ecotopianetwork

The Need For Transıtion To The Simpler Way

 THE NEED FOR TRANSITION TO THE SIMPLER WAY

(Two page summary;  5.10.2010.)

The basic cause of the many alarming global problems we face is the pursuit of affluent “living standards” and economic growth…the determination to produce and consume more and more, without limit, even in the richest countries.  There is no possibility that the per capita levels of resource consumption in rich countries can be kept up for long.  Only a few of the world’s people have these “living standards” and the rest can never rise anything like them.

    • Resources such as food, land, forests, fisheries soils, minerals and energy (especially petroleum) are being depleted because the people in rich countries are consuming grossly unsustainable amounts, and the rest are trying to live as the few in rich countries live…and all are determined to consume more and increase GDP all the time and without limit.
    • The environment is being destroyed because far too much is being taken from nature and too many wastes are being dumped back into nature.  The environment problem cannot be solved unless rich world per capita levels of production and consumption are greatly reduced, possibly by a factor of 10.  For instance the Australian “footprint”, the amount of productive land per capita used, is 8 ha, but by 2050 the amount available in the world per capita will only be about .8 ha.
    • The Third World problem of perhaps 4 billion people living in deprivation and poverty (and 3 billion on an income of less than $2 per day) is basically due to the fact that the global economy gears most of the Third World’s resources and productive capacity to enriching our rich world corporations and stacking our supermarkets.  We could not have our high “living standards” if we were not taking far more than our fair share of the world’s resources.
    • Most problems of armed conflict and of oppression are due to the determination of some to take the resources of others.  If we all go on fiercely intent on living in, or aspiring to, ways it is impossible for all to rise to, then there must inevitably be more and more armed conflict.  We in rich countries could not have our high “living standards” if we were not getting far more than our fair share.  We do this partly through the way the grossly unjust global economy works.  It allows the rich to outbid the poor for scarce things, and will only permit development of what is most profitable to corporations, i.e., of ventures that serve our supermarkets.  But in addition the rich countries support oppressive regimes and engage in military actions in order to keep Third World countries to the policies that suit us.
    • Social cohesion and the quality of life in even the richest societies are being damaged, because the supreme goals are raising business turnover, incomes and the GDP, not meeting needs, building community and improving the quality of life.

These problems are inevitable consequences of a society that is driven by acquisitiveness, competition, the profit motive, market forces and growth.  It is not just that this society is grossly unsustainable and unjust – the point is that such a society cannot be made sustainable or just.  It is not possible to reform such a society so that it does not generate the above problems, while it continues to be about the fierce drive to get as rich as possible and to allow development to be determined by what will be most profitable to corporations and banks.

Most people however believe that technical advance, such as the development of more efficient cars and of renewable energy sources, will indeed enable us to plunge on down the affluence and growth path for ever while it solves the environment and other problems.  But the magnitude of the overshoot, the unsustainability, is far too great for this to be possible.  If by 2050 all the world’s people had risen to the “living standards” we in rich countries will have then given 3% p.a. growth, then world economic output would be 30 times as great as it is now…and right now it is at a grossly unsustainable level.  Technical advance cannot make such a situation remotely sustainable…and with 3% growth the task would be twice as great every 23 years thereafter.

The second fundamental fault in consumer-capitalist society is that it is based on a massively unjust global economy.  Most of the world’s resources and markets are taken by the few in rich countries, basically because it is a market system.  Markets allow the rich to tae most of what is produced, and to ensure that the development” that takes place in the Third World is development that will enrich corporations and rich world shoppers.  There cannot be peace or justice in the world until the rich countries stop hogging most of its wealth and begin to live on their fair share.  Again this is not possible unless they accept moving down to much lower levels of consumption.

The solution.

The can be no solution to these alarming problems unless there is transition to ways in which there are,

–       Simpler lifestyles, much less production and consumption, much less    

      concern with luxury, affluence, possessions and wealth, and much more

      concern with non-material sources of life satisfaction.

–       Mostly small, highly self-sufficient local economies, largely independent of the global economy, putting local resources to meeting local needs.  When petroleum becomes scarce there will be no choice about this. 

–       More cooperative and participatory ways, enabling people in small communities to take control of their own development, to include and provide for all.  In the coming era of scarcity communities that cooperate to meet needs will have much better chances. We must develop commons and working bees, and there must be town assemblies, local committees and referenda making the important decisions about local development and administration.  

–       A new economy, one that is not driven by profit or market forces, and one that has no growth at all, that produces much less than the present one, and focuses on needs and rights. It might have many private firms and markets, but there must be (participatory, democratic, open and local) social control over what is developed, what is produced, and how it is distributed.  Most economic activity will be local, using local resources, controlled by ordinary citizens, and geared to maximising the quality of life of all in the region. 

–       Some very different values, especially cooperative not competitive, more collectivist and less individualistic, and concerned with frugality and self-sufficiency not acquisitiveness and consuming.

The alternative or Simpler Way is about ensuring a very high quality of life for all without anywhere near as much work, worry, production, consumption, exporting, investment, environmental damage etc. as our present society involves. It is about liberation from the consumer rat race, and the insecurity, inequality, conflict and cultural squalor that goes with it.  Consider having to work for money maybe only two days a week for money, and therefore having a lot of time for arts and crafts and personal growth, living in a rich and supportive community, and in a diverse and productive leisure-rich landscape, having socially worthwhile and enjoyable work with no fear of unemployment…and knowing you are not contributing to global problems.

Many people now accept this view of our situation and the solution, and are working for transition to the alternative way. There are now Global Eco-village and Transition Towns Movements trying to move towards new settlements of the required kind.  The fate of the planet depends on whether these movements can provide many impressive examples of sustainable, just and pleasant settlements showing people in consumer society that there is a better way.

What should one do?  Form a group in your town or suburb to start developing elements of the new way, such as small cooperative gardens and workshops, community working bees, edible landscapes, festivals…and helping to organise wasted local resources such as unemployed, retired and excluded people into producing to meet some of their own needs….with the vision of gradually expanding until we have transformed the entire suburb.  But these efforts must go beyond merely creating community gardens etc.; they must be informed by the vision of vast and radical system change, such as getting rid of an economy driven by profit, market forces and growth.  As conditions in consumer society deteriorate, led by the coming petroleum crisis, people will see the wisdom of coming across to The Simple Way we are pioneering.

http://ssis.arts.unsw.edu.au/tsw/TSW2p.html

THE TRANSITION PROCESS.

How can we get to a sustainable and just society?

20.10.10

(This is a summary of Chapters 12 and 13 in

 The Transition To A Sustainable and Just World, Envirobook, 2010.)

Only when we are clear about the nature of our global predicament and the radical system changes that are needed, and about the form a sustainable society must take, are we in a position to think about the best way to work for the transition.

            The global situation.

Consumer-capitalist society is grossly unsustainable and unjust.  We are far beyond levels of production and consumption that can be kept up or spread to all.  In addition consumer-capitalist society provides a few with high “living standards” by delivering to them far more than their fair share of world resources.  Technical advance cannot solve the problems; they cannot be fixed in or by consumer-capitalist society. There must be dramatic reductions in levels of economic output, and therefore there must be radical and extreme system change.  (For the detail see Part 1 of http://ssis.arts.unsw.edu.au/tsw/02c-TSW-14p.html)

The Solution.

There must be transition to The Simpler Way, involving simpler lifestyles, high levels of local economic self-sufficiency, highly cooperative and participatory arrangements, an almost totally new economic system (one that is not driven by market forces or profit, and one that has no growth), and fundamental value change. Many realise a sustainable and just society must be mostly made up of small local economies in which people participate collectively to run their economies to meet needs using local resources, and in which the goal is a high quality of life and not monetary wealth.  This is a largely Anarchist vision and the coming conditions of scarcity will give us no choice about this.  Big, centralised authoritarian systems will not work.   (For more detail see Part 2 of the account at the above site.)

Implications for transition.

Following are some important implications of the foregoing analyses for the transition process.

–       The conditions we are entering, the era of scarcity, rule out most previous thinking about the good society and social transition.  The good society cannot be affluent, highly industrialised, centralised or globalised, and we cannot get to it by violent revolution led by a vanguard party.  Governments cannot make the transition for us, if only because there will be too few resources for governments to run the many local systems needed.  The new local societies can only be made to work by the willing effort of local people who understand why The Simpler Way is necessary and who want to live that way and who find it rewarding.   Only they know the local conditions and social situation and only they can develop the arrangements, networks, trust, cooperative climate etc. that suit them.  The producing, maintaining and administering will have to be carried out by them and things can’t work unless people are eager to cooperate, discuss, turn up to working bees, and be conscientious, and unless they have the required vision. A central government could not provide or impose these conditions even if it had the resources.  It must be developed, learned by us as we grope our way towards taking control of self-sufficient local economies.

Working for transition therefore has to focus mostly on helping ordinary people to understand the need for The Simpler Way and to move towards its willing acceptance, and towards enthusiastic participation in the long process of learning how best to organise in their own area. The best way for us to do this work is to start building new ways where we live (below.).

Thus our strategy differs from the classic Left/Marxist one which focuses on building a political movement that will take over the state and then reorganise things from the centre, perhaps with a heavy hand (although Marx thought that in time the need for a central authoritarian state would fade away.)  That made more sense when the goal seemed to be to shift energy-intensive, centralised and industrialised systems from capitalist control to ”socialist” control.

–       There is therefore no value in working to take state power, either within the parliamentary system, or by force and revolution.  Even if the Prime Minister and cabinet suddenly came to hold all the right ideas and values, they could not make the required changes – in fact they would be instantly tossed out of office if they tried.  The changes can only come from the bottom, via slow development of the ideas, understandings, and values of ordinary people, and these cannot occur except through a lengthy process of learning the new ways from eperience in the places where people live. 

–       Working for Green parties to get Green candidates elected is not the best use of scarce energy.  They can’t get the necessary radical changes through parliaments, given the dominant ideology.  The task is to change that ideology, and that is not best done by working in the electoral political arena.  Green parties and movements are now almost entirely merely reformist; they do not challenge market forces of affluence and they are not calling for radical structural changes away from affluent consumer-capitalist society.

–       We do not have to get rid of consumer-capitalist society before we can begin to build the new society.  Fighting directly against the system is not going to contribute much to fundamental change at this point in time.  (It is at times necessary to fight against immediate threats.) The consumer-capitalist system has never been stronger than it is today.  The way we think we can beat it in the long run is to ignore it to death, i.e., to turn away from it as much as is possible and to start building its replacement and persuading people to come across.  The Anarchists provide the most important ideas, especially that of working to “Prefigure” the good society here and now, and focusing on development of the required vision in more and more people.

–       The main target, the main problem group, the basic block to progress, is not the corporations or the capitalist class.  They have their power because people in general grant it to them.  The problem group, the key to transition, is people in general.  If they came to see how extremely unacceptable consumer-capitalist society is, and to see that The Simpler Way is the path to liberation then the present system would be quickly abandoned.  The battle is therefore one of ideology or awareness.  We have to help people to see that radical change is necessary and attractive, so that they enthusiastically set about building new local economies on mostly collective principles.  The Left has always understood the importance of ideology and consciousness but has failed to focus on the task of developing the necessary awareness and values in people in general.  They have tended to assume that the necessary consciousness can be developed after power has been taken from the capitalist class.  Again vanguard parties using force cannot get us to The Simpler Way; we will only achieve it if ordinary people build new systems in the places where they live, and they will not do that unless large numbers have come to hold a radical consciousness.

–  The readiness to question consumer society has declined over the last thirty years.  Affluence has generated increasing preoccupation with the trivia of TV, sport, celebrities and mindless self-indulgent hedonism.  Above all there is a refusal to listen to any challenge to growth and affluence, a failure to even think about the fact that the quest for these is leading to catastrophic breakdown.  Governments, media and the general public give no attention to these issues, despite the accumulation of an overwhelming case over the past  fifty years.

–       There is no possibility of significant structural change in the near future.  We are nowhere near the necessary level of public awareness of the need for it.  There will be no significant change while the supermarket shelves remain well stocked.  Nothing much will change until serious scarcity jolts them.  The underlyingproblems are becoming more acute and this will make people more likely to realise that consumer-capitalist society will not provide for them and that there must be a better way.  If/when a petroleum shortage occurs it will concentrate minds wonderfully.  But when it comes the window of opportunity could be brief and risky.  If things deteriorate too far there could easily be too much chaos for sense to prevail and for us to organise cooperative local alternative systems.

–       Therefore the top priorities for anyone concerned about the fate of the planet must be

 a) to contribute to the development of radical global consciousness, that is, to help as many people as possible to understand that capitalist-consumer society will not provide for all, cannot be fixed and has to be largely abandoned, that there is a far better way, and

b) to contribute to the building of elements of The Simpler Way, here and now.  In the last 20 years many people around the world have begun to build, live in and experiment with new settlements which enable simpler ways.  When things begin to shake loose we need to be ready, to have built enough impressive examples of The Simpler Way, so that people can see there is a better alternative, and can quickly move into it.

The main reason why we should do this building is not to have more of the new institutions – it is to be in the  best possible position to influence the thinking of people.   By working with them on local projects we will be in the best position to help them to see that we must eventually go far beyond more community gardens etc. and embrace radical system change.

–       The most promising development to work within is the rapidly growing Transition Towns Movement.  If we make it to a sustainable and just world it can only be through a movement of this general kind.  But again much has to be done to get the movement to go beyond its presently reformist aims.  The things being done now within the Transition Towns movement will not solve the big global problems.  They are only reforms within consumer-capitalist society and are no threat to it.  The movement is not about replacing consumer-capitalist society; it is about surviving within it.  For instance it does not have the goal of getting rid of a growth economy.  Global problems cannot be solved unless this is eventually achieved.

This is the general fault in the green movement, the failure to grasp the distinction between system reform and system replacement.  Many good alternative, local, green practices are being developed now, such as farmers’ markets, local agriculture, recycling co-ops.  However these are almost entirely reformist; that is they do not come from any vision that recognises the need to scrap and replace the core structures of growth and affluence society.  They do not include the most crucial purposes, such as to get to a zero-growth economy, to much simpler lifestyles, and to taking control of local economies away from market forces.  Unless things like this are done the many (desirable) green initiatives occurring will not and cannot achieve significant social change

The reformist nature of these movements is understandable and inevitable, and are a very welcome beginning.  As people become concerned to develop more sustainable ways of course they will start by supporting things like Permaculture and local agriculture.  This is very healthy, but it is far from sufficient.  It is inevitable that at first people will think about reforms, rather than see that fundamental structures of the system have to be scrapped.  Over time quite different goals must be added, to do with replacing things like the growth economy.

It is also a serious mistake to assume, as many do, that the things happening now within movements like Transitions Towns will in time lead to the big radical structural changes called for above.  Just building more community gardens etc. cannot lead to the establishment of a zero- growth economy.  That goal can’t be achieved unless it becomes clearly and widely understood as necessary and unless a lot of work over time goes into designing and developing a  zero-growth economy.  If all you do is build more community gardens all you will end up with will be a consumer-capitalist society with more community gardens in it.

–       So beware the mistakes that could waste your valuable time and energy!  Each of us should think very carefully about what we can do that will make the biggest contribution.  Again there are many (desirable and noble) “light green” actions that make no contribution whatsoever to the transition.  For instance working to save the whale, increase recycling, stop wood chipping…are good causes… but they do nothing to move us towards a sustainable society, because that requires transition from consumer-capitalist society, and more recycling and forest-saving does not contribute to that.  The best use of our scarce energies is to work within these light green campaigns and movements to try to spread the more radical global vision to ore people.

–       Change will be rapid when it comes. The problems in consumer-capitalist society are intensifying.  If we do achieve transition it will be via rapidly increasing discontent with the failure of the present society to provide.

–       The breakdown of consumer-capitalist society will force us  towards small, local economies whether we like it or not, to cooperate and to shift from high consumption. Local farms, jobs etc. will (have to) emerge as petroleum dwindles and transport and travel become too costly. 

–       It could be a very peaceful revolution…if we can get enough people to see the sense of moving to The Simpler Way.  The rich and the corporations will have no power if enough of us decide to ignore them and to build our own local systems.  The corporations and banks will probably soon be grappling with the breakdown of their systems and will not have the resources to block the initiatives people will be taking up in thousands of towns and suburbs.  They can’t run armies and secret police forces very well without lots of oil.

–       At this point in time our chances of a successful transition would seem to be very poor. Very few people have any idea that it is required, hardly anyone wants to even think about the need for transition to The Simpler Way, because it contradicts the most cherished values in modern Western Culture…and time is running out.  Despite the efforts of a few over 50 years to draw attention to these issues the mainstream still refuses to think about them. 

–       Not only is working together to build elements of the Simpler Way the

best effective purpose for people concerned about the planet to put their energy into, it provides the best possibility of maintaining morale and enthusiasm. This strategy enables us here and now to practise and enjoy elements of the post-revolutionary society.

An Outline of a  Practical Strategy.

Following are the steps we can start to take immediately, within our suburbs and especially in dying country towns, to start building the new local economies. ( It might take many years to get all these things going.)

Form a Community Development Collective.

A group must come together and form itself into a Community Development Collective (hereafter referred to as CDC.)  Ideally the CDC will eventually develop into a mechanism for the participatory self-government of the town or suburb, but at first it might involve only a handful of individuals seeking to do a few humble things.

Set up a community garden and workshop.

The  CDC’s initial goal is  to identify and organise some of the locality’s unused productive resources of skill, energy, experience and good will so that a few people can start to produce  for themselves some of the basic goods and services they need. The most promising first step is to establish a community garden and workshop, especially to involve low income receivers in the production of food and other items for their own use.

The CDC should then look for other areas in which further cooperative production to meet local needs could be organised.  A promising early possibility would be bread baking.  Once or twice a week a cooperative working bee might produce most of the bread etc. the group needs, again perhaps selling some to outsiders for cash.  Another early possibility would be the repair of furniture, bicycles and appliances.  The workshop could become a shop where surpluses are for sale.  Scavenging from the locality, especially on council waste collection days, will provide furniture, appliances, bicycle parts and toys to be repaired and materials  for use in the workshop.   Other possible areas of activity would be cooperative house repair and maintenance, nursery production, herbs, poultry, honey, preserving and bottling fruits and vegetables, toy making, making slippers, sandals, hats, bags and baskets, car repair and the “gleaning” of local surplus fruit from private back yards.

Later the CDC would explore somewhat more complicated fields in which it could organise productive activity, such as planting fast growing trees for fuel wood, aquaculture based on tanks, simple house building and repairing, insulating houses, recycling and planting “edible landscapes” on public land.

These activities would also provide important intangible benefits, such as the experience of community and worthwhile activity.  The involvement of local people who are not on low incomes would be important, especially gardeners, handymen and retired people.  Ideally the garden and workshop would become a lively community centre with information, recycling, meeting and leisure functions.  Specific times in the week should be set when all would try to gather at the site for the working bees, followed by a meal, discussions, entertainment and social activities.

Cooperatives would tally work time contributions and pay for these from later produce or income.  This in effect creates our own money, enabling economic activity among the poorest people who have little or no money.  This is the first step to an economy in which all participants can contribute time to many different productive ventures, earning the right to acquire the many different products our cooperatives and firms are producing, even though they might have no normal job or money. Some of the most viable CDC activities could in time become small firms run by a family or cooperative.

The huge significance of what we have done at this point could easily be overlooked.  We have established a radically new economy, one geared to need not profit, one that is cooperative and caring, independent of market forces, and under our own local participatory social control.  We now have the power to set up the enterprises we need, provide jobs and livelihoods, decide what will be invested in and developed, identify and fix local problems such as unemployment, and lend or give wealth and capital, for instance to organise working bees to build a shed for the new beekeeper.  Our enterprises might be nowhere near as “efficient” or dollar-cheap as those the corporations can provide, but this is not important; what matters is that we can provide for ourselves, securely.

The significance of this step is immense.  We have ceased to make reforms within the old society, we have started to establish a new economy to replace the old one.

Connect with the normal/old economy — stimulating the town’s internal economy. 

The next step must be to enable people in this new sector to trade with the normal/old firms that exist within the locality. Right from the start we can sell small amounts of our produce to people in the town, (which also gives us a great opportunity to explain the project.)  But more importantly the CDC must find out what things the new sector as a whole can start providing to some of the old sector firms in the town. For instance in the case of restaurants the answer is vegetables from the CDC’s cooperative garden.

We would not set up firms that compete with the existing small firms in the town.  There is no net benefit in us setting up a bakery that wins all the scarce bread sales opportunities and therefore just puts people in the existing bakery out of work.  We would compete against the supermarket where we could, because our goal is to replace its imports.   Our focus must be on creating sales and jobs in a new economy involving those people previously excluded from economic activity. However this will not be possible unless the CDC finds items it can sell to the old firms or to people in the town.

It is in the interests of the old firms to join us enthusiastically, because this will enable them to increase their sales and their real incomes.  They will be able to start selling to that large group of people previously not involved in much economic activity (e.g., because they were unemployed.)

Organise town working bees. 

The development of the garden and workshop would have taken place through cooperative working bees.  Before long the CDC should organise voluntary neighbourhood or town working bees, perhaps occasional at first but eventually occurring at set times aimed at developing the locality in ways that will make it more sustainable, e.g., planting fruit and nut trees in local parks, or building simple premises for new little firms.  These activities can have powerful awareness raising effects within the town.

Organise committees

These research, monitor, organise, e.g., how to grow various things well, raise poultry and fish, graft fruit trees, run good little firms, buy in bulk, deal with water, wastes, liase with council, organise our financial affairs, provide for our self-education (e.g., on global affairs), monitor the quality of life, cohesion, and problems.

Start developing commons

…throughout the neighbourhood, such as sheds, tools, clay pits, patches for herbs, bamboo, fruit trees and timber.  The working bees get the jobs done.

Organise market day

This would be organised mainly to sell CDC produce and products, and so that many people who do not operate firms or work full time for wages can gain income by selling items they produce in small volume through home gardens, craft activity or family produce.

Later start working on replacing imports to the town or suburb. 

The proportion of the town or suburb’s consumption that is met by imported goods is typically very high.  When goods are produced somewhere else and imported this means that the jobs that were involved in their production are not located in the town, and it means that money is flowing out of the town.  The CDC should explore what items the town is most likely to be able to start producing to replace imports.  Food is an obvious item.  Other possibilities are fire wood, and house insulation as a replacement for imported energy, timber from woodlots, earth for building, and entertainment (concerts, plays, picnics, talks, festivals.)

Work on reducing the need for money in the first place.

The CDC must constantly focus attention on the importance of living simply, making things ourselves, home gardening, repairing, sharing and re-using.  The fewer goods people consume the less that the town will have to import or provide.  The more simple their demands are the more likely that these can be met from local resources. The more we do without or make for ourselves the less money we need to earn in order to buy things.   Every dollar we can cut from our expenditure the less the town needs to produce for export.

The CDC should develop craft groups to increase home production.  It could organise classes, skill sharing and display days for gardening, pottery, basket making, woodwork, cooking, sewing, preserving, sandal making, weaving, leatherwork, blacksmithing, etc.  It would list skilled people willing to give advice or run classes.  It would also list sources of materials, especially those free from the commons such as bamboo clumps, reed  beds and clay pits.  The CDC could develop recipes for nutritious but cheap meals mainly using plants (and weeds) that grow well locally.  It would run field days and visits, and bring in experts, to increase our knowledge and skills.

Leisure, entertainment, celebrations, festivals and culture.  

One of the committees within the CDC should focus on the possibilities for providing local entertainment, especially including regular concerts, dances, visiting artists, drama groups, craft and produce shows, art galleries, picnic days, celebrations, rituals and festivals.  We would organise our own news services, such as occasional bulleltins gleaning material from global sources on sustainability and quality of life themes.  Eventually the main news media will be local radio stations.

Form a town bank (or credit union) and business incubator

This creates the power to set up the kinds of firms the town needs.  For example we can lend capital, and organise working bee labour to develop premises for the boot repairer, whether or not it is profitable.  We would debate and vote on the bank’s rules and elect our own board.  The business incubator helps new firms to get going.  Both institutions assist old firms in the town that are failing (as oil scarcity hits transport and imported goods) to shift to production of needed items.  Thus we would eventually take control over the town’s economic development, eliminating unemployment and creating the firms we need, and ensuring that everyone has a secure livelihood and a valued contribution.

Develop collective spirit

Emphasise cooperation, sharing, helping, solidarity, feeling of mutual support and security. Synergism multiplies good effects and brings out the best in all. (Competitive individualism brings out the worst.)  This is no threat to individual freedoms – we just need to make the good of all the top priority.

The  research and educational functions of the CDC

The CDC must constantly study the local situation, working out what needs we have, what resources we have, and how to organise better ways.  The most important functions for the CDC are to do with the education of people within the wider locality.  After all the main point of the exercise is to bring people to understand the need for and the rewards offered by the new ways.  All our activities such as working bees and market days provide opportunities for increasing awareness within the surrounding region.

Above all the goal must be to help people understand a) that there has to be vast and radical system change; a society based on affluence, growth, competition and market forces cannot solve our problems, and b) the Simpler Way defuses the problems while liberating us for a much higher quality of life.  We in the CDC must clearly understand that the point of the project is not just securing comfortable “downshifted” lifestyles for ourselves within a society that remains a part of consumer capitalist society.

In other words it is important that the main goal of the CDC is changing the consciousness of the locality, so that we can move from implementing reforms within consumer society to replacing it with radically different institutions and ways.

Transition Conclusions.

If we do make it to a sustainable and just world order then the transition will have been begun by tiny groups of people who at some point in time have taken on this task of working out how they could start to move their towns and suburbs towards being highly self-sufficient and cooperative local economies.  Governments cannot do it.  Only the people of the town can learn their way to the procedures that work for them.  Those ways cannot work unless all are energetic, conscientious citizens keen to live The Simpler Way.

The approach outlined is positive and immediate. It is not about destroying before we can start to build.  It enables living in and enjoying the new ways, to some extent, here and now, long before the old system has been transcended.  There is nothing to stop us starting this work immediately.  Above all, given our global situation, what other action strategy makes as much sense?  Is any other more likely to get us to The Simpler Way?

May 16, 2011 - Posted by | anti-kapitalizm, anti-otoriter / anarşizan, komünler, kolektifler, kooperatifler vb modeller, ozyonetim

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