Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Make it Yourself

Today it’s time to lighten the mood.
Yesterday I came across this hilarious gif while perusing my daily blogs (thanks PoppyTalk!):

This cracked me up so completely (I know, simple things!) that it inspired me to write about Crafty types (like the person who made this gif) and the DIY ethos in anarchism.
Crafty people are cool. Controversial statement, I’m sure, but even if everything crafty people make isn’t cool (crochet doilies perhaps?) then just the fact that person is making something original, by hand, is very cool.
The survivalist in me thinks that we ALL need to learn more hands-on skills ourselves, in order to survive the coming apocalyptic post-peak-oil-global-warmed society that will one day befall us. But even if you aren’t anticipating the downfall of society as we know it, there’s still a lot to be gained from a hands-on lifestyle.
Growing a proportion of your own food is a simple hands-on activity that can save you money and make you healthier, as you get exercise, nutrient rich food and fresh air. Making your own clothes allows you to source your own ethical materials and create off-the-rack or unique items for a low cost.
Similarly, building (or even designing) your own furniture means you can create what you need for your own specific site. If you learn upholstery you can re-cover that great couch instead of taking it to the tip and buying a new one. Want to go one step further? Learn how to build and maintain your own tools, and you can create anything.
The potential for creating whatever you need is exponential when you consider 3D printing. Do you need a part? Just create it. Do you need a tool? Again, just create it. There are open-source designs available for building, by hand, the equipment required for ‘starting a civilization’, including how to build a basic tractor, welder, engine and power supply. See Global VillageConstruction Set for more info.

With the ability to fulfill our own needs, we no longer have to rely on the state or corporate institutions. You may ask “Why would I bother? Why shouldn’t I rely on my government and corporations fulfilling my needs?” and the answer has been given repeatedly all over the world, when things go wrong the institutions look after themselves.
Look at all the austerity measures in Europe with social services being cut back relentlessly, while the bankers who caused the crash are still claiming their million dollar bonuses. Of course, pensions and superannuation can be lost at any time when some ‘rogue’ trader blows your entire pension fund on a cocaine-fuelled gambling trading spree (there's always a 'rogue' trader when they describe it on the news, to pretend the whole stock market isn't one big casino).
So after 40 years of service to society as a good employee your pension disappears at the last minute and you’re asked to work another 10 years to make ends meet.
Of course the corporate institutions have even less to gain from making sure you have your needs fulfilled. It is their job to make you want things you haven’t got, and to make you buy those things. As long as the shareholders are profiting then human rights, ecological awareness and ethical trading aren’t even considered.
There is an alternative to working your entire life for someone else, just to have your pension disappear, you can learn to look after yourself. You don’t need to do everything, that’s where communities of like-minded people come in; they learn from and help each other.
Start small. Plant some herbs in pots for your kitchen window, or learn how to sew. And who knows, you might even develop a passion for doing something creative, and find an alternative source of income from wage slavery. And it’s not like all our creations need to be sensible or serious. Take for instance the amazing talents of this lady who created the quilt shown below.

What funny/crazy/creative thing have you come across lately? Add a link below and share. 

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