The Next War of Independence: Natural Community, Natural Enterprise, Natural Economy

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The independent media have been telling us for several years now that the US is no longer a free country, nor is it any longer a democracy. It is a corporatist aristocracy — a corpocracy — where the laws are written and enforced for the benefit of a small elite of corporate oligopolies and their political benefactors, and where thanks to a two-party political hegemony, a corrupt electoral system, gerrymandering, vote-machine rigging, and repression of minority voting rights, even the vote, the last vestige of democracy, is meaningless.

For those of us who do not live in the US, the situation is hardly better. The corporate oligopolies own or control most of the industry, land and resources in most of the world’s struggling nations and many affluent nations, and anti-democratic ‘free’ trade agreements subvert domestic laws to the ‘right’ of global corporate oligopolies to freedom from regulation or restriction of trade in any signatory nation, regardless of the social and environmental damage that ‘right’ brings with it.

As a consequence, the systems that govern us are not governed in our interest:

  • You can either work obediently for a large corporation that is part of an industry-controlling oligopoly, or you can struggle on the Edge of that economy.
  • You have no say in how your tax money is spent, so most of it is spent on subsidies and bailouts to the corporate oligopolies and military and other adventures that secure resources for those oligopolies.Substantially all of the additional wealth created (at enormous social and environmental cost) in the last generation has, as a result, accrued to a tiny elite.
  • You have no say in what happens to the land in the community where you live. The municipal politicians are owned outright by the development industry, and they encourage development that extinguishes all non-human life and any natural features, and replaces them with bland, artificial, homogeneous subdivisions which are unsustainable, wasteful and anonymous — convenient only to the corporate employers who want pliable, transient and undemanding workers and consumers.
  • The education system brainwashes us that our way of living is the only way to live, that things are better than they have ever been, and that the only way to make a living is to start at the bottom of a corporate oligopoly company and crawl your way up. Entrepreneurship is portrayed as a brutal, risky struggle.
  • The mainstream media are propaganda machines designed to dumb us down so we don’t realize what has happened to us, and they never present information threatening to or critical of the corpocracy. 1984 has arrived, while we weren’t paying attention. Orwellian (‘Leave No Child Behind’, ‘Clear Skies Initiative’) slogans and messages are everywhere, and they’re unchallenged by the complacent media.

The US war of independence was fought against an elite occupying force imposing its will on the majority. The only differences today are that the occupation is global, and that the means of control are more technologically advanced and pervasive.

So how could we take back our land, our resources, our civil freedoms, our democracy, our economic and education systems?

The first step, I think, is to realize that we still have the power, if we have the will to exercise it. This world is too vast and complex for any group to control it, and even its human systems cannot be controlled by any elite without the acquiescence of the large majority.

The second step is to realize that Bucky was right: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” We won’t win zoning battles or economic control battles or electoral system battles or proportionate representation battles in the courts or the election campaigns or the markets that are controlled by the elite. We must instead walk away from these corrupt and dysfunctional systems and build new ones, responsive and responsible and sustainable alternatives that others can look at and say “yes, that works much better”.

So here is what we need to do:

  1. Organize in our own communities to create principled local economies that make us self-sufficient. Decide what we need and then create it, locally, responsibly, sustainably, entrepreneurially. Local natural foods, durable hand-made clothing, natural buildings, local theatre, information, entertainment and recreation, renewable energy co-ops. These local economies will let us work, shop and live in our own communities, without the need for private automobiles or any of the addictions of corporatist culture. Then we can easily boycott everything made wastefully, elsewhere.
  2. Take responsibility for our own education. Deschool our communities and learn independently and from each other how to learn, how to think critically and creatively, and the other essential skills that make us self-sufficient and responsible, not unthinking consumers, cogs in the corporatist machine.
  3. Patiently and relentlessly blockade development of community resources by outsiders. Make it more trouble than it’s worth for them to exploit and degrade local land and resources. When they give up and go away, when the land become worth less to them, quietly acquire it and create local community trusts in perpetuity that prohibit exploitation or sale to outsiders forever, and which are governed by principles of stewardship and respect for the land and for all those living on it. 
  4. Because these local economies are not profit-oriented and are self-sufficient, by doing these things we are effectively starving the corpocracy of the only four things it values — our tax dollars, our cheap obedient labour, our consumption of their crap, and our attention to their propaganda. Without these things they cannot survive. They need to sell more and more every year just to keep their share prices from crashing. They need our tax dollars to finance their global wars to acquire the remaining scarce resources. They need our eyeballs glued to the idiot box to hawk their products and propaganda. They need us indebted to them. They need us fearful and helpless. They need us to be dependent.

We do not need them. That is the power we have that they do not. All it takes is a willingness to use it.

I think it’s just a matter of time. I believe more and more of us are realizing what we have lost, including our independence. It is human nature to want to be independent, to be self-sufficient, to seek meaningful community, and if necessary to fight for these things. We’ve done without them long enough. It’s time to build a new model, a betterway of living. We need to be free.

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13 Responses to The Next War of Independence: Natural Community, Natural Enterprise, Natural Economy

  1. prad says:

    this is one of the most significant and meaningful posts ever made – anywhere!

  2. prad says:

    dave, your article is one of the most significant and meaningful posts ever made – anywhere!

  3. Zane says:

    Hey David–Great post–your description of what needs to happen is right on, I think. Certainly I see these forces of corporatization and relocalization intersecting where I live, on Vancouver Island. We need to create these healthy communities soon, though, because our options are being foreclosed every day. Thanks, as always…

  4. Mariella says:

    to work out intention in existing communities (not intentional communities that are to be formed) seems to me a “more real” way to provoque change….. the world is full of these… while intentional communities are closer to a “wishfull thinking” reality, most of them living inside our minds. ——- . Now….. in countries like yours, where the system “works” for almost everybody (ok… I know, I mean compared to 3rd world ones), “denial” of the kind of truths you post here in your blog is probably a rock much more difficult and hard to carve……At least here we all know we need a chage…

  5. Let us pray this happens. We just need to actually do it. Talking about doing it is one thing, but we need to start a community. We need good leaders. We need those who have certain skills that will allow for self-sufficiency. We need to do this before it is too late. Thank you, Dave.

  6. David Parkinson says:

    Thanks, David. I’m currently teetering on the edge of getting involved with a local movement to take over City Hall in the next elections (Nov. 2008), and feeling a lot of trepidation about getting too involved with the political battle & distracted away from the important work (which I agree will go on away from the existing power structures). I’ll have to be careful, but I think I can stay clear of the lure of fake political victory… too bad so many other people around me think that this (legitimized & therefore empty) goal is the only one worth talking about…

  7. Mike says:

    Maybe that should preferably be spelled “coprocracy” in reference to what floats tot he top?

  8. Joshua Laskin says:

    Local economic organizing is the necessary first step; but the goal of local self-sufficiency is nostalgic fantasy–there’s no going back–rather, we need to organize a national-scale co-operative corporation, controlled democratically by its consumer-members. Yes, I know, we love our little/local food co-ops. But, really these are ‘collectives’, in the sense that each community is supposed to organize their own, independently. “Small is beautiful”…! But just as the multinational/global scale is too big, local is too small. Only an ever-expanding co-op, continuously openning new businesses in new communities, can organize the scale of economic power necessary to compete successfully in the marketplace against the corpocracy–and generate the resources to buy back the Earth, farm sustainably/efficiently/affordably, develop dwellings designed for whole human life, support parenting, give kids the tools they’ll need, put the forest back, resurrect/honor our progenitors, etc. The idea of small eco-elites hunkering down in local hip enclaves, waiting for the corpocracy to fall (hopefully before killing everything)–avoids the reality that it isn’t *everyone* who will join, but only an enlightened *minority*. We must accept our historic responsibility to organize broad, democratic, united, economic power.

  9. Doug Alder says:

    I think you have it right Joshua – Dave – regardless of good intentions the fact remains that the current authority structure rules at the point of a gun ultimately. You can not step away from it short of armed revolt. If the powers that be do not want what you suggest you want, to happen then it won’t as they’ll simply organize the laws to suit defeating your purpose. I don’t think Bucky was right – great idea but not workable. Unless you can gain control of the local government (city/town/village) you have no control over zoning and if corporatists are in charge one way or another of those governments then you will be zoned such that you can not create most of those natural enterprises you want to or the natural buildings.

  10. Vish Goda says:

    Dave:Many questions.1. What do you consider to be a optimum community size for it to self sustain?2. What happens when a community loses some of its critical resources?3. Its not possible for every community to have all the skills needed to educate one another. There has to be a way for these communities to service each other’s needs – how can you prevent that? But is’nt that how conflicts start?4. How will these communities be protected from the ill effects of passion, envy, hunger, pain, suffering and boredom? How will you suppress the explorer in each of us?5. How long can they remain self-sufficient if they are going to depend on natural resources. Weather cycles are bound to impact people differently based on where they are located. If everyone moves towards favorable climes, then you have to deal with crowding.6. More importantly – how will you curb the quest for power by machiavellians and politicians from within each community and across the borders?Just asking. There is one way of achieving this is by living in physically dispersed communities but staying virtually connected. That would be the support system. Otherwise, working in isolation, is only inviting trouble. There are far too many vultures out there.Vish Goda

  11. Terry says:

    Great ideas, however how will we convince people (globally) that having the best things in life isn’t what is really meaningful? We can’t just change on a dime. We must find a way to educate the masses about meaning and purpose as a species as opposed to countries identifications wrapped up in cultures or beliefs. When we finally strip ourselves down as a species (human) only then can we change. we have to start from the ground up and build from there. Globally.

  12. chosha says:

    A lot of this reminds me of David Korten’s books (When Corporations Rule the World, The Post-Corporate World) and a little of Chomsky, too. Both of those comparisons would be a compliment, as they’re both wise men. :)

  13. Blake says:

    I totally agree with your thoughts in this post. Especially in regards to the current education system that is imposed all across the country. We keep telling students that “if you don’t go to college, you will fail.” That’s the main message being sent, which questions the individuals ability to succeed. We keep telling everyone that they have to get a degree, and have to work at a corporation of some sort, instead of allowing them to search for their interests and find a path that best fits their abilities. There are people who succeed without college, although the media doesn’t want to talk about that. They want to talk about everyone who fails, rather than the special people who have succeeded. I’m not totally against the institution of college, but we need to stop telling people that it’s college or bust.

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