November 4, 2012



I’m back online after five days being knocked off. Two of them without power. Many of my friends are doing far worse. Just a few miles away, the latest company estimates that they’ll get power back by the 11th are improvements on previous estimates.
I didn’t miss being online much. As with a previous forced break, I quickly got used to no internet and found it relaxing and productive. The exception was having no e-mail. Ironically, I came back on to find few messages and no one to whom to write, since everyone I know is still offline.
Nevertheless, on the whole we did OK. I was at my friend’s farm yesterday (where I grew corn and edamame this year) to help clean up (my third attempt to get through; my attempt on Tuesday was especially interesting and, in hindsight, dangerous). Except for a belfry knocked off the barn, things are in pretty good shape there. No flooding, unlike after Irene a year ago. The community garden looks great, like nothing happened.
The gas lines are extraordinary, but a foretaste of what will become more ordinary. The whole thing’s a microcosm of Peak Oil in general. The increasing complexity of the system renders its temporary crippling in the case of each new blow ever more devastating and prolonged. I’m reminded forcefully of how just a year ago the fleeting blizzard wreaked similar havoc. Today’s havoc is far worse. But I think of how in the decades I’ve lived here stuff like this never happened. It’s now getting to be a regular event. I wrote last year how the Olduvai Theory of Peak Oil predicts exactly these phenomena. I think I’ll repost it today.
So far I’ve been lucky with the gas. I filled up on Thursday with only a short line to wait. Since then the backups at the handful of stations open have become mind-boggling. (Thursday the radio said only 20% of NJ stations were open. The proportion around here is far less.) A big part of the tension and anguish is how few people understand what’s happening with fossil fuels and the limits to complexity. In a crisis people need a way to understand what’s happening. I’ve heard some wild stuff, and of course the standard government-will-save-us (“Obama-will-save-us”, depending on the speaker) nonsense about strategic oil reserves and buying oil from more “countries”. The truth would serve people better. Part of the movement’s job is to spread the truth.
Speaking of which, the Food Freedom movement needs a new Internet profile. The existing sites and blogs are insufficient, ad hoc, and have mostly a reformist pro-government tone. Don’t get me started on the NGO-Monsanto complex who want the Food Control Act to become aggressively effective. I feel combined despair and contempt when I see how supporters of the Right to Know initiative in California have let themselves be thrown onto the defensive. (One of the few e-mails I had was from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, parroting the craven defensive line.)
The right response to corporate lies is to redouble the offensive, repeat and escalate the aggressive charges, and throw the lies back in their face, blaming them for everything that happens. This the only thing that works, and it’s also the truth.
So the Community Food/Food Relocalization movement, and the broader Food Sovereignty movement, need a new forum dedicated to vigorous discussion of true principles and the strategy, tactics, and operational goals that follow from these. 



  1. thanks For the update The more I read your post the better I understand your intent.. is there anything those who are far away can do for your community to help you get back to normalacy?

    Dave Outlaw

    Comment by W David Outlaw — November 4, 2012 @ 8:03 am

    • Thanks Dave. I guess the best thing any community can do to help all communities is to start rebuilding itself economically and politically, start detaching from the system, and thereby help bring about the end of corporatism. I wonder how many of the people wasting half their day in line in the car think of how this system forces them into that car and then can’t provide enough fuel for it. That’s Peak Oil, and that’s neo-feudalism.

      Comment by Russ — November 4, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

  2. Hi Russ. I’m very glad to hear you’re doing faring well, post storm. I think people up there now have a good idea why so many of us Floridians have generators, water purification, 30 gallons of gasoline stored, food for weeks, etc. Anyhow, thought it was long past time for me to say hello. Hello! Be well, my friend.

    Comment by bloodgroove/Johnny D. — November 4, 2012 @ 9:12 am

    • Hi Johnny D, great to hear from you! Thanks for your good wishes, and I hope you and yours are doing well.

      Comment by Russ — November 4, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

  3. Generators are good only as a stopgap, though. The gas mess proves that. We fared okay once we started strictly rationing ourselves to one hour in the morning and the evening, just in order to do laundry, shower and fill containers. I thought frequently to myself that this is what everyone will be doing regularly in the future, except the government will be ordering and enforcing the practice.
    I’m thoroughly disgusted that our useless oven cannot be used without a source of power. I grew up with ovens that you could light with a match when power failed. What creep would design these useless things?!!

    Comment by DualPersonality — November 9, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

    • Sorry to hear about your oven, DP. Yes, the government will have to ration among individuals, although the vast corporate use will continue unabated for as long as possible.

      Comment by Russ — November 10, 2012 @ 6:08 am

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