Russell Kanning Tilts at I.R.S. Office Windmill

Russell Kanning was arrested twice for attempting to hand out leaflets to employees of the IRS office in Keene, New Hampshire — leaflets urging them to quit their jobs to avoid complicity in the conspiracy of war crimes that is the federal government.

He’s going to try again this week:

Tilting at Windmills is my term for daring to attack the US government … the most powerful empire known to mankind. They are evil and need to be stopped, but violent warfare is not moral or effective. We also do not have any violent weapons that can beat the feds, so we must embrace nonviolence.

The first step, here in Keene, was to kick the federal officials out of our town. We have 3 offices that I know of here. The IRS office on main street is above the post office. The SSAdmin is near the central square. The military recruiters are on Winchester St. across from Walmart. The IRS office is the biggest and most resembles a “fed building”, so that was our first target.

This time I will try to take 1 flyer to 1 IRS employee and have a conversation about the evils of the federal government and the need for them to quit. I will also most likely talk to the security guys. If anyone wants to join us we will be in front of the IRS/post office building at with anti-tax and war signs.…

I’ll keep you posted as to how the windmills and the tilter fare.

Wow. On one fifth of an acre, sandwiched between freeways in Pasadena, California, the Dervaes family home is hosting what they call “a homegrown revolution, using our hands as weapons of mass creation”:

The yard has over 350 varieties of edible and useful plants. The homestead’s productive 1/10 acre organic garden now grows over 6,000 pounds (3 tons) of organic produce annually, providing fresh vegetables and fruit for the family’s vegetarian diet, along with giving a source of income.

The family operates a viable & lucrative home business that supplies area restaurants and caterers with salad mix, edible flowers, heirloom variety tomatoes and other in-season vegetables. The income earned from produce sales offsets operating expenses and is invested in appropriate technologies, such as solar panels, energy efficient appliances, and biodiesel processor, to decrease further our homestead’s reliance on the earth’s non-renewable resources.

And you can read all about it on Path to Freedom, their informative, interesting, and inspiring web site. Thanks to Claire Wolfe at Wolfesblog for the link.

On that note, here’s an interesting article about a decade-old anarchist commune in Seattle whimsically named The Emma Goldman Finishing School. One of the commune members summarized the theory behind these intentional communities: “The theory is: Revolution is not the moment that you seize power. The revolution is the building of day-to-day alternative systems and structures.”

Their alternative system & structure looks a little like this:

If you live at Emma’s, you do not have to work at a paying job, but you can’t spend more than $15,000 a year, no matter how much you earn. You cannot own a car, but for four hours of labor a week, you can join Emma’s car co-op with three vehicles, all equally decrepit. There are home-cooked vegetarian meals most nights, though you have to be willing to eat food partially harvested from Dumpsters (somewhere between 10 percent and 20 percent of the community’s food is scavenged). Illegal drugs aren’t allowed, but the commune home brews its own beer. All decisions are made by consensus. Every week there is a three-hour house meeting where all the final decisions for the commune are made. You can’t be lazy and live at Emma’s, and it helps if you have a good sense of humor. Emma’s members are white, middle-class, college-educated, dedicated nonviolent revolutionaries, currently between the ages of 23 and 40, trying to concretely realize their utopian vision in the middle of a dystopian world of war, famine, disease, and ecological devastation.…

Emma’s has adopted a modified form of income sharing called labor sharing. The fundamental principle is that an hour of anyone’s time is equal to an hour of anyone else’s time. In the community, and in the world its members envision, an hour that Cooper spends as executive director of a nonprofit is equal to the hour that Berkman spends taking garbage out of a Dumpster.…

Currently, each of Emma’s members owes the community 118 hours a month. Those can be worked entirely inside the house — at the moment, two members have chosen that option — or nearly entirely outside the house at a paying job. The exception is that everyone must help clean the common areas.

People who receive income from paying jobs turn over all of their wages to the commune. In exchange for their income and household labor, members receive food, shelter, health insurance, transportation (bus passes and car co-op), a modest retirement savings, and educational expenses, including payments on student loans. Members also receive a small personal allowance, currently maxed out at $417 a month, for clothing, entertainment, hobbies, and the like. The living expenses for each member add up to around $15,000 annually, which puts them in the lowest 10 percent of income for individuals in Seattle. For Emma’s members, their voluntary poverty is a living critique of capitalist consumerism.

Any money that the community receives over and above expenses and allowances is loaned to a “social justice fund” (members who leave are reimbursed over time for their financial contributions). Currently at around $100,000, the fund is part of the group’s plans to help like-minded people start revolutionary projects in Seattle. “We have a distinctly expansionist strategy,” says Parke Burgess, 40, a member for the last three and a half years. Burgess explains that Emma’s members hope to help jump-start dozens of residential communities and worker-run collectives in the area. “Hopefully, there will be a meat-eating commune or one where they all smoke cigarettes. Our hope is to create a microcosm of Seattle in these many communities. They could be residential or a food distribution system or a zero-interest bank or risk pools instead of conventional insurance. That’s a huge focus of our hope and dreams for this institution.”