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

A short article from last year, that generated a fair bit of buzz, reproduced in its entirety:

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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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8 Responses to Friday Flashback: The Next War of Independence: Natural Community, Natural Enterprise, Natural Economy

  1. Pearl says:

    leaders only lead when followed. schools only teach when obeyed.and, Dave, think you’d appreciate this way of mapping literature:

  2. Hi Dave,Truth Has been spoken!If we can get one Template Working Model and are able to replicate it fast enough, the remaining of Mother Earth can still recoup.Although most of us agree with you in word about coming out and building the Natural Community, How many of us can commit to the Deed. To throw away our current lifestyle which is costly the Earth Exhorbitantly, and take up a simple hardworking lifestyle again seems not so much a good alternative.We need a working Template that we can all replicate easily, who can build Version 1.0 ? And Prove its doable, here is proof!!If this can be done, this will be the ultimate and WISEST invention ever of mankind!I might be wrong, but I think we should look at some Farm based Communities that are trying to work on the same lines, some farms of some Religious groups are working towards these same goal, albeit from a different prespective (religious like ISKCON Farm and Cow based Communities).If we can adapt some of their inputs and be open to learn then we should have a workable plan hopefully.I do pray we take this initiative, but of course this is only for the few brave and good men!Thanks,Srinath

  3. Jenine says:


  4. Jenine says:

    Hi,I tried to leave a comment but it says request forbiden

  5. Jenine says:

    Hi, I recently stumbled upon your site and am very glad I did. Thank you for asking the right questions, sharing your insights, and providing gentle yet direct guidance – just what I was seeking! I’m a university student in California living in an intentional cooperative community of about 35 people. It is the first experience in a community for most of us, and a very important one which influences what we make of our lives when we leave. Unfortunately I do not think most co-opers go on to live in another community after they graduate, probably because they aren’t as accessible as those in college. That’s why I like reading what you have to say about building communities – it gives me hope after I graduate.Furthermore, although we use consensus in our weekly house meetings, our overall focus is more on sustainability, gardening, composting, etc. People value community but it is more abstract and difficult to work towards. That is also why I am curious about “knowledge management”, which is a new term to me but seems to define a method or offer formats through which people can share ideas. We have all-day work parties where we plant food and take care of our gardens, fix things in our houses, clean everything, etc., but have no organized equivalence of energy directed towards improving our community. Not that people aren’t interested… it just can’t be chaotic and scattered sharing. If it were more of a clear and productive event with some measurable outcome, some feeling of accomplishment at the end, people would be very into it. Some things I imagine us working on are improving our communication and reliance on/trust in each other, and improving our outreach into the greater community to make a difference. I believe it’s possible to organize something like this, and hope to learn more about how through reading your blog more.I would be very interested to hear any thoughts or recommendations you have! In unity,Jenine

  6. Jon Husband says:

    But, but … GW Bush hisself told us, and keeps telling us … “Freedom is on the march”.

  7. Hi Dave–Just did a cross-post on the Virtual Tea House of this excellent essay–thanks! I also uploaded it into the ‘downloads’ on the site!–Beth P.

  8. I find truth in what you say here. But I think that it goes further than saying that we’ve lost our independence – in actuality we’ve never really had any independence within that confines of mainstream modern societies.A change will come, a new model will arise, but as is almost universally the case, the Phoenix can only arise once everything’s turned to ashes…

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