no vaccine and no fully effective antivirals, with the best only providing some alleviation, the only way to stop the pandemic completely overwhelming emergency facilities, leaving a percentage of the human population to simply die in the street, is to activate social distancing and with it shut down the economy for all but essential activities involving food supply and urgent medical treatment. This is where the majority of the world has found itself for the last two months.
While the intense focus on developing a vaccine may produce a way to hold the pandemic collectively in check in future, we have no certainty at this point that an effective vaccine that can handle all the emerging strains effectively will be developed and certainly not in a matter of weeks. Vaccine trials for SARS and MERS gave equivocal results and vaccines for several other diseases, including both HIV and the common cold corona viruses have never been forthcoming.
Hence the world has had to fall back on social distancing lockdowns of various intensities to attempt to flatten the pandemic’s exponential and ultimately bell-shaped curve to avoid hospital systems becoming overwhelmed. The difficulty with this is that even if infection rates are much higher than the number of confirmed positive tests, they are still far lower that the 60% plus needed for herd immunity to slow down the infection rate to sustainable levels. Although people do seem to establish an immune response sufficient to recover from the disease if they don’t succumb, we have no idea how long-lasting this will be. The corona viruses causing the common cold which also originated from zoonotic transmission from bats and rodents continue to cause mild disease on an annual basis because effective immunity is short-lived. Indeed, some Covid cases have had up to three recurrent bouts of infection, raising questions over effective immunity. This means that reopening has to be done very carefully, or we will have one or more pandemic rebounds and protracted shutdowns, or a high mortality.
Fig 29: Deaths rates and patriarchal defection: Death rates per million people (centre) are already way above the worst peak of smallpox in the and those of scarlet fever and pertussis 19th century (right), before the covid-19 pandemic has anywhere nearly run its course. Trump issuing tweets “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” AND “LIBERATE VIRGINIA Save your great 2nd Amendment. It’s under siege!” in contradiction to his own medical teams, and supporting the protesters entering the Michigan State Chamber armed, describing them as “good people” who were angry and should be given a deal attests to the patriarchal approach – to care less for the value of life than the greed of economic opportunity – in Trump’s case for his own re-election prospects.
One can also hope that the virus will evolve to become milder, as influenza has done since the 1918 flu epidemic which caused 50 million deaths worldwide, but there is no guarantee that mutations will selectively degrade the very high affinity the spike protein has for the ACE-receptor, which is pivotal to both its infectivity and its lethality.
So the key question running in the thread through this entire article re-emerges. How well does the patriarchal culture handle this pandemic crisis highlighting humanity’s precarious survival relationship with the biosphere?
Looking at the pandemic response internationally, the right wants to get business-as-usual back in business as quickly as possible, even if it means sacrificing the health of its citizens, at the expense of mass mortality. Having failed to prepare for the pandemic and having disbanded the government’s pandemic response as a non-priority Donald Trump then claimed to virus would just “go away” or was like the flu, but finally had to admit his CDC medical advice that the pandemic could cause 100,000 deaths and many more without social distancing. However, before the curve had been flattened he said “We can’t allow the cure to be worse than the problem itself” and having tried to order the states to begin opening when this exceeded his presidential powers over the states, despite the death toll rising currently to nearly 79,000 as of today, he has incited his base protesters to open up states by blockading the legislatures, including armed protesters entering the Michigan state house during session and withholding the federal health guidelines from states trying to make a decision whether it is safe to reopen.
This means that the USA is continuing to experience rates of infection in many states that are not actually containing the epidemic and that reopening is premature. It is also a decision that risks front line workers, including medical personnel at the expense of right-wing legislators and business leaders, who can stand aloof from immediate risk of infection, even though the elderly who are most severely at risk are supporters of the right.
While many male world leaders, from Narendra Modi in India, to Scott Morrison in Australia, despite some early mixed messages, have made an effective response to the pandemic, the response of male world leaders has varied. The leaders of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have all kept the pandemic well under control to the extent that they are now able to open a travel bubble permitting free movement between their three countires due to the low number of continuing cases.
While Spain and Italy were experiencing severe epidemics due to early undetected cases causing a runaway before effective measures were put in place and have now successfully contained the worst phase by stringent social distancing lockdowns, the UK under Boris Johnson shambled its way, at first banking on herd immunity and then doing a U-turn too late before Boris himself came down with a severe case, requiring intensive care, and the UK epidemic has now grown to be one of the most devastating in Europe with nearly 32,000 deaths.
In Brazil, Jair Bolsanaro has done everything he can in Trump’s image to unravel the social distancing instituted by states and cities to protect their population again in the name of the economy and again claiming it was “just a little flu”, despite the burgeoning mass graves in Manaus and other cities.
So it serves as a fitting comparison,, , ,  to look at the way a notable number of female leaders have addressed this crisis. Not all have succeeded completely, it is highly significant that the woman leaders of Germany, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Taiwan, New Zealand, Slovakia, Norway and the State of Michigan have put on and outstanding performance with high levels of public support for sometimes very severe lockdowns, which have been announced in both a clear and consistent way to support the protection of life as the first priority, and with a level of empathy that has brought their populations onside in strong support of their actions.
New Zealand, Taiwan, Iceland and Slovakia, through a combination of social distancing, accelerated testing and careful contact tracing have almost brought their epidemics to the point where the disease could be stamped out entirely, permitting a gradual emergence without high risk of repeated epidemics. Not to forget Jung Eun-kyeong, the head of Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose management of the response has made her a national hero(ine), and an inspiration for virus-fighters worldwide Denmark, the one partial exception, still has a significant continuing rate of infection, although early preventive action was taken and the death rates are comparatively lower there.
Fig 30 Top three rows: Nine woman leaders and their pandemic charts as of 24-6-20, (see discussion below), who have steered their countries/states through the covid-19 crisis with success, keeping infection rates and death rates relatively low, with some on the verge of eliminating the virus. The charts are shown in mid May at left and mid-November at right to show resilience in the face of an escalating pandemic over time. Angela Merkel Chancellor of Germany, Sanna Marin PM of Finland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir PM of Iceland, Mette Frederiksen PM of Denmark, Tsai Ing-wen President of Taiwan, Jacinda Ardern PM of New Zealand, Zuzana Caputová President of Slovakia, Erna Solberg PM of Norway, Gretchen Whitmer Governor of Michigan. Fourth row: Jung Eun-kyeong, South Korean CDC head, Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès, KK Shailaja the Health Minister of Kerala.
The position, as at 13-5-2020:
1. Germany: Angela Merkel’s personal approval ratings have gone through the roof due to her firm but fair handling of the crisis in Germany. “It was very direct, it was very straightforward, down to earth, empathetic and personal.”
2. Finland: Sanna Marin is the Social Democrat prime minister of Finland. On 8 December 2019, at age 34, she became both the world's youngest serving state leader at the time. She has had an 85% approval rating among Finns for her preparedness for the pandemic.
3. Iceland: Led by Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, and deCODE Genetics, a joint initiative has allowed roughly 11.7 percent of Iceland’s population to be tested. Iceland also launched an intensive contact tracing initiative that helped quickly isolate people who may have been exposed to the virus.
4. Denmark: While many of her European neighbours were fumbling around for a response, Mette Frederiksen closed her country’s borders on 13 March. A few days later she closed kindergartens, schools and universities and banned gatherings of more than 10 people. This decisiveness appears to have spared Denmark the worst of the pandemic.
5. Taiwan: President Tsai Ing-wen and her vice president, an epidemiologist, took assertive early measures to limit the spread of the virus, restricting many visitors and implementing new mandatory health checks. Months later, the island of around 23 million people is reaping the benefits with a very low death rate.
6. New Zealand: Jacinda Ardern  shut New Zealand's borders swiftly saying “act hard act fast” and prepared citizens for protracted measures. Her messaging left no room for confusion. “To be absolutely clear, we are now asking all New Zealanders who are outside essential services to stay at home and to stop all interaction with others outside of those in your household. Act towards others as if you have Covid-19”. We have it almost eliminated.
7. Slovakia: Photos of Slovak President Zuzana Caputová and representatives of the new Slovak government all wearing facemasks at the swearing in ceremony of the new coalition government literally travelled around the world. On 16 March, the largest cities introduced the first regulation on compulsory (cloth) facemasks in public transport, the very first such legislation in Europe. It now has one of the lowest death rates in Europe.
8. Norway: After weeks of lockdown, Norway’s infection rate has slowed so much the country has introduced plans to loosen restrictions. Prime Minister Erna Solberg, made a point of "letting scientists make the big medical decisions" and says an early lockdown was the key to their success in combating the coronavirus crisis.
9. Michigan: Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan, has faced a severe wave of US casualties and has earned high poll ratings for her firm policy to protect life, despite being impeded by the Republican legislature, attacks from Donald Trump and both gridlock protest blockages of the main thoroughfares and then armed protests in the State Chamber.
10. South Korea: Jung Eun-kyeong, South Korean CDC head who has achieved heroic status for stopping the pandemic in its tracks in South Korea, despite huge early clusters spread by religious gatherings, through extremely fast bootstrapping of testing and exhaustive contact tracing, using cellphone GPS apps tracking the positvie cases, building on their previous experience with SARS.
11. Belgium: Sophie Wilmès is a prime minister caught in a Faustian Pact. She became prime minister by accident, standing in as a temporary compromise after repeated inconclusive elections, dividing the Dutch-speaking right-leaning north from the French-speaking left-leaning south, which led to an impasse. In Oct 2019, Wilmès was put in charge of a caretaker government while the country's political heavyweights tried to strike a political agreement. As confirmed cases started to mount and the first deaths were reported, Belgium's party leaders — still unable to come to a lasting agreement — tapped Wilmès to lead the country through the crisis. On 16 March 2020, in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, she was nominated by the King to form a permanent minority government by default. Ten parties, including the three in her government, backed a plan to give her emergency powers for six months. A front-page editorial in Le Soir said her nomination was "an elevator to the scaffold". The lockdown was opposed by the North for harming the economy and the South for not being strict enough. Despite instituting a full lockdown beginning 18-3 which has clearly reduced the numbers, Belgium has the highest death rate per million of any country as of May 24th 2020, which has been attributed by her and others to counting all possible deaths as confirmed. Although their testing rate is high, she became a media pariah when hospital staff turned their backs to her lining the street on either side as she passed through to visit a hospital, to call for increased acknowledgment of their efforts, and against a decree to recruit unqualified staff to carry out nursing activities.
12. Kerala: KK Shailaja the Health Minister, nicknamed "the Virus Slayer" for her astounding success where there have so far been only 4 deaths among a population of 34.8 million. Three days after reading about the new virus in China, and before Kerala had its first case of Covid-19, Shailaja held the first meeting of her rapid response team. The next day, 24 January, the team set up a control room and instructed the medical officers in Kerala's 14 districts to do the same at their level. By the time the first case arrived, on 27 January, via a plane from Wuhan, the state had already adopted the World Health Organization's protocol of test, trace, isolate and support.
This shows in graphic detail how female long-term life-centered investment in a time of acute crisis combined with a more empathic response to the plight caused by human populations in lockdown can excel at protecting their populations and realizing the prospect of actual recovery from the epidemic and hence an earlier and cleaner economic recovery as well.
Commentary as at 28-6-2020
Despite Kerala with its long land borders with India being overwhelmed by incoming cases from other states, the "virus slayer" of Kerala had kept the death rate to 0.63 per million -- 16 times lower than India as a whole at a low 10. Germany has had to reinstitute local lockdowns after meat processing clusters. South Korea has had to retighten some restrictions closing schools after clusters arose from gay bars. NZ has had a transitional breakdown of border surveillance, which we are trying to make sure has not resulted in any community transmission as incoming expats with covid began returning after we went down to level 1 with no internal distancing having been covid free for 25 days. Belgium, despite having a very high peak toll, had bought its infection rate down more clearly than the EU as a whole, just as Michigan has done, by comparison with the US as a whole and Democrat states in particular.
The performances in fig 30 stand in vivid contrast to the dismal overall performance of the US in fig 30b, where compared to the EU as a whole, as of mid-August, there has been no effective control of the pandemic, exacerbated by Donald Trump's failure both to adequately prepare for a pandemic, to take sufficient measures at the outset and an increasing failure to take the loss of life seriously by comparison with his own re-election bid. This is again reflected in the failure of Republican-led states to contain their growing case and death numbers, by comparison with Democrat states.
The countries of 6 of the above female leaders form a majority of the top 10 in the Bloomberg Covid Resilience Score Nov 2020
The position, as at 14-11-2020:
1. Germany has been engulfed by a larger second wave driven also by human movement within the EU. The health governance in Germany is by state, so Angela Merkels role as leader has to be enacted through negotiation with state legislators, who do not necessarily agree to further restrictions. Nevertheless Germany has kept the death rate per million to 149 compared with 95 in May, well below neighbouring countries.
2. Finland has also had a second wave but has kept it within similar bounds to the first and its death rate almost unchanged growing only from 54 to 66 between May and November.
3. Iceland has also kept its second wave within bounds but its death rate has climbed from 28 to 70 still low by EU comparisons.
4. Denmark on the European continent has also seen a larger second wave but the death rate has climbed only from 96 in May to 130 in November still a good result.
5. Taiwan has continued to do excellently, remaining one of the two most outstanding countries among the nine due to highly effective rapid contact tracing, without requiring sever lockdown measures. This is signature of a successful popular woman leader, with close cooperation with a health administration already prepared for such a pandemic in the light of previous SARS experience.
6. New Zealand has likewise had an excellent result. Like Taiwan, it is an island country so has been successful with instituting relatively stringent border controls, including 14-day quarantine for arrivals with mandatory testing at days 3 and 12. The first wave was brought under control by a level 4 lockdown and subsequent community clusters have been eradicated to date by rapid testing and contact tracing with regional escalation of social-distancing alert levels when a community outbreak occurs. The death rate remains almost unchanged with only two additional deaths since the first wave was brought under control. Again Jacinda Ardern by combining a firm and compassionate response in close coordination with the Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield has been re-elected in a landslide to form the first MMP government with an absolute majority for Labour.
7. Slovakia, where the female president Zuzana Caputová has only a titular role has succumbed to a larger second wave, with the death rate climbing from 5 to 90 although initial measures were stringent and have been renewed as the second wave struck, including testing everyone in the country.
8. Norway under popular female prime minister Erna Solberg has like Finland kept a firm lid on rampant spread resulting in their second wave only causing death rates to climb from 44 to 55 in the ensuing months.
9. Michigan under Gretchen Whitmer has continued to struggle with a divisive climate of covid mismanagement and denial by Donald Trump, contending with near armed rebellion and a conspiracy to abduct her by Trump supporters discovered by the FBI.
10. South Korea has continued to do well under the guidance of CDC Head Jung Eun-kyeong, so that the second wave has been contained, limiting any increase of deaths from 5 to 9 per million, like Taiwan due to rapid testing and tracing.
11. Belgium has had a runaway second wave with burgeoning death rates growing from an initial wave number of 792 to the rapidly growing 1076 per million in id November, signature of the fact that Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès is merely a caretaker caught between conflicting party ambitions due to an unresolved election.
12. Kerala, despite having initially one of the lowest death rates of any region due to proactive efforts of KK Shailaja has been engulfed by the huge Indian epidemic wave, being a small coastal ribbon with huge land borders. Nevertheless the November cumulative death rate at 49 per million is only a fraction of India’s current moderate death rate of 94 er million.
The performances in fig 30 stand in vivid contrast to the dismal overall performance of the US in fig 30b, where compared to the EU as a whole, there is no effective control of the pandemic, exacerbated by Donald Trump's failure both to adequately prepare for a pandemic, to take sufficient measures at the outset and an increasing failure to take the loss of life seriously by comparison with his own re-election bid. This is again reflected in the failure of Republican-led states to contain their growing case and death numbers, by comparison with Democrat states.
Covid and Climate Responses:
This is a lesson about what is possible for the future of Earth and issues, from climate crisis to biodiversity extinction when female leadership has the power to focus on critical decisions for a sustainable human future. So now let’s turn to climate crisis and see how these leaders stand and what they are prepared to do:
1. Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a New New Year’s message she is fighting climate change with all her strength to enable future generations to live in peace and prosperity. “Global warming is real. It is threatening.” “So we have to do everything humanly possible to overcome this human challenge. It is still possible.” “To do this, we need more than ever the courage to think in a new way, the strength to leave familiar paths, the willingness to try new things, and the determination to act faster, convinced that the unusual can succeed - and must succeed if the generation of today’s young people and their descendants should still be able to live well on this Earth,”
2. Finland: Prime Minister Sanna Marin has said she is keen for the EU to reach a deal on speeding up action to tackle climate change. Arriving at the EU leaders' summit in Brussels, the prime minister told reporters that a new generation was expecting the bloc to act. At Davos, she said the Arctic's melting ice should not be seen as a business opportunity, but a risk to humanity. "It's about climate, it's about our future and that's why we need to tackle climate change if we want to save the Arctic and also tackle the risks concerning geopolitical issues."
3. Iceland: Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir in ‘The Ice Is Leaving’, a personal article in the New York Times, notes: ‘In just a few decades, Iceland may no longer be characterized by the iconic Snaefellsjokull, famously known as the entrance to Earth in Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” In short: The ice is leaving Iceland. Climate change is melting glaciers worldwide. Only we can stop it’. ‘The melting of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will, in the long term, result in dozens of feet of sea-level rise. Scientists cannot pinpoint at what level the melting of Greenland or the West Antarctica ice sheets becomes irreversible. From Florida to Bangladesh, Shanghai to London, communities and livelihoods are already under threat. We have a good chance of averting a catastrophe if we keep warming within a 2.7o Fahrenheit limit. Our chances diminish significantly with 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit of warming. We should heed the warnings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which will publish a new report next month. We must strengthen our resolve to cut emissions, so as to move away from dangerous tipping points’.
4. Denmark: Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the current generation of world leaders will be judged in future on how they reacted to the global climate crisis as she addressed the UN climate summit in New York. Her government has proposed a target of 70 percent reduction in CO2 emissions nationally by 2030. “All generations will at some time face a decisive challenge. A chance to change the world. “Climate change is our decisive challenge. And future generations depend on us”.
5. Norway: Prime Minister Erna Solberg said “Climate change is the biggest problem facing the world. High temperatures, extreme weather and weakened ecosystems put our very foundations at stake. It is a threat to our future welfare and growth,” said at the party’s national conference on Sunday. Norway’s ruling Conservative party programme committee thinks that the country should draw from its international aid budget in order to invest in climate goals. The committee wants to take 12 billion kroner of aid money and spend it on climate, NRK reports. That would give climate double the spending of international aid.
6. New Zealand: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has told the United Nations that member states must immediately combat the "extraordinary threat that climate change poses" to "prevent the worst" from happening. But she said New Zealand was up for that challenge and was determined to be "the most sustainable food producer in the world". Ardern said climate change poses an "extraordinary threat", but to overcome it, member states must "start with an honest appraisal of our current situation". The Prime Minister then outlined that situation for New Zealand, noting that while Aotearoa only accounts for 0.17 percent of global emissions, gross emissions have increased by more than 23 percent since 1990 and net emissions by 65 percent. Ardern pointed to Government policies enacted to combat climate issues, such as the Zero Carbon Bill currently before Parliament which would create a legally binding objective to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees C with a net-zero carbon approach.
7. Slovakia: Their first female President Zuzana Caputová is a green campaigner who will challenge long-standing industrial interests and the financing of coal mining after being elected on Saturday. She has a long-record of championing environmental health, after she led a case against an illegal landfill site for 14 years. Spokesperson Martin Burgr told Climate Home News that climate policy was “one of the key issues”, for the new president, although she has a largely ceremonial role.
8. Taiwan: President Tsai Ing-wen wrote that Taiwan has the ability and willingness to help combat climate change, amid an ongoing climate conference being held in Poland. Taiwan attaches great importance to the issue of climate change, and it is willing to work with everyone to combat the challenges". Taiwan has a more ambiguous record on climate. Greenpeace Taiwan asked the President to quickly devise long-term solutions to energy issues and climate change. While Tsai Ing-wen has unveiled long-term plans for the development of offshore wind power, other areas of green energy development still lack vision, the Tsai administration has failed to present proactive carbon-cutting goals and long-term plans for energy transformation.
9. Michigan: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer created a new office of climate and joined the Climate Alliance. She signed orders on Monday to revamp the state's environmental policy apparatus, becoming the latest newly elected Democratic leader in an industrial swing state to pick up the reins of action on climate change. Michigan will also join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of governors from 19 other states who have committed to the Paris climate principles fighting climate change after the Trump administration withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement. Michigan will work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and carbon pollution, Whitmer said. “It essentially says to the world that Michigan is going to live up to the promise that we as a country made at one point – that Michigan embraces science and recognizes the threat,” Whitmer said. “We’re going to do everything we can to mitigate human impacts that are warming the globe and changing our climate.”
We can thus clearly and immediately see that if it were up to this group of female leaders, effective action on climate crisis would be almost inevitable, protecting future generations, and that action on biocrisis would follow.
On July 22 Christine Lagarde head of the European Central Bank, said Female leaders are doing a better job of handling the coronavirus crisis than men, praising them for honest communication and for showing they care. "The differences in policies and communication in countries led by women were "quite stunning", she said in an interview with the Washington Post . "I am going to be extremely biased. I'm not going to be a central banker at this very moment but I would say that for myself I've learned that women tend to do a better job," she said. Lagarde, the ECB's first female president, singled out the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, for particular praise. She cited Merkel's science-based approach as an example of how "very honest, transparent" explanations of coronavirus data and infection rates helped members of the public appreciate why masks, social distancing and confinement measures were necessary. The female leaders of Taiwan, Belgium and New Zealand had also "carried the water of bad news as well as the water of clear explanation and strong recommendations", she added. By contrast, observers have noted that male, populist leaders such as Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro and Boris Johnson have struggled to contain the outbreaks in their countries. Lagarde, 64, a former French finance minister, said leadership was about "being both responsible and accountable". "It's about caring as well … I think the caring dimension is something that [female leaders] managed to express well. And that was considered by viewers and voters probably as authentic."
An analysis of 194 countries, published by the Centre for Economic Policy Research and the World Economic Forum , shows that women leaders acted "more quickly and decisively" to save lives by implementing lockdowns in their countries early. This decision led to "systemically and significantly better" outcomes for their citizens than countries led by men, the research suggested. Countries that are female-led have suffered half as many Covid-19 deaths compared to male leaders. For example right is shown Ireland with male leadership contrasted with New Zealand, where both have similar total populations (Ireland 4.99 mn NZ 4.87 mn). "Our results clearly indicate that women leaders reacted more quickly and decisively in the face of potential fatalities. In almost all cases, they locked down earlier than male leaders in similar circumstances. While this may have longer-term economic implications, it has certainly helped these countries to save lives, as evidenced by the significantly lower number of deaths in these countries."
We can thus clearly and immediately see that if it were up to this group of female leaders, effective action on climate crisis would be almost inevitable, protecting future generations, and that action on biocrisis would follow.
We thus urgently need affirmative worldwide action, particularly from the women of the world, to fully regain female reproductive and decision-making sovereignty  , to ensure that the female strategy of long-term investment in the quality of life is incorporated into our cultural decision-making and political judgments to counterbalance the patriarchal emphasis on short-term financial gain, based on winner-take-all resource accumulation.
The Picture in October 2021
The figure on the right shows how these countries have performed in 2021 in terms of cumulative death rates in the light of the delta variant. Finland, Norway, Iceland and Denmark have far fewer deaths than Sweden. Despite its central location and high population, Germany has remained only 65% of the EU average. NZ, Taiwan and South Korea have kept their death rates absolutely minimal despite community outbreaks in all three countries. The exceptions are Michigan, where right wing opposition and fluid state borders have overwhelmed Whitmers efforts ending up slightly above the US average and Slovakia where the president Zuzana Caputová has only a titular role in a male led government. Both Belgium and Kerala have had changes of female prime minister and health minister, so have been excluded.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that a world which cannot realistically modify business as usual exploitation to address human impact on the biosphere, risking a planetary tipping point can be stopped in its tracks by a mere virus. By comparison with dealing with a pandemic, the cumulative problems of human impact are far more deleterious to both future quality of life and to the world’s economic viability, and could result in the mortality of many more people than Covid-19. The problems are made all the more intractable because action requires international cooperation to transform our energy economy, but this is mired by national interests and resolute will can be unravelled all too easily by a single defector in a position of power, disrupting the capacity of the world to act cogently and scientifically.
Donald Trump’s announcement of intention to withdraw the US from the Paris Accord stands as an act of dereliction, constituting a tragedy of the planetary commons far more crippling than Covid-19, unless the world can collectively put an end to the politics of dissolution for personal political gain. With climate change, the same patriarchal sacrifice of health and life for immediate gain abets climate denial in favour of the status quo, which others can worry about later. Incited by Trump’s strategic eclipse of its own conservative values, the Republican party has also sacrificed its credibility and respect by collectively entering into a Faustian pact of climate denial for political ends.
However, underlying the climate crisis is a much more serious and potentially devastating one for humanity’s future quality of life, economic future and survival as a species, and that is the mass extinction of biodiversity being driven both by whiplash climate change and wholesale habitat destruction further exacerbated by deforestation and the burning of both the tropical rainforests and temperate forests of Earth, as well as the conversion of vast wilderness areas to monoculture.
Solving climate change doesn’t involve a lockdown bringing the world economy to a standstill, just moderated consumption economics and investing in a smooth transfer to sustainable power generation, so the inertia and inability to make devolving from the carbon economy a world strategic imperative is both bad long-term economics and detrimental to human future viability. The economic factors favouring an easy transition to renewable energy, which is already available and increasingly cost efficient, is being hampered by intentional policies both by the Trump administration and oil producing countries and companies to subsidise continuing polluting forms of energy generation which also depletes non-renewable resources needed by future generations.
The issues of biocrisis and mass extinction are more serious and require a combined strategy of mitigation of habitat destruction, replanting of wilderness areas, conversion of food production and consumption to less polluting and carbon-intensive practices and collecting as much genetic diversity as possible in gene banks to at least conserve plant, bacterial, and fungal diversity. The fate of insect and other small multi-celled animals is also highly important for overall planetary fertility.
Fig 31: (1) World population is predicted to continue to rise through to 2100, with the majority of the increase in sub-Saharan Africa, while Europe and the Americas are stabilizing and Asia will also do so by 2050, however this will increase the world population to 10 billion, with immense pressure on the African continent’s carrying capacity and pressure of migration on all continents. (2) Predicted long term effects of climate change could lead to a catastrophic cumulative heating over millennia, taking the planet back to the previous hot period 50 million years ago, placing many of the plant and animal species on which we depend well out of their evolved climate zone, potentially leading to human extinction because of our continuing dependence on highly evolved plant species. (3) Human intrusion into all available habitats means that the biomass of livestock is over 14 times that of all wild animals and the biomass of humans is over 8.5 times that of all wild animals. (4) This situation is unsustainable and leads directly to mass extinctions of biodiversity which takes up to 50 million years to be addressed by subsequent evolution, as exemplified by previous mass extinctions. (5) The incipient sixth mass extinction that started in the Late Pleistocene has already erased over 300 mammal species and, with them, more than 2.5 billion years of unique evolutionary history. Detailed calculations of mammalian species indicate a time frame of millions of years to recover from the current mass extinctions, by evolving new life forms, but those lost will never be recovered. (6) Species losses of a wider variety of animal and plant phyla. Insects are also suffering catastrophic population decline due to habitat destruction. (7) Scorched-earth clear felling for palm oil plantations. Such wholesale habitat destruction is even worse than burning the rainforest (fig 1) because all living diversity is eradicated in favour of one monoclonal species. (8) Coral bleaching shows how climate change alone can lead to wholesale mass extinction of species in some of the most intense oceanic biodiversity hotspots, leading to a barren ocean. (9) Protected areas are manifestly insufficient to protect biological and genetic diversity. (10) International agreement is urgently needed to make an extension to the areas in (9).
A clear dedicated aim of protecting half the Earth , , , , , from human impact and allowing diversity to replenish in the wilderness is essential for the long-term robustness of the human species over evolutionary time scales. We are very small on the face of the planet. Planetary changes crossing tipping points, if they occurred, would have a much more serious long term impact on the viability of human species, let alone the economy, than adopting the precautionary principle. Changes in the ocean level, once initiated will continue for up to 1000 years due to changes in the planetary albedo as the white polar caps melt. They could also destabilize oceanic floor methane hydrates causing a rapid exacerbation of global heating. They could render vast land areas uninhabitable to humans and for food production reducing the economic carrying capacity of the planet for human life for millennia to come.
Finally, we still remain in a situation of mutually-assured destruction due to a massive overkill of nuclear destructive power which could also lead to a human and biodiversity genocide. This remains a key challenge and a dark comment on the patriarchal winner-take-all death-risking reproductive strategy extrapolated to utopian proportions, which urgently needs to be addressed for the safety of the human species and the biosphere.
All this might seem too difficult a nexus of problems to be solved, except for the unexpected wild card of a young school-age girl with a riveting attention, fuelled by using her tendency to Asperger’s as a ‘super-power’, to create a viral ‘pandemic’ of school strikes spanning all the planet’s continents in a single coherent transformation, rejecting business-as-usual’s calculated inertia, in favour of a liveable future for an otherwise-to-become-stolen generation.
Fig 32 Generational transformation: The activism of Greta Thunberg, by leaving school and standing outside the Swedish parliament demanding action on climate change, galvanised the younger generation into a spontaneous world movement of climate activism. These pictures from around the world show the school strike for climate, from Brisbane, Marovo, New York, Tokyo, Oslo, Kathmandu, London, Paris, Cambridge, Birmingham, Venice, Durban, Sydney, Maastrict, La Paz, Bangkok, Manilla, Berlin, Ankara, Dhaka, Rome, Auckland, Wellington, Hamburg, Nairobi, Mumbai, Washington, Munich, New Delhi, Lahore and Athens. They__ demonstrate that this is a generational issue in which the future generations of humanity know they are being robbed of their heritage and can, despite their younger age rise up to protect themselves, the planet and the future of the human species. Greta’s continuing tenacity and cutting articulacy took her, by sail power to the UN Climate Action Summit, where she made an impassioned statement of the injustice to future generations of the current generation stealing the next generations carbon footprint, being named Time person of the Year in the process. This proves beyond a doubt that child activism has become an integral and necessary world force for change.
My message is that we'll be watching you. This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you! For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you're doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.
You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe. The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius], and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control. Fifty percent may be acceptable to you. But those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of equity and climate justice. They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist. So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us — we who have to live with the consequences.
To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degrees global temperature rise – the best odds given by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] – the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons. How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just 'business as usual' and some technical solutions? With today's emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than 8_ years. There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today, because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.
You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not. Thank you.
These events show that it is possible to address climate crisis and biocrisis, despite the difficulties, and that the children of the world have a key role to play in unravelling the Gordian knot of the business and political leaders of the planet turning the other way, sleepwalking in the status quo for convenience, and failing to address the need to act to protect the future, for the tempting gains of the present.
On the effects of the corona virus, Greta notes: The corona tragedy of course has no long term positive effects on the climate, apart from one thing only: namely the insight into how you should perceive and treat an emergency. Because during the corona crisis we suddenly act with necessary force. The main message that underlines everything we do is, 'Listen to the science, listen to the experts', and all of a sudden you hear everyone everywhere is saying that. It feels like the corona crisis has changed the role of science in our society.
We thus urgently need to support the children of the world, taking their rightful place in strategic decisions over the world’s economic and ecological future, to ensure that human long-term investment in the quality of life is a truly cross-generational engagement and no longer threatens to steal resources from future generations to support an unsustainable adult life style as this generation has done.
A second spontaneous world movement also owes its origins to three woman activists, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter to raise consciousness and initiate a call to action about mistreatment and homicide of African Americans in the US – that black lives matter!
In Jan 2021 the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation won Sweden's Olof Palme human rights prize for 2020. Organisers said the movement was honoured for promoting "peaceful civil disobedience against police brutality and racial violence" across the globe.
Black Lives Matter has become an international human rights movement, which campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people. In 2013, the movement began with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin in February 2012. The movement became nationally recognized for street demonstrations following the 2014 deaths of two African Americans: Michael Brown — resulting in protests and unrest in Ferguson, a city near St. Louis — and Eric Garner in New York City. The overall Black Lives Matter movement remains a decentralized network and has no formal hierarchy.
The movement again became a world focus in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, following Floyd's death by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While these protests began with anger and episodes of night time looting, they rapidly evolved into larger more peaceful forms which attests to the integrity of the network of protesters.
Donald Trump, faced with active protests outside the White House having at one point been sequestered in the White House bunker for his safety, tweeting at the same time that “Great job last night at the White House by the US @secret service ... no one came close to breaching the fence. If they had they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs and the most ominous weapons”, was then derided internationally, particularly by the Chinese who said “Mr President, don’t go hide behind the secret service. Go to talk to the demonstrators seriously. Negotiate with them, just like you urged Beijing to talk to Hong Kong rioters.”
Fig 32: Black lives matter was founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi (centre), in 2013. The images show the burgeoning protests in response to the killing of George Floyd in a choke hold (right) resulting in protests across the US initially involving anger and night time looting, but devolving into massive peaceful protests by a diverse section of society outraged by continuing inaction about US police violence and racial aggression. It the face of Trumps threat to use military force, the protests grew into massive peaceful protests in the face of police aggression including tear gas, flash bangs, rubber bullets and assaults both causing serious injuries, which spread worldwide, including Sweden, England, Japan, Brazil, Spain, Senegal, Denmark, Scotland, South Korea, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Turkey, France, Switzerland, Portugal, Canada, and Germany, despite concerns that this could cause an upsurge of Covid-19. This demonstrates again how a movement founded by concerned women can become a world paradigm shift in human consciousness.
In response, after days of inaction, just as the police, ostensibly ordered by William Barr, descended on peaceful protesters lawfully gathering in Lafayette Park, attacking them with tear gas and flash grenades, Trump declared in the Rose Garden “I am your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters," then demanding that governors across the nation deploy the National Guard "in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets.” He warned that, if they refused, he would deploy the United States military “and quickly solve the problem for them.” He then declared “As we speak I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers," as explosions rang out in the background. “We are putting everybody on warning.” Then proceeding to St. James church Trump, standing alone in front of cameras, raised a black-covered Bible for reporters to see. “We have a great country,” Trump said. “Greatest country in the world.”
Trump had already had his tweets, been censured by Twitter for inciting violence when he stated "these THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!", his phrase mirroring that used by a Miami police chief in the late 1960s in the wake of riots. “If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time,” he told America’s governors. “They’re going to run all over you. You’ll look like a bunch of jerks.” Tweeting on the same subject, Trump reported: “Great job done by all. Overwhelming force. Domination.
"When the looting starts, the shooting starts" is a phrase by Walter E. Headley, the police chief of Miami, Florida, who said it in response to an outbreak of violent crime during the 1967 Christmas holiday season. He accused "young hoodlums, from 15 to 21", of taking "advantage of the civil rights campaign" that was then sweeping the United States. Having ordered his troopers to combat the violence with shotguns, he told the press that "we don't mind being accused of police brutality".
One might have expected that these declarations and the resulting military build-up would have resulted in the protests being dominated, or mass arrests and serious injuries, but this is not what happened. The protests continued to swell peacefully, with many people of all ages and colours joining in in recognition that this was an injustice that needed to be addressed. The looting died down and, despite needles police aggression, including a 75-year-old man Martin Gugino shoved to the ground incurring serious brain damage and people shot with rubber bullets Shantania Love, losing an eye and Derrick Sanderlin suffering a testicle injury that could prevent him having children. Trump tweeted “Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”
The troops were pulled out by military command a few days later. Several key Military have stated opposition to this use of force and the two key military officials present at the church walk have made clear public statements regretting their involvement. The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Mark Milley speaking in a video for a National Defense University commencement ceremony said: "I should not have been there. My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics. "As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it." Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said "The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act," he told reporters. He also distanced himself from a maligned photo-op outside St. John's Church.
The end result has been the birth of a worldwide movement, both in solidarity with addressing the endemic racism in the US which still lingers from the era of slavery, and in rejection of manifestations of institutional racism in countries across the globe. An article in the Atlantic  shows images from Sweden, England, Japan, Brazil, Spain, Senegal, Denmark, Scotland, South Korea, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Australia, Poland, Turkey, France, Switzerland, Portugal, Canada, and Germany. Here in New Zealand there were also protests in most major cities.
This again shows how a movement generated by three woman activists can become a worldwide phenomenon, in which men, women and children of all races, including students, families and working people and elders can come together to affirm our common humanity in the face of discrimination and institutional violence based on race. We cannot afford to let this opportunity slip away. This is a way forward for the whole of humanity.
Fig 33 Left: US-wide protests against police killings of black people May-June. Right: Covid-19 cases mid-March. It is really important that everyone gets tested fast.
Ironically the protests and the Covid-19 pandemic are entwined  . Months after the coronavirus forced Americans into their homes, protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody drove hundreds of thousands of people back to the streets, just as particularly Republican governors were declaring states should open up, valuing capitalist economics over human life, in the face of public health concern at the continuing number of cases. Demonstrators, elected officials and public health expertshave said the risk of being exposed to the virus is acceptable because the protests speak to the enduring effects of racism that lie at the root of Floyd’s death and the disproportionate toll the pandemic has exacted on African Americans. More than 1,000 public health specialists signed a letter supporting the massive outpouring of grief and anger. A report from the National Bureau of Economic Research on 24th June  states that strong evidence that net stay-at-home behavior increased following protest onset, consistent with the hypothesis that non-protesters' behavior was substantially affected by urban protests. This effect was not fully explained by the imposition of city curfews. Furthermore, they find no evidence that urban protests reignited COVID-19 case growth during the more than three weeks following protest onset. More than 15,000 people were tested at centers Minneapolis set up in communities affected by the protests, and 1.7 percent of tests came back positive — below the statewide average of about 3.6 percent leading to the same conclusion .
The governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer attended a street protest even though it appeared to violate her own order demanding social distancing. So did Pennsylvania’s governor, Tom Wolf. Washington’s mayor Muriel Bowser for weeks had a Twitter handle that told people to “stay home” — while sharing video of protesters massing near the White House on a street emblazoned with a mural she commissioned. She said last week she was “very concerned” about a possible spike in cases of novel coronavirus, stemming from the protests: “This is a mass gathering that we don’t want for the prevention of covid.” But she also joined those protests and at one point took off her mask. On Wednesday, she said she had been tested for the virus and told reporters, “People have a right to exercise their First Amendment rights, especially in the District of Columbia.”
The letter signed by public health experts and written by infectious-disease experts at the University of Washington said that “as public health advocates, we do not condemn these gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national public health. This should not be confused with a permissive stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders.”
Here is a brief story of how it the movement began  . Alicia Garza was watching television news in an Oakland, Calif., bar with friends in 2013 when neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old African-American. "It was as if we had all been punched in the gut". She pulled out her phone to check Facebook. "What I saw was really disappointing." Many of the responses "were blaming black people for our own conditions". "It wasn't Trayvon Martin's fault that Zimmerman stopped him and murdered him. ... It really has to do with a society that has a really sick disease and that disease is racism." "I felt not only enraged but a deep sense of grief that I can't protect him. I can't protect him against this cancer," she said. So she composed a love note to black people on Facebook, urging them to come together to ensure "that black lives matter."
Her friend, Patrisse Cullors, a community organizer from Los Angeles, spotted the Facebook post and put a hashtag in front of those three words. #BlackLivesMatter was born. The hashtag spread so quickly on social media because it distilled the complexities of police brutality, racial inequality and social justice "into a simple, easy to remember slogan that fits in a Tweet or on a T-shirt," said Travis Gosa, social science professor in Africana studies at Cornell University and editor of the upcoming book Remixing Change: Hip Hop and Obama. The hashtag leaped from social media to the streets, mobilizing a new wave of civil rights protests in the U.S. with the killings of Martin, Oscar Grant, Michael Brown and Eric Garner. In marches, sit-ins and rallies across the country, protesters have shouted the slogan, plastered it on posters and printed it on T-shirts.
James Taylor, professor of politics at University of San Francisco notes the key attribute of this message is the common good effectively healing the division: "What it has done so well is it has reasserted the importance of recognizing African-American lives as part of the common good of America". In a fundamental way Black Lives Matter is a feminine statement of the intrinsic value of life and of ongoing life, where "Black Power" coined by Stokely Carmichael, to replace Martin Luther King's "Freedom now!" is a more masculine statement of power-over.
Since these events, Trump has advertised for his first election rally, in Tulsa Oklahoma on the Juneteenth anniversary celebrating the emancipation of the last remaining enslaved African Americans in the Confederacy in Texas. He has since put the date forward a day but is still holding it in Tulsa.
The decision to hold the rally in Tulsa in the midst of the protests has been criticised as all the more incendiary for the widely understood historic symbolism of the Tulsa race massacre in which up to 300 black Americans were killed by white mobs  . Greenwood was a gentrified neighbourhood prosperous on the income from oil, described as the "Black Wall Street". Over 10,000 were made homeless and 6000 were herded into internment camps. No one was ever prosecuted nor tried. The massacre took place over two days from 31 May to 1 June in the highly segregated city, with mobs attacking the Greenwood neighbourhood. Over two days of violence, according to a later Red Cross estimate, 1,256 houses were burned, and two newspaper offices, a school, a library, a hospital, churches, hotels, stores and black-owned businesses were among the buildings destroyed or damaged by fire.
Trump and the Republican Party are also facing criticism for arranging for Trump to formally accept his party's nomination for re-election in Jacksonville, Florida, on Aug. 27 — a day remembered as Ax Handle Saturday in the city. On that day in 1960, a group of young black men and women had just dispersed from a peaceful protest in downtown Jacksonville when a mob of whites began indiscriminately clubbing African Americans. Although police had not intervened when the protesters were attacked, they then arrested those who attempted to stop the beatings. The anniversary will be commemorated in a public square across from City Hall — on the same day as Trump's address.
As is now known, the Tulsa rally's organisers removed social distancing stickers from the alternate seats installed by the venue, the venue was only a third full and subsequent rallies have been cancelled due to a second wave of corona virus infections across the states Trump has urged to reopen before the infection has been contained.
"The city of Tulsa is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases, a little over 2 weeks after President Donald Trump held a campaign rally in an indoor arena there. Dr. Bruce Dart, Executive Director of the Tulsa Health Department, said in a press conference on Wednesday there are high numbers being reported this week, with nearly 500 new cases in two days and trends are showing that those numbers will increase. There had been a 20% decline in new Covid-19 cases the week of June 28 through July 4" .
Neil Young is suing Donald Trump's campaign for alleged illegal usage of his music (Guardian 4-8-20). The musician claims that Rockin' in the Free World and Devil's Sidewalk were played at the president's recent rally in Tulsa without a license. Both songs have also been used before by the campaign. "This complaint is not intended to disrespect the rights and opinions of American citizens, who are free to support the candidate of their choosing," reads the copyright infringement complaint filed in New York federal court. "However, Plaintiff in good conscience cannot allow his music to be used as a 'theme song' for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate."
The names most associated with Black Lives Matter are not its leaders but the victims who have drawn attention to the massive issues of racism this country grapples with: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and back to 2013, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Florida.
"Seven years ago, we were called together. There were about 30 of us standing in the courtyard of this black artist community in Los Angeles, summoned by Patrisse Cullors, one of our co-founders and one of my dearest friends," says Melina Abdullah, a professor of Pan African Studies in Los Angeles and co-founder of one of Black Lives Matters first "chapters" . "It was students … artists, organisers and mommas. We knew that it was part of our sacred duty to step up. And there was an audaciousness that we could transform the world, but we didn't have a plan for it".
Those who have been involved with Black Lives Matter since its embryonic stages say its decentralised approach is intentional. "Group-centred leadership is in our guiding principles," says Prof Abdullah. "Leadership is not just about oratory, it's also about facilitation, planning, bringing arts to the movement, things that don't get as much recognition".
The leadership in many Black Lives Matter chapters is also often female. "Black women have always been at the heart of the black freedom struggle. Often times they have been painted over, and this time we are refusing to allow ourselves to be painted over," says Abdullah. The guiding light for this doctrine, and for Black Lives Matter as a whole, she says, has been Ella Baker - the feminist civil rights and human right activist, who championed collective grassroots activism over activism focused on a single leader, whose career spanned more than five decades.
Trump's response to Black Lives Matter has been to utter the "N-word" to claim it is a symbol of hate rather than the protection of human life: "NYC is cutting Police $'s by ONE BILLION DOLLARS, and yet the @NYCMayor is going to paint a big, expensive, yellow Black Lives Matter sign on Fifth Avenue, denigrating this luxury Avenue," Trump wrote on Twitter shortly after de Blasio announced the timing of the plan. "This will further antagonize New York's Finest. Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by a mayor who hates & disrespects them, won't let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York's greatest street. Spend this money fighting crime instead!"
Fig 35: NY mayor Bill De Blasio flanked by his wife, Chirlane McCray, and the Rev Al Sharpton helped paint BLM outside Trump Tower
De Blasio flanked by his wife, Chirlane McCray, and the Rev Al Sharpton helped paint the racial justice rallying cry in giant yellow letters on Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower. Activists watching chanted: "Whose streets? Our streets!" De Blasio said: "When we say 'Black Lives Matter', there is no more American statement, there is no more patriotic statement because there is no America without Black America, we are acknowledging the truth of ourselves as Americans by saying 'Black Lives Matter'. We are righting a wrong.
Opal Tometi makes absolutely clear that Trump is a focal force for racial division, just as he is a spoiler of constructive world action on climate crisis: “As an organizer and advocate that works with Black immigrant communities and the daughter of Black immigrants, let me be clear: President Trump’s statement calling Haiti and African nations “shithole countries” is racist. The President is racist.”
“Unfortunately, it is all too believable that this is how the President speaks in private, because his public policies have been driven by racism and hatred since day one. This is about far more than just vulgar language. It is about Trump’s vicious policies that treat immigrants and people of color as less than human.”
“President Trump has demonstrated time and time again that he is mentally incapable of imagining the humanity of anyone who looks different from him or hails from a different nation — unless that is a predominately white nation, like Norway. In which case, they help his Make America White Agenda much easier. But it is not enough for our nation’s leaders, on both sides of the aisle, to denounce Trump’s words. Now is the time for action.”
Fig 36: Portland, Oregon July 21 The MOMs enjoin BLM protests to protect peaceful demonstrators in the face of unmarked federal officers ordered in by Trump summarily arresting people with no identification and no reasonable cause. The mayor and the Governor have protested that their actions are inflaming the situation and the Oregon attorney general has filed suit against the federal government. Another wave of female inspired peacekeeping in the face of male violence initiated by the President.
This call of action is a call to all people of Earth, but particularly the citizens of the USA, to take action for the common good of the USA, and of the entire planet.
In response to the Black Lives Matter protests Greta Thunberg says:
In response to the Black Lives Matter protests Greta Thunberg says:It was always the side for justice and it feels like we have passed some kind of social tipping point where people are starting to realise that we cannot keep looking way from these things. We cannot keep sweeping these things under the carpet - these injustices. People don't want to hear me talk about this and people won't be able to handle this so they will try to silence me and some people know no limits. They are trying to silence you for a reason and that reason is because you are too loud and if you are loud, that means you are having a difference and having an impact. It shows that in a crisis, you act, and you act with necessary force. Suddenly people in power are saying they will do whatever it takes since you cannot put a price on human life.
By removing Donald Trump in this November’s election, the key obstacle to protecting ours and our children’s and grand-children’s futures from climate crisis, the loss of the diversity of life and racial and social division would cease to exist. We can all be thankful that a transition has already taken place in the minds of so many, to affirm and realize the common good in these worldwide demonstrations, just as the young people of the world have done over climate change and the theft of their future world heritage, but the real work to recover human unity has only begun.
In 2017, Trump used his first official meeting with congressional leaders to falsely claim that millions of unauthorised immigrants had robbed him of a popular vote majority. Trump received 304 electoral votes to capture the White House, but he fell almost three million votes short of Hillary Clinton in the popular vote. That reality appeared to have bothered him since Election Day, prompting him to repeatedly complain that adversaries were trying to undermine him. Voting officials across the country said there was virtually no evidence of people voting illegally, and certainly not millions of them. He would have received 306, but two electors for Trump and five electors for Clinton went rogue, voting for neither of the candidates. Adam Jentleson, a top aide to retiring Senate minority leader Harry Reid commented: "There's not going to be a grace period this time because everybody on our side thinks he's illegitimate and poses a massive threat." There were protests against the election in state capitols, from Pennsylvania to Michigan.
Fig 37: The Michigan capitol in Lancing. Lower left: Peaceful protest against Trump's election in 2016. Clockwise from top left, armed protest against corona virus measures 1 May 2020. Three of the people posing in the above images were subsequently arrested in October for a planned abduction and possible execution of Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who is announcing the arrests lower right.
On 18th April 2020, the Washington Post notes in the article Trump's 'LIBERATE MICHIGAN!' tweets incite insurrection. That's illegal. "President Trump incited insurrection Friday against the duly elected governors of the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia. Just a day after issuing guidance for re-opening America that clearly deferred decision-making to state officials — as it must under our Constitutional order — the president undercut his own guidance by calling for criminal acts against the governors for not opening fast enough". On 1st May 2020 an armed protest forcibly entered the Michigan capitol protesting against the Corona virus measures of Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
In late Sep 2020, during his first debate with Joe Biden, when asked to condemn "white supremacists and militia groups", Trump gave a largely garbled answer. One part of his answer, however, was crystal clear. "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by." The New York times notes that: "Rather than condemn white power groups, Mr. Trump instead issued an unambiguous call to them to be ready".
In Oct 2020 a plot was uncovered by the FBI concerning right-wing militia who 'talked about murdering tyrants, or taking a sitting governor' whom they planed to execute for treason. Several of those charged had participated in the armed protest on 1 May as shown in fig 37. The Governor Gretchen Whitmer noted Trump's failure to address the pandemic and incitement to violence in her media release:
Today the Attorney General Dana Nessel was joined by officials from the Dept. of Justice and the FBI to announce State and Federal charges against thirteen members of two militia groups for preparing to kidnap and possibly kill me. This should be a moment to come together to meet this challenge. Instead, our head of state has spent the last seven months denying science, ignoring his own health experts, stoking distrust, fomenting anger and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division. Just last week the president of the United States stood before the American people and refused to condemn white supremacist hate groups like these two Michigan militia groups "Stand back and stand by" he told them. Hate groups heard the president's words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry, as a call to action. When our leaders speak, their words matter, they carry weight. When our leaders meet with, encourage and fraternise with domestic terrorists, they legitimise their actions and they are complicit.
"Every time that this White House identifies me or takes a shot at me, we see an increase in rhetoric online – violent rhetoric," the Michigan governor said. The foiled kidnapping plot "took it to a whole new level". Biden said he had spoken to Whitmer and delivered a harsh rebuke of Trump's rhetoric: "There is a throughline from President Trump's dog whistles and tolerance of hate, vengeance and lawlessness to plots such as this one. He is giving oxygen to the bigotry and hate we see on the march in our country." In a tweet, Trump renewed his attacks on Whitmer, saying she had "done a terrible job", before saying: "I do not tolerate ANY extreme violence. Defending ALL Americans, even those who oppose and attack me, is what I will always do as your President! Governor Whitmer – open up your state, open up your schools and open up your churches!"
At an election rally in October, Trump demurred whether the planned abduction and possible execution was even a problem: "Your governor, I don't thinks she likes me too much. Hey, hey, hey hey, I'm the one, it was our people [FBI] that helped her out with her problem. I mean, we'll have to see if it's a problem. Right? People are entitled to say maybe it was a problem, maybe it wasn't." When the president first mentioned the Michigan governor's name, the crowd began chanting, "lock her up." Mr. Trump responded, "I don't comment on that because every time, if I make just even a little bit of a nod, they say, 'the president led them on.' Now, I don't have to lead you on." Whitmer responded during an interview with CBS News: "Every time he sets his sights on me, I get more death threats. The violent rhetoric has an uptick. And there's no question that it's had an impact. I've had to have conversations with my teenage children about why there's people with AR-15s on our front lawn on more than one occasion. I think that the mob mentality that has been stoked, the fear that has been exploited, the anger that has been incited, is real and it has real impacts."
In the lead-up to the 2020 election, Trump repeatedly declared that the election was "rigged" because of postal voting, although it was a necessary safety measure, given the Covid-19 pandemic, was used by Republican and Democrat governed states alike, and Trump had himself postal voted in Florida. This had the effect of intentionally suppressing Republican postal voting, so that the Republican votes were registered due to in-person voting before the postal and largely Democrat votes, giving Trump a chance to declare he had won on Nov 3.
In the early hours of Wednesday 4 November, while votes were still being counted and three days before the US networks called the election for Joe Biden, President Trump claimed victory, alleging "a fraud on the American public", prematurely declaring a fraudulent victory, before the tide of Democrat-leaning postal votes eventually changed the picture, as Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and eventually Georgia flipped to a landslide for Biden, gaining precisely the 306 electoral college votes Trump had secured in his surprise win in 2016.
Fig 38: Stop the Steal traffic – election to insurrection.
By mid-afternoon a Facebook group called "Stop the Steal" was created and quickly became one of the fastest-growing in the platform's history. By Thursday morning, it had added more than 300,000 members. Many of the posts focused on unsubstantiated allegations of mass voter fraud, including manufactured claims that thousands of dead people had voted and that voting machines had somehow been programmed to flip votes from Mr Trump to Mr Biden. But some of the posts were more alarming, speaking of the need for a "civil war" or "revolution". By Thursday afternoon, Facebook had taken down Stop the Steal, but not before it had generated nearly half a million comments, shares, likes, and reactions. Dozens of other groups quickly sprang up in its place. The idea of a stolen election continued to spread online and take hold. Soon, a dedicated Stop the Steal website was launched in a bid to register "boots on the ground to protect the integrity of the vote".
Fig 39: The 2020 Election. Philadelphians celebrating the Pennsylvania election results and Joe Biden's victory.
This ploy had been a cynical insurance plan, knowing he had at most 45% support throughout his term and was appealing only to his hard-core base. He then immediately alleged widespread voter fraud, tweeting relentlessly in the ensuing days, mounting fruitless court cases rising to the US Supreme Court, all of which were unsuccessful, as well as trying to press Republican legislators to defy the will of the people to choose rogue electors, and in the case of Georgia pressing the Attorney General in an hour-long phone call to find the 11,000 odd votes required to tip the state long after the multiple recounts and the official count had already been confirmed.
On Dec 18 Michael Flynn in a Newsmax interview proposed Trump declaring martial law:
"There is no way in the world we are going to be able to move forward as a nation. [Trump] could immediately, on his order, seize every single one of these [voting] machines," Flynn said in apparent reference to the conspiracy theory that voting software flipped Trump votes for Biden. "Within the swing states, if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities, and he could place those in states and basically rerun an election in each of those states. I mean, it's not unprecedented. These people are out there talking about martial law like it's something that we've never done. Martial law has been instituted 64 times."
Flynn who was pardoned by Trump at the beginning of December told Trump: "Millions & millions & millions of Patriots stand behind, alongside & in front of you during this crucible moment in US History where our very Republic is on the line. We won't fail or cower like some in the Republican Party have shown."
Then on Dec 19, Trump tweeted: "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th! Be there, will be wild!"
On Jan 3, anticipating a crisis, all 10 of the living former defense secretaries declared the election is over in a forceful public letter saying there is no role for the military in changing the election results, in an extraordinary rebuke to President Trump and other Republicans backing unfounded claims of widespread fraud at the ballot box.
"Our elections have occurred. Recounts and audits have been conducted. Appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts. Governors have certified the results. And the electoral college has voted. The time for questioning the results has passed; the time for the formal counting of the electoral college votes, as prescribed in the Constitution and statute, has arrived. Efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory. Civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such measures would be accountable, including potentially facing criminal penalties, for the grave consequences of their actions on our republic."
On Jan 4 Politico described it prophetically, if a little complacently in retrospect:
Timed to the day when Congress will formally certify President-elect Joe Biden's win, the MAGA crowd is trying to pressure Vice President Mike Pence and Republican lawmakers to refuse to seat Biden over fabricated voter-fraud claims. According to disinformation and extremist researchers, the Jan. 6 gathering will look similar to November's Million MAGA March — a mashup of garden-variety Trump supporters and more extreme members of the far right, with no apparent central organizing apparatus. Stop the Steal, a group affiliated with pro-Trump super PACs and allies of Trump adviser Roger Stone, has filed for permits and plans to protest outside the Capitol, but other groups have also claimed to be the true official planners. There's one key difference with this march, however. After weeks of failed lawsuits, flailing investigations and Republicans unhitching themselves from Trump's quest to keep the presidency, the Wednesday rally might be the last one while there's still a plan — even if it's an ill-fated one — to subvert the election.
On Jan 5, a day before rioters stormed Congress, an FBI office in Virginia issued an explicit warning:
"As of 5 January 2021, FBI Norfolk received information indicating calls for violence in response to 'unlawful lockdowns' to begin on 6 January 2021 in Washington, D.C. including individuals sharing a map of the Capitol complex's tunnels, and possible rally points for would-be conspirators to meet in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and South Carolina and head in groups to Washington. An online thread discussed specific calls for violence including stating 'Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal." Wash Post
On jan 5,in a video posted to several of his social media accounts Steve Bannon promised listeners of his podcast - called "War Room": "All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. It's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen. OK, it's going to be quite extraordinarily different. And all I can say is, strap in ... You have made this happen and tomorrow it's game day. So strap in. Let's get ready."
Speaking at a DC rally on the night of January 5, Roger Stone said: "This is nothing less than an epic struggle for the future of this country between dark and light, between the godly and the godless, between good and evil," he said. "And we will win this fight or America will step off into a thousand years of darkness. We dare not fail. I will be with you tomorrow shoulder to shoulder."
Left: Roger Stone flanked by Oath Keepers Morning of Jan 6 later at insurrection (left centre). Right centre: Trump "You have to fight like hell ... We're going to try and give them the pride and boldness they need to take back our country. So let's walk down Pennsylvania Avenue". Near right: Nine Oath Keepers have been indicted by a grand jury on charges that included conspiracy, including seven members of the tactical "stack" seen entering Capitol in combat gear. Prosecutors say the group used military-style tactics — keeping hands on each other's backs to communicate as they entered the building — and coordinated with other Oath Keepers before and during the attack, using apps like MeWe and Zello. Far right: Prosecutors argued during a hearing that Dominic Pezzola, 43, should be detained because his charge of destroying government property qualifies as a crime of terrorism. Prosecutors say Pezzola ripped a riot shield away from a Capitol Police officer and was later filmed (lower) using the shield to smash through a window of the U.S. Capitol.
On the morning of Jan 6, at the Save America Rally in the Ellipse outside the White House, Trump incited the 8000 strong crowd:
"Nobody until I came along had any idea how corrupt these elections were. But I said something's wrong here. We can't let it happen and we fight. You fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore. ... The best is yet to come. So we're going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. And we're going to the Capitol. We're going to try and give our Republicans – the weak ones because the strong don't need any of our help. We going to try and give them the pride and boldness they need to take back our country. So let's walk down Pennsylvania Avenue". YouTube
Rudi Giuliani speaking at the event said: " Criminals hide evidence, not honest people ... so let's have trial by combat!". Mel Brooks, a staunch House conservative and one of Trump's closest congressional allies, was one of the first speakers and his fiery language helped set the tone for what came next: "Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass! Our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes and sometimes their lives... Are you willing to do the same?" Later from the Capitol under siege, he tweeted: "Tear gas dispersed in Capitol Rotunda, congressmen ordered to grab gas masks under chairs in case have to leave in haste!"
Fig 40: The Trump Insurrection
An AP investigation of over 120 people photographed found the insurrectionist mob that showed up at the president's behest and stormed the U.S. Capitol was overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters, including Republican Party officials, GOP political donors, far-right militants and white supremacists, including the Proud Boys, whose leader Enrique Tarrio had been arrested for a firearms offense in advance of the demonstration, members of the military and adherents of the QAnon myth that the government is secretly controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile cannibals. Records show that some were heavily armed and included convicted criminals, such as a Florida man recently released from prison for attempted murder.
As Pence had to be ushered out of the Senate chamber after protesters overwhelmed law enforcement outside the building and broke inside, Trump tweeted:
Liz Cheney, who voted to convict Trump in the House stated on Feb 7th: "People will want to know what the president was doing," she said. "They will want to know whether the tweet that he sent out calling Vice-President Mike Pence a coward while the attack was underway was a premeditated attempt to provoke violence."
Both the Senate and House were put on siege and the members cowered in the aisles and were eventually sequestered as security guards with hand guns tried to hold the doors. Trump tweeted “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” but did not call for them to disperse from the Capitol.
A video posted to the New York Times shows those entering the Capitol clearly stated that they were there at the instigation of Trump: "You're outnumbered. There's a fucking million of us out there. We are listening to Trump - your boss. Let the people in! We are listening to Trump and I think Cruz would want us to do this. Where the fuck are they? [the House and Senate members] While we're here we may as well set up a government. Where the fuck is Nancy? Hawley and Cruz – I think they would want us to do it. I think we're all good. They ain't got a choice. There's half a million people here. There's four million people coming. "It's only a matter of time! Justice is coming!"
During the process, Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruise, who had sworn to block the electoral college vote for Joe Biden were sending fund-raising e-mails to supporters, and still did so despite the insurrection. This has led to calls for their resignation or disqualification from holding federal office under the 14th Amendment, enacted to prevent Confederate politicians gaining federal office after the civil war, as has also been mooted for Trump, because it requires only a majority vote of both houses but a 2/3 majority to overthrow it.
While the mob rampaged in the Capitol, Trump who was watching it all on TV, and ignored the urgent calls of Republican senators, including Lindsey Graham, who instead tried to contact him through Ivanka to beseech him to publicly call for a stop to the insurrection. Trump took no action to activate the national guard, called eventually by consultation with Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence, instead calling senators to pressure them to halt the electoral college confirmation of Joe Biden's win, in an election declared to be the most secure in US history, which his Attorney General Bill Barr stated lacked any evidence of fraud while his cyber security chief Chris Krebs, had been fired for his honesty after pushing back and vouching for its reliability.
Officer Michael Fanone of DC Metropolitan police endured several Taser shocks in the back of his neck before things got worse. "Some guys started getting a hold of my gun and they were screaming out, 'Kill him with his own gun," he said. Fanone is still recovering from a minor heart attack he suffered during the assault. He told CNN that he would have rather been shot than dragged into that crowd, where he didn't have any control. While Fanone weighed using deadly force, it was clear to him that he lacked sufficient firepower. Fanone thought that the rioters would still overpower him, and feel like they had a reason to kill him if he had opened fire. "So, the other option I thought of was to try to appeal to somebody's humanity. And I just remember yelling out that I have kids. And it seemed to work".
The FBI has opened a murder probe into the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher. A criminal complaint identifies Robert Sanford 55, a retired Pennsylvania firefighter as the man seen on video also hurling a fire extinguisher at officers. It hits one officer who was wearing a helmet in the head, then ricochets and strikes a second officer, who was not wearing a helmet, and then ricochets again to strike a third officer, who was wearing a helmet. Sanford is not suspected in the death of Brian Sicknick. When Mr. Sanford got home, according to a criminal complaint filed last week, he told a friend he had gone to Washington to hear Mr. Trump, then "followed the president's instructions" and moved on to the Capitol.
MPD Officer Daniel Hodges, 32, had already been on shift for several hours before the rioting began. "We were battling, you know, tooth and nail for our lives," he told ABC News. In one viral video, Mr Hodges is seen pinned in a glass doorway between officers and the crowd, as rioters strip his gas mask from his face and beat him with his own police-issued baton. One rioter tried to gouge his eyes. "That was one of the three times that day where I thought: Well, this might be it," said Mr Hodges. "This might be the end for me." As he choked on tear gas, he is seen on video gasping for air to call out for help. Enough police were eventually able to push through the melee to extract him. "I had conspiracy theorists and everyone you could think of yelling at me, saying, 'Why are you doing this, you're the traitor,'" Mr Hodges told radio station WAMU. "We're not the traitors. We're the ones who saved Congress that day, and we'll do it as many times as necessary." Despite fearing for his life, Mr Hodges says he decided not to use his gun on the crowd. "I didn't want to be the guy who starts shooting, because I knew they had guns - we had been seizing guns all day," he told the Post.
A court filing against Jacob Anthony Chansley, a.k.a. "Jacob Angeli," who rallied people inside the Capitol using a bullhorn and was notable for his headdress, face paint and carrying of a six-foot spear (fig 39). "Strong evidence, including Chansley's own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government". In the court filing they note that Chansley approached Officer Robishaw and screamed, among other things, that this was their house, and that they were there to take the Capitol, and to get Congressional leaders. Chansley also used his bullhorn to communicate that they were there to take out several United States congressmen. Chansley has espoused on twitter identifying and then "hanging" "traitors" within the United States government." Prosecutors since asked that the quoted line be sruck out. In court, a prosecutor for the Justice Department in Arizona, said the DOJ may want to argue that type of assertion if Chansley goes to trial, but cannot say that at the moment. "We do not want to mislead the court by discussing the strength of any specific evidence" related to his intent, Allison said." Nevertheless the judge remanded Chansley in custody. Chansley called the FBI the day after the insurrection and told agents he traveled "at the request of the president that all 'patriots' come to D.C. on January 6, 2021." Chansley's lawyer has said Trump should do the “honourable thing and pardon those of his peaceful followers who accepted the president’s invitation”. "Does our president bear responsibility?" the lawyer, Al Watkins, told The New York Times. "Hell, yes, he does."
Jenna Ryan, a Texas real estate broker took a private jet to Washington to join the attack stating: "We're gonna go down and storm the Capitol. We are going to fucking go in here. Life or death, it doesn't matter. Here we go." Photographing herself beside a broken Capitol window, she posted "if the news doesn't stop lying about us we're going to come after their studios next. She was then repeatedly photographed in the stream of people entering. "We just stormed the Capital [sic]. It was one of the best days of my life." After surrendering to the FBI on Friday, Ryan said: "We all deserve a pardon. I'm facing a prison sentence. She said she had been "displaying my patriotism", stating: "I listen to my president who told me to go to the Capitol. I would ask the president of the United States to give me a pardon."
Federal prosecutors charged Dawn Bancroft. In an affidavit, investigators cited a "selfie" video they say was taken by Bancroft saying, "We broke into the Capitol. ... We got inside, we did our part. We were looking for Nancy to shoot her in the friggin' brain, but we didn't find her."
Federal law enforcement officials have arrested two members of the Proud Boys for their role in the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January. Federal prosecutors indicted Dominic Pezzola, 43, of Rochester, New York, and William Pepe, 31, of Beacon, New York on charges of conspiracy, civil disorder, unlawfully entering restricted buildings, and disorderly conduct in restricted buildings. Pezzola was the subject of one of the most widely distributed videos of the Capitol riots, in which he used a protective shield ripped away from a Capitol police officer to smash a window leading into the Capitol. Michael Sherwin, the acting US attorney for Washington, said in a court filing that Pezzola had "showed perseverance, determination, and coordination in being at the front lines every step along the way before breaking into the Capitol", and that his actions in shattering the window and allowing an initial group of rioters to stream through "cannot be overstated".
Joseph Biggs, 37, a self-described organizer for the far-right extremist group the Proud Boys, who participated prominently in confrontational rallies in Portland, was arrested Wednesday 20 Jan on charges of taking part in the siege of the U.S. Capitol, was arrested in central Florida and faces charges of obstructing an official proceeding before Congress, entering a restricted on the groups of the U.S. Capitol and disorderly conduct. Ahead of the riot, Biggs told followers of his on the social media app Parler to dress in black to resemble the far-left antifa movement, according to the affidavit, "The only thing we'll do that's us is think like us! Jan 6th is gonna be epic," thus explaining the false basis of right-wing media claims the riot was instigated by antifa. "Your affiant also notes that multiple individuals were photographed or depicted on videos with earpieces, including other individuals believed to be associated with the Proud Boys," the FBI affidavit says.
A federal judge in Georgia has denied bail for William Calhoun, a lawyer who allegedly bragged about helping to kick down a door leading to the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Authorities found camouflage, guns, a handgun, eight rifles and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition in his closet after a search of his residence. Calhoun allegedly spoke of "violent retribution against the media and the Democrats" in social media postings, even captioning one picture of Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., "Do you want a bullet to the head?"
Federal authorities presented details about three self-described members of a paramilitary group led by Thomas Edward Caldwell. Social media messages, photos and video to identify them as part of the Oath Keepers. "All members are in the tunnels under the capital." "Seal them in turn on gas." Other messages referred to the legislators as "traitors" and called for "night hunting." The FBI said some Oath Keepers members were wearing helmets, protective vests and items with the group's name and motto: "Not On Our Watch." The FBI said that they seemed to "move in an organized and practiced fashion and force their way to the front of the crowd gathered around a door to the U.S. Capitol." "Yeah. We stormed the Capitol today. Teargassed, the whole, 9. Pushed our way into the Rotunda. Made it into the Senate even. The news is lying (even Fox) about the Historical Events we created today." "Proud boys scuffled with cops and drove them inside to hide," Caldwell's message said, according to court documents. "Breached the doors. One guy made it all the way to the house floor, another to Pelosi's office. A good time."
Robert Gieswein -- part of the Oath-keepers, an extremist group related to The Three Percenters - was charged with assaulting a federal officer with bear spray and a baseball bat. According to court documents, Gieswein "encouraged other rioters as they broke a window of the Capitol building; entered ... and then charged through the Capitol building." An FBI affidavit confirmed that Gieswein runs a private paramilitary training group called the Woodland Wild Dogs and that he was identified from a patch for that group that was visible on a tactical vest he wore during the attack on Congress. The affidavit said Gieswein gave a media interview echoing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and that Congress needs "to get the corrupt politicians out of office. Pelosi, the Clintons ... every single one of them, Biden, Kamala."
Garret Miller of Texas faces five criminal charges stemming from the Capitol insurrection, including trespassing offenses and making death threats. Miller allegedly tweeted, "assassinate AOC," according to court documents. He also said the police officer who fatally shot a Trump supporter during the attack "deserves to die" and won't "survive long" because it's "huntin[g] season." Miller posted extensively on social media before and during the attack, saying a "civil war could start" and "next time we bring the guns." His lawyer said "He did it in support of former President Trump, but regrets his actions.
Eventually, under the sheer pressure of the violence, Trump released a video saying that he loves them all, reinforcing the lie that the election was stolen:
"I know your pain. I know your hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us.
It was a landslide election and everyone knows it. But you have to go home. We have to have law and order...
It's been a very tough time. There's never been such a time when they could take it away from all of us.
From me from you from our country. This was a fraudulent election. So go home.
We love you. You are very special. You have seen the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil"
Later in the day he tweeted direct support for the uprising in the face of the insurrection:
"These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously
stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long."
Associated Press notes: "The mob went there so emboldened by Trump's send-off at a rally that his partisans live-streamed themselves trashing the place. Trump, they figured, had their back. This was, after all, the president who had responded to a right-wing plot to kidnap Michigan's Democratic governor last year with the comment: "Maybe it was a problem. Maybe it wasn't."
"Headed to DC with a (s—-) ton of 5.56 armor-piercing ammo," Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr. texted friends and relatives on Jan. 6. The following day, he texted to the group: "Thinking about heading over to Pelosi (C——'s) speech and putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV" and wrote he might hit her with his truck instead. "I'm gonna run that (C—-) Pelosi over while she chews on her gums. … Dead (B——) Walking. I predict that within 12 days, many in our country will die." A participant in the text exchange provided screenshots to the FBI, who tracked Meredith to a Holiday Inn a short walk from the Capitol. They found a compact Tavor X95 assault rifle, a 9mm Glock 19 handgun and about 100 rounds of ammunition, according to court filings. AP
Couy Griffin, 47, a Republican county commissioner from New Mexico, spoke of organizing another Capitol rally soon — one that could result in "blood running out of that building" — in a video he later posted to the Facebook page of his group, Cowboys for Trump. NY Times
Trump has since refused to accept any culpability:
"People thought that what I said was totally appropriate, and if you look at what other people have said, politicians at a high level, about the riots during the summer, the horrible riots in Portland and Seattle and various other places, that was a real problem — what they said," Trump claimed, referring to protests over racial inequality and police brutality. He went on to say of his own speech that "everybody — to the T — thought it was totally appropriate." He later added, "You have to always avoid violence", which commentators have said is at the behest of his lawyers, aware of his precarious legal position. NPR
The same day the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a military-wide memorandum, confirming a high level of concern to avoid a military coup to install Trump:
The American people have trusted the Armed Forces of the United States to protect them and our Constitution for almost 250 years. As we have done throughout our history, the U.S. military will obey lawful orders from civilian leadership, support civil authorities to protect lives and property, ensure public safety in accordance with the law, and remain fullycommitted to protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. ... The violent riot in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021 was a direct assault on the U.S. Congress, the Capitol building, and our Constitutionalprocess. ... As Service Members, we must embody the values and ideals of the Nation. We support and defend the Constitution. Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values, and oath; it is against the law. On January 20, 2021, in accordance with the Constitution, confirmed by the states and the courts, and certified by Congress, President-elect Biden will be inaugurated and will become our 46th Commander in Chief.
The rally, officially known as the "March to Save America," was officially organised by Jane Kremer, chair of Women for America First, a non-profit who had driven a red bus across the continent to raise support for the rally. However, America First Policies, a pro-Trump policy advocacy dark money group, has disclosed that they have contributed to the group. NBC News reported that the policy arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association, the Rule of Law Defense Fund, sent out robocalls encouraging people to march on the U.S. Capitol. "At 1 p.m., we will march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal," said the voice on the recording, according to NBC. "We are hoping patriots like you will join us to continue to fight to protect the integrity of our elections." Adam Piper, the executive director of the attorneys general group, resigned last week amid controversy over the call.
There is evidence the Trump campaign was itself involved in organising and encouraging the protest. A spokesperson for the Trump campaign said that the staffers were working on their own, and that the campaign had no ties with the rally. "The Trump campaign did not organize, operate or finance the event," Jason Miller told CNN in a text message. "No campaign staff was involved in the organization or operation of the event. If any former employees or independent contractors for the campaign worked on this event they did not do so at the direction of the Trump campaign."
However, of the 12 people listed on the permit as onsite contacts, 7 were on the Trump campaign's payroll during the 2020 election. Altogether, the campaign paid the 10 staffers who worked on the January 6 rally more than $1.4 million between 2015 and November 2020. An AP investigation found Megan Powers listed as an operations manager for the event. Her LinkedIn profile says she was the Trump campaign's director of operations into January 2021. At least three of the Trump campaign aides named on the permit deactivated or locked down their social media profiles and removed tweets that referenced the rally. Caroline Wren, a veteran GOP fundraiser, is named as a "VIP Advisor" on an attachment to the permit that Women for America First provided to the agency. Between mid-March and mid-November, Donald J. Trump for President Inc. paid Wren $20,000 a month. During the campaign, she was a national finance consultant for Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee between the president's reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee. Wren retweeted from "Stop the Steal," thanking Republican senators who said they would vote to overturn Biden's election victory, including Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas. Maggie Mulvaney, niece of Mick Mulvaney, is listed on the permit attachment as the "VIP Lead." She worked as director of finance operations for the Trump campaign, according to her LinkedIn profile. She had been earning $5,000 every two weeks from Trump's reelection campaign.
"Any suggestion that Stop the Steal participated in, led, or breached the Capitol building, itself, is defamatory and untrue," Ali Alexander, an organizer with the Stop the Steal group, told CNN. "We cannot control the broader public any more than Nancy Pelosi does Antifa." However, just before Christmas he had said "This is something Roger [Stone] and I have been planning for a long time, and finally, he's off the leash. So, you know, it's a knife fight and your two knife fighters are Ali Alexander and Roger Stone, and you either fight with us or you get slashed".
In advance of the House voting to impeach Trump Liz Cheney said:
"On January 6, 2021 a violent mob attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes. This insurrection caused injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic. Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough. The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution. I will vote to impeach the President."
On Jan 13, the House voted to impeach Trump for the second time for incitment of insurrection 232-197, with 10 Republicans siding with the resolution. He is the first president in history to be impeached twice. Public support for impeachment and with being charged with incitement to insurrection stands close to the same level of disapproval of his job performance during his term, which has now plummeted as far as 60% to 33% in a Quinnipiac University poll.
On Jan 19, Mitch McConnell in the reopening of Senate stated:
"The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like".
The same day Trump issued a slew of 73 pardons. The January 6 riots that led to Trump's second impeachment have complicated his desire to pardon himself, his kids and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and a source close to the process said those are no longer expected. During his final hours in office there was a frantic debate underway behind the scenes on whether to grant Bannon a pardon, which he did. One concern was Bannon's possible connection to the January 6 riot of Trump supporters at the US Capitol, according to a source familiar with the discussions.
Fig 41: Polls after the insurrection. While virtually all other polls show cataclysmic drops in Trumps overall support since the insurrection, Rasmussen Reports gives Trump's current approval at 51% rather than 36%, but as an indication of not-so-hidden bias, on Dec 28, Rasmussen Reports (not Scott Rasmussen, who left the firm in 2013) quoted Stalin to suggest Pence defeat the will of the people: "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything" – Stalin. Come January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence will be presented with the sealed certificates containing the ballots of the presidential electors. At that moment, the presidency will be in his hands. And there is nothing stopping Pence, under the (plenary and unappealable) authority vested in him as President of the Senate, from declining to open and count the certificates from the six disputed states. If they are (as more than 70% of Republicans believe) certificates from non-electors appointed via voter fraud, why should he open & count them? If the votes of all 7 contested states are registered as zero, President Trump will have 232 votes, Joe Biden will have 222". This statement is deprecating the US democracy to a republic in which only the Republicans elect the government.
Trump's own pollster said in a post-campaign report that Covid-19, not election fraud, was to blame of his election loss. "While (Trump) dominated among voters focused on the economy, Biden won Coronavirus voters, which was a bigger share of the electorate," said the report, dated December 2020. The 10 states focused on were Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas. Biden and Trump each won five. Though his job approval was mixed in those 10 states, Trump "earned negative marks on handling of Coronavirus. Three-quarters of voters in the 10 states favored mask mandates and "Biden ran up the score with this large majority of voters." "Biden held a double-digit advantage over POTUS" on whether voters found the candidate honest or trustworthy, although the majority of voters didn't perceive either candidate that way.
There is a forerunner of the Trump insurrection, in the 1898 insurrection against the elected government of Wilmington North Carolina. Following state elections in 1898, white supremacists moved into the US port of Wilmington, North Carolina, then the largest city in the state. They destroyed black-owned businesses, murdered black residents, and forced the elected local government - a coalition of white and black politicians - to resign en masse. In the 1890s the Democrats and Republicans were very different to what they are today. Republicans - the party of President Abraham Lincoln - favoured racial integration after the US Civil War, and strong government from Washington DC to unify the states. But Democrats were against many of the changes to the US. They openly demanded racial segregation and stronger rights for individual states.
Democratic politicians feared that the Fusionists - which included black Republicans as well as poor white farmers - would dominate the elections of 1898. Party leaders decided to launch an election campaign based explicitly on white supremacy, and to use everything in their power to defeat the Fusionists. It was a concerted, co-ordinated effort to use the newspapers, speechmakers and intimidation tactics to make sure the white supremacy platform won election in November 1898. White militias - including a group known as the Red Shirts, so named for their uniforms - rode around on horseback attacking black people and intimidating would-be voters. The Democratic party swept to victory in the state elections. Many voters were forced away from polling stations at gunpoint or refused to even try to vote, for fear of violence. But the Fusionist politicians remained in power in Wilmington, with the municipal election not due until the next year.
Fig 42: Left: Destroying the offices of the Wilmington Daily Record. Right: Red Shirts militia.
Two days after the state election Waddell and hundreds of white men, armed with rifles and a Gatling gun, rode into the town and set the Wilmington Daily Record building alight. They then spread through the town killing black people and destroying their businesses. The mob swelled with more white people as the day went on. As black residents fled into the woods outside the town, Waddell and his band marched to the city hall and forced the resignation of the local government at gunpoint. Waddell was declared mayor that same afternoon.
In his inauguration speech, Joe Biden spoke of renewed unity: "I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days. I know that the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. But I also know they are not new. Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we all are created equal, and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America. If we do that, I guarantee you, we will not fail. We have never, ever, ever, ever failed in America when we've acted together. And so today, at this time, in this place, let's start afresh, all of us. Let's begin to listen to one another again. Hear one another. See one another. Show respect to one another. Politics doesn't have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn't have to be a cause for total war. And we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated, and even manufactured".
Hours after he was sworn in, President Biden sent notice to the United Nations that the US will reenter the Paris climate accord, a sign of Biden's urgency to address the climate crisis, a significant step by the Biden administration to reverse the climate policies of the last four years. Biden's action on Paris sends a strong message that the US is prepared to cooperate in the fight against climate change and seek to reclaim the leadership role it once held, experts say. Under the agreement, countries are expected to enhance their commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions every five years. In 30 days, the US will be back in the agreement. He also rejoined the WHO.
Karmala Harris has sworn in three senators: Georgia's Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, as well as Harris' replacement in California, Alex Padilla, the Republican candidates having both lost after Trump appeared at a rally for them in Georgia and spent his time again claiming the election was stolen. With the swearing-in of three Democratic senators, the party breakdown of the Senate will be 50-50. Harris wields power as the Senate's crucial tie-breaking vote.
Sen. Mitch McConnell spoke on the Senate floor for the first time as Senate minority leader of the 117th Congress, praising President Joe Biden for his speech today, specifically for emphasizing his call for unity and finding common ground: "We swore in the 46th President and the 49th Vice President of the United States. President Biden and Vice President Harris are both alumni of the US Senate, they're well known to us in this chamber. They begin their terms with both challenges and opportunities before them. And with the praise of our whole nation at their backs, President Biden made unity the major thing of his inaugural address." He also congratulated Harris for her historic role: "This groundbreaking achievement elicits national pride, it transcends politics. All citizens can applaud the fact that this new three-word phrase 'Madam vice president' is now a part of our American lexicon."
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in his speech he is "full of hope" with the Democratic majority and President Joe Biden in the White House: "We have turned the page to a new chapter of history of our democracy and I am full of hope. And to my Republican colleagues, when and where we can a Democratic majority will strive to make this important work bipartisan. The Senate works best when we work together. We have no choice. The challenges we face are great. The divisions in the country are real. We have no choice but to try to work together every day to reward the faith the American people have placed in us. So let us begin."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki at the first news briefing: "He asked me to ensure we're communicating about the policies across the Biden-Harris administration and the work his team is doing every day on behalf of all American people. There will be times when we see things differently in this room. I mean, among all of us. That's okay. That's part of our democracy. And rebuilding trust with the American people will be central to our focus in the press office and in the White House. Every single day."
On Feb 13 the Senate acquitted Trump in his impeachment trial in a vote of 57 for conviction and 43 against, below the 2/3rds majority required, with just 7 Republican senators voting to convict, although a majority had twice found impeaching a president after he has left office to be constitutional by a similar margin. This was the most bipartisan of the four impeachment trials in US history. The impeachment managers had based their case on searing video evidence of the sheer violence and risk to the lives of the representatives, senators and their staff in the face of a violent mob attack accompanied by shouted calls to execute the traitors cowering behind barricaded office doors.
Fig 46: The Impeachment Managers made a searing video case, using footage of the violence and the tumult of the insurgents shouting invectives, combining Trump's exhortations to fight based on his false claims of a stolen election planned long in advance of his actual loss, to make clear Trump was instigator in chief. The images include insurgents battering their way in using crowd control barricades, riot shields and other weapons, including thrown fire extinguishers, one killing policeman Brian Sicknick, 900,000 volt stun guns and copious pepper spray. The shooting of Ashli Babbit is shown lower row. At left officer Daniel Hodges crushed in the doors by the heaving crowd above seeking to push through them. Above Mike Pence being hurried to safety with the backup nuclear football, after insurgents shouted for his execution as well as Nancy Pelosi. "Nothing will stop us," Babbit said on Twitter the day before she and supporters of Trump attacked Congress. "They can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours …. dark to light!" Two officers Jeffrey Smith and Howard Liebengood, involved in protecting the Capitol also committed suicide after the insurrection. Smith texted his wife saying "London has fallen" after a movie about a plan to assassinate world leaders. Shortly after he was hit on the head with a pole. In the days that followed, his wife Erin said, her husband seemed in constant pain, unable to turn his head. "He wasn't the same Jeff that left on the sixth … I just tried to comfort him and let him know that I loved him. I told him I'd be there if he needed anything, that no matter what we'll get through it. I tried to do the best I could." After a sleepless night, on his way to work, Smith shot himself in the head.
At the last moment, the evidence of Rep Ms. Herrera Beutler's account was admitted by both the trial managers and defence lawyers – that top House Republican, Representative Kevin McCarthy called Trump frantically on Jan. 6 as the Capitol was being besieged asking him "to publicly and forcefully call off the riot." Trump replied by saying that antifa, not his supporters, was responsible. When Mr. McCarthy said that was not true, the former president was curt. "Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are", refusing to call them off. In her words "You have to look at what he did during the insurrection to confirm where his mind was at. That line right there means to me that either he didn't care, which is impeachable, because you cannot allow an attack to occur on your soil, or he wanted it to happen and was okay with it, which makes me so angry … we should never stand with that for any reason under any party flag."
Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville has also stood by his account that he told Trump that Vice President Mike Pence was being evacuated from the Senate during the Capitol riot when Trump called seeking that Senate Republicans delay the certification of Joe Biden as the next president. "I said, 'Mr. President, they've taken the vice president out. They want me to get off the phone, I gotta go." The conversation is critical because Trump sent a tweet at 2:24 p.m. on Jan. 6 saying that Pence didn't have "the courage" to challenge the election results. If so then Trump would likely have known before sending the tweet that Pence had been evacuated and was in danger. At the time, the insurrectionists had already broken into the Capitol, some of them calling for Pence's death.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who voted to acquit Donald Trump, says the former President is "practically and morally responsible" for provoking the events on January 6, calling his actions before the riot "a disgraceful dereliction of duty". "They did this because they'd been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth because he was angry he lost an election". "Anyone who decries his awful behavior is accused of insulting millions of voters. That is an absurd deflection," McConnell added. "Seventy-four million Americans did not invade the Capitol. Hundreds of rioters did. Seventy-four million Americans did not engineer the campaign of disinformation and rage that provoked it. One person did. Just one." "President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office. He didn't get away with anything yet."
Fig 47: Republican House and Senate members of integrity and valor, who voted to Impeach and to Convict , while immediately drawing the retributive ire of the Republican conservative base, who still largely believe Trump's lies that the election was stolen..
The Republican senators who supported conviction have said they made their votes based on a desire to protect the constitution and hold Trump accountable for inciting the Capitol insurrection. Bill Cassidy said "Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person. I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty." Mitt Romney said in a statement released following his vote: "President Trump is guilty of the charge made by the House of Representatives". He said Trump "attempted to corrupt the election by pressuring the secretary of state of Georgia to falsify the election results in his state," and incited "the insurrection against Congress" during the counting of electoral votes. "He did this despite the obvious and well-known threats of violence that day. President Trump also violated his oath of office by failing to protect the Capitol, the vice president and others in the Capitol. Each and every one of these conclusions compels me to support conviction." Susan Collins said in a floor speech: "This impeachment trial is not about any single word uttered by President Trump on January 6, 2021. It is instead about President Trump's failure to obey the oath he swore on January 20, 2017. His actions to interfere with the peaceful transition of power – the hallmark of our constitution and our American democracy – were an abuse of power and constitute grounds for conviction." Lisa Murkowski in a lengthy interview after she joined six other Republicans to convict Trump. "If I can't say what I believe that our president should stand for, then why should I ask Alaskans to stand with me? This was consequential on many levels, but I cannot allow the significance of my vote, to be devalued by whether or not I feel that this is helpful for my political ambitions."
In contrast, two prominent Republicans show how their integrity and the integrity of their party is severely compromised, because Trump continues to have subversive power. Consistent with Herrera Beutler's account, Kevin McCarthy had initially said "The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding", but later made a U-turn, going to Florida to kiss the king's ring. Lindsey Graham initially said in the Senate on Jan 6 that he and President Donald Trump had had "a hell of a journey. I hate it to end this way. Oh, my god, I hate it." And while he briefly applauded Trump as a "consequential president," he dismissed the president's ploy to challenge the election results in Congress as "not going to do any good." But he later pivoted to organising lawyers and giving Trump's legal team support, although a juror in the trial.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Congress will establish an "outside, independent" commission to investigate the attack on the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump. She also said that, based on Lt Gen Honoré's initial findings "It is clear from his findings and from the impeachment trial that we must get to the truth of how this happened," she said. Other Republicans have also expressed support for an independent inquiry into the riots, including Lindsay Graham: "His behaviour after the election was over the top. We need a 9/11 commission to find out what happened and make sure it never happens again."
I set out on this journey to highlight the example of how well several women leaders have handled this crisis to make clear that the Gordian knot of our planetary dilemma has a profound sexual basis in the patriarchal dominance of world institutions and decision making, suppressing the long-term investment in the continuity of life that is at the source of the human female reproductive investment.
But as I came to the climax – the most difficult problems of all – climate crisis and biodiversity crisis – I realised that it is not enough just to try to restore the missing feminine component of human consciousness to its rightful place in the evolutionary paradox of sexual selection, because it’s already too late! It is clearly going to take a third generational component to seal the fate of the two adult sexes, and that is the rights of the children of the planet to hold their forebears to account for their profligate misuse of the resources of the Earth amid the literal rape of the living diversity of the planet.
So the protection of the human future now rests on three agencies – man, woman and child – forming a mutual compact of agreement towards a political solution, in which each of their interests are protected from now on by their own ability to determine their fate in mutual coexistence with the other two and to side with the wiser of the other parties in a situation of unresolved conflict, so that at least two of the parties can agree the best path forward, avoiding the domination by one party over another that has blighted the patriarchal epoch.
The men of the world already have effective control, through the patriarchal institutions of capitalism and democracy and their dominance in world politics. If the women of the world can form a consensus to regain their right to hold the patriarchal short-term venture-risk investment in check by forming a world consensus for change, recognising the need for the future of human life to do so, then half the work is done. But from now own, we need to respect that the children of the world hold the key to a viable human future, so this is now a three-way engagement to find the way forward for the sustainable future of life.
I think we can all understand that if the women and children of the planet decide to work together to ensure the future of life, given that they form a majority of the three, and act decisively to make this a reality, the men will have to fall in line for their own survival. Effectively this provides a consensus for survival of the human species, both uniting the two sexes, on which the future of life depends, and uniting the generations, through which the continuity of life flows. This way humanity can perhaps come to understand its role as a protector, rather than a destroyer of life, in the flowering of the universe.
Three guiding principles:
1. Incorporate women’s reproductive investment in life as Integral in political planning and decision-making.
No strategic decision should be made to exploit the biosphere without their explicit agreement.
and respect the opinions and concerns of the children of the world in all
No strategic decision should be made to exploit the biosphere without their explicit agreement.
3. Apply our innate skills of establishing verifiable trust to all personal and political decisions (see Postscript)
Key to good judgment, including electoral decisions, in evolutionary time, is an understanding of our deep roots in the long-term survival of the oldest cultures on Earth, which is why this article is dedicated to Nisa, as well as Greta. One of the key evolutionary features we have honed over at least a hundred thousand years of human emergence is the astute judgment of who to trust from life experiences and long conversations down the grape vine over the affairs of others and the betrayals and misfortunes that occur in the vagaries of existence and through the Machiavellian intelligence that also permeates human social interactions.
Every truly sane human being will tell you that their most central concerns are to provide for the future and for a future world in which their loved ones and especially their children and grandchildren can have a viable world to survive. Yet we are currently entering into a situation where none of us have any real confidence that the world will be here in a fertile and viable form capable of sustaining the future generations, because of what we are currently doing to planet Earth as a species. How is it that something so basic that human peoples have, throughout our evolutionary emergence, held it central to our sense of meaning and fulfilment, has become an unattainable dream which we all feel helpless to do anything about?
Unravelling this Gordian knot is the key to our survival and the survival of the diversity of life itself. It is the one thing we all need to regain to make sense of the world in which we find ourselves, without which we are helpless and adrift, hoping for some kind of miracle in the face of impossible odds. The Covid-19 pandemic shows us both that unforeseen crisis can become a whiplash before we realize it and that some female leaders have achieved what others have abysmally failed to do in bringing their populations firmly on side with sufficient empathy to hold a disaster in check. The school strikes for climate have also shown us that the children of the world have the maturity to make the right choices for the future, when the adults have failed to address the critical decisions.
Here is a short clear route to regaining our autonomy and capacity to take responsibility for our futures and the caring, power and understanding to help it actually happen.
Since the dawn of human culture some 200,000 years ago, humans have been evolving astute tests of human character, to figure out who are our reliable friends and partners, and who may spin us deceptive tales, or let us down, or exploit us at the critical moment. We are a social species and the main strategic risks to our survival and successful reproduction have for a long time been members of our own species who we can only withstand by our keen social intelligence to understand who might betray us when the chips fall and who might try to seduce our partners, leaving us to care for their offspring rather than our own.
The Bushmen, who form, alongside the Forest Pygmies, one of the oldest sustainable human cultures, with a record going back over 150,000 years, spend long nights talking about their human relationships around the camp fire, just as the women have endlessly discussed their social comings and goings and the tales overheard by others on the grape vine. This has established within our genetic nature, both a capacity for empathy characterised by the mammalian limbic neural system with its palette of emotions from love to hate and from delight to disgust, which enables us to socialize without strict genetic imprinting. Complementing this is an innate capacity to judge human character through personal contact over a series of social encounters.
Thus the sexual selection of falling in love, good mate selection and resourceful partnership, which is the foundation of the human family, are balanced by astute social selection of who we trust and place faith in, from our close experience of the character of those around us, who we know closely over a period of time. This forms an original virtue of astuteness complemented by astuteness on the part of women, in reproductive choice - who to become intimate with and get pregnant to in the affinities of love and tenderness.
While our judgment of good character has a deep evolutionary basis, we also have means to make quick emotional assessments in real time, by gut reaction and these can be subverted, based on innate fears, or being seduced by immediate tangible rewards, so that we can become unintentionally exploited. There have always been defectors and freeloaders, who in addition to cheating on the sly, may use power plays of spin to entice the unwary in to costly misadventure, or violence and intimidation to take advantage by attacking vulnerable parties, stealing their resources or abducting their womenfolk, so the prisoners' dilemma of cooperation and defection has always been with us. Some of these issues have been handled by moral notions, such as not to murder, steal, or commit adultery, but the key to human survival is not moral prescription, but dealing with the people around us by verifiable trust from good knowledge of the character of those with which we personally associate.
So the answer to this existential crisis is to re-establish our evolutionary sense of true faith - verifiable trust in good character. Our faith in a relationship depends in it being one with a party of verifiable good character. Blind faith is not true faith. We need to consciously know that a party is of good character to invest true faith in the relationship. The flip side of faith is betrayal. Hence verifiable trust is necessary on both sides in the prisoners' dilemma of life.
By making real tests of other people and particularly potential leaders, verifiable trust can create a climate of opinion and a real avenue for making major future decisions protective of the planet's future, both by engaging new forms of collective decision-making where critical long term decisions can be addressed and by exposing political leaders, social institutions and decision-making processes to accurate astute scrutiny. The free press has a central role to play in this.
The achievable way to be able to get from here to there is by making the waters transparent again through re-establishing verifiable trust. It doesn't matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat at heart, because both want their grandchildren to survive and prosper. The test is an acid test and a fair test, but it also has some very difficult and uncomfortable things to say about current human institutions.
In the modern political climate, people have become influenced by spin and suspend better judgment over the behaviour of populist politicians, who tell inveterate lies compounded by doubling down and accusing others, including the free press, of being fake news, or of mounting a witch hunt, while manifestly obstructing justice and caring only for their own re-election over the lives of a hundred thousand people, as a cult reality TV spectacle propelled by their avid base of supporters, who have suspended all critical judgment and abandoned their own religious principles to pretend their leader is a gift from God as a ‘tarnished angel’ who blatantly declares his right to grab women by the pussy, as a TV star. These are manifestly inconsistent with any form of verifiable trust and should set off all the alarm bells of tyranny which the Greeks refined democracy to avoid. Do NOT vote for any person who tells unrelenting lies, while also falsely accusing everyone else of being “fake news”.
This way we can enter an epoch of long-term future goodness, where humanity can begin to understand our cosmological role in the universe as conscious protectors of the continuity of life, so long as Earth shall live – a condition I call resplendence – “to shine brightly” as an antidote to the term religion – “to bind together”, echoing the dark patriarchal implications of the Roman fasces.
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