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157Community Organizing and Planning for the Future

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  • Daniel Quiray
    Jul 12, 2009
      Sorry I haven't been able to try to put stuff together lately.  Between quitting my terrible job, trying to find a less objectionable one, and losing my grandfather this week, I've been preoccupied (obviously).  However, I have been thinking about a lot of things, and as always reading a whole lot.  I've gotten quite a bit of inspiration from great writers/community organizers like Malcolm X.

      One thing that's become increasingly clear to me is the need to offer/create immediate and viable alternatives to civilization and its unhealthy cultural traits.  In this area especially, I think Malcolm X presents a great example.  As he covered in the statements of purpose for the OAAU, we need to think about all the basic needs of our community.  It's also become clear to me that, while learning all those great primitive skills is useful, and the food gathering/producing stuff is essential, anyone who wants to realistically build a rewilding culture needs to focus on the "Transition" culture, the mode of existence immediately during and after civilization that makes use of the scrap and select technology industrialism produces.

      If we don't like civilized "educational" systems, we need to offer alternatives to the educational system that teaches children and adults to behave as cogs in a machine; instead, we need to push for regular skills shares, storytelling and music, and homeschooling networks for parents choosing not to send their children away every day.  We need to understand Daniel Quinn's conception of "tribal" learning and teaching methods, in which children are encouraged to learn instead of having it shoved down their throats.  If any of us ever get the space and requisite funding (if any is needed), we can set up community libraries.

      If we don't like civilized healthcare industry (which is exactly what it is, industry), we should create community alternatives to it.  We need not only to learn basic natural medicines ourselves, but have trained medical professionals who aren't completely embedded into the civilized mode of health and healing.

      If we don't like supporting agriculture and supermarkets, and the culture surrounding them, we need to have organized ways to at least lessen our dependence on them.  We need to have groups who will be willing to forage, garden, permaculture, fish, hunt, and so on together.  We need to build traditions of our own around these things, traditions about when to gather, how, songs and games associated with them, and all of those other traditional ways that indigenous cultures use to make the work easier.

      If we're going to live away from police and military whose job is to violently maintain the status quo and facilitate the exploitation of others' resources, we need to be able to defend ourselves.  This is especially true considering that indigenous communities, or anyone seen as different than the dominant society, have consistently and historically been subjected to the brunt of the violence of civilization.  This will require basic organizing of community defense, and other things like community watches.

      If we don't like the economic exploitation we're forced into to either rent an apartment or get a mortgage for a house, we need to create acceptable co-housing situations.  While running away to some abandoned farm land to create a commune-like village might sound great, it's likely not immediately feasible for a lot of us.  Therefore, we need something we can do now.  We can organize groups to share costs and responsibilities for apartment buildings or multi-family houses.  This will also help tackle the problem of isolation from friends and family that industrialism seems to encourage, and make the previous goal of community defense, crime watch, and other safety issues more favorable.  Friends and family will be more likely to watch your back.  If a favorable circumstance can't be arranged, even renting apartments in the same building or area would help us form stronger community.  I'm still gonna hold out hope for building an earthbag and timber frame neo-indigenous longhouse, though.

      If we don't like politics as usual and having intrusive governments getting into our business, we need to have forums of our own in which to discuss issues and make community decisions (preferably by consensus), while not impinging on an individual's rights to free choice.  

      Obviously many of these goals overlap, as in the case of co-housing aiding crime-prevention, and food and health will always be inseparable, and of course living near your "tribe" and having access to land will make food procurement networks easier to work.  They all interact in the sort of holistic fashion one expects.

      These are all steps that I think we can take and even realize within the next few years.  I don't think these are too difficult or too far from the way we're used to living that they would present significant difficulty, while I do think they are also huge steps in realizing a healthier, saner, and more fulfilling way to live.

      If you have any ways to add to this, or think I'm just nutty in one area, please contribute.  We need many voices to have a strong community.

      Daniel N. Quiray

      Rewild New England - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rewildnewengland/
      Lightning Pop - http://lightningpop.etsy.com
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