Chapter Ten: Reflection and Assessment

      Now aware that the Humboldt calamity had been perpetrated by a rogue FBI unit, the State CCC Council continued its revised training regimen at all sites in earnest. The Council judged that the screening and training procedures should evolve to the point that they would weed out even clandestine operatives from rogue intelligence units.

      After the former Humboldt County members had completed their apprenticeships, they were assisted by the State Overseer panel to reinstitute their cooperative. The small mafia ring in Humboldt County that Freitag had been in cahoots with was still very much in operation, so the Overseer panel began an investigation into its ringleader and his cronies, a shyster lawyer and a crooked judge.

      The panel discovered that people in the area surrounding the Humboldt County CCC site were as fed up with this small mafia ring as had been the case in Outlook with Guy Francesco.

      Fortunately, the local police captain and his deputies were not mobbed up, so CCC members worked with them to unearth solid evidence that the mafia ring was smuggling heroin from Mexico and selling it locally and state-wide. A CCC member who was an attorney assisted the police captain in presenting his evidence to an assistant district attorney, who convened a grand jury and brought in indictments against the mafia gang. Within six months, four members of the mafia crew had been convicted of drug trafficking and sent to prison.

      The cooperative in San Diego County had a similar experience, exposing widespread corruption that ultimately resulted in the dismissal of the criminal Congressional Representative who earlier had bank-rolled the California recall election of Arnold Schwarzenegger for state governor.

      As the Outlook CCC brought its various enterprises to fruition, the members decided to add newly admitted applicants to the operations instead of hiring local workers. The State CCC Council decided that all CCC enterprise workers at all sites should consist of probationary members. If CCC cooperatives were to manage the means of production--stores, agencies, services, etc.--while hiring local workers, they would be perpetuating the traditional capitalist structure.

      A large number of persons were continuing to apply for screening and training as they learned of the cooperative commonwealth communities through the CCC Internet Website. As these new probationary members joined the various sites, the cooperatives began in earnest to take control of their townships. CCC enterprises took over most of the businesss functions in the local areas. For example, each CCC general store actually constituted a combination of enterprises similiar to a Ralph's market, Wal Mart, Home Depot, Penneys, Dennys, Best Buy, Walgreens, and Citgo station.

      The American economy was worsening as systemic corruption at the federal level was reproduced at the state and local levels. The bailout of corrupt bank and financial institutions associated with the prime mortgage scam drove more American families into home foreclosure, loss of jobs, and destitution of every kind. Businesses through the U.S. were failing at a record rate and unemployment hit levels not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Oblivious to the human and institutional devastation they were wreaking, capitalists continued to defraud workers of billions of dollars, bringing the country to utter economic and cultural collapse.

      To assist the huge number of displaced persons in the Outlook area, Emily Blake devised an innovative system. She approached area banks, all of which had enormous inventories of foreclosed houses, making arrangements to put carefully screened and trained workers in the houses to maintain and protect the properties. Emily devised a screening and training system for displaced workers who could then live in a house while receiving credit toward its purchase from their maintenance and upgrade of the structure and lot.

      Joan White helped Emily devise an air-tight contract that protected both the banks and the workers maintaining the properties. Emily discovered that there were more people without homes than she had anticipated and she found it necessary to limit her program to 250 persons. The same operation was reproduced at the other CCC sites.

      CCC members found it interesting that persons in the communities where the cooperatives were located had little if any sense of what was taking place. Ordinary persons had no real conception of the extraordinary difference between how persons in the cooperatives lived and interacted and how ordinary persons fared. This was all to the good, because the cooperative communities didn't want to call attention to themselves. The only venue for making known what they were doing was the CCC Internet Website. In other words, they wanted people to come to them instead of their going to people.

      The Outlook members were discussing this phenomenon at their weekly meeting. "Some of the customers in our general store sometimes ask questions about what we're doing, but I find that simply saying we're a cooperative usually suffices as an answer," Abraham Cole said. "But I think it would be good to make more explicit in our Announcement document on our Website precisely what the difference is between our life style and traditional capitalism."

      "I agree," Juanita said. "I like to think of what our manner of life provides that's entirely missing in the larger society. For example, we don't have to worry about unemployment--we have more work than we can get to and we're paid at a rate that we all agree to. Fear of losing our retirement doesn't play a part in our lives; we've created a system that guarantees care for life. Losing our home--a horrible fear for hundreds of thousands right now--doesn't concern us. Contracting a horrible illness and losing everything isn't a worry; we've built all-inclusive health care into our communities. Somehow we ought to make our explanations of these incredible benefits more compelling and more unmistakable."

     "Those are outstanding benefits we enjoy," Joel Thompson joined in, "but I'm constantly amazed at the difference between our kind of personal interaction and that in society in general. That was the first thing that hit me when I finally qualified to become a member--the straightforward, candid conversations we share. I'd never known how forthright and open verbal interchange could be. We're closer to one another than most family members are in the outside culture. Somehow, we should make this more apparent to prospective applicants."

      "I've been thinking along similar lines," Rick Webb added, "though the exceptional feature that strikes me is our decision-making process. If your previous life was anything like mine, you probably suffered under tyrannical bosses in every job you had. 'Management by whim,' I used to call it, as I had to sit and listen to an utterly stupid, corrupt university president hand down dictates.

      "It is truly miraculous how we're able to come to decisions we all agree with. And those people put in charge of projects make their operational decisions totally transparent and understandable. Something about these features ought to be highlighted as well. There is very little chance for America and other nations to survive this present onslaught by capitalism, unless a new, totally different commonwealth pattern of civil and personal life, as we're creating it, begins to leaven human life worldwide."

      The group agreed with all these proposals, so several new documents were added to the CCC Website, including one depicting the differences between the myths and realities of current fascist capitalism.

      Darby and Joan White presented their research on banks and banking, including the North Dakota State Bank, and recommended that the regional CCC Oversight Council create a CCC Bank for all CCC communities. Darby and Joan prepared the legal documents for creating the CCC Bank and within six months the regional Oversight Council received approval from the relevant counties.

Making a Difference

      The State CCC Council decided that all CCC sites would create municipal utilities operations. Outlook had its own municipal water, sewer, and trash removal systems. Outlook overseers now determined how it could develop municipal electricity, gas, and telecommunication systems as well.

      Members at the various CCC sites researched state groups dealing with municipal utilities. They found, for example, that 126 Minnesota cities had locally owned and operated municipal electric utilities, while 31 American cities had municipal natural gas systems.

      California was overrun by large utility conglomerates such as PCORP, PG&E, SDG&E, and SCE. At each CCC site, members created municipal utility systems either through creating new ones or joining with smaller rural electric or water cooperatives.

      It was determined at the state level that all future CCC buildings would have solar panel roofs and that the screening and training process should seek the skill of drilling for water as a skill set which one new member at a site should possess.

To Chapter Eleven