In my writing I often complain about what I perceive to be a lack of solidarity, cohesiveness and strategic organization within the progressive movement. In the face of the rapid ascension of the increasingly oppressive Corporate State, I also marvel at what I perceive to be an eerie passivity of the population. Every time one more dastardly act is committed by the ruling class, I ask the same question: "Why don't we have one million people on the streets rising up?"
My poor wife... She's had it with me asking that question over and over, year after year. "People are working their assess off; people are afraid, tired, confused. Others don't know what's going on; why these things are happening; who is behind them." Those are some of the things she tells me, trying to explain to me why people aren't going to join me in a massive protest at Union Square in San Francisco, or anywhere else (in the way I'm suggesting).
I hear a lot of similar things from other people, from people who comment in my diaries. So even though I see the Corporate State cementing its power and slowly-but-surely deploying what I consider to be an increasingly fascistic total-information-awareness police state infrastructure, I'm going to give the idea of trying to convince people about the need to organize against it, or rise in protest, a break, and instead I'm going to focus on smaller goals (for now).
I'm going to change the conversation. Within the context of our daily lives, and within this society, what kind of actions can we take (realistically) to help us reclaim our humanity, our sense of purpose, to strengthen bonds, and to try to drop out from the hyper-consumerist society (or the rat race)?
Let me ask you something... What do you want? If you have a career, or have a business, do you want to get to the top and make as much money as humanly possible so you can buy huge mansions, yachts, and expensive cars?
Maybe some people reading this do have those goals, but I would venture to guess that most don't. I think that most "normal" people do have certain goals and aspirations; maybe they expect to work x number of years, and maybe save enough money to send their kids to college, and for retirement.
For many others, even those things are unfathomable. Maybe their living paycheck-to-paycheck, if they are lucky enough to be working...
I think that the key word when it comes to "living" is "balance," and yes, "sustainability." Yes, we all know it is important to work, to carry our own weight, to contribute to society, to provide for those who depend on us.
But isn't it nice to spend some time at a bonfire at the beach with friends and family? Isn't it nice to slow down and play the guitar, or take a walk in the park, and stop and smell the roses?
I'm embarking in a journey... I want to slowly remove myself from the hyper-consumerist capitalist system and join a community (locally and virtually) of people who believe in the concept of sustainable living, as in consuming just enough of what I need to sustain myself and my family (modestly), being conscious and respectful of the natural environment around me, and of the needs of other people.
I'm looking for harmony, for balance. I want to be able to slow down enough to notice if somebody needs help, and to provide that help if I'm capable of doing so.
There is a lot of good people out there. I remember when I attended many Occupy Wall Street rallies/marches/protests in San Diego, Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, and a few other places, just being there talking to people, I felt this great energy, a connection.
I'm going to change my focus a bit from trying to motivate people to rise up in peaceful opposition against the corporate fascist state, to tapping into the good that many people are already doing...
There is a sustainable living movement already in place. Employee-owned businesses are being set up around the country; co-housing/housing collectives are springing up; there is a local food production movement. I think that's the direction we need to move into.
I'm going to be doing some research about these topics and sharing resources at Market For The People. I'm going to add as many resources as possible to the Directory: Employee-owned businesses; independently-owned local small businesses; sustainable and affordable housing; sustainable business and economic principles; sustainable local food production and distribution.
The other day I listened to a program on NPR which I found very interesting. They were talking about a town somewhere in Europe where people formed some kind of money-less market. If I remember correctly they had set up a Website where people listed things they were able to provide (including products and services), or things they needed.
The surprising thing to me was that the people who were taking part in the "market" were very satisfied, and it seemed like those willing to give (time, services, things) outnumbered those who were asking for help or needed things.
Anybody can help with this project/resource. If you know if a local organization that's doing work in your community, you can add it to the directory. You can also recommend new categories.
I also set up a discussion forum for sharing ideas about sustainability... Check out the video of a Chris Hedges (on the home page) interview at The Real News Network. It provides great context about why it is a good idea to start thinking about forming economic systems outside the corporatist infrastructure.