[permaculture] what does a permaculture based politics looklike?

Kenneth Benway ken at arcadiandesign.org
Wed Jun 13 23:03:34 EDT 2007

To Kevin and Scott,
Thanks guys for your support and recognition of the importance of
politics as an integral part of a complete permaculture dynamic. I have
been battered the past few days (for some reason mostly Australians
which I find surprising given that’s where the movement started) asking
me to refrain from these discussions do to there lack of relevance.
Thank you especially for articulating the finer points of international
politics in a manner that hopefully helps them to "connect the dots" and
puts this myopic view of the world to bed once and for all.
With sincere appreciation,
Ken Benway
Arcadian Design
St Petersburg Fl

-----Original Message-----
From: permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Scott Vlaun
Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 10:36 PM
To: permaculture
Subject: Re: [permaculture] what does a permaculture based politics

Right on Kevin!

It seems to me that every move we make regarding permaculture engages  
our community which by its nature is political. We too have worked  
(but probably not as hard as you have!) to supply some food via our  
local coop, which is nothing if not a political beast. We also are  
involved in the land trust movement around here, (more local  
politics!) and see that as a hopeful way to keep land available for  
sustainable practices and out of the hands of developers. We are also  
planning a local sustainability conference for '08 and are bracing  
for the politics in the community around that. You can continue on up  
the political food chain and see how decisions made at the state and  
national level can have serious implications for the permaculture  
movement. Maine's energy efficiency policy and upcoming U.S. farm  
bill come to mind. Certainly, local political movements to ban GMO's  
are integral to the movement and in some cases are led by permies.  
When I interview Mollison, he made no bones about delving straight  
into politics. A small decision at those highest levels can have more  
impact than a lot of hard work on the ground by a lot of people. One  
only need to look at Cuba to see what can happen when a political  
establishment embraces pemaculture principles. Food growing everywhere!

Keep up the great work.

Will you be attending the Northeast Summer Convergence? Maybe we can  
catch up there. I'd love to hear more about what you're doing.

In solidarity,

Scott Vlaun
Moose Pond Arts+Ecology
Design Solutions for a Sustainable Future

450 Main St. Studio 2
Norway, Maine 04270
207-739-2409 Studio
207-890-4099 Cell

On Jun 13, 2007, at 9:30 PM, kevin s wrote:

> hi all,
> i have a habit of following, with some curiosity, the various threads
> about "politics" on this list when they pop up.  usually they sputter
> out, often in a similar way, with people finally telling others to
> "keep the politics off the list..." or other less polite things
> i, for one at least, am regularly a little surprised and
> disappointed that these conversations don't go deeper in the
> Permaculture community.  Of course it is obvious that the current
> global "political", social, and economic relationships and (visible
> and invisible) power structures will require huge  transformations if
> we are to achieve a sustainable human presence on the planet (of any
> population size).   i think all Permaculturalists agree on this.
> The same Political struggles look the same all over the world: so
> called Democratic institutions are under the attack, or complete
> control of corporate, capitalist forces.  The media, the global
> military complex, the food supply, financial institutions, etc all
> under the dominant control (or in the few free areas left, under
> severe attack) by the same power structures.
>   There is a global war going on, on more levels and on more fronts
> than just the "middle" east.
> This is our global reality.
> And, at the same time we have all over the world the most
> sophisticated, organized, knowledgable, and committed social
> movements human society has yet developed.  Led by indigenous
> activists, farmers, poor people, anarchists....
> Where is Permacultures place in these growing social movements?
> In the face of all of this, one would think that these clearly
> "political" issues  and opportunities would and should be on the
> forefront of Permaculturalists lives and practice....
> and yet, some 30 years into the Permaculture "movement" it still too
> often  appears that there remains some quaint (often white, often
> male, often priviledged) idea that "Politics is not part of
> Permaculture"
> ????
> is it only me that feels some disturbing disconnect in this?
> In any case i am wondering, in the spirit of positive example, what
> are the ways that folks are incorporating their values and
> Permaculture practice into their "political" lives right now?
> Are there real examples out there that people can offer as models?
> I'll start.  We are working our butts off for the last couple of
> seasons growing food for people using a CSA model based in
> Permaculture practices. We use lots and lots of sheet mulch beds, and
> so far we are growing a good amount of vegetables. It remains to be
> seen whether we can be economically viable, growing real food for
> real people, in competition with all the tractor farmers out there,
> organic and conventional.
> We don't own land yet, and are not particularly interested in
> engaging in "investing" in land, where our debt only goes to fund the
> same international financial corporations running this destructive
> machine.  So we are starting a Community Land Trust to hopefully
> engage in a more healthy community based relationship with the land,
> that has the added benefits, for instance, of allowing those
> residents of the CLT land to create sustainable livelyhoods for
> themselves and even do war tax resistance if they so desire because
> they are not burdened with the fear and insecurity that comes with
> "ownership".  (they can't take it away from you if you don't "own" it)
> It is a start anyway.
> Lately I see more and more politically active folks drawn to, and
> then become disappointed by the Permaculture "movement",  as they
> come to see it rightly or wrongly as strictly aligned with
> libertarian or green capitalist or other seemingly "selfish"
> political and social orientations and motives.  and it seems true
> that there is not often a lot in Permaculture circles for people to
> connect their higher needs for community, cooperations, etc with yet.
> and yet there is  a lot of change going on, in Permaculture circles
> just as there is everywhere else, and this list, i feel, doesn't
> always represent  the full range of Permaculture expression going
> on....
> anyway, thanks for the time,
> eager, in the true permaculture spirit,  for positive solutions
> kevin
> Regeneration CSA in High Falls NY
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