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Villages for the Future by Bob Corker

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This is an interesting presentation about how to set up an eco-village. Important to note- he recommends not doing consenous decision making and  does recommend having trustees. Try not to gulp before you watch it. It really comes from hard work and the structure actually allows for a truely participatory community

Discussion 13 Comments

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 19th Dec 2016

    Thanks for this, Caragh, maybe about time we had a little permaculture in the mix too. All part of the big (albeit unconscious) movement of transformation I reckon. And actually getting their hands dirty what's more...

    (Before my pals Dave and others chime in with 'where's the revolution and anti-capitalism?'- maybe the new, overarching transformative Myth we need is not One Myth but one of a-million-perspectives-on-the-world...just a maybe post-modern, non-linear thought for thinking in new ways about deep change within complexity rather than the old modern ways focussed on linear cause-effect, strategy-goal,Petrograd 1917, Barcelona 1936? :)

    • Caragh - 3rd Jan 2017

      “Never again shall a single story be told as though it were the only one.”
      ― John Berger

  • Dave Jones 20th Dec 2016

    No, I'm down with permaculture and I think they're doing good work. And Corker is correct about "growing culture" and the fetish around consensus decision making and all that. Eco village, Transition Town, land trusts, caracols and co-ops are all ways to try to find some dignity and shelter from the storm.
    I also think 'change within complexity' means keeping one foot in the struggle while your hands are in the dirt. Corker also explained how the financing of these things comes from speculative capital and wage slavery and that means voiceless folks somewhere in The Periphery are paying for our privilege to live 'sustainably'.

  • Rod 20th Dec 2016

    Thanks, Caragh.

    I like some aspects of permaculture very much (though my interest wasn't piqued until recently so I'm not that familiar with it). The emphasis on simplicity, diversity, experimentation, ecology, efficient resource use, community, localism, holism, self-sufficiency and more I find to be quite revolutionary and healthy.

    The question of leadership versus consensus decision making is an interesting one. I don't have enough experience to make up my mind or even understand exactly the kind of model he is proposing, but I think it's good that different models are being tried out.

    The idea that because cities are unsustainable we should all go back to living in thousands of little villages like we did hundreds of years ago is thrown around a little too casually for me by Corker. Population is 10 times the size it was then, and population had remained stable for a thousand years which suggests it was close to carrying capacity for that kind of society. So using that model as an example one has to address population.

    • fred curran 20th Dec 2016

      Not to deviate too far from the video, but the crux between a sustainable world and the necessary population concerns seems like such an interesting point.

      Is there a path with new alternative living/working situations, folding in permaculture, bioremediation, etc etc that could approach this more sustainable world while improving it along the way, leading to positive feedback by way of a reduction of population as it improves the lives of the participants of these systems. Or something like that.

    • Rod 21st Dec 2016

      I'm not sure, but I think it's a good question. Something to dig into. We can use more integration of ideas to (hopefully) come to a more complete understanding.

    • Caragh - 3rd Jan 2017

      Yes- population is a challenge especially as habitat is being destroyed so rapidly. Consumption is really the big challenge though- which is why I agree with Hahnel about replacing consumption for leisure.

      At the same time, while I still believe in revolutionary activity and decentralising and so on, the climate situation is so terrible, I have succumbed to McPhersons call to live a life of excellence. I just think its important that we have dialogues about how to organise effectively because it helps us treat people in our lives better.

      If it was up to me there would be some kind of board of trustees for IOPS who focused on the most important issues for the development of IOPS as a whole.

      I know it makes a lot of us start twitching when theres people being 'responsible' but having people steering the ship is quite useful because most of us are preoccupied with tasks or life. We will have to see how the current structure we have works. I have a feeling we might need to have some kind of committee so the groups can communicate. I also realised we could have a research arm, which would be very interesting.

      And Rod- yes- I have been dragging my feet about permaculture for a few years but have eventually decided its time. To start off I am going to Dial House because its an excuse to visit the only place in england that I can walk to and know I will be let in by strangers without any money changing hands and have some kind of interesting time while humming :)

      I got the link to this from the integral permaculture people who are sort of the radicals of permaculture, who I found by listening to Derrick Jensen, cough cough...crickets :) I did resist his message for about 10 years but these days I just cant resist my love for the real world especially because it is just disappearing so fast. His Culture of make believe is really unique.

      Wow- I feel like I am doing A BAT, better stop.:)

      OH! And yesterday was reading an article I was tipped onto by an ex IOPS member about how we became neolithic- ie- started being hierachical- because people wanted alcohol, competitive feasting, and other drugs for wider use. Its quite depressing. http://www.bioone.org/doi/pdf/10.2993/etbi-35-03-566-584.1

      As the DGR people say- trade is war. I still believe in the gift economy and so on but going to the supermarket and trying to buy vegetables that are at least from this hemisphere is heartbreaking and it takes so long! If I hadnt worked in shops for a few years I just wouldnt know how to decisively loiter reading labels for whole minutes. I have dreams where colonies just decide to stop growing coffee or cocoa or bananas and become self sufficient but the reality is they are not allowed to.

      But we all know that- we're just not making slogans which make people start foaming at the mouth.

      The good thing about permaculture is that it can actually change habitat. But you still need land to do it, and time, and a climate that is not deciding its time to start heading back to the hothouse temperatures which have dominated our planets history. And not a species where a group of the species is forcing other groups to give up gentle farming so they can sell more stuff. Its all sickening, but I suppose I am interjecting in the conversation in the hope that you continue its hopeful slant.

      And by the way- permaculture is ideally supposed to restore land, and theoretically you can feed yourself off it, which means you can work less as a wage slave, which means you are living differently. But it still needs land, which means for it to work land-use would have to change, which means perhaps ownership needs to change etc etc and what I think the reality might be, until farming fails near wholesale, is that countries with nukes will still be able to get countries without nukes to give them stuff, said in a much less bloody minded way by Richard Manning, which common sense as it is still makes my heart sink.

      So we keep struggling, but there isnt really time to struggle just to survive anymore. We have to outsituation the situationists and have a revolution of everyones life and decompress the third force :) Oh someone better kick me for saying that :)


    • Rod 8th Jan 2017

      Happy new year back :)

      Regarding consumption vs population, I think they are both important and undervalued. I hope to collect some useful data on both in the coming months to get a better sense of the big picture.

      On McPherson, I don't go nearly as far as him in terms of pessimism (apparently he thinks humankind will be gone within the next 10 years). But I did get to a point last year where I felt there was no way out except through a degree of acceptance of whatever may happen. So I understand and appreciate his call for a life of excellence to a certain degree.

      What I've heard so far about permaculture sounds great (in theory). Lots to discover yet for me. The intentional communities thingy fits it quite nicely. It seems quite a change of pace from our 'normal' way of living though. Hard to imagine what my life would be like living in an eco-village. Can't picture myself there yet, but who knows what the future will bring :) I'm sure you'll have an interesting time visiting Dial House!

      On imperialism, I think it would help if people were better able to connect the dots between how they live their lives and what countries (and corporations) do outside their borders. And the same with fossil fuels. But that's probably wishful thinking. In any case, it will be a struggle for many.

      Btw, instead of trustees we could perhaps create a think-tank project with the same goals. Any proposals that would come out of it could follow the normal procedure for proposals, so perhaps this project would not require a mandate.

    • Caragh - 8th Jan 2017

      I love saying happy new year :) Thanks Rod. Yes, I like the idea of a fluid brainstorming group. I just have always wondered how queries will get forwarded or responded too. Lamberts proposals were so comprehensive I didnt want to add anything but I still think we need some kind of buddy system for new members who want it and some kind of way of linking the groups that are doing things, and some people developing vision.

      I dont know what that looks like though and I dont know how that would get organised. At the moment I am just delighted that people are volunteering for roles!

      Here is a story for everyone- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2JEWKbGUps he believes in Romanticism as Activism and there is some magic in the telling of stories which can be practically done by us in a more dry way by people writing less than 10000 words about how to change the world https://globalchallenges.org/en

      4 years of IOPS and we are exiting the incubator!

    • fred curran 10th Jan 2017

      Concerning leisure and the like, I found this to be an interesting listen, from one of my favorite radio shows. This Is Hell, https://thisishell.com/interviews/904-eva-swidler, going to give posting a link a shot here....

      Eva Swidler on This is Hell if it should fail do not judge me too harshly, but if it should succeed this will all be out of context.

  • Caragh - 3rd Jan 2017

    And I apologize for my spelling of the word that means you go round and round and round and round and the spy in the room takes the piss, and if they are feeling too lazy, the person who likes to push over chairs has an epiphany, and if they arnt allowed to be there, the person who needs to be included will try prove their worth, and if they have already been scapegoated, the new person will get forced to say something, and then you go round and round and round, and admittedly, sometimes it works but mostly inertia wins which I think says more about the society we live in than the actual method.So for anyone who's heart sank at the idea of not going round and round in circles, stick with it- it will make you a great therapist or elder or human being.

  • Bat Chainpuller 8th Jan 2017

    Just reading through yet another essay trying to argue from a moral and philosophical perspective (now imagine I just said that sentence to a truck driver of forty years experience doing nothing but truck driving-people I do talk to about shit) in favour of voluntary simplicity. Getting very frustrated because of the bias inherent in the language that leads one to the conclusion that voluntary simplicity is the only real solution. But to me, the moral and philosophical arguments, starting from Peter Singer's utilitarian position (now try saying that to most wage slaves doing disempowering work for twenty thirty years) don't lead to the moral imperative of simpler living at all, they lead to the obvious conclusion that the world needs a new set of economic institutions that allow and enable a diverse range of lifestyle choices, including deep ecology or voluntary simplicity, among man others, whilst at the same time fostering equality, solidarity and self management and that works in accordance with a similar participatory polity and which allows all citizens to deal with cultural and racial issues in a clear way, free from external individual pressures and fear, and that treats the earth, our home, with the respect needed in order that we survive.

    Until, an overriding wide ranging economy is put up, that can truly coordinate a diverse range of desires and lifestyle choices and clearly expounded, simply and easily understandable, then to the truck fucking driver, orthe disempowered wage slave, "we" got nothing...

    I'm making my own notes/critique re this essay about voluntary simplicity. I have no idea whether my ideas are right or any good, but I do it anyway, because I need to. There needs to be on going conversation about these matters and it doesn't happen...it's usually just this group over there saying that, that group over there saying this and that's it...

    I recently read a great essay in The Accumulation of Freedom:Writings on Anarchist Economics, by Michael Albert, one I thought was one of his best. Then I found a critique of it by Wayne Price online, who was also a contributor to the book. In that critique Price took on all the "pareconistas", Spannos, Hahnel and Albert, from an anarchist perspective. I felt he was just plain wrong, particularly in regard to Albert, but it doesn't really matter...it always comes down to them ver there saying those over here are wrong and everyone should ho over there...along with the fact that there is no place anywhere where good dialogue, good conversational dialogue can happen...Price's article just took the wind out of my sails...I felt like saying, with all my ennui sarcastic filled cantankerous mouthy bullshit wisdom, "you're just plain fucking wrong Price and doing nothing at all to further success in anything. I didn't because there was no point and who the fuck am I anyway...Price is a real principled anarchist who does actually feel Parecon has something to offer, it's just that his essay merely confused and confounded and depressed me rather than help...

    This place, it seems, for right or for wrong I don't really care anymore, is the only place where conversational style communication seems to take place...where wads and wads of ennui can be dumped, out of necessity perhaps...where strange cantankerous sarcastic mouthy longwinded bullshit artist dicks like myself can unload both emotional shit or maybe some insight. But of course, that doesn't help either.




    • Caragh - 10th Jan 2017

      Hi Bat!

      Interesting trying to read the simplicity thing. The thing which gets to me is that it is still a consumption choice and I have realised in the last few years that people viewing themselves are their consumption over their agency is really troubling. I think simple living is a good idea, because that is sustainable, but I agree that it is doing this weird guilt trip on the average person and not actually adressing the big issues- like how industrial activity is a problem, or the banking system or whatever.

      I will get the book eventually and then read the critique afterwards. It sounds promising.

      What also bothers me about voluntary simplicity is that its a little self rightous, but thats probably because to a degree it is right :) but it does need to be coupled with actual change.

      I am glad you can dump some ennui. I was watching this al jazeera thing where an elder was talking about goethe I and saying how happiness is the process of overcoming unhappiness. Here is the interview- the happiness part starts at 22 and a half minutes or so, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EG63MkQb1r4 He passed away yesterday.

      Have a good week.