What a revolution is.

“Revolution doesn’t have to do with smashing something; it has to do with bringing something forth. If you spend all your time thinking about that which you are attacking, then you are negatively bound to it. You have to find the zeal in yourself and bring that out.

Joseph Campbell, “Pathways to Bliss”
(Copyright © 2004 Joseph Campbell Foundation), p. 104


Militarization Perpetuates Poverty in Remote Indigenous Communities

Bangibang said all these gains became possible because of the people’s revolutionary efforts which strengthened tribal unity and consolidation, within the framework of the long and arduous struggle for self-determination and national liberation.

“The problem is, militarization is trying to destroy these gains,” Bangibang said.

The successful villages were targeted by soldiers, who put up military detachments. Leaders were then summoned and threatened to stop their activities. The rice cooperatives were branded as “NPA food suppliers,” and its members were harassed and forced to “clear their names.” They were told to surrender to the military and join the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu).

“Sariling kayod ng mamamayan, naabot nila dahil sa unity, tapos sisirain,” Bangibang lamented.

In both Oplan Bantay Laya and Oplan Bayanihan – the counterinsurgency programs of the Arroyo and Aquino regimes, respectively – indigenous peoples (IP) were targeted as part of the “IP-centric approach.” Bangibang said the military views them as a natural base of strength of revolutionaries, not only because of their mountain homes, but mainly because of their inherent collective spirit.

But even as the revolutionary influence enhanced this unity and even helped remove negative aspects such as tribal wars, the military targeted indigenous people for recruitment as soldiers or paramilitary to sow conflict and break the community, he said.

Source: Agrarian revolution in Cordillera – Bulatlat

The Commons as a Living Process: David Bollier on Transforming Our System 

In his recent paper, Commoning as a Transformative Social Paradigm, author, activist and commons scholar David Bollier argues that the commons, which he describes as “at once a paradigm, a discourse, an ethic, and a set of social practices,” holds great promise in transcending the conundrum of imagining and building a “radically different system while living within the constraints of an incumbent system that aggressively resists transformational change.”

Source: The Commons as a Living Process: David Bollier on Transforming Our System – Shareable

Forgiveness is settling debts; reconciliation is troubling boundaries.

I therefore propose a series of different challenges and questions to you, my white friends – those of you who are already troubled by the politics of city and are moving towards the borderlands. Those of you who feel like you’ve had your feet planted in mid-air, and long to rest in sanctuaries of belonging. Those of you who ask me when we meet: “How do I become indigenous?”

You are already indigenous: There is no need to ‘become’ indigenous. This is the narrative of gaps and distances all over again. It has become popular to think of ourselves as separate from nature. We tell stories about a stylized period in time when we were fundamentally delinked from natural temporalities, from the way the world ‘truly’ is. As such, the ethical imperative of our times – you say – is to re-join nature and, in so doing, become indigenous again. But this narrative suggests that this really happened – and that you really are separate from the world and must return to it. Well, what if you never left? What if your bridges and rockets and buildings and roads and technology and GMOs are just another iteration of nature – albeit one which many now find troublesome? What if you are just as embedded in, and dependent on, land, water and air (even though your particular enactment of indigeneity is about exteriorizing that dependence)? What changes when the anxiety of ‘arriving home’ or ‘becoming indigenous’ is replaced with a studious slowness and a curiosity about where you are?

Interrogate your whiteness: We are not ‘born’, we are ‘made’ and produced and fashioned by material practices, scientific discourses, economic constraints, and political frameworks. Whiteness is also made – first summoned into being by the American industry of slavery. It is often argued that slavery had no respect for colour at first. There were white and black slaves, comrades working in horrible circumstances, under the watchful eye of the prophets of profit. Whiteness became the administrative ruse to appoint mid-level managers over now ‘black’ slaves. The scientific world also became complicit in reinforcing this regime of treachery – by publishing research that showed that black people were three-fifths of proper men. In short, an ethico-politico-scientific apparatus produced whiteness, sustained it on the promises of scarce privilege, and cut you off from the abundance of the world around you. The soul of whiteness is the colours it excludes from mattering, the colours and voices that now haunt you from liminal places.

Saying sorry is not enough: Reconciliation today is often framed in terms of ornate performances of contriteness. Australia even has a National Sorry Day to commemorate and reflect on the mistreatment of indigenous peoples in that country. While this is no doubt important and powerful, seeking forgiveness is just a first step. Saying sorry is more likely to reinvest ‘white power’ with the sort of moral nobility a philanthropist acquires for spreading his wealth. A deeper sort of accountability is needed – one that brings us to the edges of ourselves. One that helps us notice that we are a palimpsest of colours, and that who or what we are is always in the making. Forgiveness is settling debts; reconciliation is troubling boundaries.

Listen: Notice the sacredness of where you are. The mysteriousness of where you are. This is a different notion of indigeneity altogether – not a provincialism, nativism or exoticism that objectifies identity, but a living breathing vocation of noticing the enchantment that is around us, in us, with us, wherever we are.

Source: Dear White People » Bayo Akomolafe

Charles Eisenstein: From Nonviolence to Service 

From Nonviolence to ServiceLeadership in Miki Kashtan’s Reweaving our Human FabricI have never been comfortable with leadership. Nonetheless, there I was leading a five-day retreat with twenty-something seasoned leaders, activists, counselors, and other people more qualified than I was to lead it. On day four it cracked. Diverse expressions of a seething dissatisfaction rose to the surface – a cacophony of unmet needs.

Many of them seemed contradictory: some wanted more embodiment; others more deep intellectual discussion or more on practical applications. Some requested more structure and leadership from me; others wanted less from me and more from other people. One person said that she felt to even impose a structure upon a group, and take it upon myself to administer that structure, was an inherently violent expression of patriarchy. Another was in anguish that as we sat in that room, rainforests were being cut down – and what are we doing about it?

I won’t pretend that I masterfully held space for all the conflict to arise, for the hidden to become visible, for the group to pass through that inevitable stage that precedes real intimacy. The best I can say is that listened to everyone without getting defensive, and tried on each criticism like a piece of clothing. But I had no idea what to say, who was right, or what to do next.

Notwithstanding my having no idea what to do, something larger than any of us held us all in its hands. After the storm passed, we entered an activity that took on a transformative power I’d never seen it have before. I felt like the servant of that activity, not its leader, even as I “led” it. Afterward, the conflicts that had come up before it felt resolved, even though none had been met directly.Significantly, that activity never would have happened at all were it not for a stroke of extraordinary luck, that contributed to my feeling of being held by something larger than our separate selves. At a key moment, a woman who had been mostly silent said, “I see a lot of egos flying around the room. I came here to spend time with Charles and I trust him to offer what is right.” She spoke with a simple humility that totally shifted the energy of the room. This woman had actually walked out, intending to go home, but by chance encountered one of the organizers who at that exact moment was cut off from an urgent phone call and was thus able to encourage her to return and share her opinion.

I recount this story because it illuminates and personalizes some of the themes of Miki Kashtan’s upcoming book, Reweaving our Human Fabric, which I’d been asked to review. One of these themes is the issue of power and how it is mediated through organizational structures. Kashtan, who is a prominent figure in the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) movement founded by Marshall Rosenberg, questions certain values that have had long vogue in the nonviolent world: non-hierarchy, leaderlessness, egalitarianism, and radical inclusivity. In a provocative chapter entitled “Myths of Power-with,” she describes the frustration of activist groups that devolve into endless meetings devoted to “process,” attending to the needs of everyone in the group, but getting very little accomplished. The group or movement is very fair, inclusive, and egalitarian, but fails to achieve any concrete external goals. Is there a way to replicate the efficiency and effectiveness of, say, business organizations (or for that matter, the hierarchical, leader-driven movements of Gandhi and MLK), without replicating the abuses that seem inherent in that mode of organization?

The deficiencies of the leaderless, structureless ideal became apparent a long time ago in the feminist movement which, drawing on earlier roots in left political theory, explored various alternatives to the “patriarchal” norm. The results were often disappointing. As Jo Freeman described so precisely in her classic essay, “The Tyranny of Structurelessness,” what masquerades as egalitarian collaboration often hides informal power dynamics that are all the more oppressive for being hidden. This became quickly apparent in the breakdown phase of that day at my retreat, when, at the moment that the leader was toppled, it was the loudest and most manipulative personalities that quickly began to take charge. No agreed upon power structure was in place, yet the quiet people felt no more empowered – perhaps even less so – than they had before.”

Source: From Nonviolence to Service | Charles Eisenstein

Food as a Commons – P2P Foundation

In order to provide a sound foundation for the transition towards sustainable food systems, the very nature of food as a pure private good is contested and subsequently reversed in this paper, proposing a re-conceptualisation of food as a common good, a necessary narrative for the redesign of the dominating agro-industrial food system that merely sees food as a tradable commodity. This aspirational transition shall lead us to a more sustainable, fairer and farmer-centred food system. The idea of the commons is applied to food, deconstructing food as a pure private good and reconstructing it as an impure commons that can be better produced and distributed by a hybrid tri-centric governance system compounded by market rules, public regulations and collective actions.

He proposes or revives such ideas as “social charters” and “food trusts” adopted by local communities or associations. Such “decentralized, self-governing systems of food production” would provide fairer access, higher efficiency and greater concern for externalities in food production, than the market would provide. The “re-commonification of food shall take several generations,” predicts Vivero Pol, so he offers a number of transition strategies for the commons, government and market sectors.

It’s refreshing to read such imaginative yet rigorous scholarship about food as a commons and how the concept might be practically advanced. Policymakers, politicians and commoners would all benefit from exploring the concepts that Vivero Pol proposes.”

Source: Food as a Commons – P2P Foundation

The Food Commons » Summary

The Food Commons model will:

  • Make healthy and sustainably produced food accessible and perhaps more affordable to all.
  • Enable food enterprises within and across foodsheds to efficiently produce and exchange goods and services that meet high common standards.
  • Capture benefits of scale in infrastructure, asset management, financing, information systems, marketing, and learning, while preserving local identity, ownership, control, diversification and accountability.
  • Transparently and seek to equitably distribute common benefits along the value chain from farmers, ranchers, and fishers to distributors, processors, retailers, workers, consumers, and communities.
  • Harness underutilized foodshed assets and protect and steward those assets for current and future generations.
  • Foster and celebrate regional foodshed identities that generate widespread consumer awareness, participation and buy-in.
  • Create a wealth of new small businesses and jobs and build a skilled and respected 21st-century food system workforce.
  • The Food Commons has designed a model that will connect local and regional food system enterprises in a cooperative national federation that enhances their profitability and sustainability while creating and supporting a robust system of local community financing, ownership, management and accountability.

The Food Commons model has three integral components:

  1. The Food Commons Trust, a non-profit, quasi-public entity to acquire and steward critical foodshed assets
  2. The Food Commons Financing Arm, a community-owned financial institution that provides capital and financial services to foodshed enterprises
  3. The Food Commons Hub, a locally-owned, cooperatively integrated business enterprise that builds and manages foodshed-based physical infrastructure and facilitates the complex logistics of aggregation and distribution at different scales among all the moving parts of the system, and provides scale economies, business services, technical assistance and training to new small food businesses.

The Food Commons model is a new economic paradigm and whole system approach for regional food.In order to move the Food Commons model from vision to reality the Food Commons nonprofit is pursuing the following near-term objectives to advance development of the Food Commons concept:

  1. Develop the Food Commons Financing, Hub and Trust models.
  2. Identify partners and resources for a Food Commons prototype project, which will be developed through separate entities.

Source: The Food Commons » Summary

Philippine Textile Research Institute’s Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles

Source: PhilStar.com

Against a backdrop of a fast-changing globalized world, the challenge is: how do we promote, preserve and sustain the many weaving methods deeply rooted in the Filipino culture? How do we support talented weavers, our culture-bearers, and encourage them to continue weaving and to pass on their expertise and art to the next generation?

During my first term in the Senate, I authored the Tropical Fabrics Law, a measure that intends to promote our natural fabrics through the use of such materials for the official uniforms of government officials and employees, and in the process, support the local fiber industry.

The strengthening of the tropical fabrics industry is attuned to our advocacy of promoting sustainable development and preserving our rich heritage. It will also provide jobs needed in the countryside.

In the National Museum, we have established the first permanent textile gallery in the country, the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino gallery where we also hold the Lecture Series on Philippine Traditional Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge.

We have also provided support for our Schools of Living Traditions and weaving communities. But what our weaving communities, local textile producers and related industries greatly need are our sustained efforts through long-term government programs.

via Launch of Philippine Textile Research Institute’s Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles – Loren Legarda.

Community-Supported Economy: A cultural transition

If we are to transition to an economic system that is both equitable and sustainable, one that reflects unique regional cultures, cares for the well-being of its workers, and fosters stewardship of the fragile ecosystem, we will need an economic system that values independent businesses with deep roots in their local communities. The result would be an economy that encourages more labor-intensive, small-batch production transported over short distances, creating more jobs but not more ‘stuff,’ with a smaller carbon footprint than that of a global economy with centralized production systems.

To achieve this economic transition, we will also need a cultural transition.

Source: Community-Supported Economy | Kosmos Journal