Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Resilient Future

My new issue of YES magazine arrived yesterday. It is always a breath of fresh ideas that comforts my  sense of despair (after having watched the news  for two days about hostage-taking, miss universe, mosque debates, etc). This issue focuses on how to practice resiliency as we are faced with the slow collapse of capitalist civilizations.

*In one editorial, Boy M laments the possibility that  in the near future the $8B remittances of Fil Ams to relatives in the Philippines might dry up due to the economic downsizing in the U.S.
*In the news, GB has hijacked Martin Luther King and plans on a civil rights rally in DC on the anniversary of the I Have A Dream speech.
*It has all been predicted before: the escalation of race wars, escapegoating, war mongering.
*The Chronicle of Higher Ed's front page: How did we become a Nation of Fury?

Yet in this issue of YES, there are stories after stories of how ordinary folks are preparing for a post-peak oil future: from transition towns, to localization initiatives, to urban gardening, redesigning living spaces, redefining the meaning of work, re-defining education, plus insights on how to get out of Wall Street. These people get it. They know that nothing short of a radical shift in American values (of individualism, consumerism, competition, etc) is necessary. Another America is Necessary.

I long to have conversations like this in the Fil Am community. I am interested in the dilemma posed by Boy M: what would happen when the overseas remittance dries up? how can the Philippines re-imagine itself without this overseas remittance? what happens when we run out of oil to transport balikbayan boxes across the ocean or to fuel the airplanes carrying balikbayans? what would shift in the values of Filipinos in the diaspora and Filipinos in the homeland?

As a Filipino in the diaspora and as a US citizen, I join the many who are recognizing that the burden of creating smaller carbon footprint on the planet lies on the affluent countries. I suspect that part of the contraction of the US economy might be from the collective practices of folks who are already consuming less voluntarily or involuntarily. Of course, that's just a sliver of the reality; the bigger piece has to do with the macro: the fatal flaw and consequence of the gospel of free trade.

Furthermore, when asked if white supremacy can be divorced from capitalism, Immanuel Wallerstein at the US Social Forum said NO.


  1. Thanks for the post, Leny. I am badly in need of an issue of YES. Just heard on the radio yesterday how U.S. corporations are pulling back outsourced jobs in India and Philippines...

  2. Yes, Jean. The economic contraction in the US will affect this outsourced jobs. I wish to see more dialogue on this in the community's social media but where is it? I wish I can start a local Filipino transition community but I don't know many folks who are ready to do this.

  3. I subscribed!

    what do you mean, exactly, by a "local Filipino transition community"? Do you mean something like a work community, like Nextspace? Or a support community for people newly arrived in the U.S.?

  4. There are Transition Communities all across the U.S. and the world. People who are thinking about how to live together, how to create community in a postpeak-oil world. There is a Transition Sebastopol but none in Santa Rosa. Still, a FIlipino one would be great:-)