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Local Economy, Locavore, Loca-cology,
Call It What You Will…It’s Swadeshi

By Morgana d’Wessington

20 September, 2010

Call it what you will, but after reading many, many Countercurrents.org articles on the energy/economic issues facing this tired old world, especially Rand Clifford’s recent article about Dr. Feynman’s now famous quote: “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled”, I feel compelled to write this brief and simple plea.

My husband and I have always answered techno-freaks and politico’s who make empty promises: “You can’t trump biology” and “Biology is the bottom line, not your pocketbook”; of course, we iterate this with resulting snorts and retorts from our audience. We don’t mind that part, we just keep repeating ourselves over and over, and try to take ourselves in hand - and go local.

I truly believe that the answer has been in front of us, well, for centuries, but most boldly, at least since the life of the Mahatma - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. His ‘swadeshi” movement was the answer - ok, maybe not all the world can sit and spin - BUT: local craft, local food, local - local - local. That is the true revolution which I believe needs to take place. I think that this is also inherent in the recent essays by Paul Kingsnorth (if I may be so bold, Paul).

If we can convert our own awarenesses and habits to locally bred, grown, woven, built, crafted, etc., and concentrate our personal energies in this direction, we can achieve swadeshi - and , I believe, the way out of these “Dark Times” which, if our species does survive into any future, is what I am sure our descendants will call these years.

Converting our attentions to creating locally-oriented EVERYTHING - what would that do to corporate-government? I can think of nothing that could scare the pants off of a politician faster than the people “going local”, for it likely would (Gasp!) result in local control of economy, politics, ecology, food, information - you name it. If swadeshi were achieved, we wouldn’t need corporate-government that is centralized in cities of power where the poor are crowded, starving and overlooked. Or even in rural areas, where despotism in local government prevails, and corporations such as Monsanto ride the farmers hard. Ho! We might even achieve Kropotkin’s ‘Mutual Aid‘!

The only obstacle to achieving this is in our minds and it‘s name is FEAR. We fear, at least here in America, the loss of sources of cheap energy and actual self-governance; dare I say it, we don’t want to work for ourselves, as our ancestors did. The fear is palpable; you can smell it on people. We want it easier. But is anyone finding anything easier these days? I doubt it, except perhaps for the Koch’s, the BP’s, Shell Oils, Halliburtons and others of their ilk, including their lackeys, usually referred to as our politicians.

The word “Locavore” has suddenly roared into popular parlance. It’s a start, and it owes it’s meteoric and popular rise simply, to people growing and eating locally produced food - one form of swadeshi. It’s a great start, and now we need to have the faith to expand that ‘locavore’ ideal into other areas of our daily living. The possibilities are infinite. Our current courses of living are not infinite as we deplete our Mother Earth, heaping score after score of insults upon Her.

We need to face our fears before we destroy what is left whilst marching blithely toward destruction; let’s march instead toward swadeshi. Each community needs to define that for themselves, but it can be done. This I firmly believe. And then we shall be free. Once we are free, we can begin to heal the wounds we have perpetrated upon one another in the name of the unsustainable, as well as the insults to Mother Earth. To quote the Mahatma: “Any country that exposes itself to unlimited foreign competition can be reduced to starvation and therefore, subjection if the foreigners desire it. This is known as peaceful penetration. One has to go only a step further to understand that the result would be the same as between hand-made goods and those made by power-driven machinery. We are seeing the process going on before our very eyes…This displacement of village labour is impoverishing the villagers and enriching the moneyed men. If the process continues sufficiently long, the villagers will be destroyed without any further effort. And the tragedy of it all is that the villagers are unconsciously but none the less surely contributing to their own destruction. To complete the tale of their woe, let the reader know that even cultivation has ceased to be profitable. For some crops, the villager does not cover even the cost of seed.” (1) (This last is no where truer than in Gandhi’s home country, where Power in the guise of Monsanto, is taking control of the seeds of life; and has recently been beautifully expressed at the Right Livelhood Awards by Award-winner Percy Schmeiser, a canola farmer from Canada [see Democracy Now 9-17-10 interview]). Now if you translate “village” into “community”, “city”, “county”, or the regional definition of your choice, this quote expresses quite nicely many of the premises that we read here often in CounterCurrents.

I admit that I, myself, have not done enough towards this goal. But I am getting there as fast as I can, because it is now imperative, as we used to say when I was young, to “be there, or be square”.

1] M.K. Gandhi; “Village Industries”, Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad, India.