Sunflowervillager's Blog

Growing into community

Vanishing Fog October 26, 2009

Filed under: land,landlessness.,redetermination — Saera @ 7:13 am
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It’s 2:30 am. Since I went to bed on time for once, this means that I slept about 2 hours and have been fooling around on the computer for half an hour. I’ve been struggling with existential anxiety a lot this semester. I have been chanting a lot more and I feel like my vision is clearing. I’ve said before that this blog isn’t so much about the details of my personal life. So why am I writing about this here? Because I am seeing my path clearer, I am working on multiple ends

I wrote a bit recently about the conundrum of whether to become landed first or to break dependency on employ. I am starting to think that it makes sense to work on it from both ends simultaneously, however I can. There is no reason not to go for a land trust and a village and a worker/producer co-op. These things all go hand in hand as part of the diverse economy. There is an opportunity that I have been informed about to make a leap from my current job into an existing co-op. I will be hoping and chanting for it. But I am also able to take a step back and realize that even if I do not obtain this particular transition, a cooperative work environment is not out of reach. I can apply for others in the area, and I can start one more… as long as jobs the current system continue to exist, there will be a place for worker co-ops to develop.

I am not a victim. I do not have to see myself as trapped or overwhelmed or having odds stacked against me. I only need to act and to believe and to persevere.

 

Land Trust Non-profit evolutions! October 19, 2009

Filed under: land,land trust,organization — Saera @ 2:48 am

Today I went to my second meeting of a group of people considering forming a land trust non-profit. I think there have been a couple of other meetings, but I only found out about this in September via Chris. It was interesting, because today the meeting contained an entirely different group of people than the last, except for the central organizer and myself. But it seems like we’re boiling down to a few ideas:

One, that we’re probably moving towards forming a non-profit Land Trust. This could be a parent/umbrella organization whose main purpose is helping people get access/education about land.

Two, that there is clearly a group of people interested in developing some kind of community related to this Land Trust. This could end up as one community or multiples. We will do more brainstorming about shared visions we have in this area.

There is discussion too, about whether we should try to get onto some land right away, renting or whatever, as a way to practice/experiment/learn about community and developing related skills, or whether we should focus on ideals and bonds.

I’m really excited to be working with people, figuring out practically how we’re going to do this stuff!

And Tom and I have been talking about ideas too! Now if so much of school didn’t feel like a distraction!

 

Taking Action October 13, 2009

As I mentioned before, Julie Graham started a Wiki for my Economic Geography class. I’ve just made a contribution to the section I’ll be studying for the rest of the semester. You can see it here: Diverse Economy activities of Intentional Communities in Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York.
Doing the research for that felt really productive. I love how absolutely relevant this class is. But it does make me wonder a bit about why I have such a hard time doing this kind of research and writing on my own. I do love it. I think maybe it has something to do with dreaming hard and feeling like there are possibilities but they’re so far away all the time. But not learning about them doesn’t bring them any closer. So I’m glad that this class is getting me moving.

I fantasize about living in space I have control over all the time. It’s something I’ll have to drop off and on as school keeps me on it’s schedule, but I’m going to start looking at architecture again. I am going to just listen to Goethe more: Whatever you can dream, begin it; for there is magic and power in it. It’s alright to have halting starts and half-finished things… they are all part of the building of dreams, of taking action. And action lets me get somewhere, let’s me see and others see that these are no mere pipe dreams or infantile wishes. A better world is possible. Some people are already making it better, and I am learning to be one of them.

 

Landlessness and wage-bonds September 23, 2009

Filed under: economy,land,landlessness.,marx,organization,risk,slavery,wage — Saera @ 4:09 am

Long week… already, catching up from being sick
not just from school, but that, yes, always that, doing what I can, and communicating like crazy, to profs, TAs, SGI people.
Still not caught up with myself. Got to do some dishes after finishing homework tonight, and yeah, I said *got* to and meant it. Thank goodness Daniel did the laundry. We’re both running hard and doing all we can, and our lives are becoming ever more gargantuan.

Lots of things I want to write about – my connect/disconnect to Marx, marxism, labor. My passion for Upton Sinclair. Thinking about economy and organization of labor. Reconsidering my approaches.

There are two bandages that hold us in thrall, physically in this society.

(I know there are others, many others, in spiritual, intellectual, other areas, I know, know too that they are all interconnected, but I have a PoinT here… that is to say, there are two bondages)

There are two bondages: Being, still, after milennia, the landless peasantry, the land ripped away from us (ill-ly)legally….( we, the working class, the producers, the makers of vitals or the chain of people who get them from the makers to You, consumer.) In short: we rent, we do not own our castles, our abodes where we may at last have our Say. I rent, so I do not define my own space, except on the surface, my trappings, my coverings, things I bring every place I live to remind-pretend that this is not someone else’s. I doubt again that I will grow corn next spring or summer, and who knows if/when ever I’ll get that cat door. Because it is not something I really have a say over. So, the bondage that I rent, that I am landless, like every lowest class. And there abounds the myth that there is not class in *America. So, the idea, the revolutionistic desire that once again, we should have an abode, for us, not for the profit of another, but a place to finally hang our hat at the end of the day and not worry whether the second bondage threatens us in the security of our sleep.

The second bondage: to work filling the pockets of others to bursting, and not being able to tell whether we fill ours just enough to eat, to sedate ourselves a little into acceptance, or whether we are actually benefiting from the arrangement, making progress towards freedom from the first bondage or following dreams or saving the world or merely having a fulfilling occupation. Yes, that second bondage is, (and I *will* be so bold as to thank Marx for this line) the slavery of wage…. that endless work that we too often cannot tell what happens to, who it benefits, if it is what we are told it is. Is this the best we have to offer? Too many inconsistencies, and always this cycle of how much do we risk to speak up to appease our angry sense of justice , how much do we live with in order that we may attempt to someway, somehow, accomplish our nobler ends? The means ARE connected, invariably to the ends. There must be better means, or our ends are sure to haunt us as tainted. To which solution, then do I dare?

I don’t know yet… again, more research, more dialogue, more experimentation and self-delving.

Again, and more. A few snippets of new connections, fresh determination, I leave here tonight. There is certainly more whirling around, but tomorrow has, again, many demands.

 

The Dream Gets Closer September 14, 2009

Filed under: land,land trust — Saera @ 12:35 pm

Yesterday went to a meeting of “the Valley Community Land Collective”. This baby is in it’s inception. There was a lot of thoughtful dialogue, and it was exciting to be around 7 or 8 people with similar interests. A representative from a Land Trust in Franklin County was there, and she fielded a lot of questions about the logistics of how a land trust actually operates. The conclusion of the meeting was that we need to continue getting to know each other and what our goals are, finding the intersections there. I have a lot of appreciation for Matt, who’s been working hard to get people together around this, and for Chris M, who sent me the info about the meeting in the first place. The dream gets closer.

P.S. This meeting was a block and a half from my house, and pretty much all the people live in Northampton…

I also ran into Sara P. earlier in the day. I keep thinking about her but not calling her, so this was a gift. I have so much admiration for her, and wish to learn from her.

 

Of Candles and Tea September 5, 2009

Filed under: food/agri/garden,land,subsidiarity — Saera @ 12:20 pm

I made candles Thursday night. It’s been about four years since I did that, so my technique needs a little practice. I recycled leftover wax I’d collected from candles I’ve had over the past year or so. I had a little red wax and some citronella, so I have six rosy pink candles that have a citronella smell! When wax cools, it contracts, and little wells form in the base of the candle. You’re supposed to pour more in, but I made a mess and just barely had enough to initially fill the molds. They look fine though, and I learned some things for next time. I only want to used recycled wax to make my candles, so I’m thinking about advertising for wax wanted on craigslist. Anyway, that was a fulfilling activity!

The other day I got to visit Pages, a new independent coffee bar and bookshop in Conway, MA. Conway is to the north of Amherst, around Greenfield I think. Anyway, Conway is also home to a horse-plowed farm, which I think I may have mentioned that I visited with my Vegetable Production class last semester. I’m starting to have good associations. I’m acquainted with the owner of Pages, and I’m impressed with what she’s started. Not only does she carry used books, she incorporates as much local food/coffee/tea product as she can… local made, fresh, non-frozen pastries that are *heavenly*

Tried to buy Orion at work the other day, but couldn’t find it. I guess I’ll try (ugh) Barnes and Noble.

 

The State Street Peeps August 25, 2009

In order for this blog to be an effective tool, I also need to be taking action outside it. That will happen soon, in a very structured way, due to school. In the meantime, and hopefully even as that gets going again, I want to make sure I am taking the kind of action each day that gives me something meaningful to write about here. It’s not that I’m doing nothing, but a lot of what I have been doing lately is related to either my personal relationships or my Buddhist activities. That is good stuff, but that isn’t what this blog is about. Of course it’s all interconnected, but I’m working on a specific thing here.

One thing I guess that has been developing gradually worth mentioning is the community of the house I live in. I thought maybe I’d posted this already, but I skimmed through previous posts and didn’t see anything. There are 4 apartments in the house, and everyone who lives here is really cool. Everyone seems to be interested in food and the outdoors and being cool neighbors. There is also a general consensus that bikes are at least as respect worthy as cars, if not more so. There have been some potlucks for just hanging out… we hosted one, the girl next to us hosted one, and the people on the second floor have had several. We are musicians and students and grocery store workers and gardeners and philosophers and talkers and doers. In the foyer as you come inside, there is a community monthly calender and it has all sorts of awesome events and notes and drawings. Sammy watched our cat while we were gone, and now we’re watching hers while she’s gone. We bump into each other in the driveway or stairwell or sidewalk or garden/backyard and talk about food or religion or work or society or whatever. It’s not all the time, and it’s not in your face. It’s relaxed and develops when someone wants to do something or communicates. I’m so glad I live here, because it has a little of the feel that I’d like the village to have. Unlike most places I’ve lived since moving out of my parent’s house, *all* my neighbors are friendly and interactive and utterly unbitchy. The last place I lived I think had the willingness, to an extent, but people ended up keeping to themselves for the most part, even though we always talked about more. Here, we knock on each others doors, and we do stuff, we don’t just talk about it. I’m delighted to live in a place with a real garden (even if I didn’t make it), and one step closer to that village vibe.