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Soil Still Fertile for Radicals and Revolutionaries

February 15, 2009, 12:00 am
By SFR Staff
The Sunday New York Times was like a propagandistic primer on global unrest this week.  A rather revolutionary manifesto was hand delivered to my mailbox on Valentine's Day, and while geekily haunting the farm/garden section of the local Craig's List, I stumbled upon some folks trying to set up a large-scale community garden that will provide food for members after the collapse of the “fiat” economy.

Clearly those who were thinking that the days of conspiracy theory, ammo hoarding and post-apocalyptic planning were over and done with the inauguration of Barack Obama either have too much faith in the system or spend too little time knocking around the fringes of the internet.

But the Gray Lady's mildly alarmist cries that global unemployment could knock the Humpty Dumpty of capitalism off the wall are loud enough to make one wonder about how organized some of these alternative lifestyle pundits really are? Coupled with the fact that that the faltering economy was just named the nation's greatest security threat—US Intelligence Chief Dennis Blair warned that governments could crumble, a new torrent of global refugees might be unleashed and allies might no longer be able to aid each other—and the whole retro-agrarian, back-to-the-land, communal lifestyle seems kind of ideal. It fills the head with images of hearty food, honest labor and unprotected sex—so what if there are no more muscle cars?

The ban on muscle cars—actually on almost all cars—is part of Santa Fe-based artist Aaron Czerny's earnest manifesto dubbed “One Horse Revolution.” Czerny envisions banning internal combustion-powered vehicles from the City Different (except for emergency services vehicles), planting with roof-runoff in the resulting unused parking lots and ceasing all new development. People should travel by horse or bicycle, surmises Czerny and water should be prioritized for agricultural use.

It's not a bad, vision, really (except for a few fascistic overtones like halting all construction and not importing “anything bad for us”), but I always wonder about the practical side of these things. Does Czerny know that at the onset of the 20th Century, horseshit in urban areas was the most pressing environmental and health crisis in the land? Maybe if we had a civic-sized composting project and a methane generated electricity plant, it could work. Czerny's no despot, though—he's looking for people to hone the manifesto and craft the revolutionary vision at his side. If you want to get involved, shoot him an email.

According to the internet domain attached to the email used by the post-economic failure community gardeners, they're associated with a group called Broken Earth, a kind of spiritual catch-all, communal group dedicated to social good (They want to raise the nation's abandoned, abused and disenfranchised youth in beehive-shaped “Foster Villages”) and headquartered in the vicinity of Ojo Caliente.

They're selling shares in their garden for $1,000 a pop, but are willing to barter for sweat equity or other trades, especially after the fall of the economy. One wonders how prepared they genuinely are. Are they prepared to irrigate their gardens with no commercial electricity? What will they do if somebody upstream diverts the water? What will they do when their harvest is demanded at gunpoint?

Perhaps they are already prepared for these situations. Their email is public as well at this point, for those who are curious. For the folks who don't sign on for revolution or intentional communities, I guess we'll have to keep maintaining the status quo, and never ever tell anyone about the 5-gallon bucket full of silver jewelry, MREs and wind-up radios buried in the back yard.

 

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