Sunday, February 02, 2014


I'm sorting again.  This big pile is only part of what's waiting to be dealt with.  Originally the idea was that I might run out of things to write about.  It turns out that I'm more likely to be trapped under an avalanche of paper.  Here's bits of what's discarded now.


1.  Setting clear goals and identifying options
2.  Securing emotional and financial investment
3.  Building in safety nets
4.  Creating monitoring mechanisms:  accountability
5.  Paying the dividends
6.  Fitting to the insider? instant?  insular????? (unintelligible)

COACH (as opposed to trying to be a player or controller) 
Set policy
Provide resources
Build morale
Create strategy

Blackfeet Learning Academy summits at Divide

Use as many techniques as there are kids
Land is the reference point
Need to give up stuff previously taken for granted
Educating the whole community is the only ethical basis for social tinkering
RETURN:  Not to farming
                  Not to the horse
                  Not to the dog
                  TO THE LAND

What are the qualities of successful hunter/gatherers?
How do cohort groups, like bands or clans or societies, actually work?



THE SHEPHERD’S MAXIM:  As authority enlarges itself, its obligation to protect from violence the individuals it controls increases, and the ability of those individuals to defend themselves from violence correspondingly decreases.

THE AMERICAN MANTRA:  Because the right to self-defense remains inalienable, each of us can and should maintain a self-reliant distrust of authority.

BILL’S OBSERVATION:  “Give me a doctor anytime.  For straightforwardness a soldier cannot be beat.  Like cops, doctors, mothers and whores, they’ve been through it and they cannot be fooled.”

CAESAR’S MAXIM:  Should I extend mercy beyond expediency, then I have the right to commit whatever aggression I please.

CORTES’S MAXIM:  In order to secure and defend my ground, I have every right to conquer yours.

THE KLANSMAN’S MAXIM:  if I believe your race or culture threatens mine, I have the right first to threaten you back, then to remove your threat by violence.

THE VICTIM’S MAXIM:  If any members of your side harmed any members of my side, then your side is in the wrong.

TROTSKY’S MAXIM:  No one who disagrees with me is allowed to judge me.

* * * * * * * 


MONTANA MAXIM:  Winner takes all.

REZ MAXIM:  Being the “last man standing” is the same as winning.


by Marge Piercy

This is how things begin to tilt into change,
how coalitions are knit from strands of hair,
of barbed wire, twine, knitting wool and gut, 
how people ease into action arguing each inch,
but the tedium of it is watching granite erode.

Let us meet to debate meeting, the day, the time,
the length.  Let us discuss whether we will sit
or stand or hang from the ceiling or take it lying
down.  Let us argue about the chair and the table and
the chairperson and the motion to table the chair.

In the room fog gathers under the ceiling and thickens
in every brain.  Let us form committees spawning
subcommittees all laying little moldy eggs of reports.
Under the grey flourescent sun they will crack
to hatch scuttling lizards of more committees.

The Pliocene gathers momentum and fades.
The earth tilts on its axis.  More and more snows
fall each winter and less melt each spring.
A new ice age is pressing the glaciers forward
over the floor.  We watch the wall of ice advance.

We are evolving into molluscs, barnacles
clinging to wood and plastic, metal and smoke
while the stale and flotsam-laden tide of rhetoric
inches up the shingles and dawdles back.
This is true virtue: to sit here and stay awake, 

to listen, to argue, to wade on through the muck
wrestling to some momentary small agreement
like a pinhead pearl prized from a dragon-oyster.
I believe in this democracy as I believe
there is blood in my veins, but oh, oh, in me

lurks a tyrant with a double-bladed ax who longs
to swing it wide and shining, who longs to stand
and shriek, You shall Do as I Say, pig-bastards.
No more committees but only picnics and orgies
and dances.  I have spoken.  So be it forevermore.



Do on jump on ancient uncles.
Do not yell at average mice.
Do not wear a broom to breakfast.
Do not ask a snake’s advice.
Do not bathe in chocolate pudding.
Do not talk to bearded bears (!)
Do not smoke cigars on sofas.
Do not dance on velvet chairs.
Do not take a whale to visit
Russell’s mother’s cousin’s yacht.
And whatever else you do,
It is better you do not.



I like to walk
And hear the black crows talk.

I like to lie
And watch crows sail the sky.

I like the crow
That wants the wind to blow.

I like the one
That thinks the wind is fun.

I like to see
Crows spilling from a tree,

And try to find
The top crow left behind.

I like to hear
Crows caw that spring is near.

I like the great
Wild clamor of crow hate

Three farms away
When owls are out by day.

I like the slow
Tired homeward-flying crow,

I like the sight
Of crows for my good night.

-- David McCord

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