Might the Flames Set a Vision Alight, or Might the Smoke Suffocate Any Hope?
Yet again a black man, by the name of George Floyd, has died, captured on camera, fanning the flames of rage leading to open civil unrest within the United States. What light might be shed from — itself contained within a pandemic pressure-cooker-within-the-pressure-cooker of an almost unchecked capitalism that has given shell shock (PTSD) or chronic anxiety — if not already for the majority of Americans — to an entire nation that has always, but now ever clearly, as it becomes what its colonial history would expect, a war zone?
During lockdown the richest have already made around $500 billion, with Jeff Bezos alone making near to $25 billion. We see these “rich-getting-richer” statistics all the time, but what can be done about it? What power do we have? We know the con, we know the world is an interconnected system, but how do we build with the tools beneath the rubble without poisoning the future under the same conditions those tools were made?
We’ve seen the tragic events and the wealthier-getting-wealthier, and further impoverishment of the rest of us, to real effect other than to stoke further rage. We, having grown up in the US outside an upper class upbringing, will have little room for establishing a vision for the future, succumbed to the blur of antagonizing children and abusive bosses and coworkers.
I imagine my mother in this instance, who just seemed to want her belief in something to be true to its word and to do what it promised, but to no avail. She shared, to politely call it, her absolute rage from unmet needs and a flurry of unkept promises. The adverts and the very culture itself, a con. She, inadvertently, taught me well.
Over ten years ago, I fled to England and sought refuge in ecovillages and squats in London. Those groups were often filled with those too who were traumatized, which replayed the trap and abuses of merit and exclusion. I could not during those years address my health both mentally and physically. It was not until making a living as a busker was I finally able to establish a diet and environment, for the most part, to recover from illness.
I managed just before that time to found a discussion group around open manufacturing that also implied open institutions, like the Wikimedia and Mozilla Foundations. During that time, I wrote some ideas and participated in a few conversations online, some of them seeming to have some influence with a few surrounding a platform coop called Loomio, an application for decision making without or limiting the need for the time waste or messiness of meetings, with historical roots in the 2011–12 Occupy campgrounds.
My latest accomplishments, other than the works of music I compose, is the writing of a proposal for Loomio that expands the reaches of what decision making that application entails.
In wartime, just as in any time, we must be diligent about how things influence us, whether positive or negative; to tread on remaining positive with a few glimmers of what is good in the world, whatever it may be for you. Hold onto that and try to bring a spare.
My proposal to Loomio is a part of what I propose to society facing a cascade of crises, to those who have the power to influence and control it, to radically:
- Make transparent institutional and other operational and logistical processes
- Work to fully automate them, while increasingly making operations understandable for the general public, including allowing for remote operational control or intervention when neccessary
- Provide a financial cushion of a basic income and to own the assets that generate it.
These principles used to the greatest degree possible in your practice can bring about a positive world beyond our imagining. We just need the strength, in our desperate time, to see it, and to fight for it, somehow, as we fight simply to remain alive.
If you’d like to read more, see Proposing A Public Resource System for Loomio and a working draft of a Pamphlet that sums up my views, which also includes and provides further context for that proposal. If you are able and would like to support me, please consider a donation from my Soundcloud page where you can listen to relaxing music all day long.