lets ignore the difference in dates between this post and the last. just move on. If you wanna see more on this blog, be part of the chopping. let me know if you want to write/post.
Like this post? Like Freegans? Read Dumpster Diving, an Ethnography, right here on the small axe!
So… sunday night on wxjm , The Sounds of Planet Earth focused on Freeganism, as well as $300,000 truffles, the ovulation of strippers and skallywagging. We got the bulk of the show recorded, and you can check that out here.
So what is a Freegan? From freegan.info:
“ Freegans are people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. Freegans embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed.”
This topic seemed particularly relevant considering the holiday push to show your love through exceedingly rediculous and unnecessary purchases, 30% of which ends up in attics if they’re lucky, thrown in trash heaps somewhere “away” if their fate is like the “more than 96 billion pounds of Edible Food Lost by Retailers, Foodservice, and Consumers in 1995”. 1995 was a long time ago.
Freegans, and many others (Off the gridders, Earth First!ers, Food not Bombers, and Freedom Mountain Academy, come to mind) are attempting to opt out of a society that they recognize as not only exploiting our environment/natural resources/ inter-dependent-life-systems , but that also exploits other humans in the outrageous quest for the never ending profit.
A Freegan recognizes that by spending money on a thing, one is supporting the processes and the system that brought that thing to you. Freegans denounce the violence, the pollution, the unsustainable nature of the system that brings most things in most stores to us, and so strive to remove themselves, their activities, their money etc. from that system as much as possible. For those of us who have read Ishmael, its hard not to think of the concept of pyramid builders walking away from the building of pyramids.
We also read an excerpt from an out of print work called “Why the Village Movement”, by Gandhian philosopher and economist J. C. Kumarappa. It goes something like
“If the raw materials for making cocoa are obtained from plantations on the
West coast of Africa which use some form of forced native labour, are
carried by vessels on sea routes monopolised or controlled by violence,
manufactured in England with sweated labour and brought to India under
favorable customs duties enforced by political power, then a buyer of a tin
of cocoa patronises the forced labour conditions in the West coast of
Africa, utilizes the navy and so partakes in violence, gains by the low
wages or bad conditions of the workers in England and takes advantage of the
political subjection of India. All this responsibility and more also is put
into a little tin of cocoa!”
So this year, when you’re shopping till you drop amongst the fields of listless Zombies at your local consumer bazaar, think a little about what your money is supporting, think about where its going, and what those piles of plastic bags, broken gadgets and useless widgets is doing to that far off place called “away”