Anarres 2 cooperative community

January 3, 2022

January 2022 update

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ed @ 7:46 am

Having had another year to think about Anarres Two, it’s looking unlikely that I’m ever going to see a house built out there. My mom is almost 80 now, so I may have to come back to the U.S. to be around in case she needs help (so far she’s says she’s doing fine). If I do come back to take care of her, I’d be in the southwest Nevada/northwest Arizona area. I’d hopefully be able to camp out at Anarres Two occasionally (and actually keep some trees alive, etc.), but as far as building a home and living out there year round, it seems unlikely that’s going to happen. My mom has no interest in moving north, my wife has no interest in moving to the U.S., and I’m going to be 61 in a few weeks.

Even if I was able to come up with a down payment on a home, I’d have to spend almost all my Social Security money on mortgage payments, just to have a second home that might be vacant most of the year (which would be a bad idea). And who is going to make even a 15 year loan to a 61 year-old man? I guess the loan would be secured by the land and the home, but the Imlay area is not a very hot real estate market. I guess an ‘end-timer’ might be interested in a place to hide out while society collapses.

I may be able to come up with enough money to put in a well, but if no one is going to be around to carry on building a socialist utopia after I’m gone that would just be (more) wasted money. The land would be worth more with a well (and a house), but it’s doubtful that it would be worth more than the money spent. Even if I did manage to sell it, I’ll be dead soon, so what’s the point?

We never know what the future will hold, but right now I’m not feeling very optimistic.

I’m still stuck in Japan for the time being. I’m vaccinated, so I could travel, but I’d have to do a 14 day quarantine upon returning to Japan, and who knows what in the U.S. since it looks like the rules depend on which state you arrive in! So it seems unlikely that I’ll be able to visit Anarres Two this year.

One thing I’ve been meaning to do, but haven’t done yet, is to contact the power company about the feasibility of developing part of the land as a solar energy project. I’ve contacted solar installation companies about it but they don’t reply to my emails, so I assume that means it’s something they don’t normally do or something that is not economically viable. I’m guessing the power company only buys power from homes or businesses because they have to, and not from solar farms since they could just build solar farms themselves. There’s a lot of cheap land and a lot of sun in Nevada, so if there was a way to make a profit I imagine people would be doing it. If the Green New Deal had passed and the government was financing projects like that, we’d have clean energy galore. Part of the revenue from the generated power would go towards paying off the government loan, with the rest going to the solar farm owner/operator as income.

I also stumbled upon a better method of combining solar panels and solar water heating. Instead of running water through the panels to cool them, you use antifreeze or oil (winters are very cold in northern Nevada). The tube carrying the liquid then turns into a coil inside a conventional hot water heater. The heated liquid is in a closed loop. After warming the water in the water heater the tube runs back up to the roof, so that the fluid circulates through the system. It’s described as an “active” solar water heating system (since the fluid is pumped through the system). There is an illustration here:

I’ve thought about advertising Anarres Two more, targeting people who are already socialists, but being a political democratic socialist and being a ‘utopian’ democratic socialist (in the sense of prioritizing building socialism among yourselves instead of politically transforming the entire society) are fairly different orientations. It’s possible to be both, but it’s pretty rare. Maybe I should try seeking some of these people out? I read an interesting review of the movie Snowpiercer, which is about an end-times train full of survivors that circles a frozen earth. The train was built by a capitalist and runs like a capitalist society. The people at the back of the train do most of the work, and as you move forward in the train the level of privilege increases, until you get up to ‘first class’ at the front of the train, where all the decisions are made. The workers rebel and try to take the train. The reviewer points out that one of the characters thinks it’s a better idea for the rebels to try to break out of the train and take their chances on surviving after making their escape, than to fight the security forces and take over the train, but the others don’t listen to him.

If Snowpiercer had merely told the tale of an oppressed working class rising up to seize power from an evil overlord, it would already have been an improvement over most of the political messages in mainstream cinema…. But the story … goes beyond that. It’s about the limitations of a revolution which merely takes over the existing social machinery rather than attempting to transcend it…. The train symbolizes that system, which subordinates everyone to [the logic] of domination through [a hierarchy of] labor, while convincing them that no other world is possible — that only death awaits them outside the machine…. [Nam] tries to warn [rebel leader] Curtis away from a confrontation with [the capitalist] Wilford that will prove disastrous. Instead, he suggests that the whole premise of the train is a lie — that the conditions have ripened to make life outside the train finally possible.”


I haven’t seen it yet.


1 Comment »

  1. I’ve probably made this point before, but in my humble opinion it’s the idea that a tiny minority of visionaries can achieve society-wide social change that is ‘utopian’. It’s been done, at a massive cost, but the results have not been very encouraging.

    Comment by Ed — January 5, 2022 @ 2:01 am

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