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Re: Harassed Permies
One thing I did not bring up when this conversation was strictly based in
Australia was the second stage of my experience. Once we got the rednecks
off our backs because we couldn't be bullied, then we became involved in town
government, which admittedly in New England (USa) is easy. If you are a
registered voter, you just show up and speak and vote. The town meeting is
the legislature and the executive branch. For two or three years, I said
nothing, just voted. Then I started to speak. I got asked to fill one of
the volunteer positions on a board and ended up on the planning board (heh,
heh). Once in this position, I calmly told the bigot who was tryin to use
the board to keep the poor, "hippies, and spearchuckers" (his words) out of
town that I would personally see in him jail if he did so. Said in public
meeting with a full board present, this rather settled the matter.
Fortunately, I lived in a place where such laws would be enforced.
Moreover, I was by then on the inside and had a following at town meeting.
Different personalities (which is almost everyone) would have to approach
the matter somewhat differently, but participation in the system is usually
possible in the US. If you are shut out, you can always help a candidate
whom you think is sure to win. This is a little crass, but it does give you
political clout. And there are times to go to meetings with shit on your
boots and times to look "professional" (i.;e. dressed like the rest of the
I remember testifying at a legislative hearing in Boston (Mass,. USa) as a
member of the town planning board from a very rural town. I was clean and
neat, trimmed my beard, and wore what looked like (and was) the best version
of clothes that I would wear into the field. I did wear my shitkickers,
minus the shit, and drew attention to them when I testified by looking down
at my feet a lot. "Don't be shy, we are here to hear what you have to say."
the committee chairman told me. (heh, heh) So I stammered a bit and then
built up a bit of steam, when they were hooked, and laid my argument on them.
It nailed them to the wall. On the other hand, at local meetings I did my
best to dress a fair bit better than at the state legislature. Strategy is a
part of permaculture.
For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since
1982), Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design Courses,
consulting and permaculture designs (since 1981), and now correspondence
permaculture training by email. Copyright, 1996, Dan & Cynthia Hemenway, P.O.
Box 2052, Ocala FL 34478 USA YankeePerm@aol.com
We don't have time to rush.