I listened to farmer Tony Schultz's brilliant speech the other night and got the same shivers that collectively went through thousands of spines. Chiropractic shivers. The mic picked up someone off camera exclaiming, "why doesn't he run for office?" And I thought to myself, "Why indeed?" This question has been rattling in my head for a number of days now, so I will attempt to integrate various narrative threads with a hope to achieve clarity.
In an excellent article on the website "The Awl" titled "A Blueprint for a Takeover," journalist Abe Sauer analyzes the success of the right wing's takeover of governance bodies at micro and macro scales. He talks about the Virginia based, Koch Brothers funded group, the "American Majority," a "mechanics program" which is run like a franchise with the intent to train conservative adherents for their ultimate electability into public office. From school board to mayor to town council to county boards to state governance, conservatives have slowly and quietly captured majorities around the country. They are being trained and funded for this, and this support is backed by our now familiar litany of empire builders.
American Majority chose the term "mechanics" because this was the name of the first intelligence network put together by independence-minded colonists. The group, whose most famous member was Paul Revere, gathered information on the British and conducted minor sabotage. Explaining the name, American Majority's pull quote begins "In the days before the Revolutionary War, Paul Revere organized the Mechanics, a group of determined patriots that grew out of the Sons of Liberty."
In other words, the American Majority puts the "mechanics" in place for a quiet revolution (perhaps not so quiet now) and the elected officials are the various "mechanics" who can use the "tools" proposed by tea-party radicals like Walker to magically balance the budget at the local level. Resistance is mute (though not moot) because many of the "mechanics" are already occupying key political niches. He is all but assured of their allegiance.
In a recent video post, comedian Lee Camp asserts that the difference between good people and bad people "is that bad people have plans!" "Good people" he claims "don't have plans, or missions or agendas... they just stumble through life." While conservatives have been implanting themselves at every level of governance, we've been building up our co-ops, going to parent-teacher conferences, and oiling our bike chains. They've been infiltrating local government, we've been fighting for more stringent pesticide laws.
And this, while listening to Tony Schultz's amazing speech, was my moment of clarity: All politics is Locavore.
We have been building co-ops and bikepaths, volunteering to clean up parks, delivering meals-on-wheels, planting gardens. These are not apolitical or isolated events. They too are cellular, they too are great organizational accomplishments. But we need to do more. We need to be the ones on the school boards. We need to be the mayors of our little Wisconsin towns. We need to put ourselves in the political places of policy so our Blue Tape Revolution can thrive and grow.
The issues confronting farmers confront us all: privatization is a philosophical construct that is not inevitable. It is oftentimes not wise, and it is easily abused. The religious zeal to privatize must be questioned, and the corporate aggression to privatize must be fought. We will, in the next decade, be confronting an onslaught of corporate takeover schemes, from our food sources to our water supplies to our public spaces to our roads.
We must find the megaphones. We are bandwidth and wavelength, bits in the bitstream. Every conversation we have, every article we read, every bit of history we uncover, every curiosity we squeeze, every teach-in taught, every lesson learned is another bit in the stream. Every space we rethink or occupy, every street corner we command, every website we create is one small piece of the consciousness spectrum. We are bandwidth commandos, and we must inject our sanity at every scale and level that we possibly can!
Yes, all politics is Locavore: we need to slowly and deliberately grow our movement. Like food, it involves complex temporality. It happens slowly, but all at once. It affects everyone. And at its roots, it is grounded in the potentials, and the mechanics, of policy.