The Emergence of Localism
Always darkest before the dawn
Our future as a species appears to be very bleak indeed. As the era of economic growth and liberal democracy is coming to a close, we face the prospect of a global feudalistic regime, along with a dehumanizing program of social engineering. There is no effective way, within our political systems, for us to do anything about this state of affairs.
The major Western political parties, and the mass media, have all been co-opted by the elite banking cabal, making elections meaningless. Protest movements are brutally suppressed, and have no effect on policy, other than to increase the intensity of so-called ‘security’ measures. If the planned new regime is implemented, then we can expect the methods of control to be still more severe, with even less opportunity for any kind of popular influence or voice over public affairs.
The traditional political channels are all effectively closed to us, but that does not mean we need to lose hope. This is not the first time in history that a tyrannical regime has appeared to be unassailable. If we recall the fall of the Soviet Union, or the French, American, and Russian Revolutions, we see that such regimes can fall, and often in surprising and sudden ways.
The current regime is vulnerable, and its vulnerability arises from its own excesses. By intentionally collapsing the economy, and forecasting further austerity to come, the regime has created a climate of widespread hopelessness, where new ideas and initiatives can take root and spread. And there are many promising ideas and initiatives emerging, as more and more people lose faith in the system, and choose to respond with hope, dedication, and creativity.
Turning towards the local
Around the world, there is a growing movement to pull back from the relentless march of corporate globalisation by re-rooting economic and social activities at the community level. From the burgeoning popularity of farmers’ markets and food co-ops to the revitalisation of community banking, people are organising themselves to reclaim the economy from large profit-driven corporations and instead build sustainable, local alternatives.
— Anna White, “Why Local Economies Matter”
As Anna White says, there are many threads to this localization movement. For local businesses, it is about responding to the competition of mega-chains. For environmentalists, it is about reducing energy usage and carbon footprint. For those who are concerned about systemic collapse, it is about basic food survival. There are many other threads as well, and we will be examining most of those in this chapter.
From a political perspective, all of these threads have one very important thing in common: they are not about what government can do for us, they are about what we can do for ourselves, independent of the political system. They are about people, in collaboration with their friends and neighbors, taking responsibility for their own destiny. The overall movement is about the emergence of community empowerment.
As we shall see however, the ‘movement’ doesn’t exist as a coherent whole, but only as the separate threads, each pursuing its own objectives with single-minded dedication. Based on my conversations with various of the activists involved, there seems to be a strong resistance to cross-pollenization within the broader movement, based on each thread’s understandable desire to maintain focus on its own particular objectives.
From my own perspective, as a more or less ‘neutral researcher’, it is easy to see that there are very strong potential synergies among these threads. The various objectives are in fact highly complementary to one another: the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. Because of the fractionization of movement energy, and the insulation between the threads, these synergies remain unexamined and untapped.
Furthermore, the potential ‘whole’ is not seen or imagined: community empowerment, in a political sense, is not recognized as the underlying theme of the emergent movement. The movement-to-be is not yet aware of its inherent nature.
Each thread sees itself as a way to secure a bit of local control, independent of the political system. But each thread does not realize that achieving community objectives independent of the political system represents a systemic response to hierarchy itself. For if hiearchy is the problem, then community empowerment is the seed of a solution.
I apologize for jumping ahead in our story. We’ve gone as far as we can with this abstraction of ‘threads’. We need to get into the substance of these community-oriented initiatives, and explore the nature of the potential synergies.
My purpose in developing this preview was to suggest that there may be a very real light at the end of this tunnnel-of-doom that the hierarchy is preparing for us. Emergent energies are clustering around a focus of activity that is in fact anti-systemic in a very effective way — and yet those emergent energies are not yet aware of their overall cumulative potential.
One could almost suspect that some kind of universal unconscious is expressing itself, inspiring the threads that will eventually weave into a tapestry of species liberation.