Anarres 2 cooperative community

April 27, 2015

Projects for Summer 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ed @ 1:54 am

I’m hoping to make it back to Anarres Two again this summer, from late July to late August. Here is my “to do” list:

– put the canvas roof on the yurt (which will be a community toilet, shower and cooking space after I get the second shelter built)

– make a better solar water heater (2 black plastic trash cans inside an elevated wooden frame covered with plastic sheeting)

– make an “indoor” shower connected to water heater (with a kiddie pool or plastic tub to collect water and drainage to outside where the grey water is collected)

– make a sun shelter (wooden frame with a burlap roof)? It gets really hot during the day and I suspect the yurt will not have much ventilation. I just draped the burlap over my car last year.

– build a sleeping shelter using sand bags and a plastic tarp (an experiment with a cheaper, easier form of shelter)

– dig a secure storage area

– enlarge the cistern pit for water storage

– plant more trees?

– collect rocks for the road

If anyone wants to help me “build socialism” this summer, I could probably use your help. You would probably need to bring your own tent until I get the sleeping shelter built (it’s not at the top of the list but we could move it up a slot). Living conditions are pretty rough at the moment – camping basically.

December 29, 2014

Possible sources of income

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ed @ 2:39 am

As a result of the drought in California, some almond groves may need to be taken out of production:

Water Source for Almonds in California May Run Dry
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/28/us/water-source-for-almonds-in-california-may-run-dry.html

Of course raising almonds would depend on having a well, which shouldn’t be a problem.

I’ve also been thinking about solar power collection, but that would require a lot of money (i.e. bank loans) to set up and to hook into the power grid to sell the power. However, if we worked this out with the power company in advance, the costs and projected income should be fairly predictable and it wouldn’t be a risky investment, unless someone discovers a free source of electricity.

Raising cattle temporarily might be a possibility, too. Cattle graze there during the winter already. We’d need to fence off the land and someone would need to be there year round to take care of them. I’m not really keen on the idea of raising animals for meat though, but since I do eat a limited amount of meat, I can’t be too morally indignant about it. I know I’d treat them really well, before they were sent off to be slaughtered……

Building a greenhouse, fish farming or hosting camp-outs are other possibilities. Or operating a business in Imlay.

August 30, 2014

Another story about The Farm

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ed @ 12:36 am

An interesting article by a woman who grew up on The Farm. We shouldn’t over-generalize though. Maybe the title should be, “What Life is Like When You’re Born on a Hippie Commune Led by a Guru”:

What Life Is Like When You’re Born on a Commune

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2014/08/the-farm-born-on-a-commune

August 22, 2014

Documentary on socialism

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ed @ 10:08 am

Below is a link to a documentary on socialism called “Heaven on Earth: the Rise and Fall of Socialism”. It’s not a bad documentary, because it does mention the utopian socialist movement (just Robert Owen, however), and does talk about democratic socialism and the kibbutz movement. The last part is clearly biased, however. The presenter and many of the people interviewed are connected with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative, free-market think-tank. One of the commentators says, “I don’t believe that socialism is dead because I don’t believe that the impulse which drives people towards the Left, the desire to control, meddle and interfere in other people’s lives, can ever die.” Whoa, how about, “…because I don’t believe that what drives people towards the Left, the massive gap between the very rich and the very poor, between the powerful and the powerless, will ever go away.” Someone needs to try to make this documentary over again, with a little more detachment. It is good to examine the mistakes of the past, however, and to reveal the truth about the bad things that happened. History teaches us that socialism requires hard, efficient work and good management to succeed, that the creation of a centralized police state is not an effective or safe method of implementing socialism, and that socialism is not for everyone – people cannot be programmed to be socialists. One of the founders of Kibbutz Ginosar is clearly proud of what he and his comrades achieved, and still seems to believe in the appeal of socialism, while his daughter, who grew up there, is not impressed, and says, basically, that what motivates people is money, personal comfort and the happiness of their own families. She still apparently lives there however! The smug tone of the movie reveals that it was made before the most recent (2007) economic collapse.

August 18, 2014

Founding Fathers were progressive utopians

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ed @ 2:41 am

I was commenting on a FB discussion about the “founding fathers” of the American revolution, and I thought this might be worth sharing here (I’ve improved my original post a little):

“The freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, the idea that people were equal, and could govern themselves, through elections, without a King, and the idea that people had a RIGHT to rebel against unjust governments, were all extremely radical, even utopian, in the 1700’s.”

The conservatives (aka the Tories), who supported King George’s right to rule over his subjects at bayonet point, impose whatever decrees he liked, and eventually pass on almost absolute power to his children, bugged out for Canada, the Bahamas or back to Britain for the most part.

But I’m sure that most people fell somewhere in between, and hoped that things could be worked out in a rational way, without resorting to violence. That is always the best option, of course, but for some reason it rarely happens, and serious negotiations don’t take place until lots of blood has been shed. Wise up, humanity. We don’t all have to do things the same way.

June 19, 2014

June 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ed @ 10:14 pm

I just finished up my annual visit and got several projects done. I finished the brick work, roof frame and got the door on the yurt. I hoed fire breaks around the yurt and the trees. I put in a water tank so that visitors or my helpful neighbors can water the trees when I’m not there, without hauling water.  And I built a water catchment along a dry stream bed, but one neighbor told me the only time water runs along that gully is when, once every 10 or 15 years, there’s a huge storm, in which case the whole thing will probably get washed away. Oh well. Putting in a well will probably cost in the range of $14,000, which I really don’t have at the moment. Plus, I don’t want to plant any more trees until someone will be around to water them.

ImageImageImage

I’ve been thinking of possible cooperative businesses that could be done out there. Many people in the area grow alfalfa or raise cattle. It seems like you could grow other crops during the summer (with irrigation). It has a dry, sunny climate that seems like it would be good for grapes, almonds, apricots, etc. but it may get too cold during the winter. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere locally to buy gravel, so you could operate a gravel pit. There don’t seem to be any businesses in Imlay except for RV parks, so a coffee shop, laundromat, food coop or hardware store/tool rental place, or something like that might be a possibility, but it would have to be located IN Imlay, and there doesn’t seem to be any business rental property. You could operate a shuttle service between Imlay and Winnemucca. You’d have to ask the local people what they need, but it’s a very small town, so it might be hard to make a profit just focusing on the local market. It would be a great place for solar power collectors, but it would be expensive to set up connected to the grid.

May 23, 2014

Nevada City, Nevada

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ed @ 11:33 pm

Just finished reading a book about a group that tried to set up a socialist community just east of Fallon, Nevada. Called the Nevada Colony Corporation, it only lasted a few years, apparently due mostly to infighting and poor (possibly shady) management. It was expensive to join, and seems to have operated mostly as a ponzi scheme, with most of the community’s income coming from new member joining fees and installments from prospective members. It was in existence from May 1, 1916 to May 1, 1919.

“During the trying years of World War I, a series of coincidences combined with the persistent efforts of a few socialists led to the formation of the Nevada Cooperative Colony. The uneasy alliance between utopians, populists and Marxists quickly dissolved, but not before they had collided with Nevada’s patriotic instincts and the encompassing interests of the federal government. Nevertheless, for some two years the small Nevada community [was] a magnet which drew hundreds of persons anxious to express dissatisfaction with prevailing institutions.”

“Today, nearly all of the more than 550 residents who settled in the community have vanished, and the nearly 2,000 people who became members in absentia have destroyed their worthless stock certificates. The group of anti-war Germans who saw the colony as an escape from capitalistic militarism were among the first to become disillusioned; the scores of Oklahomans who threatened to turn [the] Lahonton Valley into a setting for “The Grapes of Wrath” have long since scattered. Indeed, it seems incredible that a sandy waste four miles east of Fallon could have, within a few action-packed months, attracted persons from thirty-three states… Cuba, Canada, England, Germany, Sweden, France, Hungary and Switzerland.”

“Retreat to Nevada,” by Wilbur S. Shepperson

April 24, 2014

Spring 2014 visit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Ed @ 5:31 am

I’m planning to be on the land from around May 20, 2014 or so until June 20th or so. My projects this year are to finish the yurt, make a solar water heater and install a drip watering system for the two existing trees. Depending on how successful and expensive that is, I may plant more trees. This would be a good time to visit if you are interested, but please contact me in advance!

February 21, 2014

Brief description of proposed system

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Ed @ 12:00 pm

This is from an email I sent in response to an inquiry:

“My scheme, in a nutshell, is to start up an alternative economy that is cooperative in nature internally (within the group) but participates in the market economy by selling surplus production and buying things the group can’t produce. One approach I like is to have people work as many hours as they want to at cooperative businesses (may have to set a minimum), then [distribute] what is produced on the basis of need, and divide the income from sales outside the community at an equal rate on the basis of hours worked. Management decisions would be made as a group. The advantage of this approach is that it frees people to work on supplying their own needs, eventually in large part outside of the market economy, which is how human societies functioned before capitalism. Ideally, this would work so well that other people would want to do it, too. But I’m nowhere near getting this going yet.”

In fact, still working on the first yurt…. Hope to finish it this summer, if I can make it back again this year.

January 26, 2014

The wisdom of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Ed @ 1:12 pm

Quotes from “The Gulag Archipelago” by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

(“Gulag” is the name of the prison camp system in the former Soviet Union, and “archipelago” means a chain of islands. So the title means a chain of prison camps, like islands, within the Soviet Union.)

 “Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains … an un-uprooted small corner of evil.

Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.”

 

“What about the main thing in life, all its riddles? If you want, I’ll spell it out for you right now. Do not pursue what is illusionary – property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one evil night. Live with a steady superiority over life – don’t be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn for happiness; it is, after all, all the same: the bitter doesn’t last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing. It is enough if you don’t freeze in the cold and if thirst and hunger don’t claw at your insides. If your back isn’t broken, if your feet can walk, if both arms can bend, if both eyes can see, if both ears hear, then whom should you envy? And why? Our envy of others devours us most of all. Rub your eyes and purify your heart – and prize above all else in the world those who love you and who wish you well. Do not hurt them or scold them, and never part from any of them in anger; after all, you simply do not know: it may be your last act before your arrest, and that will be how you are imprinted on their memory.”

 

“Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life. For there, lying upon the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe, but the maturity of the human soul.”

 

 “Power is a poison well known for thousands of years. If only no one were ever to acquire material power over others! But to the human being who has faith in some force that holds dominion over all of us, and who is therefore conscious of his own limitations, power is not necessarily fatal. For those, however, who are unaware of any higher sphere, it is a deadly poison. For them there is no antidote.”

 

“Macbeth’s self-justifications [for his crimes] were feeble – and his conscience devoured him. Yes, even Iago was a little lamb, too. The imagination and spiritual strength of Shakespeare’s evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology. Ideology – that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others’ eyes…. That was how the agents of the Inquisition fortified their wills: by invoking Christianity; the conquerors of foreign lands, by extolling the grandeur of their Motherland; the colonizers, by civilization; the Nazis, by race; and the Jacobins (early and late), by equality, brotherhood, and the happiness of future generations…. Without evildoers there would have been no Archipelago.”

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