alternative economies

The more I hear about the Occupy Wall Street movement that’s happening, and especially the “We Are The 99%” piece that’s come out of it, the more hope I have for this country (even while it breaks my heart.) It’s imperative that we have a voice, an inclusive & united voice to counteract this Tea Party nonsense that threatens the very fibers of our existence on this planet. It’s hard to not feel hopeless when the only politician who seems to care / is outside the money game is Bernie, when voting seems like a joke, and when the corporations feel like a juggernaut that will crush us all to make a buck.

But rather than occupying Wall Street, I find that my impulse is to abandon it. Occupy my own damn street? Sure. Wall Street? They can keep it. I’m swapping my big bank account from California for a locally run one that’s entirely self contained without outside interests. I’ll keep choosing local, handmade, secondhand, and independent companies for my purchases, keep looking for ways to barter and create alternative economies. At this point, it’s not just a statement, it’s a safety net. We need to build a system of likeminded people & support, resources for self sustainability, food swaps and co-operatives. Yeah, I’m not going to die wealthy,  but I think I’m ok with that. I’m still working and doing what I need to do to survive (vs my crazy anarchist teen years) & have a family. But I want to do it with my own rules. I know it’s not that simplistic, but it’s what I can do.

And yeah, the Koch bros. are making way more off selling petrochemical equipment to Iran than they are selling me some Brawny paper towels, but at least I feel like I can do something by taking myself out of their game as much as I can.

The corporations are going to do everything they can to make you think you need the shit they’re selling.

DON’T BUY IT.

27 Comments

    1. Thanks! It’s definitely a process – I have my new account open and have to wait for checks to come from them, then switch all my bills over, then switch my direct deposit. That site has a good checklist to make sure you havent missed anything!

  1. sometimes (to be honest, a lot of the time) I get so overwhelmed by all the things that are going on in the world. here in the netherlands, we are of course in a different situation than you are, but some of the problems are similar. it can be so hard to see what I can do with the anger and the sadness I feel, so hard to see what I can do to make some sort of positive contribution.
    then, it’s good to read this post – to be reminded of what I *can* do (vote with my dollars, like amanda said – well, vote with my euros :)), and that there are a lot of people out there who are on the same wavelength. thanks for writing, tamera!

  2. Hell yeah. I agree with everything you wrote (we’re also in the process of moving to a credit union, plus all the other local economy support.) However, the influence of Wall St extends well beyond what corporate boycotts can achieve. We need to reform campaign finance so unlimited “anonymous” (only to the public) backdoor donations aren’t permitted anymore. We need to re-institute Glass-Stegal to keep necessary checks and balances in the banking sector. We need to require that banks that loan money can’t repackage and resell the debt (which has led to enormously complicated ramifications in housing, student loans, and therefore the general economy). We need to cut off for-profit education from receiving outsize federal loans so they stop scamming veterans and students who are just trying to get ahead.

    But as for how we tie money back to actual value (and not “stock” valuations) we all need to support real people and local economies. But we also need to tear apart the financial and political chicanery that enabled this level of Wall Street corruption to thrive and presume to drive the everyday lives of the 99 percent of us.

    1. I totally agree, and hoped that support came across in my first paragraph. But I don’t feel empowered to put those changes in motion, and I don’t have confidence in politicians, or voting, or the system at all. I have NO IDEA how those things would come into being at this point.

      All I know is what I myself can do, even though it’s small.

  3. Yay!
    1: Credit Unions! They’re not for-profit outfits, so they won’t BofA on our asses.

    2: This is my new mantra when devastated and paralyzed:
    “Ask not what the world needs; ask what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

  4. I like Katherine Austin Fitts. http://solari.com/

    http://solari.com/blog/

    Her motto is “Until you change the way money works, you change nothing.”

    Along with what Becca mentioned, you can’t ignore the role of the Federal Reserve in everything that has transpired. With their license to inject too much money into the economy (a fiat currency backed by nothing), there was so much excess money chasing too few solid investments that the temptation to exploit the real estate market was overwhelming. The banks didn’t care because they sold the mortgages and they were bundled into securities and given high ratings even though they were junk. The creators of these securities made a fortune and everyone else paid the price. Then we were forced to bail the criminals out that screwed us over and we’ll be paying that tax bill forever.

    The Fed is not even a governmental entity. It’s a private organization that has the power to destroy. End the Fed.

  5. I shared this post with my partner the other day. When I read through the list of corporations and products I felt glad that we’ve already somehow weeded a lot of this stuff out, but it’s not enough. And alternative economies were really not something that was on my mind — an active thought process until now. I think I had resigned myself to, well, whatever. But you’ve renewed my desire to fight. Thank you for posting this.

  6. I have been really enjoying reading your posts about your move. I have been very inspired lately by you and other people who are leaving the cities and moving to the country in order to carve out an existence without all the stuff and hubub of city life. I am planning a move back home, too, to Maine, because I think my life would be of significantly higher quality than Philadelphia. I know I would have to do without alot of the conveniences, and I would have to live off less, but I am okay with that. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Interesting reading. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in this world – I always wonder whether I should be saving the money I have, or spending it to help the economy…you can only do what you’re able to do. That I’m in a position to be wondering this means I’m lucky, I guess!

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