samuel alexander

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intro’d to Samuel in watching .. a simpler way (doc)

A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity (2016)

A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity is a free feature-length documentary that follows a community in Australia who came together to explore and demonstrate a simpler way to live in response to global crises. Throughout the year the group build tiny houses, plant veggie gardens, practice simple living, and discover the challenges of living in community. This film is the product of hours and hours of footage that I shot during that year-long experiment in simple living.

a bit of instant resonation: short (for apeople experiment)… 1 yr to try commons .. 1 yr to be 5.. et al

6 min – nick lampell – mother’s ashes.. seed for us.. then intro’d to Samuel’s book entropia.. wurruk’an born – seek

taj gets tiny house

rest of notes on a simple way page


2016 – pdf – a wild democracy

Our ongoing political challenge, therefore, is to ‘accomplish’ democracy anew, every generation. (from Dewey)

perhaps..every day..


wild democracy signifies a radical and participatory eco-egalitarian politics that seeks to take root beyond the tired parliamentary distinctions of Left and Right, but also beyond (and yet between) the antagonistic but enriching poles of anarchism and Marxism. As I will explain, wild democracy is a localised politics with a global perspective, positioning itself ‘in the wild’ beyond the state and yet, at times, pragmatically engaged with the state. In short, wild democracy is a revolutionary politics without a Revolution, as such – a paradox I will unpack and defend below

p 2

The framing question is: how can seven billion people (and counting) live sustainably on our fragile planet?

listen to the dance already in each one of us.. perhaps detox.. by watching a deep/simple/open enough dance.. to wake us.. to us.. ie: a nother way

that we ‘rewild’ democracy in order to ‘accomplish’ democracy.

yes that.. re wild.. everyday.. as the day..

unite the diversity of radical imaginations,

p 3

First and foremost, it also means living in the utopian spirit of creative renewal –

utopia ness

prefiguring alternative, post-capitalist modes of existence – even if at first they are always and *necessarily partial, compromised, temporary, and smallscale.

perhaps *necessarily not partial.. small scale yes.. ginorm small.. but perhaps the times beg we leap.. for (blank)’s sake

Whether engaging in acts of resistance or renewal, the wild imagination is the most potent force at the disposal of post-capitalist social movements. The path beyond is, as yet, unimagined. This is the democracy ‘to come’.

wild/wildness/wilderness.. imagination 

In a sentence, this notion reflects the idea that human activity is now so fundamentally degrading the ecosystems of Earth that this constitutes nothing less than a new geological era – the first geological era ‘caused’ by humans.

anthropocene ness

p 5

Voting cannot possibly complete our civic duty, because our range of representatives is depressingly limited –

binary ness

… We must, therefore, reinvent democracy for our moment in history. We must explore the democratic ‘wild’ beyond the ballot box, and beyond the increasingly obsolete LeftRight distinction, in order to make political contributions to governance or selfgovernance in some more coherent and significant way. So what are our options? What resources do we have to draw on when trying to orientate ourselves in radical political space today

perhaps we have the tech capabilities (io dance ness) to redefine decision making..

be\cause public consensus always oppresses someone (s)

Marxism represents the most prominent alternative to the capitalist mode of economy and representative democracy, so it’s an obvious place to begin considering what a radical politics might mean, and a useful point of departure for understanding the politics of wild democracy. …..Capitalism, he argued, could not be reformed. It had to be replaced. From this perspective, what is needed is a revolutionary movement, driven by the working class, which would overthrow the capitalist state, abolish private property, and establish state socialism (i.e. social control of the means of production). To oversimplify

p 6

in the extreme, this new political economy would be defined by the Marxian slogan of distributive justice: ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.’ Marx believed that he had uncovered the ‘laws of history’ and that the inherent contradictions of capitalism would inevitably lead to a communist utopia.

p 7

Marx was right to reject capitalism as unjust and undemocratic, and the position of wild democracy expounded and defended in later sections rest, in part, upon this Marxian critique of capitalism. But what of Marx’s revolutionary strategy? And his communist alternative?


Capitalism may be unjust, but there is not one, single conception of a just alternative that should be imposed upon society by an enlightened, revolutionary vanguard party. …Everything, always, is context-dependent, which calls for theoretical humility and warns against universalist political statements

p 8

Anarchism is a political worldview and practice that rejects, not rules, but rulers.


p 9

there is no necessary clash between Marxists and anarchists in their conception of the ideal society – both are stateless. The defining antagonism is with respect to the state’s role in the transition. Given that the question of ‘transition’ is central to understanding political engagement today, this is not a tangential or inconsequential debate within radical politics.

p 13

One eco-socialist response would be that the transition must be global, but this gives rise to the problem of being the ‘first mover’. For example, it may be that globalised ecosocialism could avoid capital flight – there would be nowhere to fly to! – but this would require a near-simultaneous global transition, which, for the foreseeable future, seems breath-takingly implausible

so infuse tech/mech into a simpler way.. so that leap is very plausible/doable..

A related anarchist criticism of democratic eco-socialism is that by the time any mass movement for eco-socialism had emerged, the post-capitalist transition would have or should have already been completed, or mostly completed. That is, by the time there is a broad culture that wants eco-socialism, the social movement would have already created the new society via grassroots participatory action. This strategy also provides one way to deal with the critical issue noted in the previous paragraph. Rather than risk capital flight or economic collapse, or wait for a globalised eco-socialist movement to take root, the anarchist strategy would involve building the New Economy B under and within Old Economy A, in such a way that could avoid the destabilising effects of a ‘top down’ implementation of eco-socialism. 2

exactly what i/we’ve been working on..  a means for 7 bn to leap.. peacefully.. per choice.. [aka: a quiet revolution]

p 14

on .. perhaps still vote

not wild enough.. for humanity

For the foreseeable future, at least, and possibly forever, a citizen’s most important political contributions can only take place ‘in the wild’, beyond the mechanisms of representative democracy

agree.. so let’s make all else irrelevant.. for one.. it’s taking up too much of our time..

Obviously, the culture-shift must get well underway in advance of any culturally digestible political campaign for eco-socialism.

and if we do it right.. campaigns are instantly irrelevant

p 15

Therefore, I contend that the primary task today, both for eco-anarchists and ecosocialists, is to provoke a cultural revolution in consciousness.

agreed.. 2 convos.. ness.. toward eudaimoniative surplus

being exposed to new experiments in living can be one of the most effective ways to engage people about the issues motivating the experiments. Nothing persuades, inspires, or educates quite like a real world example of new mode of living and being, even on a small-scale.

rev of everyday life .. as experiment.. let’s facil that

There will be no deliberate transition beyond capitalism – whether eco-socialist, eco-anarchist, or another other way – until more people see that other worlds are possible. In that light, all visions of alternative modes of living should be encouraged in order to help ignite people’s revolutionary imaginations. We need a flourishing *biodiversity of resistance and renewal.

The real problem, I contend, is figuring out how to open up people’s imaginations to the very possibility of alternative modes of existence.

agreed.. graeber model law.. and why: short bp ness

*everyday.. as the day.. aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake

equity: everyone getting a go everyday.. instigation utopia everyday..

p 16

I maintain that it would be better to achieve anarchism with the partial and temporary support of the state than not achieve anarchism at all.

why the other way has to be designed for everyone.. inspectors of insptectors .. it has to be deep enough that we all crave it.. and then that we’re all so focused/happy/whatever .. that we start trusting our one ness..  (rather than trying to measure/validate it/us)

p 17

If a mass movement is what is needed and desired by these various radical imaginations, then recognising the importance of ‘marketing’ or ‘presenting’ our visions in the best way possible is an issue that cannot be dismissed as unimportant or tangential.

graeber model law


find/follow Sam:

Dr. Samuel Alexander, co-director of the Simplicity Institute, is a lecturer at the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne, Australia, teaching a course called ‘Consumerism and the Growth Economy: Interdisciplinary Perspectives’ into the Masters of Environment. He is also a Research Fellow with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. He is author of Prosperous Descent: Crisis as Opportunity in an Age of Limits (2015),Sufficiency Economy: Enough, for Everyone, Forever (2015), and Entropia: Life Beyond Industrial Civilisation (2013), and editor of Voluntary Simplicity: The Poetic Alternative to Consumer Culture (2009) and co-editor of Simple Living in History: Pioneers of the Deep Future (2014).

As well as his academic work, in recent years Sam has been working on a ‘simpler way’ demonstration project called Wurruk’an. He is also founder of the Simplicity Collective, a website and social network dedicated to exploring the relationships between voluntary simplicity, energy descent, and post-growth / degrowth economics.  Dr. Alexander’s PhD thesis, conducted through Melbourne Law School, is entitled “Property beyond Growth: Toward a Politics of Voluntary Simplicity”.

The Simplicity Institute is an education and research centre seeking to:

– seed a revolution in consciousness that highlights the urgent need to move beyond growth-orientated, consumerist forms of life

– envision and defend a ‘simpler way’ of life at a time when the old myths of progress, techno-optimism, and affluence are failing us

– transform the overlapping crises of civilisation into opportunities for ‘prosperous descent


Contributing authors include:

s.alexander  at – said.. couldn’t send because full..

s.ussher   at

at uni of melbourne: