A Tribute To The Automatic Earth

Build an Ark. “Buy yourself a learning curve.” Start gathering the right people around you. Dance in the sunshine.

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42 Responses to “A Tribute To The Automatic Earth”

  1. Faith says:

    I had an consultation with a life coach today. I’m anticipating the next phase of my life career-wise and interpersonal relationships and want to make sure I’m positive, focused and making purpose-driven choices to get to where I need to be.

    I’m already on the cusp of a breakthrough (because it feels akin to a breakdown, lol) and I need to keep the momentum. As far as the video shown, we know how everyone must be prepared but especially AA women as a collective.

    The great thing is we have this wonderful online mentoring group of black women helping each other to – if not avoid the pitfalls -then to get out of them much quicker. So thanks!

  2. Faith,

    You’re welcome! You said, “I’m already on the cusp of a breakthrough (because it feels akin to a breakdown, lol) and I need to keep the momentum.”

    That’s great! Keep the momentum going!

    You said, “As far as the video shown, we know how everyone must be prepared but especially AA women as a collective.”

    Indeed. As Evia has repeatedly said, there is no safety net for AA women! Help is NOT on the way. Folks better get ready. That’s why I keep harping on this “ark” and “lifeboat” issue.

    Let me do an “I told y’all so” detour. I said the following during a post at the previous blog over a year ago,

    It’s time for African-American women to finally leave Fantasy Island and face reality. My Dad taught me that in real life there’s no such thing as treading water. If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind. And it’s just a matter of time until you drown. In the current economy, this means that if you’re not working to build wealth, you’re working to become poor. The days of being able to rely on “good jobs” are OVER.

    Furthermore, I’ve been reading disturbing reports comparing this current depression not to the Great Depression of the 1930s, but to the Long Depression of the late 19th century. The Long Depression lasted from 1873-1896! What if the current economic tailspin goes on for the next 20 years? What will you do?

    http://muslimbushido.blogspot.com/2009/03/if-youre-not-on-one-of-these-10-roads.html

    I’ve been waiting to see if and when a mainstream finance columnist mentioned The Long Depression and its relevance to the current economic crisis. Well, Paul Krugman mentioned The Long Depression in an op-ed column in a recent New York Times article. In The Third Depression, he said,

    Neither the Long Depression of the 19th century nor the Great Depression of the 20th was an era of nonstop decline — on the contrary, both included periods when the economy grew. But these episodes of improvement were never enough to undo the damage from the initial slump, and were followed by relapses.

    We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression. It will probably look more like the Long Depression than the much more severe Great Depression. But the cost — to the world economy and, above all, to the millions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs — will nonetheless be immense.

    . . . And who will pay the price for this triumph of orthodoxy? The answer is, tens of millions of unemployed workers, many of whom will go jobless for years, and some of whom will never work again.

    There have always been the handful of people who still managed to not just survive, but thrive during previous economic crises. I intend to be among them in this era. I hope many of you in the audience will join me in finding ways to make our wildest dreams come true. DESPITE whatever is happening with the overall economy, climate change, or anything else.

    There are still amazing opportunities to build a legendary life in the midst of all of the above. As modern everyday people, we all have tools at our fingertips and a level of (for the moment inexpensive) mobility that emperors of previous human eras couldn’t even imagine.

    This is why the sort of information discussed at The Automatic Earth blog doesn’t get me down. It’s deeply concerning, but I’m thankful to have the opportunity and tools to prepare for whatever comes. I’m committed to winning.

    The masses of AAs can watch Black Exploitation Television, and hide their heads in the BP oil spill if they want to. They’re also free to totally squander the available opportunities to prepare. It’s their free and voluntary choice to ignore the warnings that have been given online and offline. The information is out there, if one is interested in finding it.

    Which brings me to your last point when you said, “The great thing is we have this wonderful online mentoring group of black women helping each other to – if not avoid the pitfalls -then to get out of them much quicker.”

    I’m so thankful for the technology that makes this long-distance pooling of information possible! I’m excited every time I run across an online resource like The Automatic Earth.

    Expect Success!

  3. Karen says:

    Dear Khadija,

    Thank you for this video and link to “The Automatic Earth” blog. I have just completed the book “Web of Debt” and many of the things referenced in the video are also referenced in the book.

    This debt that has been “created” is actually smoke and mirrors courtesy of the Federal reserve and the Central banks. However, even if the sovereign nations would take proper action, the reality is that we live on a finite planet and we are consuming resources at an astronomical rate. A “Growth Economy” is no longer sustainable.

    The U.S. alone represents only approx. 5% of the world’s population yet consumes 30% of its resources. It cannot continue. The Long Depression will become a permanent state, humanity, especially the former industrial nations, will have to learn to live life after the “Age of Abundance”. Many will not make it.

    We continue to prepare and our goal is to thrive in the challenging times ahead.

  4. Dear Karen,

    You’re welcome! And thank you for mentioning the Web of Debt. I’ll have to check it out. You said, “The U.S. alone represents only approx. 5% of the world’s population yet consumes 30% of its resources. It cannot continue.”

    ITA. What we’re doing is NOT sustainable. Many folks believe that they can stave off the major structural changes that are happening to the industrialized countries by tinkering around the edges of their consumption patterns (eco-this and eco-that).

    I believe that the various converging structural changes are too far gone for such tinkering to be effective. Structural changes such as fossil fuel depletion (aka peak oil and peak various other resources); climate change; the end of factory-era increases in income equality (produced by the new technology that has eliminated many low-skill jobs).

    I have to admit that I’m amazed by how successful the various “bread and circuses” are in distracting the (totally unprepared) masses. I guess I’m not as cynical as I like to think I am.

    I haven’t been following the fake, mainstream “news” about the BP spill. From what I can tell by talking to (curiously unconcerned) coworkers is that the only lessons the US military/industrial/political whore complex learned from Katrina and Vietnam was, “Don’t tell or show any bad news. Don’t let anybody else tell or show bad news.” This strategy is working in terms of keeping the populace chilled out.

    One of the sensible and pleasant secretaries at work is a AA woman from Louisiana. Her daughter recently passed her professional license exam. Curiously, even her relatives down there in Louisiana don’t sound particularly worried. Now, they’re not directly affected because they live in other areas of that state.

    However, the secretary was concerned by my ability to—without having watched any “news” reports—describe blow by blow how this story has played out in the mainstream media. I described the modern US government info management strategy of the “slow drip” of negative information. I warned her that the government won’t allow ANY negative information out unless and until it becomes undeniable and obvious.

    I reiterated to her that NOW is the time for all of us to develop location-independent income streams. And suggested that she get back to looking at virtual assistant side hustles. I believe that the BP spill won’t be the last eco-disaster “shoe” to drop.

    In one sense, it’s a very good thing that the masses are caught up in their bread and circuses. It gives the rest of us a chance to continue our preparations in relative peace. We all know what happens whenever the masses do wake up to the existence of a problem: chaos, ATM runs, and empty shelves in all the stores.

    Expect Success!

  5. geekgirl says:

    “I have to admit that I’m amazed by how successful the various “bread and circuses” are in distracting the (totally unprepared) masses. I guess I’m not as cynical as I like to think I am.”

    Over the last couple of years, I’ve been stunned at the lack of passion about what is going on around us. Event after event and barely a whimper. One day last year, I was leaving work though still in the car park and listening to alternative radio and I thought ‘the government is probably praying this doesn’t make the news, this is so big!’. Then I remember that government schools have taught most Americans and most Americans do the bare minimum (i.e. don’t read if they don’t have to). The government isn’t praying, it’s preyed.

    Since that moment, not a day goes by that I don’t think about my escape plan.

  6. Geekgrl,

    You said, “Over the last couple of years, I’ve been stunned at the lack of passion about what is going on around us. Event after event and barely a whimper.”

    Indeed. I’ve overheard more people are talking about the 1-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death than anything else lately. [WTH???] I’ve been thinking about this today, and I realized that the AA collective is a perfect example of masses of people accepting the most bizarre circumstances as the new normal. {shudder} It all reminded me of a chilling passage in Dmitry Orlov’s most recent post:

    Emergencies come and go, and people get used to the fact that the beaches are black and sometimes catch fire and burn for weeks, or that there is a ravine running through the center of town where the riverfront used to be, or that electricity is only on for a couple of hours a day.

    {another shudder}

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2010/06/checkmate.html

    You said, “Since that moment, not a day goes by that I don’t think about my escape plan.”

    The same with me; I’m feverishly moving forward with my plans.

    Expect Success!

  7. diva says:

    Wow. I missed your blog for a few weeks and so much great information has been shared.

    You can’t force people to see what is right in front of them,I think, because too many people just don’t want to take charge of their own lives. Plus, you even have to be careful of the ‘activists’. I am in academia, and people talk about BP/War etc quite a bit but it all seems to be staged outrage. Lots of conferences, lectures, and publications to pad their personal resumes and not much else. They still rely on research grants and tenure to pay their way through life; live in false protected nice areas near elite campuses; and seldom offer practical solutions. They think if they have and eco-bag and a Peace sticker this is doing something.
    All the eco-bags in the world won’t change the damage that has been done. Especially, if you go eco-shopping with your gas guzzling suburban halfway across town.
    Being a vegan or vegetarian or eating green is great but when the real crisis comes and there’s no food in the stores you can’t import organically grown vegan soup. You’ll be like people in North Korea eating grass by the side of the road.
    Peace is great- but what about the returning soldiers? What about whole towns that are reliant on military bases for employment? What about all those weapons and landmines left behind? I went to Thailand a few years ago and was shocked by how many US Vietnam era weapons were still floating around the countryside. You could by parts at tiny little markets stalls.
    Reality folks, and people are NOT prepared.
    I have my back up plan. I work each day towards my second income stream. I focus, meditate, and share with like minded individuals who are determined to work towards success.

  8. Diva,

    Thank you for your kind words about the blog; I truly appreciate it. You said, “You can’t force people to see what is right in front of them,I think, because too many people just don’t want to take charge of their own lives.”

    This is true.

    You said, “Plus, you even have to be careful of the ‘activists’.”

    This is also true. Interestingly enough, some of the major peak oil writers (such as John Michael Greer, author of the excellent book The Long Descent: A User’s Guide to the End of the Oil Age and blog host of The Archdruid Report) have been expressing similar concern about the eco-activists and what looks like the beginning of green “revitalization movments.” As defined by Mr. Greer, revitalization movements are when masses of people engage in stylized, ritual actions in efforts to get the physical world to obey their desires. In this case,

    . . . people who insist that we can keep on enjoying the trappings of the age of abundance if we only support a technology, or join a movement, or adopt an ideology . . .

    . . . Just as magical incantations in the peak oil scene these days have replaced the old barbarous names with such words of power as “hydrogen economy,” “algal biodiesel,” “advanced petroleum recovery technology” and the like, the rituals that will be practiced by the revitalization movements to come may take the form of community building exercises, protest marches, outdoor festivals, and campaigns for political office. They may even include sensible steps such as weatherstripping homes and building solar greenhouses. What defines an act as ritual, remember, is that it’s done for symbolic rather than practical reasons; weatherstripping a house is a practical action when it’s done for the practical reason of saving a few dozen dollars a year on heat bills, but it becomes a ritual action when it’s done under the conviction that steps of this nature can ward off the end of the age of abundance.

    (emphasis added)

    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2010/06/waiting-for-millennium_16.html

    The standard jargon for phenomena of this kind is revitalization movements. They happen when a society is hit by repeated troubles that cut straight to the core of its identity and values. In such times, when existing institutions fail and the collective foundations of meaning crack, there’s a large demand for some new vision of destiny that will make sense of the troubles and offer a way past them to some brighter future. The economics of popular belief being what they are, that demand very quickly finds an ample supply.

    Revitalization movements, like new cars, come with standard features and a range of optional gewgaws that can be added on to suit the tastes of the buyer. The standard features include a thorough critique of the existing order of society, which is meant to show that the troubles have occurred because either the people who have suffered from them, or some other group that’s to blame for them, have misbehaved and are being punished; a vision of a Utopian future that will arrive right after the troubles if the right things are done; and a straightforward plan of action to make the transition from the troubles to the Utopian future. The problem is that the plan of action can’t actually deliver the goods; that’s what defines something as a revitalization movement rather than, say, an ordinary movement seeking social change. Revitalization movements emerge when all the practical options for dealing with a crisis are either unworkable or unthinkable.

    (emphasis added)
    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2010/06/waiting-for-millennium.html

    You said, “I am in academia, and people talk about BP/War etc quite a bit but it all seems to be staged outrage. Lots of conferences, lectures, and publications to pad their personal resumes and not much else. They still rely on research grants and tenure to pay their way through life; live in false protected nice areas near elite campuses; and seldom offer practical solutions. They think if they have and eco-bag and a Peace sticker this is doing something.”

    I’ve seen this also. I would call it a form of eco-theater and eco-kabuki. It’s similar to what we’ve seen in terms of post-9/11 public security. I’ve read reports from private security consultants using the the term “security theater” while criticizing the government response. Security theater in airports and other places is a lot like kabuki—paramilitary police dressed up in elaborate costumes and gear, using stylized physical movements. None of which significantly increases the public’s actual level of protection against terrorists.

    The security theater and eco-theater makes people feel better and feel as if something is being done. However, it’s of little practical benefit. As you pointed out when you said, “Being a vegan or vegetarian or eating green is great but when the real crisis comes and there’s no food in the stores you can’t import organically grown vegan soup. You’ll be like people in North Korea eating grass by the side of the road.” Folks need to look into square foot gardening.

    You said, “I have my back up plan. I work each day towards my second income stream. I focus, meditate, and share with like minded individuals who are determined to work towards success.”

    Good for you! I’m doing the same thing.

    It’s all connected. The harsh reality is that 99.99% of AA women have the WRONG people around them, and are totally focused on the WRONG people. That’s why I’m trying to wean folks off of paying any attention whatsoever to noncontributing BM. Or anything that these type of BM are thinking, saying or doing.

    Focusing on noncontributing BM and BM who hate BW is not going to add anything of value to anybody’s life. And when AA women focus on noncontributing BM, they are helping these men cause their demise—which is what some of the more virulent among them want!

    It’s so much better—and life-sustaining—to focus on finding people who will actually give reciprocal support.

    Expect Success!

  9. geekgirl says:

    I really like Club Orlov for a wide view of the situation, but I’m a fool for urban homestead. (http://www.urbanhomestead.org/journal/) They’re ‘at a glance’ stats are very impressive.

    Diva,
    Your comment about the ‘activists’ reminded me of a member of a homesteading forum, who appeared on Wife Swap. The member was a homesteader of modest means with a garden; chickens, pigs, and other animals; small house; and family. The wife she swapped with would ask silly questions ‘like is this carrot natural’ and was skittish about animals and gardening. It was like, in theory everything sounded good, but in practice the woman didn’t know or want to know what it actually takes.

    Last year, I started on working on a post apocalyptic/end of the world (because of war/theocracy/environment) reading list. I’m still reading the books, but you need to take a break every couple of books or you’ll get a bit strange. You read a couple of those books and you stop caring what the acting black crew has to say about you, the books help straighten out your priorities.

  10. Miss V says:

    Ok! That’s it! I’m getting off my butt and starting me a garden!

  11. Geekgirl,

    Thanks for the resource (I had never heard of that site before)!

    You said, “Last year, I started on working on a post apocalyptic/end of the world (because of war/theocracy/environment) reading list. I’m still reading the books, but you need to take a break every couple of books or you’ll get a bit strange. You read a couple of those books and you stop caring what the acting black crew has to say about you, the books help straighten out your priorities.”

    Yep. Reality-check information and ideas have a way of crowding out all of the “acting Black” crew’s nonsense. If you don’t mind sharing this info, I’d be interested in hearing which books are on your “apocalyptic” readling list! *Smile*
    ________________________________________________

    MissV,

    Yes, it’s best to “buy yourself a learning curve” and experiment with growing garden vegetables before one actually needs to. [Although, I must admit that this has been fairly low on my list of research priorities. Mostly due to living in a cold-weather-zone, practical questions of how to keep the squirrels away from such a garden, and so on. Maybe the Urban Homestead blog has info about all of that. :-)]

    Expect Success!

  12. diva says:

    I just checked out the urban homestead site. That place is wonderful. A must to bookmark.

    My spouse and I have been trying to by a patch of land for sometime that we can grow a sustainable garden for us. We have a small veranda garden that didn’t do so well; but there are inexpensive mobile greenhouses and hydroponics systems you can get. We’ll keep trying. My grandmother used to have a small garden for vegetables and some chickens she kept well into her 80’s. She rarely shopped at a store or had to spend money. Kept her through the Depression and War rationing.

  13. Diva,

    You said, “…there are inexpensive mobile greenhouses and hydroponics systems you can get.”

    Thanks for mentioning this; I’ll have to look into those things.

    You said, “My grandmother used to have a small garden for vegetables and some chickens she kept well into her 80’s. She rarely shopped at a store or had to spend money. Kept her through the Depression and War rationing.”

    I’ve heard similar tales about similar grandparents from (AA) friends and acquaintances. I never had any living relatives that were still in the South (which is where most folks’ grandparents were when they were growing their own food). So, I never had childhood summers spent down South picking fruit from the family fruit tree or watching chickens “get their necks wrung.” {ewww} That sort of practical knowledge has been gone from my biological family since the time of my great-grandparents (early 1900s). {sigh}

    Expect Success!

  14. Interestingly enough, there’s a major fight going on in the city council of the affluent north Atlanta suburb where I live. They’re fighting over changing the zoning laws to allow people to raise chickens. (In limited numbers w/o roosters.) Perhaps they know something we don’t. 😀

    I grew up on a farm and want to get a couple of laying hens. We always had chickens, an occasional pig and my uncle kept goats. Besides laying eggs, chickens are excellent for insect control. Right now I’ve got my “kitchen garden” where I grow various greens, a few peppers and tomatoes. I hope to expand it a bit, but if I get a chicken coop I probably won’t. I’ve always grown things even when I lived in apartments. Nothing beats the taste of fresh-grown veggies. Everyone should know how to grow their own food. Seed is generally cheap, and you can collect them from the previous crop as well. As long as you keep the plot small the labor doesn’t become too arduous.

  15. geekgirl says:

    Hi Karen,

    My reading list so far:

    Books I have read (no order):
    I am Legend by Richard Matheson.
    Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. Global warming, pollution, violence, sci-fi drugs. From the point of view of a teenage black female.
    Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler. All of the above, plus religious intolerance and intentional communities.
    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Theocracy
    In His Image; Birth of An Age; Acts of God by James BeauSeigneur. A Revelations-type trilogy.
    Lights Out by David Crawford. Electro Magnet Pulse shuts own everything electrical (appliances, lights, cars, computers, etc). E-Book, I found on Frugal Squirrel.com
    Flash Forward by ??. Similar to the TV show, but more boring. Couldn’t finish the book.
    The Republic by Charles Sheehan-Miles. West Virginia tries to succeed.

    Watched:
    1984 – Read the book years ago.
    Lathe of Heaven -1980 version

    To Read:
    Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.
    Summer of the Apocalypse by James Van Pelt
    The Postman by David Brin
    A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller

    To watch:
    Jeremiah – Showtime
    Survivors – BBC
    Handmaid’s Tale

    This is my fiction list. I don’t have a non-fiction list and I’m all over the web.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Geekgirl,

      Thank you for sharing your list!

      I will have to get the Parable books.

      I have “Handmaid’s Tale” and “Lucifer’s Hammer” which are on my list to read this summer.

      I also just purchased the book Khadija references, “When Technolog Fails” along with “The Long Descent -John Michael Greer”.

      I have also recently purchased some gardening books:

      One Magic Square – Lolo Houbein
      Organic Gardening – Charles Dowding
      Smart Permaculture Design – Jenny Allen
      Winter Harvest Handbook – Eliot Coleman
      Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning – The Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante

      I hope that we who are aware of what is happening around us have time for the “Learning Curve”. To paraphrase the video, I would rather be many years too early than 5 minutes to late.

      • geekgrl says:

        One Magic Square sounds like it might be in line with The Square Foot Garden by Mel Bartholomew. I’ll have to check it out.

        The Backyard Homestead also has good info on canning, freezing, farming, raising animals, wine making, etc.

  16. Roslyn,

    You said, “Interestingly enough, there’s a major fight going on in the city council of the affluent north Atlanta suburb where I live. They’re fighting over changing the zoning laws to allow people to raise chickens. (In limited numbers w/o roosters.) Perhaps they know something we don’t. “

    Yep, perhaps they do. I always wondered about the zoning implications of folks having any chickens whatsoever. There have been some Chicago-area cases where people were fined for having chickens and goats on their property. I think this was all related to them sacrificing the animals during Santeria rituals, as opposed to food purposes.
    ____________________________________________________

    Geekgirl,

    Thanks for sharing! You mentioned:

    I am Legend by Richard Matheson.

    I vaguely remember reading this many years ago.

    Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. Global warming, pollution, violence, sci-fi drugs. From the point of view of a teenage black female.

    One of my favorite books. Turned me into an Octavia Butler fan (after never having heard of her before). She passed away shortly after I found out about her and her books. {sigh}

    Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler. All of the above, plus religious intolerance and intentional communities.

    Another one of my favorite books.

    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Theocracy

    Never got around to reading this, nor did I see the movie.

    In His Image; Birth of An Age; Acts of God by James BeauSeigneur. A Revelations-type trilogy.

    I never heard of this before. I’ll look into it.

    Lights Out by David Crawford. Electro Magnet Pulse shuts own everything electrical (appliances, lights, cars, computers, etc). E-Book, I found on Frugal Squirrel.com

    Hmmm…I never heard of this before. It sounds extremely similar to Last Light (Restoration Series #1) by Terri Blackstock. The same premise (emp pulse shuts down everything electrical and electronic) plus explicitly Christian main characters. The book did get a bit “preachy” in parts, but overall it was an interesting read.

    Flash Forward by ??. Similar to the TV show, but more boring. Couldn’t finish the book.

    Thanks for the warning. If it’s the same book by sci-fi author Robert J. Sawyer, I’ve greatly enjoyed several other of his books (Rollback, and The Neanderthal Parallax trilogy), but I can do without starting boring novels. LOL!

    The Republic by Charles Sheehan-Miles. West Virginia tries to succeed.

    I bought this, but never got around to reading it.

    Watched:
    1984 – Read the book years ago.
    Lathe of Heaven -1980 version

    Yeah, these 2 movies are very vague memories from many years ago.

    To Read:
    Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.
    Summer of the Apocalypse by James Van Pelt
    The Postman by David Brin
    A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller

    I remember that I enjoyed A Canticle for Leibowitz when I read it years ago. I’ve never heard of the other books, I’ll check them out.

    To watch:
    Jeremiah – Showtime
    Survivors – BBC
    Handmaid’s Tale

    I watched a few episodes of Jeremiah years ago; it was okay. Didn’t hold my interest long enough for me to become a regular viewer. I hadn’t heard of the BBC show Survivors, I’ll look into it.

    One non-fiction book that I found helpful was When Technology Fails: A Manual For Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving The Long Emergency.

    Expect Success!

  17. pioneervalleywoman says:

    Greetings!

    Great list for survivalists!

    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

    I saw the movie and got the book. I had a few of my women students read it.

    Scary, indeed, dystopia, of imagining the US turned into a fundamentalist theocracy by Evangelical Protestant Taliban-types running American society based upon Old Testament principles.

  18. I forgot to post this earlier. A salad table is an easy convenient way to grow garden greens without having to dig and weed. Because it’s up on legs you wont have to spend hours squatting or bent over a garden patch. It doesn’t take much room and it can work on a porch or deck. Check it out.

    http://www.marthastewart.com/article/salad-table

  19. PioneerValleyWoman,

    Greetings! Yep, that book does sound like a disturbing read.
    _________________________________________________

    Roslyn,

    Thanks for the info! I had never heard of a salad table before. That sounds like a great option!

    Expect Success!

  20. Nina says:

    Again, great topic, great sharing! I grew up in the country on land that was owned by my great-grandparents, and which was previously an orchard—peaches, pears, apples, berries…Growing, picking, cooking, all are in my blood. Almost all of the old folks are gone from there, but my father still gardens on the land and I am always inspired when I go back there. And I’m reminded of how blessed I am to know whole food, in this time when whole food before it was Whole Foods.

    I’ve moved around a lot but I always take that knowing with me. (I just came back from the market with my usual pick of collards *a magical green* and a bunch of mustards too.) I want to make the point that so many black women have this in us. I’m in a short study program at the moment, focusing on holistic nutrition, and I’m a bit mad at myself that I came all the way over here, out west, to pay people for a credential in something that I already know. Not to say that I haven’t learned anything, really, I have. But this experience has been a lesson to me, a life lesson, once again—So much of what I seek outside I already possess. Maybe it applies to others of you too? We pay for information/validation and find that it’s what grandma knew, lived by, and passed to us. (And this is a case of white Americans teaching the ways of Africans and various native peoples in that researcher way and I’m the “native peoples” sitting there.)

    So as for my moving ahead, I’m working on learning even more of the down-home ways, to document more, and to pass them on to those who are ready and who want to take into their own hands control over where their food comes from. From how to grow collards, to the addition of fat for better nutrient absorption, to companion gardening…I’ve been writing a book forever, but I’m even more pumped to make this experience a bigger part of it, to say out loud to black women that we have to recall and collect what’s in our own cupboards, way in the back behind the vinegar and the can of coconut milk, and dust it off and see how useful it is, before we go looking in someone else’s.

  21. Nina,

    Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it.

    You said, “I’ve moved around a lot but I always take that knowing with me. (I just came back from the market with my usual pick of collards *a magical green* and a bunch of mustards too.) I want to make the point that so many black women have this in us. I’m in a short study program at the moment, focusing on holistic nutrition, and I’m a bit mad at myself that I came all the way over here, out west, to pay people for a credential in something that I already know. Not to say that I haven’t learned anything, really, I have. But this experience has been a lesson to me, a life lesson, once again—So much of what I seek outside I already possess. Maybe it applies to others of you too? We pay for information/validation and find that it’s what grandma knew, lived by, and passed to us. (And this is a case of white Americans teaching the ways of Africans and various native peoples in that researcher way and I’m the “native peoples” sitting there.)”

    Indeed. I hope you write your book. I don’t like the fact that, for the most part, this information is not being discussed in AA circles. Part of that is a result of general mass AA apathy about everything except hip-hop videos. Another part is simply not realizing that this sort of knowledge was a large part of our traditional culture. I recently had an interesting conversation with an AA doctor. She mentioned that modern (White) interns are now being taught things that were part of traditional AA folk medicine. [Such as the use of drops of sweet oil to get the ear wax out of one’s ears.]

    I can’t speak to whole foods or other green topics because I know absolutely nothing about the great outdoors. However, I’ve been giving all of this a lot of thought lately. One of my best friends spent part of her childhood on a farm in Hoosierland-Klanville Indiana. Her father fought in WWII, had seen the hunger in European cities, and decided to move his family from Chicago to Hoosierland in the 1950s. Which simply wasn’t done in that era. They were the only AA family around in that area.

    Anyhoo, as a result of this, my friend knows how to do all sorts of “little house on the prairie,” farm-type things. These are extremely valuable skills to have as we enter the post-industrial era.

    I’ve also been giving a lot of thought to the points that John Michael Greer raises in his latest post, Merlin’s Time at The Archdruid Report. I strongly suggest that folks read the post and the comments. He’s been talking about various issues that I believe are extremely relevant to the situation that AA women find themselves in today.

    Among other things that he’s discussed, he’s gone back and forth debating with Transition Town participants and other green activists about mass movements. He has tried to tell these (sometimes shrill) activists that mass movement activism is NOT the only tool in the drawer to deal with various problems. He said,

    Perhaps the most interesting responses to the discussion of mass movements here on The Archdruid Report have been those that insisted that the only alternative, either to a mass movement in the abstract or to some specific movement, was defeat and despair. That’s an odd sort of logic, since mass movements are hardly the only tool in the drawer; I suspect that part of what drives the insistence is the herd-mindedness of our species – we are, after all, social mammals with most of the same inborn habits of collective behavior you’ll find in any of the less solitary vertebrates.

    Still, the pressure toward some such movement has another potent force driving it: the awkward fact that the vast majority of people today simply do not want to hear how difficult their future is going to be. It doesn’t matter how good your evidence is or how well you make your case, most of your listeners will simply look uncomfortable and change the subject.

    He has also warned folks about some of the negative dynamics attached to seeking recruits for mass movements. Movement organizers start off thinking that they’re bringing the masses around. What’s often actually happening is that organizers’ efforts to make their movement attractive to the masses is changing them. And not for the better.

    He’s said some things that I believe are directly on point in terms of the Sojourners and the mostly brainwashed masses of AA women. So often, AA women have the knee-jerk responses of “put on my marching shoes” and “save alla my peoples” activities. We have these knee-jerk responses as if these are the only available and effective responses to all problems.

    In the comments section to the Merlin post, Mr. Greer said the following to various readers,

    …The crisis of industrial society is what EF Schumacher called a divergent problem — one that doesn’t have a single solution — and we need dissensus, not consensus, if we’re to come up with adequate responses to it.

    …Glenn, you can’t instill a sense of urgency in those who don’t want to feel it. All you can do is make your own preparations, learn the skills, and be ready to teach a lot of very shaken and panicky people when the time comes.

    …Edde, neither community nor organizing are what I’m trying to discuss here. We need to talk a bit about what the individual can do when his or her community is eagerly headed the other way en masse.

    …Skintnick, don’t try to engage your neighbors. They’ll make their own choices whatever you do. Instead, walk your own path; your neighbors, when they’re ready, will lean over the fence one day and say, “So how the heck do you get your garden to come out so well with no sprays or anything?” Then you tell them.

    (emphasis added)

    I’m still pondering his last few posts. There’s a lot to consider there. I’m also looking forward to his upcoming posts that will apparently discuss various hands-on things that people can do.

    Expect Success!

    • Nina says:

      Thanks for pointing me to the Archdruid Report Khadija. I have now bookmarked it so I’m always abreast.

      And true we have no time for the work of gathering the troops. I have never been one for clubs or committees and trying to get people to think and do along with me. We do what we know to do/what we must do, for ourselves, and if others care to take notice and want to learn then we can point them, or maybe join hands. I can’t magically make someone ready. I’m a believer in “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.”

  22. Neecy says:

    Khadija,

    once again another great thread.

    Thanks for posting excerpts from Mr. Greer. I will definitely be visiting that site. I do think we have a tendency as AA women (especially) to feel we do need to pull the masses together for action. I am looking at the division happening now with the Sojourners (if you will) and the race loyal BM only AA women today. Some progressive BW feel we need to keep beating into the heads of the masses of AA women that they are doomed if they don’t wake up. Many feel we need to keep trying to save them. At some point, we have to just stop targeting them and start developing within the progressive Black female community. As things continue to get worse for collective AA brainwashed women, if we as progressive BW don’t start organizing and creating our own organizations/communities and networks within, we will also not be prepared.

    I think there is enough information for any BW with half a brain to either take heed to it or sit and pretend it isn’t there. Like the comment you posted of Mr. Greer’s response to a poster:

    “Skintnick, don’t try to engage your neighbors. They’ll make their own choices whatever you do. Instead, walk your own path; your neighbors, when they’re ready, will lean over the fence one day and say, “So how the heck do you get your garden to come out so well with no sprays or anything?” Then you tell them.”

    If the masses of AA women want to eventually do something about their situations then THEY should have to be the ones to seek out the info. when they are ready.
    Frankly, what I am seeing is EXACTLY what you and Mr. Greer pointed out. Many people simply don’t want to hear the truth. they don’t want to take action. they want to sit and wait and hope. Thank God our ancestors didn’t develop this kind of mentality or else I am not sure if we AA’s would be at this point today.

    Anyways, I have always felt that even the smallest group/community/organization can be powerful. What good is having a large masses of collective AA who are brain dead vs. a few good AA women who get it? Its like the movie 300. They only needed the best 300 to complete the task. When the army of townsmen came (and they were more in body than the 300) and told Lionides (sp?) they were there to help them fight b/c they felt they needed more people. But they didn’t need all of the townsmen to help. None of them were trained or prepared to fight like the 300. They had the best most trained 300 and that is all one needs.

    While this may be a bad comparison or way to look at it, I look at the Jewish population in this country. I say its a somewhat bad comparison b/c many American Jews are considered White. BUT if you look at the group as a religion and the power they hold in this country while only being like 1-2% of the American population, I think that is a great example of a small number/group of people who are likeminded and share common values, goals etc., can be very powerful. They support and network and are constantly teaching each other how to be a powerful force in everything.

    I think Progressive BW like yourself and the rest of us, can certainly take a page out of the Jewish handbook on how to be a powerful force anywhere even when you are a tiny minority.

  23. Neecy,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.

    You said, “I do think we have a tendency as AA women (especially) to feel we do need to pull the masses together for action.”

    This mode of action is a legacy of our cultural programming as AAs. I don’t believe that the “save alla our peoples” programming is inherently bad or dysfunctional. It served a very important purpose right after slavery and throughout the Jim Crow era. If during those earlier eras, AAs had done to totally individualistic “do my own thang”-splintering that AA men have been doing since segregation was lifted, almost NONE of our ancestors would have survived to this point. A group tendency toward collective action saved our people’s lives during earlier eras.

    The problem is that this “save alla our peoples” programming has become obsolete over the past 45-50 years. The “peoples” that AA women are focused on saving (mostly AA men, but this also applies to the masses of AA women) NEVER reciprocate the energy that we spent on saving, supporting and promoting them. So, it’s usually a losing investment all around for AA women to focus on saving AA except themselves.

    At this point any AA woman who wants to survive and thrive (i.e., the Sojourners, or as you’ve said “progressive BW”) needs to zero in on only those people who are RECIPROCATING her input and support.

    So, I agree with you when you said, “I am looking at the division happening now with the Sojourners (if you will) and the race loyal BM only AA women today. Some progressive BW feel we need to keep beating into the heads of the masses of AA women that they are doomed if they don’t wake up. Many feel we need to keep trying to save them. At some point, we have to just stop targeting them and start developing within the progressive Black female community. As things continue to get worse for collective AA brainwashed women, if we as progressive BW don’t start organizing and creating our own organizations/communities and networks within, we will also not be prepared.”

    I’m willing to briefly engage those AA women who are new to the BWE message. I’m not trying to pull the lifeboat’s ladder up and away from anybody who’s serious about boarding the lifeboat. However, I’m not going to chase after AA women who don’t want to get it. At this blog, I’m targeting the AA women who already get it and are able and willing to move forward.

    You said, “Anyways, I have always felt that even the smallest group/community/organization can be powerful. What good is having a large masses of collective AA who are brain dead vs. a few good AA women who get it?”

    ITA. A small organized few has always been able to outperform (and dominate) the disorganized masses. Quality is MUCH more important than having large quantities of brain-dead people.

    The Jews, the 300 Spartans, the small numbers of Whites who continue to dominate the economies of South Africa and Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia), and the Chinese merchants who are taking over the businesses in sub-Saharan African countries are very good examples of this principle. Don’t get distracted by the various ethics and politics involved in these situations. For learning purposes, the point is to focus on the CONTROL that these various minority groups are able to excercise over much larger numbers of people around them.

    And in terms of Jewish-Americans, yes they’re “officially White.” [And will therefore always win the public relations contest against Arabs in terms of their fellow White Americans. This was the dynamic even before 9/11. Which is something that many “I think I’m White” Arab-Americans that I’ve met choose not to understand. But, hey, that’s they’re problem, not mine.]

    However, the reality is also that in the urban North, there’s often NO love lost between Jewish-Americans and other White European-descended ethnics. Unlike the impression I get of Christian-Zionist White Southern Baptists in the South, ethnic Whites don’t appear to have a knee-jerk reaction of automatically cheerleading Jewish people. In fact, I’ve observed an undercurrent of resentment about Jewish-Americans from other types of ethnic Whites.

    Now, when confronted by non-White competitors, then they’ll tend to rally around their shared Whiteness with Jewish-Americans. But left to their own devices in situations where there aren’t any or significant numbers of non-Whites directly involved in whatever the conflict might be, there’s often NO affection for Jews from these other White ethnics.

    Let me give an example of what I mean. When I was in law school, I observed how the White students would tend to come together in opposition to anything that looked like it would benefit non-Whites (such as affirmative action). But when there were similar competition issues that didn’t directly involve non-Whites, then they weren’t exactly trying to sing “Kumbaya” with the Jewish students.

    Such as when the White students noticed how the White firms with Jewish partners tended to only interview Jewish students. They were p*ssed off, quite vocal about it, and tried to get some of these White firms blackballed from interviewing at my law school. [Which didn’t work because the Dean, and several other high-ranking Associate Deans and professors at that historically Irish Catholic law school were Jewish!]

    You said, “I think Progressive BW like yourself and the rest of us, can certainly take a page out of the Jewish handbook on how to be a powerful force anywhere even when you are a tiny minority.”

    ITA!

    Expect Success!

  24. Karen says:

    Dear Khadija,

    I have been a reader of the Archdruid for a while now and will be definitely taking note of his upcoming series of posts (and printing out those that I can utilize for ongoing reference).

    ———–
    @Neecy,

    I tend to be more pragmatic (i.e. cynical), given the state of AA BW, I think our energies will be better served to continue to move forward individually versus organizing (even small groups).

    This site will give those who want to move on a guide on how to do that but given what is happening in the world (i.e. as discussed by Mr. Greer at the Archdruid), our energies, in my opinion, will be better served by preparing for the post-industrial age and incorporating the learnings from the Sojourner’s Passport, Archdruid, and others to be able to not only survive but to thrive.

    It is just my opinion, but too often with any level of organizing (regardless how small), the 80/20 rule falls into effect, 20% carrying the 80%. Of course, if the group is a well-oiled functioning entity, the 80/20 rule does not apply, but that is rarely the case.

    I may be looking at this from a very “jaundiced” eye, so take what could be of value and toss the rest *smile*.

  25. Magenta says:

    Wow.

    Thanks so much for providing the reading materials and links to various blogs. I love dystopian novels, I have to check out some of these books.

    The thing I love about this site is that it is not stuck in “what is we gonna do” mode, lol. It is very solution focused here, and I appreciate that. I think we have been singing We Shall Overcome so long we have lost sight of the individual steps we can make to improve our condition.

    I agree that we shouldn’t spend time trying to convert nonbelievers. I think living well is the best “testimony” we can give.

  26. Dear Karen,

    You said, “I have been a reader of the Archdruid for a while now and will be definitely taking note of his upcoming series of posts (and printing out those that I can utilize for ongoing reference).”

    Me too!
    ________________________________________________

    Magenta,

    You’re welcome! You said, “The thing I love about this site is that it is not stuck in “what is we gonna do” mode, lol. It is very solution focused here, and I appreciate that.”

    Thank you for your kind words about the blog; I truly appreciate it. Guuurl, there’s NO time left for that “what is we gonna do” whining.

    You said, “I agree that we shouldn’t spend time trying to convert nonbelievers. I think living well is the best “testimony” we can give.”

    Yes, indeed!

    Expect Success!

  27. Miss V,

    While our (mis)leadership and thought leader class continues to slumber . . . the sorts of jobs that AAs depend most heavily on (government jobs) are disappearing left and right!

    AAs traditionally depended on government jobs because the private sector was closed to us (due to racism, AND due to our mass abandonment of the AA-owned businesses that we did have).

    A coworker recently told me a very disturbing tale about how the U.S. Post Office is also slashing jobs (another place that AAs depended on for “good jobs” to lift us into the middle class). Her brother’s Chicago-area bulk mail facility is shutting down. He and other employees have been told to forget about hoping for there to be any openings available in Illinois. He’s been offered the opportunity to work in a Post Office in Oklahoma or Pennsylvania. He needs to hang onto a Post Office job for 2 more years in order to get a pension . . . He and his wife have teenage children about to go to college, and a house here . . .

    The employees with less seniority haven’t been offered anything. They’ll just be cut by the end of the summer.

    It seems clear to me that future increases in the price of stamps will NEVER make up for the U.S. Post Office’s steady loss of business. Much of this is technology-based—people have been shifting to email and online ordering that is delivered by private companies like Fed Ex.

    Now is the time to create additional income streams, and to start growing some of one’s own food (if at all possible).

    Expect Success!

    • Karen says:

      To me this is a perfect case of being “caught sleeping”. Private sector jobs were never “secure”, however with that knowledge, it forces many to keep their skills up-to-date and to always be looking for the next opportunity.

      The situation with state and local governments did not suddenly happen. There has been an ongoing low-level crisis for the last 10 years at least.

      Given the “typical” structure of a government job, it is unfortunate that all too many did not use the available time to develop other sources of income and learn new skills.

      This is just the first wave; I predict many more waves of government job losses to come.

      To the younger readers,

      A word of advice: always try to ensure that you and your partner/spouse do not work for the same company and preferably in different industries. I have witnessed more than a few couples that worked for the same company, in the same industry or the same government sector and both be laid off at the same time.

      The old adage to not put all your eggs in one basket has never been more true than now.

  28. Karen,

    You said, “To me this is a perfect case of being “caught sleeping”. Private sector jobs were never “secure”, however with that knowledge, it forces many to keep their skills up-to-date and to always be looking for the next opportunity.”

    True. But I’m not going to beat up on the people too hard (I’m not saying that you are) because the (non-Black) private sector really was closed to AAs for a very long time. And since we abandoned 99% of Black-owned businesses (anything that wasn’t a barber shop/hair salon), we had nothing of our own to provide employment for our people.

    The other reason why I won’t beat up on the unprepared AA government employees is the factor of simply not knowing any better. Most people never question the behaviors and circumstances that prevail around them. It takes an unusual person to think “I better develop other income streams” while occupying what has been perceived—for generations—as a “good (and secure) government job.”

    This cultural programming runs deep. It’s the main reason why I would get regular pushback from readers at the previous blog whenever I got on my “Y’all need to start developing additional income streams” soapbox. Readers would regularly write in to say that “everybody ‘can’t’ be an entrepreneur…everybody ‘can’t’ start a business . . .” and so on.

    There’s really NO concept among most AAs of doing anything other than seeking a “good job.” However, things are at the point that folks will either adapt and learn new behaviors or perish. The end.

    You said, “This is just the first wave; I predict many more waves of government job losses to come.”

    I agree.

    You said, “A word of advice: always try to ensure that you and your partner/spouse do not work for the same company and preferably in different industries. I have witnessed more than a few couples that worked for the same company, in the same industry or the same government sector and both be laid off at the same time.”

    Unfortunately, I’ve seen this happen too. {shudder}

    You said, “The old adage to not put all your eggs in one basket has never been more true than now.”

    ITA!

    Expect Success!

    • Karen says:

      True. But I’m not going to beat up on the people too hard (I’m not saying that you are) because the (non-Black) private sector really was closed to AAs for a very long time. And since we abandoned 99% of Black-owned businesses (anything that wasn’t a barber shop/hair salon), we had nothing of our own to provide employment for our people.

      I agree that this applies to those that started their careers with the public sector prior to the early 80s. Starting from the mid-80’s onward (or the last 25 years), this has not been the case with regards to the private sector being closed off. I am not saying it was or is a cake-walk but the door was open (even if only a sliver in many cases).

      What is a reality is that many of us missed being a major player in the technological waves of IT, Bio-med and others. Whether that is right or wrong could be debated but the result is not being a part of creating new businesses/industries.

      You are correct that cultural programming runs deep (sigh).

      Also in the same time period of the last 25 years, if we use the postal service as an example, there has been a steady decline in the use of this service as you stated. For those who started before the decline, I would also try to do everything to try to get to retirement but for those that actively sought these jobs without recognizing where it could lead is to your point evidence of cultural programming.

      I am not beating up anyone, I just wish we as a people had more awareness of what is happening around us instead of being so caught up in the likes Messence, BET and the legions of non-value adding minstrel folks…

      They all represent diversions (Bread and Circus) from what we should be focusing on, namely to survive/thrive in the post-industrial age.

  29. Karen,

    You said, “What is a reality is that many of us missed being a major player in the technological waves of IT, Bio-med and others. Whether that is right or wrong could be debated but the result is not being a part of creating new businesses/industries.”

    Yes, it’s incredible just how irrelevant to the future most of us have made ourselves. As you noted, most AAs have been much too “caught up in the likes Messence, BET and the legions of non-value adding minstrel folks…” The price tag for that collective decision is coming due. AAs are obsolete and are forming a permanent underclass in the US.

    You said, “They all represent diversions (Bread and Circus) from what we should be focusing on, namely to survive/thrive in the post-industrial age.”

    ITA!

    Expect Success!

  30. I forgot to mention this and I could well be taking coals to Newcastle, but one of my favorite sites is http://www.paperbackswap.com. Essentially it’s an online used bookstore. You enter the books you want to get rid of and trade them for books you want to read. Your only cost is postage to send the books out, they even make it easy to print a label. I read a lot and this has been invaluable. Sorry if folks already know about it.

  31. Oh, I also forgot to mention that there are tons of Sunset and Southern Living books about gardening and things like canning food and other housekeeping issues. Martha Stewart is also a good resource. A lot of these books can be found on the book swap sites. Also don’t forget your local cooperative extensive service. They are an invaluable resource for that type of information and they can certainly tell you what plants grow best in your area and what type of soil you have.

    I use a lot of aromatherapy for medicinal purposes and other old-fashioned remedies. I see myself as my family’s first doctor so I’m always looking into herbs and other natural healing methods. My family was very poor, so I grew up using things like peach tree bark for an upset stomach, (Very effective, but bitter as all get out.) and willow bark for body aches and flu. My grandmother put honey on cuts and they healed without scars. Honey is a natural antiseptic with anti-viral properties as well. I keep a big bottle of lavender essential oil in my kitchen. Nothing on earth is better for burns. If you want to learn more about aromatherapy (It does far more than make things smell good!), check out this book:
    http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Book-Essential-Oils-Aromatherapy/dp/0931432820/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278734680&sr=1-1

    Also, I believe that Roe v. Wade will be overturned in my lifetime. Let’s just say that I’m ready to help women deal with that eventuality as well.

  32. Roslyn,

    Thanks so much for the information! Please always feel free to mention resources. I didn’t know about any of the things you mentioned. Also, there are always new people joining the audience who also haven’t heard about whatever resources are being mentioned.

    I’m especially pleased to learn about the paperbackswap website; I also read a lot.

    Expect Success!

  33. Karen says:

    For those interested in learning what they can do towards conservation including making their homes/apartments more energy efficient, here is a link to a “Master Conserver Document” that is referenced by Mr. Greer at Archdruid:

    http://www.culturalconservers.org/library/masterconserver.pdf

    or here:

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5772279/masterconserver.pdf

    Another commenter there posted a link to “Do-It Yourself” resources:

    http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2009/10/how-to-make-everything-yourself-online-lowtech-resources.html