re3: Returning to the Garden, etc.


Richard Moore

Bcc: contributors.

From: "Tim Murphy" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Nothing Changes?
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2001 16:41:35 -0000

    "The Earth is degenerating today.
    Bribery and corruption abound.
    Children no longer obey their parents.
    Every man wants to write a book,
    and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching."
    - Assyrian tablet, c. 2800 BC


Tim - yes indeed, 2800 BC is well after the Tak takeover. 
Under the Tak vision, the most aggressive Takers rise to the
top, and subversion of their own societies becomes just one
more aspect of 'subdue and conquer all creatures'.


From: "John Pozzi" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Cc: "[grb]" <•••@••.•••>,
Subject: Re: rkm> Empowering the movement: unity through harmonization
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2001 15:30:28 -0500

rkm said:

The Global Resource Bank supports a prosperous
global society that lives in harmony with nature.

From: "Bernard Clayson" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>,
Subject: Re: rkm> Empowering the movement: unity through harmonization
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2001 19:42:53 -0000

Hi all,

Thank you Richard, the essence of this email sums up the
logic behind 'New Political System', the words are more
descriptive than anything I could dream up.

May I use it on my web's?


Careful how you use the path, as our children will have to follow.


Dear Bernard,

Certainly you, and everyone else too, is not only welcome
but encouraged to use any of the material on the website for
non-commercial applications.  You can either link to them,
or you can reformat for your own site.  But please always
include proper attribution and a link back to our site.


To: •••@••.•••
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 20:51:25 -0500
Subject: Re: reader feedback...
From: "T. K. Wilson" <•••@••.•••>

Is there a reason you're not forwarding these postings to
FixGov or AltCult. Some falling out I missed? Just curious.
The readings been good so far. Don't have anything
substantial to add, except I think this seems to be a little
broader, conceptually, than your previous "Guide book", and
a little more relaxed stylistically. Good stuff.


Dear TK,

Thanks for the feedback.  I can't be on every list, and I
encourage you and everyone else to forward any postings you
feel would be appropriate to any lists you participate in.
And if discussion gets generated there, you might forward
back here some of the highlights.  In that way it is
possible for different _lists to dialog with one another in
an efficient way.


Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001 22:52:33 -0500
To: •••@••.•••
From: "Robert R. Holt" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re:A new economics & politics: starting with the community

Dear RKM,

I like the values and the optimism of your recent piece "2b.
A new economics & politics: starting with the community."  A
couple of caveats occur to me, however.

A decade ago, Joan and I left New York City where we had
grown weary of struggling with a huge, hierarchical
government--I as a part-time occasional worker in various
political causes, she mostly working fulltime (and often
more) and underpaid at NYPIRG trying to shut down the
nuclear plants that threaten the most densely populated area
in the country.  The PIRGs are one of Ralph Nader's greatest
social inventions.  They train a new generation of
activists, teaching college students not only the values but
the tools of participatory democracy.

We moved to Truro, MA, the smallest town on Cape Cod and the
one with lowest population density.  We had bought a summer
house here in 1963 and had spent every summer in it since. 
It was exhilirating to be free of the city, its pollution,
dirt, crowds, alienation, etc., and in a truly rural, small
New England town.  At once we found uses for our political
skills, and saw how much more impact an individual can have
when part of a small community.  Moreover, one committed to
the New England town-meeting form of government, where the
voters meet every so often acting as the legislative body. 
Issues are debated, proposals put forward from the floor,
and everyone can have his say (at least, in principle; in
practice the moderator doesn't always call on everyone).

But after a few years of intense involvement, my wife is on
the edge of withdrawing from the committees she is still on,
and is feel disillusioned and burnt out.  I am a more
cautious and less outspoken type, and haven't been as badly
burned.  I too feel disenchanted with the Town Meeting
system, however.  We have less than 2,000 year-round
citizens in approximately 1,000 households (in our summer
season, the population rises 10-fold).  There are relatively
few children, disproportionately many people of the
generation Putnam writes about as the main carriers of
community values and participation (in Bowling Alone, a
splendid book).  Yet it is difficult to get as many as 100
voters to turn out for a Town Meeting.  All over the cape,
the same story: sometimes town meetings have to be postponed
again and again while the bushes are beaten to scare up a

A few years ago, we joined an acquaintance in starting a
citizens' good-government organization, the Truro Forum,
hopeful that we would get a significant number of
like-minded people to tackle the neglected problem of
rebuilding community in our town.  One of my first thoughts
was to tackle the problem of making Town Meeting work
better.  We put on a modest PR campaign and got several
dozen people to meet one Saturday afternoon to brainstorm
it, breaking into small groups.  The meeting was a modest
success, generating a couple of dozen promising ideas.  Not
to drag it out in such detail, we were not able to get any
significant changes made, nothing that helped draw more
people or make those who attended less bored and frustrated.

No doubt someone (or ones) with more creativity, political
savvy, and endurance might have succeeded where we failed. 
We were not even able to keep the group going, despite the
fact that we next were in the vanguard of what is now a
spreading movement to resist overdevelopment. We held a
series of meetings exploring what was happening, in what
ways our environment and our quality of life were under
attack by the steady push of developers, what the
consequences would be, and what could be done about it. 
They were reasonably well attended by the "usual
suspects"--the retirees like ourselves and a too-small
sprinkling of enlightened natives.  But no one wanted to
take responsibility to keep the organization going when Joan
and I bowed out after having given it a few years.  So it

Living in a small, face-to-face town where you see people
you know every time you go to the post office still has many
rewards and gratifications.  But it does not automatically
constitute a fertile seedbed for direct democracy.  By now,
I would actually prefer a representative form of government.
 The down side of free speech in a town gathering is that
everyone knows what you think.  Friends of ours in the
business community refuse to attend, because they have had
experiences of losing customers who disagreed with what they
said and how they voted.  (No secret ballot there, when you
literally rise and are counted.)  It's all very well to say
that people should be willing to stand up for their
principles, but it is sometimes hard, even for us whose
living doesn't depend in any way on our popularity.  Joan
once had the temerity to question the constantly rising
budget for the police department, and was loudly booed from
the back of the auditorium, where the police and their
families and cronies were sitting.  In a little town, you
don't feel comfortable in antagonizing the policemen, on
whom you may need to call and depend for safety.

It is hard to make good progress on a big agenda with a
legislature of about 100, most of whom have not taken the
trouble to acquaint themselves ahead of time about the
issues.  Everyone has to be patient with the big talkers,
the purveyors of dim or nutty ideas, and the mutterers who
can't be heard even with amplification.  The law requires
that the meeting consider many routine, humdrum matters that
should be handled administratively.  And I could go on.

My point is clear, I hope.  I wish I knew how they do it in
Brazil.  Even when you have a small political unit, direct
participation does not automatically solve the problems of
democratic government.  I dread to think how the kind of
thing you are advocating would work in a big American city. 
Maybe some other people who read your excellent pieces will
have some helpful, concrete ideas, preferably based on
actual trial.

    Yours for harmony,


Dear Bob,

Thanks for very well-written and thoughtful contribution.

Those of us who believe participatory democracy is possible
need to keep the Truro scenario in mind, and the 'burden of
proof' is on us, to show that the scenario can be

The fact that it does seem to work in some places, such as
Porto Alegre, offers considerable hope. It would be useful
to study that example and others in more detail, and seek to
find out what conditions enable participation to function. 
Bob Ocegueda, in the next contribution below, give us some
good references to check out.

There are several circumstances in Truro which discourage
participation, and these certainly need to be acknowledged. 
For one thing, under our political system, you actually have
very little power over your circumstances.  A huge chunk of
your income is taken away by taxes to support central
governments, and those governments make all the major
decisions that your lives, the laws you must live under,
etc. If you could actually _influence things like genetic
engineering and nuclear disarmament, there would be a lot
more incentive to participate.  For another thing, evidenced
by your description of the meetings, effective processes
need to be employed.  I suggest that dealing with
administrivia, and voting under a chairman who selects who
participates, is _not such a process.

My own view is that we will need to learn, over time, how to
participate effectively with others - and I believe that the
movement is the place where that learning needs to occur. 
We aren't going to be able change our political systems
unless the movement is successful, and if the movement is
successful, it will need to reach massive proportions.  If
the movement uses participatory democracy internally, then
massive numbers of people will have experience with it when
victory comes. If the movement does not use participatory
democracy, then we will simply be trading one coercive
hierarchy for another.  I will be spending my time opposing
such a movement if it arises.

thanks again,

Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2001 11:26:49 +0100
From: Bob Ocegueda <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: rkm> A new economics & politics: starting with the community

Hi Richard,

The type of social structure you describe is pretty much
what happened in the Iroquois Federation. As Teresa Hawkes
said... it is time for us to listen and learn.

Another community that although not specifically using
native knowledge, do use the principle of "harmonization"
with nature, is Las Gaviota, in Colombia. It has turned into
a great success.

There ARE examples out there.

(I wonder how they are doing now with the greater US