of Love 40th
Communities movement: Key
to the New Paradigm
•Power of Ideas
•New Buffalo and the
Community: What the next great
progressive movement must look
By Arthur Kopecky
For a century, the United States
has led the world in growth, industrialization,
finance, development, tall cities
and expansive suburbs. Now the
world imitates us. For better
or worse, China, India, Russia
and others have adopted our free
enterprise model. But along with
prosperity, we have also created
a hungry monster. Growth and debt
are the cure for everything, but
they cannot expand endlessly.
We are reaching the limits now.
Here is where a new progressive
movement could make a contribution
to calm America down, help us
go to the next level. We can lead
again, but this time we need to
spread the good life beyond the
narrow confines of what mass culture
deems "successful" and
replace greed with generosity
as the dominant value in order
to go to the next level of democracy.
We can't get there by violating
people's rights, so a revolution
of values (a frequent refrain
of Martin Luther King Jr.) is
called for. Words without action
are nearly useless, but an action
that demonstrates all of the progressive
values is found in the intentional
The Aquarian Dawn of the 1960s
introduced a pantheon of ideas,
but the culture of overindulgence
sidetracked its beginnings. This
time around, let's get it right
by adding to the choices that
the young imagine by creating
viable, friendly, enterprising
communities of a great variety,
where millions of people can live
and work and create without each
becoming personally wealthy. Then
we can reduce government bureaucracy.
Then we can reduce the power of
the health-insurance industry,
which is wrecking our medical
system. Then we can contemplate
the end of ceaselessly expanding
the cities. Then we can stop building
more prisons. Then we can face
the fact that there is not now,
and won't be later, a high-paying
full-time job for every potential
To have an influence on the culture
takes a very dramatic effort.
If the drama is nonviolent, then
the people part of the equation
has to be large and impressive.
Small groups living together,
sharing property and responsibilities,
providing basics for many, makes
a brilliant initial statement,
accomplishing a reaffirmation
of faith in the goodness of humanity,
a reduction in the investment
needed for further military preparation
of every kind and finding more
people living closer to the land
rather than paving it over.
Anger won't achieve it, blaming
some group won't bring it. Cooperation,
dedication, vision, joy, investment
in the group—this will do
it. Who will do it? Most of us
create personal little worlds
that include only the immediate
family. But some of us work for
extended family values. Join the
Federation of Intentional Communities;
subscribe to Communities magazine.
Find some friends and like-minded
folk, and make a success of this
Attend local community events
like the Occidental Arts and Ecology
Center, Ocean Song, Green Valley
Village, the Harmony Festival.
Create the most friendly, productive,
inviting, shire-like, eco-village
farm. Think grand, because the
problems are immense.
Be the one to take on the most
difficult human challenge of fostering
cooperation, substitute consideration
for people over ever greater profit,
show the cynics that greed is
not the end all of human evolution.
Enhance love of the pristine natural
world, and leave some resources
for the future.
The organization Plenty, based
at the fabled Farm in Tennessee,
joined with some churches in New
Orleans to bring aid. Even with
such disparate backgrounds, they
found common ground. All of us
can do that if we remain positive
about America's role in the world,
embrace free enterprise and believe
in self-reliance. Here is a new
movement that finds unity, preaches
peaceful action and prepares for
difficult times. This is the Aquarian
Morning, or whatever you want
to call it. It is not more of
the same: get mine and get buried
in debt. Here is romance, service,
health, companionship and freedom.
What will it take for this movement
to grow, to balloon and become
the exciting, the transformative
force so lacking today?
Back to TOP
Art Kopecky is the author of 'New
Buffalo: Journals from a Taos
Commune' and 'Leaving New Buffalo,'
UNM Press. He lives in Sebastopol
with his family and works as a
contractor and finish carpenter.
of Love Anniversary September 2, 2007
Dear Friends: Here's my take
on the 40th anniversary of the 'Summer
A Terrific Gathering
was created. The leadership (whoever they are)
put together an excellent stage and wow sound
system and organized a lot of people, medical
staff, bathrooms, vendors and all done by word
of mouth I believe. Almost all the music was top
quality. Five large flags, with earth and peace
symbols flew on each side of the giant stage.
At the opposite South end of the green speedway
meadow -near half a mile - a giant teepee with
new poles anchored the booths of artists and causes.
Just beyond here the twelve tribes family from
Morning Star San Diego County parked their OUTSTANDING
psychedelic bus with welcoming red carpet and
pavilion. They are strong and wholesome, sharing
and smiling. Our culture has a lot of Christian
influence and they share that too. They are great
messengers of the extended family in community.
The Farm and Plenty had a booth also!#!
As at Harmony and many
other festivals, the convocation was led off by
several dozen native Americans singing, drumming
and speaking of caring for the earth, living in
harmony, and creating an alternative to the "creed
of greed". Well done. As the people streamed
in the cast of HAIR led off loud and clear with
the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius and gave us
the inspiration of "Let the Sunshine".
WOW. I was overcome with emotion, unable to speak.
At this point I found
Ramon and Judith and the tribe and helped erect
the Morningstar banner which Sandi had just brought
down from Alaska!! good job. Ramon was prepared
with hammer, stakes, two 12 foot poles,
cord and balloons and purple tassels so people
wouldn't run into the supports. All the while
the very smiley crowd flowing and increasing.
On my flag waving rounds,
far to the south end, a giant hippie Santa Claus,
dressed in full Tsarist Officer Uniform of black
and red (Sergeant Pepper) came up to me and asked
if I knew where in this ocean of 50,000 people
he could find the banner of the eight pointed
star. This was John and Jeanie and dog Trooper
just arrived from Madison Wisconsin!! Without
missing a beat he rendezvoused with me using only
the psychic hot line. We knew of each other from
the mostposts web group but had never met. I easily
described where the Morningstar encampment was.
I want 'our' Summer of
Love culture to explicitly embrace - open land,
intentional communities, and eco-villages, where
people work and plant and live and foster a culture
of caring for each other and the earth.
After 40 years this element
is still not explicitly spoken of. Steve Gaskin
was honored with a few minutes. Wavy Gravy was
on stage for some time helping MC. The whole event
was donated and free. But this part; the sharing
the wealth through sharing property and building
eco-village communities was still not proselytized.
Dear country Joe led a long cheer of F U C K,
and there were some considerable boos for Bush.
But this group is still not explicitly grasping
that their real POWER to change lies with
the positive, creative, wholesome, constructive
energy of the intentional community movement.
Let's talk it UP!!%#
We're getting there, we're close.
For me the rap lags 1000
miles behind the excellent music. (Of course the
Mime Troup's "Cake walk to Baghdad" was
excellent I must say). I would dearly love
to help supply that focus on communities. I add
my love with top hat, banner, wand, books and
smile but would intensely like to see this "back
to the land" idea mushroom again.
We are so close. Let's talk it UP. Make
the break, we can do it, it's OK. When you
hear, this year there are MORE (extended) family
farms, not less, then you know we are fulfilling
just had Burning Man, last weekend was the Mendocino
living culture festival, coming up is Earth Dance,
then next year another round of gatherings and
festivals. They need to be seeding full time communities
for us to have our proper impact and really influence
the 'creed of greed'. We certainly aren't fading;
we have so many of the elements. But by the gauge
of how many year round welcoming communities have
been formed 'we' still are in the very formative
stages. We want to expand our legacy; I know there
is the sense we are onto something. We faded and
we got the neo-cons in power and the Iraq war. We
need to go over the top now and create a giant,
sure and friendly, movement: Power to the
peaceful. You can say that I'm the
dreamer, but you know, I'm not the
only one. With love, Arty
Some further thoughts:
The Summer of Love anniversary
has unleashed some good conversation, and some
good spiritual energy. Similar to Phil Morningstar
I had a high, floating, positive, excited effect
for days after and I'm pleased we seem to have
been able to transfer it across state lines
to Miss Pam Hanna in NM. I'd like to continue
the conversation some.
to Ruth Boggs on Bill Moyer's show advocating
that 'we' are the leaders', we are the ones
we have been waiting for, we have come to the
time for activities outside politics, is right
on the mark. The New Deal, the civil rights
movement, were much about legislation. But this
communities movement, though it has legal aspects,
is primarily about values, ethics, what people
do with their lives and money; it is about building
a large base of communities first.
'Our' minority is
concerned with things like: 1) Sharing wealth,
creating eco-villages. 2) Developing the "steady
state economy" getting away from the stress
of the "growth economy" and it's massive
building and paving. 3) Shifting to investment
in people away from investment in armaments.
4) change of drug laws.
These are not
popular views, first they require grass roots
action. If enough people will demonstrate wholesome
sharing then the images of the Haight drug scene,
of Jones Town and Charles Manson, can be put
behind us. Indeed the left in general has much
to put behind it. As a matter of fact, just
off the AP wires a story by Michael Hill tells
of Pete Seeger's new song, "The Big
Joe Blues" about Stalin. This was deemed
important enough to make page 2 of our Press Democrat
(9-1-07). And it is part of the shift.
The communities movement,
the Aquarian Dawn, is a fresh start. I
like the idea of the Aquarian Morning. Now things
are clearer, brighter.
was the theatre of several hundred people, but
it had the impact of a nova. This highlights
the power of a smallish group to have a
wide effect. Create transformation by setting
an example. Indeed the Sept. 17 Time magazine
(pg 55) has an article about the "Eco-village
There is a great potential
here I am sure, for the communities movement
besides being outlandishly progressive is in
synch with many traditional, even conservative, American
1) This movement has
a definite pioneer quality. It is a movement
of self-reliance, not one of creating
government programs, but of private citizens
developing LLCs where folks can create live
2) In the Aquarian
Dawn there was a correct rebellion against building
the mammoth, bull dozing, city creating machine
of greedy consumption. But there is still hard
work to be done. Small scale farming, home
maintenance, hand crafts, self-sufficiency all
fit the American value of work. The revolutionary
aspect is work for "us" not just "I";
creating the home of conscious kinship to many.
3) The communities
also offer a road away from debt, which used
to be a core American value. Basically the community
members aspire to have the parent organization
own the property outright. The individual members
have no need to carry huge debts. Being earth,
meadow, forest, stream glen and field friendly,
there is no need for huge building expenses.
To expand they basically pay as they go.
4) Some Aquarian values
are very traditional: "find common ground", "count
your blessings", be generous of spirit,
help thy neighbor, find the good in others,
and celebrate hospitality.
5) This is not a Marxist
revolution. The communities are part of the
free enterprise system. They too have small
craft and farm businesses. The American public
is well aware that free enterprise has created
our prosperity. Look at the Yellow Pages of
every city. You can't be against that. Look
at the failure of the old communist model, it
didn't have the yellow pages with 1000's of
businesses. The communities are little enterprises
6) The community people
also share spirituality. Though not pushing
the over-lording, "we are the only way" religions,
the Aquarian believers naturally hold hands
and form a circle. They naturally give thanks
for life and beauty and abundance. And they
naturally share the bounty of creation.
Here is why I find
constantly lambasting the government counter-productive. One
can criticize but for a large movement we need
to emphasize the shared values. We counter Empire
building from the bottom by creating a style
not dependent on ever expanding consumption
and the need for an Empire controlling vast
I am so thankful the Aquarian
spirit and the communes came into being. We
have so much to build on - now to grow and become
a force that transforms.
Back to TOP
Communities movement: Key
to the New Paradigm
Presented by Arty Kopecky, wrap up speaker on
the Wisdom stage at the 2006 Harmony Festival,
Santa Rosa California:
It is wonderful for me to
be here today at this marvelous
event. The promoters, Scott
and Sean and Debra and many
others offer this festival
as a party with a purpose. The purpose has to
do with no less than creating the future. And
it is recognized that succeeding with our dreams
for a better world is intimately tied to ideas
and actions involving community. Note the fair’s
announced theme of “creating sustainable
local community”. Even though, for most,
just what this means is not clear yet, still the
idea is there. I come from deep inside the communities
movement as is recalled in my books about the
New Buffalo commune in Northern New Mexico, where
I dedicated eight years of my life, lived with
hundreds of people, and helped create a dairy
As the great wheels of history churn
many of us sense that something important must
change. Many sense that we are coming to some
critical cross roads. It is shocking on the national
scene to see what a low ebb of influence the progressive
side has come to. Yet there is also an expectant
song and word: we hear more often
the catch phrases of transformation,
new paradigm, new age, restore
the balance. I believe the pendulum
has started to move. I am sure
its energy, its momentum, is directly
connected to this idea of community.
Community has 10,000 aspects,
but at the apex, at the vanguard,
are the intentional communities.
These are groups of people controlling
and sharing actual pieces of property
where the extended family can
live and work and help each other
and then reach out. I call them
the church of the progressives.
If they would grow 100 fold, then
10 times that: there would be
your grass roots, people powered
base for a new influence. There
is your contribution to democracy:
a greater equality of the wealth.
There is your answer to never
ending development. There is your
challenge to the ethic of consumption
and greed. There is the security
of growing food and sharing hospitality
with an extended family.
the logic: Marxism was
a huge movement. It stumbled badly
because it did not respect human
rights enough. No movement will
achieve the necessary strength in
the United States without recognizing
the positive contribution America
has made to freedom and democracy.
The communities movement is an outgrowth
of freedom and makes an advancing
contribution to democracy by improving
on the one glaring contradiction
in American democracy: the distribution
of wealth. Only by ushering in
a new ethic of concern and generosity
can this be done. It must be done
with kindness not violence. We
would challenge the fear, the
distrust, the violence, and the
selfishness that is coming to
characterize our society. In the
Aquarian spirit we must do this
without laying blame or painting
some group as the source of evil.
We need a really heavy dose of
positive input. And here it is
started. We have the Occidental
Arts and Ecology Center, the green
valley village, this festival.
This is a beginning and this is
how to feed it, to grow it. It
takes commitment and dedication
of wealth but the communities
movement can be made to grow.
All the elements are here, now
it only lacks the will and that
we will gather if we are righteous.
More of the logic:
religion but now a new spirituality
is on the rise, which accepts
all the expressions of faith.
This spirituality is extremely
important and it is very strong
here, in this place, at the harmony
festival. The spirit embraces
love of nature, love of people,
acceptance of interconnectedness,
acceptance of humanity’s
heritage, including all the faiths.
Now make the leap to having many
permanent centers dedicated to
this spirit and be able to farm
like the Amish. Show this faith
can supply the devotion that can
make a person live a life of service
to good works. You can have this,
but it must be in deed; and that
is property shared. No way around
it, fall short and you remain
on the sidelines watching these
other historic forces continue
the descent that the human group,
as a whole, is experiencing. This
is a huge challenge, but such
is our predicament now. That is
why there is a vacuum. The standard
answers don’t help. Growing
the economy won’t do it.
More education won’t do
it. Sharing property will do it.
Create these real property ecovillages
then the energy will flow to you.
There is a deep well of basic
intelligence in the population.
Give them something to rally to
that is hopeful not angry. Give
them a unifying message; give
them a safety net, lead by example.
If you want the leaders of the
corporations to be more generous
show how it’s done. It is
needed now. No half measures will
turn the tide.
This is a humble undertaking:
What ‘we’ would like
to do is only: modify the ethic
of seeking profit with the ethic
of service. All we care to do
is modify the ethic of personal
accumulation with one of far greater
sharing. We are only trying to
modify the self-righteousness
of religions with the new age
spirit that God is in all the
tribes of humans. All we care
to do is stop the rush to pave
over nature with endless suburbs
and shopping centers. All we want
is that Department of Peace and
a shift to investment in people
instead of weapons.
Yes we need something big, this
is no small task. But what is
stopping us? We have the freedom,
some of us have the wealth. This
is new in history. Never has such
a large group of the ‘common
people’ had such freedom
or wealth. Now is the time to
use these. What indeed is stopping
us? It’s the will, the vision,
and that is coming, it is right
before you here at the Harmony
Festival. People sense there is
more we can do, much more. Now
it is coming into focus, and now
the time is coming for a vanguard
of a million or so to create these
ecovillages on community centers
and especially on farms.
Now I forgot to tell you that
there is going to be a quiz, so
if you want to go over this stuff,
now is the time for questions.
Live long and prosper.
Back to TOP
on the Wall
hour is late for humanity;
the handwriting indeed is
on the walls.
does it read? Can you make
it out? It is graffiti on
abandoned buildings, it is
headlines in the papers, it
is bumper stickers on the
made a journey to the Sangre
de Cristo Mountains, to an
earthen pueblo of neo-ancient
design. There, within, were
many doorways of odd shapes:
some were narrow and arched
at the top; others richly
painted with shells or bells
for decoration. In the interiors
were symbols and sayings from
humankind’s many traditions.
something is on that wall
beyond, past the round chamber.
The sun light flickers a little
as some birds fly through
the slanted rays. There is
a stillness in these once
boisterous halls; the last
echo has been silenced by
time. I approach closer.
At first the dust covered
engravings look like hieroglyphs-but
no- it is English, I can read
it: “To change the world—choose
a life of service”.
that message long and hard.
I saw huge crowds, I busied
myself with work. All about
me ads entreated me
to buy, buy, buy. Shall I
get a boat, or a horse, or
a motor cycle? Perhapsa
bigger truck or a faster car?And
every here and there I would
catch a glimpse of that writing
on the wall. “The
hour is late”. “If
you would be a help. Be a
What is that I hear about
the glaciers melting, the
fish disappearing? It is true
it, that we are six billion people and still
caught in a dozen population races? And did
I hear our bright councilman say the solution
to the traffic jams is more roads so we can
have a bigger traffic jam? My head swirls.
Yes I do see the writing on the walls, and I
sense the hour is late. It is not comforting.
think back to another day,
when slanted rays of sun illuminated
an adobe wall: “To change
the world, choose a life of
clear to me now what was meant.
It is clear to me now what
some must do. If it is not
clear to you then I would
gladly elaborate. But there
is not quite the room here;
next time. Next time but soon,
for the hour is getting late,
there is much to do. And the
writing is on the wall.
of ideas 9-28-04
Ideas. What is
the power of ideas?
you not sense that this is
a critical time? A storm
sits offshore. Our burgeoning
debts and our explosive economy
have near run their course. The
resources are depleting too
rapidly. The family of Humans
is still caught in a dozen
population races, oblivious
to our unity.
time, being the apex of all
thought, it would be right
if we could use our minds
to aid us.
And what ideas would those
be? How about, “Share
the wealth”? How about “peaceful
revolution”? Perhaps, “ replace
greed with generosity” or “back
to the land.”
1934 we started a trend of
government arising to address
all social problems. Now the
governments are huge employers
and are involved in every
minute complaint. This
trend too has run its course.
is time for some independent,
spiritual people to create
a new, peaceful movement with
their own resources. Create
a safety net of eco-villages
for the service of the people.
That’s a concrete idea.
It is time. Now millions of
people have a share of wealth:
the success of democracy. It
is time for a group, whoever
you are, to combine thought
with practice, and lead a
movement to reassert our humanity.
Use that wealth to help the
larger family, rediscover
freedom, or descend into a
militarized future full of
angry, desperate people.
storm is not on shore yet.
But few deny this is a troubled
time. It is difficult
to see solutions because we
don’t sense broader
possibilities. We are
buried in a din of advertising,
entertainment and traffic.
An opportunity exists for
a vanguard to expand our vision.
Create a pastoral scene our
forefathers would love to
see. Create a strong chain
of functioning farms and urban
centers with the overt object
of serving people. Create
a safety net for the growing
numbers of unemployed and
the many who do not fit in
the fast paced economy. And
we want some people not to
fit, because it is a ridiculous
proposition to try and project
our high-speed economy very
far into the future, with
everyone having a full-time
job. We need to reach another
stage, and to do that we must
envision it first. These proposed
eco-villages would be the
school, the catalyst, and
the testing grounds: a new
contribution to democracy.
what have you got? Does the
future look bright to you?
Where does our culture go
from here? At the height of
our democracy, how can we
help the future?
those of you who feel overwhelmed
by the immensity of our dilemmas,
let me remind you of past
changes that have occurred.
In the years preceding 1776,
only a small minority voiced
the idea of a republic independent
of a monarch. Yet it was actualized.
Likewise in the American civil
war: emancipation was a fringe
idea. Similarly, the women’s
suffrage and civil rights
movements were both pushed
by small committed groups.
These great cultural changes
manifested because their time
had come. Those who voiced
the new ideas were ridiculed,
but they were right.
idea of violent revolution
must be supplanted. We cannot
build a successful movement
by adding to the anger and
finding reasons to throw more
are a perfect modus operandi
for the re-emergence of a
powerful progressive force.
Add this to our culture, make
it shine. This is the
antidote to terrorism: good
works. Here is the sharing,
the volunteerism, the community
that is defied by the present
culture of each individual
family accumulating as much
of everything as it can imagine.
Here is the vehicle to change
the culture of selfishness.
Add economic equality to complete
the democratic revolution.
Here is a way to help the
dispossessed, break the cycle
that is destroying nature.
Add something to our culture
that reinforces our faith
in human nature and you will
have a profound effect. Nurture
an overt concern with how
we survive and prosper. If
enough people make a success
of this movement they will
have a handle on all the issues
that concern us.
what is the power of ideas?
The time is upon us for something
clearly positive to give us
promise, to help us in a time
of need. Remember that phrase
of John Lennon? “You
may say that I’m the
dreamer. But I’m not
the only one."
Back to TOP
Buffalo and the Movies
the town of Taos from Santa
Fe, the road climbs and climbs,
then suddenly reveals a vast
panorama when it reaches the
high mesa, which is itself,
the base for the tallest peaks
of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at over 13,000
feet. The drama of this setting attracted Dennis
Hopper when creating the movie Easy Rider. This
film is frequently replayed and contains a portrait
of a commune that is based on New Buffalo. Dennis
Hopper actually wanted to film those scenes at
the commune but the elders at the time thought
it would be too disruptive. Unfortunately that
created a bit of tension with Dennis who never
embraced the communal ethic the way Peter Coyote
did. Nevertheless in Easy Rider and also Flash
Back, Hopper does catch some of the essence.
In Easy Rider, the scene of throwing seeds to
plant a field is quite accurate. But nothing equals
the minutes when the camera pans around the circle
of faces at the prayer before dinner. There is
a moment’s portrait of each face; the emotion
shockingly rushes up when I see those familiar
faces. I literally stood in several thousand of
those circles, with hundreds of people over the
If some people can make that extended family last
they will have achieved the pinnacle challenge
of humankind. Our modern ‘survivor’ shows
create contrived challenges. Along with the ‘reality’ television
shows they offer a vicarious communal experience.
But none of that can equal the real thing.
There is much in our culture that reminds us of
our communal side. Even the cartoon character
Homer Simpson has a ‘hippie’ mom and
in one episode he goes back to the commune where
he mistakenly mixes some ‘herbs’ in
with the carrot juice, which is their group business.
In literature, the Tolkien Trilogy, The Lord of
the Rings, became a sort of bible of the hippies.
Hobbits and hippies have indeed a sort of interchangeableness.
The story has now been stunningly recreated in
Peter Jackson’s film, “Lord of the
Rings.” I, so immersed in the community
ethic, immediately see in the opening panorama
of the Shire, a communal vision. Here is the well-kept
pastoral scene of a shared and joyous country
life. There is enough of Las Vegas, of Phoenix,
enough of Chicago and Atlanta, Buenos Aires or
Bombay. Name your sprawling city, enough. That
is not my dream. Create the Shire. That is the
antidote. There it is in the popular imagination.
Is that so hard? Yes it is. Here is the next modern
challenge. People flock to hard, so flock to this.
As the movie opens the voice of Galadria recounts
the tale of Isaldur. When the ring drops from
his slain body and drifts to the bottom of the
river she says, “and some things were lost
which should have not been forgotten.” I
hear that as an allegory for the community endeavor;
one, which now I hope, is coming back.
“Something was lost which should not have
been forgotten”. For several decades huge
wealth was created, vast cities and suburbs were
built in a spasm of borrowing and a sort of worship
of greed and ultra-individualism. But such is
not sustainable. We will have to fall back on
more stable virtues, like helping. Frodo and company
showed fortitude but they were also carried forward
along the way by meeting ones who assisted them;
Strider, Tom Bombadil, Aurowin, Elron, Galadria,
the Ents, the forward line of humans, and in a
twist of fate, Golum. “It is the pity of
Bilbo which may yet rule the fate of mankind,” said
Gandalf in the mines of Moria. He also said at
that juncture, “it is not up to us to choose
the trials that face us, but it is our task to
do the best we can with the difficulties before
us..” That would seem to be a good note
to end on.
Back to TOP
Broken Record: Why are solutions
for the economy stuck on repeat? By Art Kopecky
North Bay Bohemian, Open Mic Nov.
do the size of our population
and finite resources enter
the equation? When people
and animals mature, they reach
a certain size and stop growing.
Perhaps that's the correct
analogy. Is it so hard to
imagine we have reached a
mature economy? Maybe there
are enough cities, freeways,
suburbs and shopping malls.
How often do you hear that?
On the left, there's the
monotonous broken-record mantra
that we must "stimulate" the
economy, and the only solution
imaginable is government action.
It's never suggested that
the people themselves, with
the greatest freedom and prosperity
in all human history, can
find a way to help besides
being good consumers and shopping
for their nuclear family.
On the right, the only contribution
to the debate seems to be
cut taxes, even though deficits
are too big. Then, the idea
follows, we'll "stimulate" the
economy and huge growth will
pay off the deficit and create
millions of jobs. (Example:
George W. Bush reduced taxes,
and everything turned out
fine.) For all our vaunted
freedom, action on the part
of the people is never suggested—except
to vote and shop. So little
Everyday we're besieged by
a litany of concerns. We're
urged to protest global warming,
nuclear weapons, foreign wars
and mega-corporations. There
are daily reminders that we
have 14 million Americans
unemployed and not enough
jobs for the 150,000 entering
the job market each month.
There are environmental concerns
that development hurts the
precious natural world. We
need something positive in
the mix, something new and
So, you ask, what have I
got? How about: bring on the
Aquarian Age. Not through
legislation, but through service
and good works. Join or support "back
to the land" intentional
communities. Create a culture
of cooperation and generosity
by sharing properties.
Are we all just guinea pigs
ruled by a constant diet of
advertisements, or can some
of us strike out and do something
outrageously positive, helpful
Forward-thinking people have
greatly influenced our history
in the past, starting with
the very notion of a country
run by the people and extending
to the end of slavery, the
rise of civil rights, of workers'
rights and women's rights.
So what's next? I believe
the intentional communities
movement, already well incubated
with a 50-year modern history,
fits our need.
I don't think it can be avoided.
Some of "the people" will
have to pioneer advances in
the culture (some are already
doing it, but not nearly enough).
If young people can dedicate
themselves to war, giving
up life and limb and comfort,
then where are the young people
who can build cooperative
communities for mutual survival
for all? Where are their elders
who can encourage a nongovernment
people's movement, to demonstrate
consideration and even brotherly
If we are so advanced, so
smart, why aren't these ideas
in the conversation? Are profit,
greed and accumulation the
high points of human consciousness?
A few million people on beautiful
farms, supportive of the "low
that such a crazy idea?
Unemployment is here to stay,
the cost of living is only
getting more astronomical,
and the government is way
beyond broke. So help out
by creating intentional communities
instead of crying to be given
jobs. Why are we avoiding
it? Is it too hard, too creative,
too original, too against
human nature? Be a pioneer
and prove them wrong. Our
culture has already come a
long, long way.
Create a culture of conscious
kinship? Whoa! Stop right
there. Let's get back to stuff
we're used to: "go shopping," "cut
taxes" and "stimulate
the economy" so it can "grow" .
Ah, that broken record is
Art Kopecky is the author
of 'New Buffalo: Journals
from a Taos Commune' and 'Leaving
New Buffalo Commune,' UNM
Press. He lives in Sebastopol,
works as a contractor-carpenter
and is active in the communities
For more information on
Kopecky or New Buffalo,
please contact Amanda Sutton,
UNM Press publicity at 505-277-0655,
505-277-9270 (fax), or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or write the author: email@example.com