Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Don't Start the Revolution Without Me (part3)

Part 3 starts off with a picture of our most effective weapon in this New American Revolution. A simple, accurately priced, healthy, and locally produced loaf of bread. I could have easily used a picture of a tomato from our garden, or a bunch of asparagus spears, or blueberries, garlic, lettuce, or a free-range chicken, or really anything sold at our local farmer's market.

In Part 2 I discussed one option for overthrowing the so called "free-market" and return the power of buying, selling, and profit taking to the local community. This first option required catastrophe and suffering to start it, and catastrophe and suffering would follow its completion. Again, as explained in part 1, the military, or armed response to the US Government would not be effective in that, there is no military power or desire to use it if it were there, in the local communities and this kind of rebellion would be directed towards an basically dysfunctional and bewildered government that is not the real enemy. Attacking the USDA or the FDA or the Health Department in our states would be like skinning the tail of a badger. The real danger, the real enemy would remain and redouble its attack. No, we must, kill the enemy, not by bloodshed, but by caging it and slowly starving it to death. This real enemy is the so-called, global Free-Market.

As discussed earlier, if the people's economy is controlled then their politics are moot. They really become nothing more than water-cooler or chat page fodder - entertainment really. Glenn Beck needs to eat. So do I. Whether I agree with Fox News or not, is not the issue. The real issue is this. How can I expect to live in a time of crisis if this monstrous infrastructure fails? The answer is, at once, simple and difficult. Ideologically it is simple. Charitable, self-sufficiency. The building of a local community where raw materials are processed, marketed, and sold within the community and only the excess of our labors are sold to an outside market or community. There are pictures of this all over America and more and more examples are evident every day. Our on-line farmer's market allows us to produce groceries and sell them directly to our customers, who by the virtue of a face to face transaction when the market meets, become neighbors and slowly they become friends. The farmer is able to ask whatever price his produce is worth in back-aching labor, infrastructure, time, and fuel costs. The customer agrees to this price for whatever reason. If the customer refuses to pay that price, then the farmer must improve the value of the product or lower the price. The difference between this kind of transaction and the one happening in the "global-free-market" economy is that the farmer and the customer are in complete control. In the "free-market" the farmer has no choice, the customer has no real choice, the conglomerate has the power.

I must, at this point, add that I have neglected to mention one of the more important benefits of the local economy I am describing and that is the low-impact the business transaction has on the earth and the high impact it has on the "free-market". In a local economy, I never have to fuel up an 18 wheeler and drive it across the country. I never have to tear up the land my crops grow in with heavy machinery (that must be fueled); I rarely ever have to rely on the "free-market" to produce what we grow. Our produce is healthier because of the way it is grown and the timeliness of its delivery. Our customers know this and they also know that choosing to buy locally, they are too, protecting the earth, the ancient tradition of the small farmer, and they are keeping their money within their community and thus, their control.

There are many more examples and if this article , has piqued your interest I would suggest, for further reading and enlightenment, Wendell Berry's What Matters? Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth, Counterpoint Berkely Press, 2010, from which the quotes used in this article were gathered.

Now I conclude my fragmented ranting by stating that by developing robust local communities where most, if not all, of our needs can be found within the community is really the only viable way to overthrow the present power of this "free-market" economy (that is not free).

Think about what would happen if this global "free-market", for whatever reason shut down tomorrow with no hope for recovery. Where would you buy your next pair of shoes? Unless your local community has a functioning cobbler, you would eventually go around barefoot. What if your car ran out of gas and there was no longer any real expectation that the station will be visited by a tanker for the next 3 months? How would you get to work? What would you do with yourself when electricity is no longer available? No TV, No Fox News, no gaming, no cell phones...What if you never developed a local trusting economy where most of your needs could be met right around your home? Would you trust your neighbors? This is why catastrophe or an armed overthrow is undesirable. Few of us would survive.

But what if, just what if, we built local infrastructure now, as we are able, to prepare for when this "global-free-market" economy does fail, as it is likely to do? I would think that the revolutionaries in this case would be heroes as we would be able to help our neighbors in need. With a burgeoning local economy, with real tradesmen selling real products and services, the unemployed in our communities would find the desire to learn skills that are not beyond their scope, useless college degrees would no longer be desired because there would be no "upward mobility" possible. People would feel useful and they would be.

In part 4 (the final act I promise) I try to get practical by addressing what you can do to join this New American Revolution - a revolution I call The American Farmer's Revolution.

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