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Signs of hope

June 25, 2007

I get depressed when I watch the news too much. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks this is a deliberate strategy: the media agenda is set by a few massive right wing companies, with a vested interest in keeping us alone, afraid and powerless.

The other factor is my personal isolation. In Cape Town I was part of a network of strange but beautiful people who would keep me right when things looked bleak. There’s a spiritual emptiness too: as a practitioner of Earth religions, I feel cut off from people with a similar viewpoint, and the ceremonies that kept me connected to the earth – the sweat lodges, the caving, the ‘shark hunts’, and all the other time spent in nature.

But after my last despairing post, I got a couple of messages giving me perspective – thanks Paul and Myshele. My tribe has uploaded itself to the Internet, which means that even when I feel physically alienated, I can still find people out there.

Myshele put it particularly well:

“From a massive explosion of spores in the late 90s through 2003, a global mycelium has taken hold and spreads beneath the ground, invisible — but with its fruits popping up everywhere, unstoppable, and impossible to categorize.”

I like our movement being compared to shrooms!

But Myshele is right. Change is taking root. I think that the part of humanity that resists change is terrified by it, because it is so clearly unstoppable. The Earth herself has joined the struggle. All the surveillance, all the war, all the repression, are the last desperate attempts by a dying order to hold onto power.

The revolution is coming, and when it does, it will come like water: soft, flexible, yielding – but unstoppable in its power. It is unlikely to look like the blood-soaked revolutions of last century, but will be gentler, more feminine, building consensus rather than dominating. It won’t be made by any of us and our ideologies, but by all people everywhere letting go of fear and despair and stepping into a new world.

The signs are subtle, but they are there. Here are just a few that I have noticed in the past weeks:

Firstly, there’s the naked bike rides, through London and other cities.

I could write about it, but pictures speak a thousands words.

Those are ordinary people, and they’re beautiful.

Something else that cheered me was this, from The Scottish Patient: The Scottish island of Eigg celebrating ten years of independence.

“Ten years ago today, the beautiful island of Eigg, off the west coast of Scotland, was the first Scottish island in 250 years to say goodbye to private landlords, and become communally owned by the people.”

In the same way that Africans lost their land to white colonists, those white colonists lost their land through Highland Clearances, Enclosures and more. There are 5 million people in Scotland, but 25 million of Scots descent throughout the world because of this.

We have all, as people, lost our connection to the Earth and planet we live on – not through any fault of our own, but through being violently evicted from the land and forced into factories and cities to survive. Even Europeans were First People once, before we lost the land.

So it’s good to see some of this being put right.

Another sign of hope is how easy change is once we stop fighting it. One of the magazines I subscribe to is New Internationalist. The current (July) edition – not online yet – has an excellent 18 page feature on permaculture – 20 pages if you count the cover and editorial. What’s great about this is that the solutions are so simple. We don’t have to destroy our cities and return to the land. We can transform our cities, block by block, and keep the best of both worlds.

Recently I went down to Waterstones to browse books, and found something called Do it yourself: a handbook for changing our world. I was initially suspicious, of course, suspecting another liberal guide to reducing my carbon footprint.

Then I saw it was published by Pluto Press, which suggests it is worth taking seriously. I opened it up, and guess what – it’s published under a creative commons licence! I think it might be the first time I’ve seen a book in a mainstream bookshop that’s not copyright. Also, it’s endorsed by no less than John Holloway, who’s Change the World Without Taking Power I regard as essential reading.

So I bought the book, and it’s sound, and it’s practical. It’s full of best practice examples of sustainable living.

There’s no more excuse: we know the current system doesn’t work, we know there are clear, workable alternatives.

Let’s go out there and do it.

And remember:
The revolution might be more feminine this time, but the Goddess has different aspects, and hell hath no fury….

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