How topia…. Now!

Departing from my usual travelogues and pretty pictures, I want to make a quick entry that gives some links to anyone who might come upon my book, or this blog, and want to just start doing things…

First of all, there are two books out there that are interesting “cookbooks” for Nowtopian projects. First I’ll plug Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew’s new book “Toolbox for Sustainable City Living.” Scottie appeared with me on Monday night at the Troy Sanctuary for Independent Media (hopefully that Talk will appear in some weeks on FreeSpeech TV). Food, Water, Waste, Energy, and Bioremediation are their chapter titles, and the book is chock full of useful illustrations and instructions on how to start converting your everyday life in a sustainable direction. The other book is “Do It Yourself: A Handbook for Changing Our World” by the Trapese Collective in England. They make a longer political argument alongside their many how-to sections, and are much more forward about being anti-capitalist, probably because they’re not in the U.S.

My pal Melinda Stone has launched a wonderful new website, How To Homestead, which rather than putting long texts and illustrations in front of you, offers a series of straightforward how-to videos, very well produced and presented.

Next weekend all the DIY Bike Co-ops and Collectives from around North America are coming to San Francisco for their annual conference BikeBike… lots of workshops and tours and amazing people.

Then there’s the P2P foundation’s “Product Hacking” wiki, where you can get tons of practical how-to instructions on repurposing the technologies of our lives. Another remarkable resource is the Open Source Ecology wiki at Openfarmtech, where you can find out how to build your own reaper or practically any other useful machine.

I have often linked to and recommended John Robb’s work on Resilient Communities and do it again now, because he is one of the few guys out there who is continously writing about intelligent approaches that anyone can jump in to, that really address the cascading systems collapses of our time. (If you scroll back over the past summer on his blog you will find many fantastic entries that touch on this topic.)

And if you’re jonesing for some intelligent political analysis in this moment, I highly recommend Turbulence out of Europe. Boxes and boxes have just arrived here in San Francisco, so if you’re local I can give you a copy. You can also download it directly at the link. I particularly recommend John Holloway’s piece called “1968 and doors to new worlds” which refreshingly goes beyond the platitudes of left and labor politics to talk about abstract labour and the deeper revolt against the reduction of human life to the commodity form.

I was choking on my cereal this morning as former AFL-CIO bigwig Bill Fletcher on Democracy Now! went on and on about how unions have to become champions of everyday Americans in the face of the “socialistic” bailout of the millionaires who owned all the financial institutions that have gone bankrupt. Give me a break! The unions are moribund, and haven’t done anything but enforce the terms of capitalist exploitation for decades now. To expect some kind of reversal from them is to be incomprehensibly myopic and ahistorical… why, it’s like expecting Obama to come into office and turn on the Wall Street financiers who bankrolled his campaign, the coal and nuclear interests he’s been pandering to, the conservative economic advisors he’s lined up as his team, and the imperialists he’s collected as foreign policy advisors… Imagine Obama will be good for humans as opposed to a black pwogwessive face for American Capital, exciting the world once again about the American Way of Life? Puh-leeeze… But that doesn’t mean I don’t clearly prefer him over the morons on the other side, lanced brilliantly in Tim Wise’s piece on Palin’s White Privelege. Check it out!

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