True Leveller

Well, it looks like I am out of the international development game for a while.

Last year I took a more or less full-time position as an organic farm manager at what was portrayed as a children's environmental education center in the Czech Republic. In short I found that instead of a Czech environmental organization I was mixed up with a repugnant Indian cult called Ananda Marga. I kicked around Central Europe a bit, nearly doubled my Russian vocabulary, and came back to the States last fall with the intention of getting graduate school out of the way in the next two years.

I'm feeling my way towards making this page less personal and more of a networking vehicle. Please note that I am not necessarily aligned with the host of any link you may follow- some are there just for explanatory purposes. As you will see, I prefer to link directly out of prose. If you know of any context-relevant articles or other resources I could link to, let me know. On that note, consider signing the guestbook. If I know why you are here I may eventually learn why I am here. See what the others wrote.

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as of 7 Aug 1998: Critiquing Active Resistance 1996

Harry Cleaver notes that people who provide information and counsel to the state-corporate axis are known as policy analysts, whereas people providing those services in opposition are called activists. In some ways I count as an activist, but for reasons not yet sorted out I have always disliked the term.

For about the past four years I have been building qualifications to do agricultural and community development work, which unfortunately has led only to a single false start. Now I am turning back to the academic world for a time.

It is my belief that the problems of countries undergoing sharp economic decline at present may hold lessons for other industrial societies as they approach economic and ecological limits. I think it is extremely important to follow how these countries will solve their problems, so that decline in other industrial systems will be less painful. In other words I believe that the Eastern European countries, beset by contamination of soils, breakdown of the social-economic contract, and shortages of fuel and spare parts will find a way forward out of necessity. I see myself in a dual role in this process, as an observer and as a bearer of knowledge and techniques that may advance the situation of people in need.

Russians, for example, have for decades been producing much of their food on little garden plots around every city. There are certainly lessons to be learned from this tradition and from the socialist heritage , which is kind of a wild card. All people resent collective arrangements being forced on them, but the economic facts of existence are often such that they survive by elaborate and informal mutual-aid networks. It's exactly such networks that enable economically marginal people to survive everywhere, and from which we may be able to learn the most.


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