A Communities Guide To Surviving Capitalism…

Posted on 2/9/2017 by

In order to obtain a more free and just society it is such that the people must maintain the power, not the few.

In order to live freely and justly it must be that the people govern themselves, not the few.

In order to reach these goals it is necessary for the people to take responsibility and control of their daily lives, not the few.

This is a guide to how small towns, cities and regions might be able to wrestle control from the few without bloodshed and or any major catastrophe or protest.

The working model of this evolution of society is taking place currently in Beacon, NY, a small city of 16,000 citizens on the Hudson River. Utilizing simple tools this city is evolving into a more connected local community that is able to support itself. This model is primarily based upon the use of Facebook as a platform to connect citizens, but this model can be adopted to any platform as it is not about the platform of operation but rather the methods of use that matter.

The creation of hyper-local community groups that have specific and distinct vertical functions, and only allow local residents with real identity to participate, is the primary characteristic of the method for which I believe we can begin to decentralize and relocalize our world.

The Beacon Experiment started in April of 2015 with a group based upon hyper-local buy, sell, trade and barter. This group was started by a local for a local. The importance of this being that due to proximity I was able to add many people who resided in close proximity. This digital equivalent to a local marketplace empowered people to utilize their personal goods to become local merchants with a very low barrier to entry. Additionally, the hyper-locality and use of real identity created an unspoken importance on behavior.

No matter where in the world we go we find that despite language, religions, race, culture and creeds, commerce has the ability to bring people together and align their goals. Commerce conducted by local people who must share proximity encourages both parties to conduct themselves in a kinder and more personal manner. Because commerce is an easy introduction to strangers interacting it makes for a simple way for strangers and neighbors to become acquainted and more likely to be kind.

Simply put, when both parties have something the other wants and forced to have a real identity interaction, they are forced to align their goals and behaviors to create a more favorable outcome. I like to call this alignment game theory hacking. The purposeful manipulation of a situation so as to encourage a specific outcome, in this instance it being a kinder and more altruistic citizen.

It cannot be stated enough that these groups must be hyper-local in nature and also that the users must be in some manner or method a real person. It was observed that when individuals were not local and or not real they behaved without emotion or remorse and would also be more likely to have predatory behaviors. In my view of it,  this is in large part due to anonymity. While it is important to give the individual a right to be private, there is a need to being public and not anonymous when conducting commerce as in the old days of marketplaces, the person known and dealt with daily is less likely to conduct crimes as there is an accountability to dealing with and seeing people on a day to day basis.

Extending out of the buy, sell, trade/barter groups are other groups that address the needs of a community specifically. The idea is that these groups are still based on hyper-locality and real identity but are verticalized to specific needs and functions. These groups include:

Buy, Sell, Trade, Barter: Encouraging local commerce and lowering consumption.
Jobs Listing & Services Offered: Creating and encouraging jobs and work within the community.
Services Bartering: Unlocking skilled trades as their own form of currency
Food Exchange: Unlocking food as currency, encouraging less waste and helping others eat.
Housing: Helping people find homes, locally.
Local Legislation: Encouraging community civic participation and direct involvement in legislation.
Community Board: Creating a digital community conversation to encourage debate and forum.
Tool Exchange: Encouraging communities to share resources, lessening waste and consumption.
Volunteering: Encouraging civic participation and altruism to better the locality and lives of others.
Rideshare: To lowering carbon footprint, share resources and overall transportation efficiency.
Pet Adoption & Re-homing: Strictly managed groups where moderators must approve all posts.

These groups are all their own individual experience. Each follows a strict “no marketing” rule, with exception of the community forum/ board. As this allows for local merchants, tradesmen and events to be shared with all.

While it must be said that there are obviously holes in this concept, the main purpose of the experiment is to encourage local communities to manage themselves. This is done by creating the forum to do so, and while this may not seem sexy, innovative and exciting, it works.

It is important that when doing these groups the communities be run under very specific rules and administrated in such a manner that is fair and equitable by all, even having group administrators adhere to the rules strictly. Basic rules to run by are:

– Users must be local.
– Users must be verifiable real people.
– No marketing, including but not limited to fundraising in buy, sell, trade groups. On topic marketing for local events/ causes within other groups.
– Purposeful exclusion of non-local corporate entities. Ie. Not allowing outside recruiters into work boards and keeping it just local direct to employer and employee format.
– No threats, harassment or bullying.
– No sales or involvement in drugs, alcohol, sex and firearms.
– Strictly managed, local only pet adoption and re-homing.
– Closed community groups. Privacy encourages people to feel safe in participating.
– All members, including administrators, must adhere to rules.
– Groups must be managed daily.
– Removal and banning of community members in violation of rules.
– Ability for banned members to contest ban and return.
– Administrator panel that is equal and uses democratic vote to make decisions.
– Major community changes must be voted upon democratically. Administrators commit changes for the community, not upon the community.
– Groups must be free.

There are likely more rules to follow, but these initial rules ensure the health and function of groups.

While this is not a magic pill, what it does is teaches a community to work together and help manage themselves. I believe that future iterations will benefit from local currency and also the creation of a direct forum for legislation as well as a monthly livecast community town hall. All of this takes time, as the Beacon Experiment, not approaching its second year, is finally making a major impact on the lives of local community members.

A long time ago I watched a movie about a boy who was lost in a land with an evil witch. His story was to take a journey to fight this witch, who was preventing the boy from returning home and also darkening the lives of all across the land. In the journey the boy makes friends and finds a wise person who tell the boy after waking from a nightmare, “it’s only real if you believe in it…”

The journey of this boy finds its way to the witches fortress. High above the lands she overlooks from a tower upon the people she cast her spells and darkness upon. The boy and his friends journey to the top of the tower only to confront the powerful witch. A great fight ensues.

The witch, powerful and dark begins to destroy the boy and his friends, casting spells, lightning bolts and dark magic upon them. As the boy looks around the room at his friends who traveled so far to help him find his way home, he weeps. Saddened that this witch hurt the people who were helping him.

Knees buckled, bent over and huddled upon the ground, sobbing, the boy hears the voice of the wise person, “It’s only real if you believe in it…” The voice whispers to him softly. The boys head rises, seeing his friends fall from the darkness before him, he stands.

Turning to his friends he shouts, “Turn your backs to her.” His friends, falling hear his cry, and one by one, despite her dark magic, they turn. As they begin to do so the boy shouts, “She’s only real if we believe in her. Turn your backs..” Eventually they all have turned their backs.

Alone with herself and no one left to believe in her and her dark magic, the witch stumbles and falls weak, no longer do her spells work, no longer does she have control of the room. The witch falls and like a ghost, she evaporates, disappearing into the ether.

I do not believe we need violence to win a war against the darkness that comes across this world. I do not believe we need something extreme. I believe we need to turn our backs on the black heart of a system that will destroy this world and the lives of all for nothing more than to consume more.

The plan above is not perfect and must evolve, like our world does and our systems must. It will take years to change the direction of this world, but did you know that the American Revolution took 25 years? It was a war of attrition.

One by one, we will take our communities back. One by one, we will turn our backs.

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Brad Fredricks is the Founder and Executive Editor of Surviving Capitalism. Covering stories around the world, Brad uses video, photo, and writing as his medium to capture and share human interest stories.
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