Chapter Twelve: The Divine Dialectic


    This chapter constitutes a composite review of a number of CCC State Oversight Council meetings which used dialectical interchange as the overall investigative and decision-making process. The purpose is to illustrate, through excerpts, the varied features and powers of dialectical interchange in discovering new insights, resolving differences of opinion, and arriving at functional consensus.


          As America fell into civil war and more extreme social, political, and economic devastation, the cooperative commonwealth communities as a body found it necessary to respond intelligently to the anarchy through the operation of their State CCC Oversight Council meetings.

          Attending the state CCC Oversight Council meetings were the representatives of the eight CCC sites.
      Representatives from the various CCC communities were elected by the specific site's members. Not all representatives were overseers; in three instances the chosen representative was a manager and the Humboldt County site chose a technician.

      The Humboldt County CCC cooperative had been hardest hit by the national chaos, two of its members being unlawfully arrested as drug dealers and incarcerated in a state FEMA-run concentration camp. The Oversight Council's investigation discovered that the charges against the two CCC members were completely unfounded, having been trumped up by the single surviving member of the rogue FBI gang. Joan White and another attorney from the Humboldt CCC community had filed the necessary papers to try to get the two released.

      The Humboldt County representative had been specifically tasked with bringing to the Council the recommendation of the two incarcerated members that all CCC sites reconstitute themselves as fully armed camps, prepared to repulse any repetition of illegal invasion and arrest with any and all combat tactics.

      The state CCC Oversight Council meeting in Outlook began with the Humboldt County representative presenting his two members' recommendation to the entire council.

      "Mike," Janice Tyrell said, "we fully sympathize with your two members' outrage at being falsely arrested. All CCC site members are already regularly checked out on the use of weapons and have access to a weapon in case of emergency or threat. But my Sonoma County CCC members do not feel it's the best course to turn our sites into armed resistance camps, because we judge that the present police state would dearly love for us to become easily identified as insurgent or terrorist centers."

      "But are we willing," Mike broke in," to let the fascist state arrest and imprison our members--without any resistance? I don't think so."

      Phyllis Davis, overseer from the San Diego CCC site, responded quickly. "Yes, we may have to submit to some of our members being incarcerated, to avoid our group being branded as 'enemy combatants.' These are extreme times and only intelligent--and generally peaceful--response to the situation gives us any chance for survival. Early in our deliberations as a group, CCC members wisely decided that we would use only non-violent means except under conditions of imminent violent bodily harm."

      "Unless CCC as an entire organization reconstitutes its sites into armed camps, my two incarcerated members are prepared to resign their membership forthwith," Mike stated.

      "You know CCC as a body can't allow itself to be intimidated or coerced by members threatening to resign," Elbridge Henry replied evenly. "We have to determine what's the best course of action in any given instance, through the process of dialectical interchange. If your members, Mike, have already made up their minds as to the most effective direction for CCC to take, then they've abdicated their responsibility to abide by what the Oversight Council decides is best through reasoned discussion."

      "I agree with you, Elbridge," Mike replied, "that we have to decide as a body what's best for all CCC sites. I'm just reporting the sentiments of some of my members. The Humboldt County community, as a whole, didn't agree with the two dissenting members, but they felt the state Council should consider this important issue."

      "It's a vital question we have to consider right now," Wilma Stoddart said. "My site tasked me with bringing this up for discussion if no one else did. Our Vista community is of a mind that we try in every way possible to make it clear to public officials that we do not advocate, in any way, the violent overthrow of the present American government. But at the same time, we must do everything we can in a peaceful vein to inform people what's going on and help those we can who fall victim to this police state."

      "We've established with federal and state governments that CCC sites and members are non-threatening to this crumbling American society," Thom Ripley said, "and since they don't see any way to loot our communities, they don't seem to have any reason to attack us. In fact, they see our communities as oases of order and calm that are helping to hold the fabric of the American culture together. My Santa Rosa site is providing assistance for some people who've lost their jobs, their homes, their medical coverage, or their retirement--so the state sees us as a part of the solution instead of a part of the escalating problem."

      The consensus arrived at in this state Council meeting was that CCC sites should continue in their non-violent response to conditions in the U.S., being careful to give no wrong appearance of being armed camps of revolutionary insurgency. The best course for CCC as a body, it was decided, was to continue to build its cooperative communities, demonstrating to American and world societies how harmonious accord is a more effective political-economic-cultural process than predatory capitalism's practice of egomaniacal greed and dog-eat-dog rivalry and destruction.

      Three months later, Joan White and the other members of the CCC Legal Defense Committee had succeeded in gaining the release of the two Humboldt County CCC members. Contrary to what the two members had threatened, they asked to continue as members and their request was granted by the state Council.

      The Council agreed that CCC members should re-study this special essay in connection with the continuing anarchical conditions.

Key Issues

      Vista was the location for the next biennial CCC state Council convocation. Santa Rosa representative Franklin Stevens introduced the other eight site representatives as the meeting began. One new community had been established since the last convocation.

      "Our agenda includes five issues or areas that the executive committee decided should be considered at this session--elements which we revisit periodically because they define the very nature of our communities," Diotima Mason began. The five key issues are:


  1. Pseudo-Communities


  2. Nomenclature and National Identity


  3. Screening and training


  4. Credits


  5. Public Relations
     


Pseudo-Communities

      We continue to investigate contemporary communities to determine if any of them possess positive features which we can adapt to our enterprise or, if we were to find a predominantly positive community, to join with their efforts. However, our investigation to date has turned up only what must be designated as pseudo-communities: those given over to anti-rational religious and social dogmas, oppressed by dictatorial organizational structures, and brooking no criticism.

1. Damanhur: A commune, ecovillage, and spiritual community situated in the Piedmont region of northern Italy about 30 miles (50 km) north of the city of Turin. Damanhur has been awarded by an agency of the United Nations as a model for a sustainable future. Founded in 1975, the Federation has about 1,000 citizens and extends over 500 hectares of territory throughout Valchiusella and the Alto Canavese area, at the foothills of the Piedmont Alps. It was founded in 1975 by Oberto Airaudi with around 24 followers, and had grown to 800 by the year 2000. The group holds a mix of New Age and neopagan beliefs.

      Some of the more obvious defects in Damanhur include:
2. Earthhaven: An aspiring ecovillage in a mountain forest setting near Asheville, North Carolina, dedicated--it claims--"to caring for people and the Earth by learning, living, and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture."

      Earthhaven is similar to other American pseudo-communities such as Mount Madonna Center near Watsonville , CA., Twin Oaks Community in central rural Virginia , and Ananda Cooperative Village outside Nevada City , CA.

      At present, there are quite a number of fantasy survivalist utopias being touted, while only a few realistic proposals are available. Below is a comparison of the only genuine solution to the present capitalist catastrophe (CCC) and Chris Hedges' unrealistic, regressive proposal:

  1. Cooperative Commonwealth Communities (CCC)

  2. Chris Hedges' concept of a survivalist community

  1. Cooperative Commonwealth Communities
  1. Chris Hedges' concept of separatist communities

  1. Similarities and differences between the two concepts of community

Nomenclature

      "As the current worldwide economic devastation increases," Diotima Mason said, "capitalists have come up with a new method of looting taxpayer money and giving it--no strings attached--to fat cat Wall Street bankers. Some people are so brain-dead that they mistake this for socialism. This scam is not even what is called nationalization--the transformation of corporate assets into state assets.

      "As predatory capitalism produces economic catastrophe in all areas of human life, evident for all to see, some suggest that we adopt a title for our communities that would make it clear that we are anti-capitalist and socialistic.

      "From the origin of our cooperative commonwealth communities, we deliberately chose not to involve ourselves in the structures, policies, or terms related to socialism, communism, or marxism. 'Communism' is a term fraught with negative connotations--as in 'the fall of communism in 1991,' and its advocacy of armed overthrow of capitalist society is completely opposite to our commonwealth movement's non-violent methods. Socialism as a historic movement also contains a great deal of negative baggage, such as the fact that many early American and European socialists continued to embrace Russian communism when it had devolved into a totalitarian dictatorship under Stalin.

      "The only partially useful socialist grouping at present is the Socialist Equality Party (SEP), which is in political solidarity with the International Committee of the Fourth International. Two debilitating flaws incapacitate this party:

  1. Like all socialist or communist organizations, the Socialist Equality Party does obeisance to such iconic figures as Karl Marx and Leon Trotsky as almost infallible 'prophets' and 'teachers.'

  2. SEP suffers from the defect of doctrinaire materialism, the inability to recognize the reality of the metaphysical and spiritual domains.

      "When the novelist Upton Sinclair ran for public office in California in the early part of the twentieth century, he discovered that most Americans reject the title of socialism. Running on the Socialist ticket he got 60,000 votes, and running on the slogan to 'End Poverty in California' he got 879,000 votes.

      "'So even though we share some of the same ideals as many socialists, it seems best if we avoid referring to our communities in terms of socialism, communism, or marxism,' Sinclair had stated."

      After discussion of Diotima's statements, the Council voted to retain the current title, Cooperative Commonwealth Communities, avoiding any reference in title or description to socialism, communism, or marxism.


Screening and Testing

      The state Council members discussed new proposals presented by the Membership Development Committee. The committee recommended that initial and annual tests be created in these areas:

  1. Critical thinking

  2. Progressive thinking and morality

  3. Self-development: self-awareness and self-improvement

  4. Skill achievement: specific skills for all three work categories: overseer, manager, technician

      These tests would be a part of the ongoing, lifetime learning process of the CCC enterprise. All members would be required to study their world, their communities, and themselves on a continual basis, on the principle that only informed members can effectively rule themselves.

      Tests would include computer-accessed instruments plus written assignments, all to be evaluated by the Membership Development Committee (MDC). Members would be required to take annual tests in these four areas and pass at a minimum level set by the MDC. Advancement in any position would be based on achievement of scoring levels in these four areas of testing plus evaluations by overseers, managers and technicians.

      The tests in the first three areas would provide insight into whether or not members made drastic alterations in their political-economic-social ideas and practices. The CCC enterprise, it was acknowledged, cannot assume that persons once achieving membership would necessarily remain in the same mind-set. If a person adopted new, counter-productive thoughts and activities this would need to be discovered and dealt with.

      The state Council voted unanimously for the MDC's recommendations, to be implemented as soon as the MDC could create and validate the tests and evaluation procedures.

      The Membership Development Committee also recommended that persons who qualify for membership in terms of financial holdings and informed interest but who do not initially succeed in passing the training program be allowed a second try in the CCC training program. From its research on initial failure of applicants in the training program, the committee had selected specific candidates to interview. They discovered that these applicants were still interested in additional training for the purpose of ultimate qualification for membership. The committee had come to the conclusion that it would be worthwhile to provide an additional training program for these special applicants.

      "We do not see these applicants as in any way basically unfit for membership," the committee's chairperson said to the state Council members. "In today's society, the quality of education in schools and colleges is so sub-standard and dysfunctional, that a kind of 'remedial' training program for select applicants seems in order."

      After thorough discussion of this proposal the state Council approved the project on a trial basis--for six months--after which time the committee would report on its findings.

Credits

     The Select Committee on Credits presented its findings and recommendations to the state Oversight Council. They recommended that CCC set up a system of credits, a word to be clearly distinguished from the term "credit," which possesses connotations of fractional banking and usury. Each member, it was recommended, should receive an equal number of credits each year, relative to her or his work in the community. All members can use their credits to make purchases within CCC communities in any manner they choose. Credits would be entered into the member's computer data file and credit acquisition and disbursement recorded as labor and expenditure transactions occur. Credits would be spent by the member presenting his CCC membership card to CCC enterprises, with digital data processing occurring in the CCC main data base system.

      This system of credits would avoid the necessity for a CCC currency or reserves in gold or silver. Additional credits could be gained by a member, but only up to a maximum set by the Select Committee on Credits. Such a maxim would disallow excessive levels of "wealth" as in the capitalist system, ensuring a degree of economic equality consonant with a cooperative society.

      The state Oversight Council voted unanimously to implement the Select Committee's recommendations, as soon as the computer technology division could complete the necessary data base and transaction software.


Public Relations

      During the American debate over healthcare, beginning in 2009, before the Obama puppet regime totally caved in to the healthcare insurance and pharmaceutical industries, the CCC cooperative healthcare system came in for considerable attention as a working cooperative, non-profit, healthcare model.

      The other ongoing system that attracted attention was the Group Health Cooperative in Olympia, Washington. Both the CCC and Group Health cooperatives were consumer-governed, nonprofit systems that coordinated healthcare and coverage, which meant not only were they insurance companies but also health care providers. Whereas Group Health Cooperative covered 600,000 in Washington state and Idaho, the CCC Healthcare Cooperative covered 25,000 people throughout the California areas where CCC had communities. While both Group Health and CCC ran their own medical centers, and employed their own medical staffs, Group Health contracted out hospital care and some specialized care, while CCC Healthcare had its own hospitals and special care units.

      The state Oversight Council decided that the CCC Healthcare Cooperative System should be specially featured on the CCC Web site, informing people of the outstanding benefits of a completely cooperative, consumer-governed, nonprofit system that combined healthcare and coverage.