Skip to main content

When all this was over



Who would have known that all the old men, the old women, all their knowledge and experiences, all the people with asthma and diabetes, all the poor people and the indigenous people and disabled, the doctors, nurses and the ill would suffer and die so much from one moment to the next?

But by the time all the waves, all the quarantines and thousands dying every day, we had changed our society. We had been forced to reorganise, if we wanted to enjoy a life even a little bit like the life we had before the pandemic. We wanted to go out, we wanted to have some comfort, but we wanted to have food, to be able to offer some hope to our children, we needed a basis on which to build our lives.

But we dealt with it, back in the 20s. We rebuilt into a new society, and the names of those who suffered and died, of the doctors and activists, whistleblowers and rent strikers are now the names of our streets.

I am standing outside a replica of an urbanisation, a block of flats in hexagonal shape, typical of the Eixample neighbourhood in Barcelona, somehow transplanted to rural Scotland. Why did we bring a building design from so far away? Because wind power was our main source of energy, and this system, together with some iranian ingenuity has given us both a regulated temperature and electrical production. We use wind power channelled between the buildings to provide energy, warmth and fresh air. 30 Families live here side by side each one in six separate apartment blocks forming a wind rose. We are what is known in post covid scotland as a block community. A single isolating unit whose members may socialise between each other.

Here, just in the north east building we have a doctor, a dentist, a baker, a butcher, we manage the disinfection of a  weekly delivery that some of the younger inhabitants help with.

When there was the last of the recurring outbreaks near Manchester, we closed our doors for 2 months and survived on what we had in our block, in our small circle of people. Although our tiny communities are like a permanent lockdown system allowing us a simple social and economic life, it is backed by the state structures we can no longer rely on as we once did, and for many months in a year, we do without the supermarkets, the hospitals and airports and are forced to be healthy, to do manual work. On harvest days there is a regular rota of people from the blocks going to the fields in a constant timetable of workers, each working only with their block group..

As the crumbling pre pandemic structures began to show they couldn't really deal with adapting, new forms of governance emerged. We now had a social contract, an individual list of ethical vows and choices, that kept changing as our own beliefs and connections changed. It replaced the concept of a constitution as there was nothing to constitute, just individual agreements between people so they could all go on existing. Our new internet permitted this. We had kept most of the internet from before, just in a more disjointed way as the large providers closed down or went "elite", and as citizen wifi initiatives and data coops started to replace the bankrupt city networks and the mainstream internet, which had become a pay as you go nightmare due to crashing IT giants.

At the corner of the building, on the opposite side, we can see the next community, just a farm´s distance from ours. Each block community is surrounded by a green ring that brings them most of their nutrients and about a third of their total food intake. The rest comes from the old world of Tesco, Sainsburies and the like. Some of us don't practice farming in blocks, or they do but at a very reduced rate. These are the light industry blocks. A very different looking specialisation with a lot more machinery where our community is more farm based, the next one along is more industrial. We each grow enough food to sustain our own little group with minimal imports of whatever we can't produce inside.This way we really reduce the chance for any outbreak to get out beyond our walls, and for it to get in, as there is a shared policy between neighbour associations that each block will quarantine as soon as there is a case.

Many of the inhabitants take part in regional politics and coordination as well as remote working online, and there is now a federated internet that accompanies the more expensive services that have to be acquired by satellite or other expensive methods. But then they have to walk along the green path from the corner of our block, that leads to our fields. They have to work in the fields, harvest and sew just like everyone else.

We are not perfect, but we are a mini society, with all it's quirks, with injustice, protest, and sometimes progress, and even vague social classes although they no longer mean the same thing as before.In our little block we can usually socialise with the others, as we are a closed network, and most residents never leave the block and the adjoining lands and gardens if they aren't in the transport and delivery block.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

An app for mutual aid groups against coronavirus in Glasgow

After a bunch of mutual networks formed over the weekend of the 14th of March in Glasgow and as I can see from the internet, are still forming around the world, I started to look into the tech side of the response to coronavirus. A lot of things happening, with Tech companies giving away free access to their content, data bundles and services, during the crisis, On the other hand the governments plan and in some cases already carried out intrusive policies that violate many established privacy rights. Many people have also lost their jobs and the capacity to renew their data packages, so have gone offline, just at a time when online forms and services become a far more attractive format than going in person to somewhere that with the lockdown is probably now closed.

So many things can be solved: a neighbour can open their wifi network for others, a group of techies can help build a local wifi network that might cover all of Glasgow and beyond, coronavirus makers on telegram have alrea…

How could Scotland have a more resilient food system?

The question that's led me to write this has been how do we adapt long term, specifically here in Scotland, where I live now, to coronavirus and the idea that pandemics are here to stay if we stay this industrialised and globalised. How does a society look if it's to be resilient long term, sensible and ecologically regenerative? We do know a few things about this novel coronavirus that we seem to be slowly figuring out as it evolves and spreads, and I have almost a picture of how it might look in my head. Here is the closest I can get so far to it, on a regional scale at least:

In the picture, each block is a community of several households and work spaces, and each green space is where they grow crops, or graze animals. So why this system?

Around the time when it was obvious a lockdown was coming, I read a community organisation manual that mentioned how graph theory applies to limiting the spread of something like Covid-19. It advocates getting together with your closest ne…

Para Chile

El deber

Me sacaste mi tierra de debajo de mis pies.
Los andes se fueron volando y quedé al otro lado del mundo.
Y mientras no estaba, viste esas tierras y las saqueaste,
eran tuyas para destruir, porque no nos dábamos cuenta.

Estado fascista de Pinochet, que vendió esa tierra.

Las valles se hicieron viñas, mineras gigantes crecieron..
Pedimos que no se compraran las cebollas. Que íbamos a hacer?
Mataron por tantos años, de todas las maneras más crueles.
En la carretera mataste un niño, de 13 años, panadero
En la población de Camilo aún se llevan a la gente.

Aún atropellan y crean leyes para pegar mejor.
Para reirse de los derechos con escopetas.

La tierra sacude, se mueve, se levanta con la gente..

Tu modelo se rompió
Tu modelo del gran capital
El modelo de tu gente ya se rompió de repente
Tu modelo se rompió
Tu tiendita se saqueó
donde pagan poco y cobran mucho
precariedad consumista.

Patriarcado que rige el capital,
destruido por las encapuchadas.
El pueblo denunció
el estado asesi…