Sunday, April 22, 2007

Resisting the Megamachine

The Ecotopian Solution in R.Crumb's triptych is the end result we dream of when we envision resistance to the Megamachine. Small scale, low-tech, organic, close to the earth. In fact, this is the only way of life that has any pretense to sustainability.

Unfortunately, this vision is shared by only a small minority of the present population of the developed world, say... 10%. The rest are caught up in the hyperinflated consumerism of our capitalist economy, an economy that sustains, and is sustained by, a political system based on public bribery.

Yes, we "must" learn to live differently, from the way we choose our housing and work, to the way we travel twixt work and home. There are two ways to create this change: by the carrot and/or by the stick.

The stick is legislation that forces producers and consumers to produce and consume responsibly. If the only products that are available and marketed are environmentally responsible products, then consumers will buy and use them. If the government sets the tone of the country by promoting conservation and reducing consumption as a national priority, then the people will follow suit.

The carrot consists of opportunities for the people to do what they already do more efficiently and cheaper, such that the alternatives are more attractive. Housing could cost more depending on distance from work, public transportation could be subsidized such that it is cheaper and more convenient than driving a private car. Zoning to encourage mixed housing and business would make car trips less necessary.

As anarchists, we like to think in terms of grass roots organization, mutual aid and decentralization. We live the change we wish to see in the world. This has an effect of demonstrating that the alternatives are normal and fun, not weird and scary. For those of us who live this way, it is sufficient.

And yet, life goes on, and the majority continue in destructive ways.

It takes work in all sectors of our society by those of us who are aware: in the political, the economic and the social. We support politicians and legislation that support localization, conservation and living in place. We oppose politicians and legislation that support development, consumerism and "the global economy." We support our communities and neighborhoods to develop and promote mutual aid and localization. We work lightly and locally, for groups and organizations that promote community solidarity and mutual aid. We work close to home and walk or bicycle in our neighborhoods.

As conditions get harder for others to follow "traditional" lifestyles, our ways will appear more attractive, both economically and culturally. As the "global economy" spins down, localization will fill the vacuum.

One of these days we'll wake up in an R. Crumb cartoon.