Wilbur wrote (excerpt here, entire statement at bottom of posting):
Anywho, I’ll be looking forward to the next installment of “we’ve got to
find another way” Lets try this__________.
As Red Green says, We all in this together..
I applaud your appeal for ideas about ‘another way’. I’m sure other folks here on wrh have ideas to contribute as well.
I’ve written one book about ‘another way’ and I’m in the process of writing another one. That doesn’t prove I know anything, but it does reflect that I’ve been focusing on this question seriously for at least the past ten years. And I have come to a few conclusions that I’m very confident about. The evidence for them is over-determined: that is, there is so much evidence of so many different kinds that there just can’t be any doubt.
One of the conclusions is that the current system cannot be fixed. It’s not just the bad people currently in charge, and it’s not that the system has been corrupted. The system itself, as it is supposed to work ideally, is dysfunctional; it has an inherent tendency toward tyranny and exploitation. The situation we find ourselves in now, on the brink of a global fascist dictatorship, was always the direction this system, this thing we call civilization, this thing born of warrior cultures, has been heading.
It may well be true that there is nothing we can do, that we are doomed, that the next generation (the survivors, that is) will be micro-chipped from birth, the family will be destroyed, and we’ll all be serfs, with killer surveillance drones circling overhead to maintain ‘order’, a regime they’re testing now over Pakistan.
There’s no longer a question of the ideal vs the practical, if we really want to respond to the challenge. There are no practical solutions anymore, if there ever were any. Any useful response must be a totally radical response. The middle-ground has been destroyed, along with the Constitution, which was designed specifically to protect the middle-ground.
Lots of people are realizing this. The net is full of radical ideas of various kinds these days, and that wasn’t true ten years ago, when being against globalization was considered ‘radical’. So much has changed for the worse since then. People can feel that the pot is on the boil and the time is running out for the frog to jump.
I’ve made a point of keeping up on these various radical ideas. Unfortunately, that’s what most of them are — ideas, interesting but undeveloped. When first we think outside the box, we are in strange territory. We’ve been in the box so long. We grope to get our bearings.
Consider Gary’s radical idea for example, about restoring the full strength of the Constitution, with all its limits on government power. An attractive idea for sure, but these critical questions are left unexamined:
– How could the goal realistically be accomplished? And even if it was accomplished…
… why wouldn’t the same forces of corruption emerge yet again, from the same starting point?
… and how does restoring the Constitution deal with environmental collapse, sustainability, etc.?
The domain we are entering, when we leave the box, is the domain of systems. The box is a system, and what we’re looking for is another coherent system, one more suitable to life on this planet. But fear not the word ‘system’, for in the realm of social affairs, a system is simply a culture.
Which brings us to another of my conclusions: social transformation can only be achieved by means of cultural transformation.
We need to create a new culture in the shadow of the old. It needs to be the culture that we really want to see, in the long run. And it needs to be a culture that we have the capacity to create, in the face of the existing regime. If it’s not the culture we really want, then what’s the point of pursuing it? And if we don’t have the capacity to pursue it, then what’s the point in talking about it?
All of these threads come together in the notion of community. The community is the place where we have the capacity to take a stand, to create something new, to learn to work together. On any larger scale, outside forces dominate, such as the media, and competing movements and ideologies. We need to work on a scale where face-to-face communication and mutual understanding can be the dominant forces. On a scale where each of us matters, and each of our voices can be heard. On a scale where we can really experience, really know in our hearts, “We all in this together“.
The community is also the place where we can work toward achieving sustainability. The system thinkers and the experimental pioneers of sustainability have learned this, and there is a localization / Transitions-Town movement that has achieved a reasonable degree of momentum.
“Sustainability begins at the local level” is a special case of a more general principle. The more general principle is this: If we want to build a new system, a new paradigm, a new world, a new way of doing things, a new culture — we need to build it from the bottom up.
If we could build it from the top down, that would mean the current system is fixable, that the current elites could be persuaded to give up their power, and the system that serves them so well. Such has never been the behavior of ruling elites. Quite the opposite in fact. Better to stay as far below their radar as possible. They are grand masters of the games they play, the large-scale games, the games of mass persuasion.
Sadly, any sense of strong community has vanished from our mainstream culture. The idea of ‘working with our neighbors’ makes little sense when we don’t even know our neighbors. When we do try to ‘build community’, we tend to gather with a like-minded choir, becoming yet another faction within the community.
Let’s put that sad observation aside for a moment, and take note of the fact that there are many tools available, if a community could somehow get-it-together to want to work together. There are many pioneer initiatives, that have evolved over time, that make up a ‘toolbox’ of community empowerment. I won’t even try to enumerate them all, but they include things like local currencies, local banking functions, worker-owned coops, consensus-building processes, small-scale organic farming, various appropriate technologies, and the list goes on.
There are two particularly ‘inspiring examples’ that I always like to bring up, when talking about community empowerment. Both are available as online videos. (On the second video, it helps to hit pause and let it download for a few minutes, to avoid jerkiness):
The Mondragon Experiment
The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
If the community will could be aroused, the means could be discovered. Think of all the various skills and knowledge that exists in your community, if you include everyone in your survey. If the perspective were on local self-reliance, then what look like obstacles become advantages. Take unemployment for example. Every unemployed person is a potential worker in a start-up co-op, producing something the community needs, or a potential volunteer to help build a new community center. The more the system collapses and fails us, the more sense there is in rediscovering community.
Imagine for a moment that the will could be aroused, and local people joined together in a spirit of cooperation to make the most of their local community and its resources. Imagine that they took a look at the available ideas and approaches, and got together in their neighborhoods to talk about what makes sense for their community. Imagine if folks from different neighborhoods got together to talk about the ideas they’ve come up with.
If this were to happen, then by the very process, regardless of what projects we decided to take on, I suggest we would be creating the culture we really want in the long run.
Think about it: self-reliant communities, operating on the basis of listening to everyone, and working out together what makes sense for the whole community. Communities that are open to working with other communities, on a similar basis of listening, and working together to find the best solution for everyone on shared problems — and shared opportunities. Communities that don’t need distant lawmakers to tell them how to maintain order, or how to take care of their nutrition, or health, or childcare, or education, or civil disputes. We’d rather take care of it ourselves, thank you very much!
The very process of working together in our communities — on an inclusive basis, regarding local issues — leads to the organic evolution of a culture, and ultimately a society, that is based on mutual-benefit collaboration and exchange, rather than dominance and exploitation.
It would be a culture conservatives would be comfortable with, because it’s about limited government to the ultimate degree. And for liberals, it’s about fairness for all, and genuine participatory democracy. There are no losers, except the parasites at the top, and they don’t really lose. They can join in, as peers with the rest of us. We can forgive them, when there are no positions of power for them to seize upon.
The big unknown in all of this is how to arouse the will, how to awaken community consciousness, how to get a critical mass of folks to think in terms of local empowerment. I don’t have an answer to this one, and I haven’t seen any workable answers on offer anywhere.
I offer these thoughts to everyone out there who sincerely wants to help create a better society and a better world, and wants to be pursuing a strategy that has hope of really working. If these thoughts make sense, then they lead to certain guidelines for our activism:
– Focus on your own community.
– Promote dialog among diverse groups,
encouraging people to listen to one another’s concerns.
– Find other local people to work with, who share such a focus.
– Learn about simple facilitation methods, such as the circle process.
– Think always in terms of inclusiveness, always willing to listen to ‘the other’.
– Network with folks in other communities who are seeking to build community.
– Organize public gatherings, with speakers or videos,
explaining the various ‘community tools’.
I have infinite faith in the ingenuity of the human species, if that ingenuity is unleashed on the right problems. If enough good-hearted people were to focus their activism along such lines, I have every confidence that somewhere, in some community, the breakthrough would be found — an approach that succeeds in awakening community consciousness. And once found, the genie of liberation would be out of the bottle.
Thank you for your eloquent statements on the state of affairs
concerning our current political dilemma. Or more accurately our
current lack of separations of power, Corporate/Political. “We’ve Got
To Find Another Way” is the $64,000 answer. It’s the question of what
is that other way thats the dilemma.
Actionable results driven solutions that don’t involve millitia type
violence is what I would fully acvocate.
So, if in your travails across the intertubes, you encounter inspired
thinking idea’s that only need reinforcement and typists on message
boards or protests to carry out the plan, I’d be all ears..
Obviously the media is not our friend.
In your letter to Gary, you’ve gotten into the territories that I am
concerned about as well. The media meme doesnt’ go there. They’re job
is to steer the outrage into controlable bumper sticker sized babble
that people don’t have to really analyse, with plenty of psychological
inuendo to induce the rage reflex in the masses, then of course, they
own the other side of the media as well to squelch enough rage to shield
REAL problems from themselves.
Wow, they caused the Huteree, but yea, they caught ’em before they could
carry out the heinous acts… Thank You current ruling party… Yea…
Anywho, I’ll be looking forward to the next installment of “we’ve got to
find another way” Lets try this__________.
And if I find or think of something, I’ll post it here and let you chew
on it for a while to think through it’s viability.
As Red Green says, We all in this together… Keep yer stick on the ice.
— In email@example.com, Richard Moore <rkm@…> wrote:
> Bcc: contributors
> Dear Gary,
> I read with interest your essay:
> Barack Obama has awakened a sleeping nation