Building Local Resilience: How Communities Can Thrive Through Revolution and Ecological Collapse
We are at a dangerous time in human history on this planet.
US Imperialism has generated crises all over the world. From regime change wars, to installing genocidal dictators, the Western Rule of Law that has been forcibly spread throughout oil, and mineral rich countries has continued a status quo and a standard of life that is attempting to hold back the rising of human consciousness. Revolutions are uprising everywhere, and the United States is in the early stages of its own.
According to a 2018 study, 31% of Americans believe the US will have a revolution in the next 5 years.
I’m not here to convince you that this is happening, talk about how we will stop this from happening, or how we can turn the tide. I’m here to discuss how building local resilience can lay the foundation for us to face every challenge ahead, regardless of what challenges arise. I think It’s important that wherever we are locally, we have the means to address chaos as it shows up, and handle it together as a team.
The US dollar was first built on debt, and upheld today with the extraction of fossil fuels. The very nature of the system we live in is intrinsically tied to the destabilization of ecosystems and foreign countries. The Global Banking system is intimately tied to the military industrial complex. The growing rise of nationalism perpetrated by media pundits and politicians (vocalized as an anecdote to resolve the surface level issues that stem from these deeper causes of crises) is not only a hollow solution, but actively distracts from the deep seeded mechanism of societal control. In order to see how we can address this in our own lives, we must address our own conditioning, and ways this conditioning impacts our relationships.
Through creating local networks based on skill sharing, growing food, consent, leaning into creating mutually supportive relationships, and ways of exchanging resources by means outside of using fossil fuels and the US dollar, we are giving ourselves an opportunity to become more resilient through the challenges posed by the collapse of institutions that are failing to support the human spirit.
We will break how this can be done through the modular ideas: Production, Exchange, Decision-Making, Peaceful Continuity, and Adaptive Action.
Events such as potlucks, documentary nights, group gardening and clean up projects, societal discussions, and house shows all can create collaborations between different minds and creative people locally. Bringing diverse perspectives and talents together, to discuss, play, build, learn, grow, organize, and serve, will shift consciousness in itself, but also provide opportunities for each individual involved. Local production of food, energy, and water, make human essentials locally dependent instead of dependent on larger transportation systems that can break down in times of crisis.
- House shows
- Community gardens
- Open mics
- Community debates
- Poetry slams
- Neighborhood cookouts
- Neighborhood gardening
- Group cleanups, pothole filling, homeless assistance
- Community art projects
- Drum circles
- Rain collecting
- Canning food for long-term storage
- Transitioning our households to operate on renewable energy
Some of us are better at organizing events, others are better at cooking large amounts of food, others are farmers or herbalists, some are blacksmiths or coders, while some are musicians, podcasters, or builders. All of us have unique skills that will be important in times of crises. When we create events to bring our community together, we recognize how interconnected and interdependent we truly are. Through those relationships, important collaborations can take place on the local level, and that creates resilience.
Voluntarily trading resources, information, and skills. This is where we invest in exchanging things we need without heavily relying on the debt based monetary paradigm. Even if we do utilize the dollar, by doing so with our local community and businesses investing in sustainability and local farmers, we are putting power in the hands of our families and neighbors. Local Resilience is a group effort. Many of the skills and resources needed to be self sufficient, somebody near us has. The more we invest in the people around us, they will invest in us in return.
- US Dollar
- Bitcoin / other cryptocurrencies
- Gifting without expectation of return
- Gifting with expectation of return
- Local currency
- Resource based exchange (plants, food, tools)
Some people are more natural born leaders than others. Hierarchy is embedded into nature itself, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But the more we can reduce the illusion of authority that follows hierarchy, with decentralization, the better each person can feel empowered to contribute to the community. Consensus decision making ensures that everyone’s voice is heard, and matters.
Consensus operates as a mechanism to find the common thread in a community, and make decisions that further what makes sense for everyone within. As we said before, some people are more inclined to take leadership roles than others, so if consensus on a decision can be reached among those that wish to contribute, all that is needed is the consensus of anyone else the decision would affect in the community.
Obviously, observing the way our current political system is, this method works better on a small scale. John David Garcia spent twenty years researching how to maximize the creativity of a group of people working together on a joint project. After performing hundreds of experiments, he came up with an optimized model that he called an “Octet”, having the following characteristics:
- The group is comprised of eight people, with wiggle room for a few more or less
- The group is comprised of four men and four women ± 1 – again 4×4 is best, but 3×4 or 4×5 is acceptable.
- The group members all understand the principles of Ethics as exemplified by the Bill of Ethics and are committed to acting ethically to the best of their ability. (your group’s principals can be agreed upon autonomously and do not have to be these)
- Participation in the group is voluntary. Anyone can quit at any time for any reason.
- Only unanimous decisions by the group are recognized as true group decisions.
- A group member can only be expelled by the group if all the other members agree unanimously.
- The group has been trained in a communication protocol that facilitates the making of unanimous decisions.
- The group meets as often as it likes – once a week often being optimal – once a month being the least frequent occurrence that works – specifically to engage in a communication protocol called “Autopoesis”, a process that amplifies the group’s creativity.
- The group need not engage in Autopoesis at every meeting; but should do so at least once a month for meaningful results.
Many projects may need more than 8 people to be tackled efficiently. That’s when we can have multiple groups of 8-10 people working side by side. Just like one neighborhood, or block of a neighborhood can work with another neighborhood or block of a neighborhood to implement a community garden!
I have been apart of an intentional community in my city for over 5 years. We call our network “The Grand Rapids Autonomous Support System” (or GRASS for short). When meetups have inspired 20+ people to show up, we have broke off into subgroups and rejoined at the end as a whole community. We have specific subgroups for different aspects of our community, which we call “guilds”. For example, the Logistics Guild is a group of 5-7 people that meet once a week to create event pages, invite the community, and organize core documents.
Through this community we have organized dozens of festivals, emergency preparedness meetings, potlucks, workshops, and community discussions on current world events.
Without principals, community falls apart. It’s important to develop principles that everyone in the network can relate with on common ground to develop Peaceful Continuity. Differences should be celebrated, but to be collaborative, we should work to connect on what common threads exist. Our values must be modular, meme worthy principals that are easy to understand with very little explanation.
Non Aggression is a modular principal. It means do not aggress upon another unless acting in self defense. Consent is another modular principal. It means before the act of engaging with another sentient being, you ask if they would agree to your engagement. Each community is going to decide for themselves what works best for them. I invite you to explore with your network some form of Conflict Resolution that invites conflicting parties to settle differences and express needs. Each arrangement can be talked about and agreed upon through trial and error. For GRASS, its taken years to trial what works and what doesn’t. Conflicts have allowed us to grow into resiliency.
Instead of enacting one big plan that covers everything you want to implement, test individual parts and if they work on a small scale, add them to bigger projects. Community resilience as the large abstract goal, we can look at ways we can be resilient in our own lives, and meet with others to test how we can do that as a community. The more we can connect with neighbors, friends, and organizations that are meeting human needs on the ground level locally, we can develop a system that isn’t as reliant on large unstable systems dependent on fossil fuels, the state, and resources from afar.
In times of crisis, it will be important to have plans in place where needs of food, water, community, security, and energy can be met locally. These are things to think on, discuss, and act on as financial collapse, revolution, climate change, and global war becomes more of a reality. We deserve a support system that can meet our needs locally. How we get there can start small. Test, assess, and Test again.
Start speaking fearlessly about these things with close friends around you, and expand from there. Invite people to discuss these ways to connect: music jams, discussions, group meditation, gardening, bonfires, dinners etc. and start testing ways to expand the way you produce and share resources, energy, and love. Its up to us. relying on politicians to create this will leave us waiting for change as the world burns. Let’s look deep within and remember that we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We have the power, and it’s time for us to Be The Change.
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