“We brag on having bread, but none of us are bakers. We talk having greens, but none of us grow acres. If none of us own acres, and none of us grow wheat, then who will feed our people when our people need to eat?” – “Regan” by Killer Mike
One of my favorite places to lurk on Facebook is the Jill Stein Dank Meme Stash. I see a lot of amusing memes being passed around these and other left-leaning pages about “Seizing the Means of Production.” While this brings up entertaining romantic images about overthrowing douchy bossmen and taking over your local factory with torches and pitchforks, the resulting jail time from such an act is usually enough of a deterrent to prevent this behavior.
So, when faced with unfair labor practices and other injustices, we march in the streets and share relevant ideas on social media. These actions are absolutely effective for generating interest and starting a public dialog about the issues, but how do they stand up in the long-term about changing our world for the better? If, at the end of the day, we still eat Taco Bell, shop at Walmart, and have a checking account at Bank of America, are we really actively taking steps to eliminate the Powers that Be and return that power to the hands of the people and our local communities where it truly belongs?
In many small, country towns, one will generally see a Wal-Mart dominating the landscape. Someone must be shopping here to keep it in business, but why? The majority of the products sold in these places are produced internationally with cheap labor. By patronizing these businesses, instead of purchasing your groceries from a farmer’s market, household goods from a resale store, and building materials from a scrap yard, we are saying by the vote of our dollar that we want more of our jobs sent overseas and more toxic Chinese garbage in our homes. Classic images of Americana, those nostalgic ideas of self-sufficiency and the pioneering spirit contradict the idea of shopping at a mass-merchandiser, and will appeal to conservative members of your community. These corporate entities thrive on our hard-earned money—why not let them die a slow death, and to hell with Wall Street: that institution can fall along with it? We don’t need them, and never did. If we want to change the world, we need some radical new ideas, and here’s one for you: we don’t need large corporations and a thriving stock market to determine our happiness and livelihood. We, and our neighbors and local communities, can provide most of our necessary resources. I’m calling this radical, new idea Creating The Means of Production, and here’s how it works:
- Start creating resources. Every single person is capable of doing this. An easy way to start is by growing some organic food, turning it into something useful, and trading with other members of your local community. You- with the tiny apartment- can grow and dry spices on your kitchen windowsill. Got a yard? Think fruit trees, organic compost, and a smoker to preserve meats. Make some spaghetti sauce? You no longer need to go to Wal-Mart and buy a jar of Ragu with your newspaper coupons the next time you want pasta. Nor are you supporting dirt-cheap wages on corporate, GMO farms that take advantage of cheap Immigrant labor, which will appeal to members of the left who advocate to better practices. Think larger than food. There’s a magical little app called Pintrest where you can learn how to do everything related to creating a modern-day homestead. Try out a few ideas and get the whole family involved for a fun day of cooking, building, or crafting. Start with a small, easy project you know you can complete in a matter of hours. The satisfaction of being able to say, “I made this!” will be reward enough and provide enough momentum to try a larger, more difficult project.
- Trade with your neighbors. TRADE NOT BUY. The power here is you’re not using money- you’re using resources you produce. Swap a couple jars of that homemade tomato sauce with the local go-to odd jobs dude in exchange for a hand repainting your bathroom with some paint salvaged at the junkyard. Since you are not paying him cash, he gets to keep the full worth of the profits of his labor, instead of being forced to give a portion of that to the government for taxes. Instead of money, he receives a resource (tomato sauce) to use to feed his children, saving him a trip to the store and with the added benefit of being able to consume a healthier alternative to whatever crap they’re peddling at Wal-Mart. By eliminating money and bartering with resources, we are removing government intervention in our affairs (taxes and regulations) and placing the power of production in the hands of the people.
- Get involved in local politics. Do your city ordinances prevent you from collecting rainwater or raising a few chickens? Lobby your city council members to change these rules by demonstrating the powerful impact homesteading practices will have on the local community- how cool would it be if the local farmer’s market had fresh eggs and goat’s milk? Host a barter potluck with neighbors at the local church (or somebody’s basement) to trade the things you produce and spread these ideas around. You might inspire your mechanically-inclined neighbor to start tinkering with old lawnmowers to make generators, which he can trade to you in exchange for food and install on your property to become independent of the power grid and therefore your electric bill. You will never worry again about a storm knocking out the power grid if you can produce your own sustainable electricity. These connections with your neighbors also create a stronger community spirit to rely on in times of crisis; if looters are invading homes during a disaster aftermath such as a tornado, being able to work together to defend your block if the police are over extended responding in other areas may become essential if civil war breaks out. What happens if nobody comes to rescue us and we are alone? Having our own resources, the ability to produce them, and defend them, may save our collective asses from death or starvation in the near future.
There is nothing new about this idea: people were producing their own resources for centuries before the industrial revolution. We can start small with our own food, and then move on to larger things such as woodfire stoves, rainwater catchment, and even a herd of adorable goats. If we put our heads, and efforts together, we can unite the people with the common goal of bettering ourselves and re-declaring our own Independence.
The revolution will not be televised- it will start in our kitchens and be shared on Instagram.
Discuss in the comments what project from Pintrest you want to try first. Check out my Homesteading album here: https://www.pinterest.com/ladyxfox/homesteading/ and some project ideas here: https://www.pinterest.com/ladyxfox/try-this-at-home/