Just a quick stop at Heston Services and we’ll be in Balcombe by tea-time
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I’ll be there for the ‘Crumblie Sunday’ promenade, or whatever it’s called, defying the Burgesses of Balcombe and Little Lord Fauntleroy (Cameron) by any means necessary.
Then I assume we can all get our electricity from Narnia. Why not go the whole hog and live in mud huts and eat grass? Pathetic.
I lived in a mud dwelling for twenty years. I’d have called it a house rather than a hut, but the difference was only one of scale. It was dry and warm in winter and cool in summer. The heating costs were low. It was built before electricity was invented though how long before nobody knew. Similar houses in this country can be at least 500 to 7000 years old.
The material was actually called “cob” (“clom” in Wales). It’s mud with some natural additions such as straw and pebbles. It’s so cheap to produce and build with and it costs so little to heat the finished building that it’s reckoned that to replace all the brick, stone and concrete houses in the country and replace them with cob ones would pay for itself in about thirty years. This would also go a long way towards solving the energy problem by reducing demand. Who knows, we might just conceivably not all need to be fracked to kingdom come. (Though cob buildings are known for their resistance to seismic shock.)
You certainly don’t need electricity, oil, coal, or gas to build with it. Cob houses were built by hand when to grow food for the people who built them used only a calorie of energy input per calorie of output instead of the minimum fifty and more calories it needs for most crops today. The cob builders were most certainly not fed on grass, though meat from grass-fed animals would have been eaten regularly by the better-off ones of course. The main animals eaten would probably have been pigs, and since they say every bit of a slaughtered pig is used for something apart from its squeal, yes, the builders would have “gone the whole hog” as Tough Love says.
(I’m not sure of the phrase “tough love”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to suggest love that is given only on very limited conditions. Experience on the other hand suggests that only the kind of love that is given freely is ever worth much or indeed gets to be reciprocated or passed on in any meaningful way.)
No lecky – no blog……I’m beginning to see the light. Oh no the sun has set and I can’t find my pig-oil lamp. Self-sufficiency is admirable and I suggest you go off to some remote island and practice it leaving the rest of us wimps to enjoy the 21st Century. With Love.xx
What a lovely response. Me, I’d rather pedal a rigged up generator for six hours to hear a Handel oratorio for ten minutes than take the chance of drinking irremediably poisoned water if the frackers had their way.
Unless you are Lord Snooty and get your water from a private well you’ll be getting your water via a treatment plant which has to deal with a lot worse pollutants than from fracking. Dorset has had fracking for over 20 years and no one has noticed, it’s so innocuous. Sites in the Northeast have been doing it for almost 50 years with the same effects.
Let’s just be honest and say the anti-capitalists can’t accept that anything commercial can be beneficial then we can applaud your indefatigability but snigger at your total lack of scientific nouse and sense of reality.
You don’t have to be Lord Snooty, and the well doesn’t have to be private, though some discretion will be desirable — for obvious reasons if you look at how your water bill is itemised. With bills soaring and a borehole, depending on depth, costing round about the £2000 mark with plumbing, including an electric pump, this is an increasingly attractive alternative life-long source of water, which a number of households could share, the number of persons served depending on the supply provided by the source. All you would see coming out of the ground or the floor would be a six-inch or so plastic sleeve round the cable taking the electricity down to the pump and the pipe bringing the water up. It would be a great shame were ground water pollution by fracking or anything else to close down this affordable, user-controlled option. Redundant fracking crews could drill the holes!
On Tough Love’s other points, however many commercial enterprises are beneficial, and few would deny that they can be, it’s how the resources are employed, the costs are borne and the benefits are distributed that is at issue. The average worker is in the position of one of those donkeys you can see in travel programmes and brochures, walking round and round all day to raise water from a well or river to irrigate a field. Even if he or she walks for a thousand years they will never own the riverbank, the well or the field, or have the right to dispose of one ounce of the crop!
Anarchists want an end to this and the other unattractive features of capitalism, true, but they want a lot more too: the end of the division of society into rulers and ruled. For millennia the governing elites have plundered the Earth and murdered, enslaved or exploited its peoples, squandering resources and ending or ruining billions of lives. One may laugh at anarchism’s lack of success in achieving enough popularity to end the obvious injustice of it all, but in the hundred and forty-one years since the formal birth of our movement we have achieved some famous victories, however localised and temporary, for social justice and in the meantime have also shown or reminded millions that a better world is both possible and desirable. And the reason this has been so is because human beings are hard-wired for a life of the peace and cooperation which ordinary folk, even despite their so-called superiors’ determination to divide and rule, practice constantly on a micro scale in their daily lives. Acquiring the wish and the means to dump our rulers off our backs is, as the late Chris Pallis liked to point out, all a matter of consciousness — of the harmony and contentment that can be available with and through unity, as contrasted with the constant disappointments and disasters that will always be the price of division. For if you think about it enough you will see that any beliefs to the contrary, including those voiced by Tough Love, only serve the interests of organised domination, the ignorance and greed it comes from, and the spite that enforces it.
Regarding the lack of “scientific nous” mentioned to by Tough Love, it is hard to know what is referred to here without examples being given, but the following words from the anarchist philosopher Ricardo Mella probably show as well as any why in a general sense any human being should be skeptical of the finality of any belief — material or social, scientific or religious, factually based or conjectural — and why we as anarchists are so unwilling to embrace the obviously self-serving “political-scientific” theories of liberalism and Marxism, all that divisive claptrap about who should own what and who should govern who, none of which has achieved for one second even the modest bourgeois goals of widespread “liberty, equality, fraternity” in any of the vast areas of the globe in which they have been put into practice — for centuries in the case of liberalism, for decades in the case of Marxism. Says Mella:
‘It is science’s business to systemise; and by systemising we wall ourselves up in science, become dogmatic. Behold, the cause behind every fenced enclosure; and see, the reason behind the failure of beliefs…
‘Instead, whenever a new structure is being raised and new channels opened and new walls being built, work with your picks and leave not a stone upon a stone. Thought needs unlimited space, endless time and freedom without restriction. There can be no rounded theories, no completed systems, no single philosophies because there is no absolute immutable truth: there are truths and yet more truths, truths undiscovered and truths yet unlearned.’
With such sentiments in mind, we anarchists can see nothing, in theory or in practice, to lead us away from our conviction that the members of any society must decide, all together, for themselves, in equality, on their own ground, and always with the capacity to revise as necessary, how peace and cooperation are to be achieved and sustained in that society at large.
By the way don’t imagine living in a cob house is necessarily without its drawbacks. Not least if you are working class. Such a family near where I was but within a national park were served with an order to bring their place, the family home for generations, up to some utterly fictitious, chocolate box, nob standard on account of its supposed historical value, which boiled down to the fact that it had kept first man and beast, then man alone, warm and dry for a several centuries, for a good part of which it had no doubt been the TB ridden bug-hutch too many of the rural poor once lived and died in. This family couldn’t afford the required poshing-up and had to sell to wealthy folk who could. End result: pure gentrification — which just went to show who national parks are designed for first and foremost, just like the rest of the country.
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