When Elbridge Henry and Diotima Mason decided to build a commonwealth community there were at that time 18.6 million homes in America standing empty, the highest number in U.S. history.
The criminal cabal that had seized control of America in the early decades of the twentieth century had spent $3 trillion on war profiteering wars and $1 trillion on bailouts of criminal financial enterprises. Banks and mortgage companies had defrauded workers of $10 to $15 trillion in mortgage payments and the value of their repossessed homes, but the workers were being palmed off with $300 "relief" payments.
In America at that moment in time--because of the capitalist "system:"
- Every 2 minutes a baby was born into poverty.
- Every 7 minutes a baby was born at low birth weight.
- Every 15 minutes a baby was born to a mother who received late or no prenatal care.
- Every hour a baby died before turning one.
Diotima and Elbridge were among the few Americans who realized that the U.S. had become a totalitarian police state, debased into a militaristic aggressor nation, and its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq pretexts for war profiteering and world economic conquest. America had fallen to the status of a global destroyer and American Constitutional freedoms were being decimated on an ongoing basis.
From their ongoing study of the world situation, Elbridge and Diotima understood that capitalism is a failed, destructive, unfixable system. People worldwide, they discerned, must arrive at the awareness that fascist capitalism is no longer an acceptable or viable economic system--that we must replace it with a new commonwealth order.
So this retired American couple decided to do something to try to save America from devastation by predatory capitalism.
That Has Such People In It!
They understood that the majority of Americans had been turned into mental morons by the cabal's destruction of the entire American educational system and by neo-conservative brainwashing and propaganda. So they didn't suffer from the naive delusion that the workers of the world would suddenly, somehow miraculously, come awake to their devastation by global capitalism and seize the reigns of political and economic power, spontaneously creating a beneficent Brave New World.
Diotima and Elbridge agreed with Erich Fromm that "a new society is possible only if, in the process of developing it, a new human being also develops . . . if a fundamental change occurs in contemporary Man's character structure."
Both Elbridge and Diotima had been involved in small communities in the 1970s so they knew from personal experience that genuine cooperative effort requires preparation and instruction. To participate effectively in a cooperative community, persons would need to complete successfully a carefully-designed training program. What had wrecked all of the American nineteenth and twentieth century socialist and communalist small community experiments had been untrained, presumptuous, egomaniacal participants who believed they knew enough without needing any prior training.
Their prior experience in small communities had also convinced them that only competent, successful persons are capable of effective participation in cooperative ventures. Engaging in their accustomed mode of dialectical interchange in considering this question, Diotima and Elbridge concluded that a person or a couple would need to have a net worth of at least $500,000 to be involved in the commonwealth community they were building.
The best way for them to develop a new community, Elbridge and Diotima decided, was to move to a small town, announce the community on the Internet, screen and train applicants, create the structure for the cooperative, and gradually take control of the town, transforming it into a commonwealth community. There wouldn't be anything underhanded about this procedure. As members were screened, trained, and admitted to the cooperative, they would unostentatiously buy homes and businesses or professions in the town, becoming residents and active citizens.
Diotima and Elbridge were then living in La Mesa, a small city just west of San Diego. The municipal Web site described La Mesa as"the 'Jewel of the Hills.'" But La Mesa's population was 58,000 and they wanted to start their cooperative community in a small town of not over 1,000 population.
They decided they wanted to remain in California--they'd both grown up in the Mid-West and had had enough cold, bleak weather for a lifetime. After extensive search on the Internet for the ideal California small town, they narrowed their choices down to three locations: one in the northern part of the state on the coast, one in Sonoma county, and the third in the northern area of southern California. They visited each town, remaining for several days in a nearby motel to get the feel of the population and the locale.
They finally selected the small town of Outlook in the northern area of southern California, because its population was just under 1,000, the people seemed pleasant and friendly, and the town had recently succeeded in forcing the repurchase of its municipal water system from a European corporation that had bought it in 2002 during a state-wide privatization mania.
They traded their costlier home in La Mesa for a larger-size, smaller-priced foreclosed home in excellent condition in Outlook. The home included some acreage, sitting back from the road, with trees surrounding it, and bordering a small creek.
Two of the required features of the property they bought was that it have its own spring with potable water and solar panels providing most of the electricity for house use. Elbridge and Diotima realized that the cabal ruling America could at any time provoke a total economic-political breakdown, so they planned for their personal and community survival.
They placed the cooperative community announcement on their Internet blog site even while they were moving from La Mesa to Outlook.
As we've seen in previous essays, the devolution of vulture capitalism into a repressive system is inevitable, since the negative, destructive elements are systemic, not accidental. We can best see the fundamental defects in capitalism by reviewing the imbecilic fantasies on which it is based:
- "The invisible hand of the market works for the good of all"
- "Free trade is the only way to order international commerce"
- "Capitalists should pay little or no tax because they are the engine of the economy"
- "Unemployment and poverty are natural, inevitable afflictions in any economic system"
- "The United States has the right to attack any nation which threatens the economic interests of its rulers"
- "Economic efficiency is only possible under capitalism"
- "All manufacturing, public utilities, and commodities should be privately owned"
- "Capitalists ought to be able to make as much money as they can, no matter what the plight of the workers"
- "All things are working together for the best in this best of all capitalist worlds"
- Increasing repression from cabal that controlled the political and financial systems of the nation
- Depression - loss of jobs, foreclosures
- No location in another country offered freedom or mild climate
- How cooperative-commonwealth was created
- Initiators (couple: Norman and Michelle Hopewell) deliberately moved to carefully-selected small town -- traded costlier home for equal size foreclosed home
- Outlook, CA -- in southern California -- 1,500 population -- chose to begin with an already established community and gradually, covertly assume control of it
- Small bank, 2 grocery stores, 1 drug stores, small regional library, 4 churches, town hall,
- Announced creation of a new community-cooperative (commonwealth) on Internet
- Commonwealth, cooperative (barter of skills) - work credits
- Communal ownership of enterprises (stores, farms, utilities)
- Consensus decision-making (democracy)
- Benefits: work/live/associate with like-minded people
- Skills useful to cooperative: competent managers, attorney, bookkeeping/financial manager, physician, farmers, business managers, technicians (automotive, plumbing, carpentry, electrical)
- Minimum net worth: $500,000
- Applicants required to complete a training program: Progressive Awareness
- Ongoing membership in cooperative
- Voted into membership by current members
- Can lose membership if responsibilities are not met or behavior is deemed unacceptable by the members of the cooperative
our opponents will counter with the argument that, while the capitalist system is undoubtedly experiencing some deep-going problems, perhaps even a crisis, this is one of those “gales of creative destruction” which have proved so vital to the development of the capitalist system over its entire history, and that, after a period of storm and stress, a new, more stable process of development will emerge and once again all will be for the best in the best of all possible worlds.
“Of course, every democratic institution has its barriers and defects which it probably shares with all human institutions. However, the cure that Trotsky and Lenin found: the elimination of democracy in general is even worse than the disease it is supposed to curb; after all, it buries the living spring from which alone all innate deficits of social institutions can be corrected: the active, unhindered, energetic life of the broadest masses of the people.”