Friday, January 27, 2017

TINA is the Enemy

Those who read this blog regularly are probably pretty surprised that I said anyone was the enemy and, if you just started reading this, you are probably wondering: “Who’s Tina?”

To start off with, TINA isn’t a person.  TINA is an expression, an acronym, popularized by Margaret Thatcher.  It stands for There Is No Alternative.  This is the lie that is used to keep oppressive systems in place.  “Yes, it isn’t great but what can you do?  There isn’t any alternative.”  As long as people believe that, corporate capitalism can prevent people from rebelling and, more importantly, from seeing that something quite different would be a lot better.

Its opposite is the phrase, “Another World is Possible” (the motto of the World Social Forum).  Or as Arundhati Roy said, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

Part of why I’m not posting on here as much these days is because I manage another blog called Commune Life.  Folks who’ve been following my blog know that I regard communities, especially income-sharing communities, as laboratories for social change.  One of my points on the Commune Life blog is to point out all the different communes that are out there.  There are many alternatives to the mainstream way of living.

And, of all things, Atlantic magazine (which I think of as a mainstream, high class publication) seems to be getting this--and sharing it with their readers.  First, last fall, they published a piece on one of the newest communes, Compersia.  (I’m especially proud of this because it came out of the Point A project which is working to form new communes in urban areas, starting with Washington, DC, and New York City.  Compersia came out of the DC group.  I’m living in NYC these days working with Point A to build a new commune there--so Compersia is sort of a sister project.)  Now, they have published a piece that totally gets it.    They called it: “Seeking an Escape From Trump’s America:  Why some people are withdrawing from mainstream society into ‘intentional communities’—and what the rest of the country can learn from them” and it features two Virginia communes that are often on the Commune Life blog:  Living Energy Farm and Cambia.  

But communal living isn’t the only alternative.  I strongly recommend an article just published on the GEO website that points out many of the alternatives.  I love the part of the title that just says “We Have Choices”.  Now, truly more than ever, we need to know that there are alternatives and we do have choices.

In my last post, Now What???,  I talked about there being three parts to social change.  The first is resistance, struggle, holding actions, what’s sometimes called ‘agitation’.  The second part is building alternatives--communes, co-operative businesses, permaculture projects, Transition Initiatives, and many more.  And the third part is education--changing people’s consciousness.  I see the Commune Life blog as part of that.   All these alternatives don’t do that much if no one is aware of them.  Even this post (pointing out that there are indeed alternatives) is a piece of this work.  In my next post I will talk about another education strategy that I’ve been thinking about for a while.

Quote of the Day:  “Let's bring our most resourceful selves to these first, pivotal 100 days...​”  - Pamela Boyce Simms and Dan Miner

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