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  • in reply to: What is this ‘Crisis’ of Modernity? #32325

    For Dr Diablo

    ” If that seems too slender a thread, read on French market gardening in the 1890s. ”

    Thanks, I shall be looking into that!

    in reply to: What is this ‘Crisis’ of Modernity? #32311

    As far as my limited competences extend, I agree fully with this analysis (and most everything I have read on this site).

    What I fear is seeing so much work being forgotten and not turned into something practical.

    Maybe the best – or only – thing we can do with such information is to see how to relate it to our immediate experience, where we can really do something, however small. And of course each of us has different, equally worthy, experiences.

    My experience is a very small but significant area – Florence’s Oltrarno district, which has been holding out in a way for 2000 years, and where we have managed to set up a network of resistance to the countless destructive forces that rain upon the area, simply by defending and self-managing a garden area behind the Carmine church where the Renaissance was born.

    This garden allows us to bring generations together and to unite new and “traditional” residents of the area and slowly build back a community, thanks for example to a self-managed football school which has ignited enthusiasm among children and parents, or by creating a free violin school, or monitoring pollution in the district.

    Websites like yours give us an enormous opportunity for understanding what the underlying problems of our times are; and many other websites provide fascinating insights into possible alternatives (I am thinking of the interesting output of some New Urbanists or of those who are involved in permaculture or other extra-urban choices).

    But the big question for us is, what kind of alternative, in times of global collapse, can we build in a highly urban context, in densely populated “historic centres” of European cities, with a very mixed population and very little nature? Survivalists can tell us beautiful things about remote mountains, architects can design new districts, but how can we build communities that can survive here?

    in reply to: The Only Man In Europe Who Makes Any Sense – Redux #32244

    One of the best pieces on the M5S I ever read.

    The M5S has managed to do several important things.

    First, it has broken the hold of identity politics in Italy – historically everybody who bothered to vote did so as a “Leftist”, a “Rightist”, a “Catholic”, a “Communist” etc. The problem with such identities being that they always hark back to something in the past and make it impossible to grasp a changing world.

    Second, I believe Italy is the only European country currently where there is a strong, radical opposition movement which is not tied down to fear of immigrants and to dreams of a return to national industrial glory. Though the movement seems over-optimistic on some issues, it still has an idea of transition which no other political movement has.

    Then of course the M5S has many problems – for example its ultra-democratic system for choosing candidates allows basically anyone with a few friends to click them into a comfortable job in Parliament; and their insistence on corruption and legality means that as soon as one member of the party gets into any kind of trouble (as any administrator sooner or later will), he has to leave.

    Another note – Italy is not only affected by corruption, defined as illegal activity. After the great trials of 1991 which struck illegal corruption, the whole system was overhauled to ensure the possibility of legal corruption through the creation of a network of part-public, part-private businesses, where huge public contracts were guaranteed by the public administrations, which also took on any losses, while all the profits went to private actors – largely a coalition between Fiat subsidiaries and the large industrial cooperatives stemming from the former Communist Party. All basically quite legal…

    in reply to: Fire With Fire #32237

    I found the “cumulative gross labor income growth” chart fascinating. It is the clearest picture I ever saw of what is happening in Europe.

    However, there is no source given, could you tell me where it came from?

    Miguel, Florence, Italy

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