I want to be with people who submerge in the task,
Who go into the fields to harvest,
And work in a row and pass the bags along.
Who stand in line and work in their places,
Who are not parlor generals and field deserters,
But who move in a common rhythm
When the food must come in or the fire be put out.
Extract from “Why Bother” by Joe Toscano. “We understand the freedoms, liberties and rights we want for ourselves cannot occur without those around us enjoying the same freedoms, liberties and rights. Our liberty is linked with other people’s liberty, our security is linked with other people’s security. That’s why we bother and continue to bother to be involved in social, community and political struggles. Unless we bother, nothing will ever change for us as individuals and the people around us.” [Anarchist Age Weekly Review No. 985 Jul/Aug 2012]
Essential Mutualism means parity, equity and guardianship. PARITY = on a par by using benchmarking and measuring tools. EQUITY – fair share achieved by linking what you contribute to what you receive. GUARDIANSHIP = giving conscious non-authoritive support by watching out for mission drift, refusing to over-look corrupting activities, avoiding false argument that distracts from purpose, and having honest reasons for including or excluding people.
Mutual Enrichment is a process of accessing each others skills and resources by agreement – without ripping each other off! A system can only get a life of its own after two people who are motivated to be involved act upon this desire and proceed in an equitable manner.
I wrote this circa 1998-9: “The Way we Work”.
“We cannot work for structural change through any organisation that within itself reproduces or replicates the relationships of power that are dominant in capitalism.
We are confronted by, and participate in, invisible organising patterns that are forms of social abuse, and these patterns of working are installed into our daily lives. We have to understand the way in which we disburse power within our groups as well as the relationship between each of us to that power. We need to change the perceptions of our individual roles in the economy.
We need to dismantle the machinery that is delivering us towards new forms of economic ghettoism. We need to take our tools to this machinery because it is breaking up society, and we need to do this with the same spirit and precision that has inspired and focused social resistence for centuries.
At the same time as we dismantle these forms of abuse, so must we build the replacement forms that are restorative and mutually enriching. In action that is conscious of its purpose, we can remove the distorted and dysfunctional patterns of organising, and replace them with functional patterns that deliver equity.
We have to share the fruits of our work in right relationship to its production. In this way we start to correct the distortions imbedded into the current social forms that we participate in. We serve no gain if we only replace one abusive form of social organisation with another.”
I always had an unquenchable curiosity about how the world worked, and an enthusiasm for travel. My folks had this to some extent too, because I went to 10 different schools in my 10 years of formal education. I read constantly, searched and researched. I did the miles, seeking answers, soaking up the adventures. I started keeping a journal in 1979, as much to comfort myself during distressing times as to record the discoveries I was making. My restlessness peaked in the mid-1980’s when during one year, I recorded only 69 nights at home in my own bed, with the rest “one the road”.
I was inspired to do Community Development when the Whitlam Government launched it’s Australian Assistance Plan in the early 1970’s. I had a growing concern about long-term effects of poverty – a combination of malnutrition of the boday and of the spirit, and I was seeking outlets for this concern. Thirty years later, after nominating to attend the Rudd Government’s “People’s 2020 Summit and being refused, I recognised that I was being given a natural tailing-off date for an important era in my own life. The People’s Summit marked the end of an epock for Australian Left Politics. The promise implied when it was called seemed to come to nothing.