“So you work in the garden.” Francesco was not asking a question, he was assuming that anyone who lived on a sustainable eco-village that grew a huge fraction of it’s own food would be involved in helping with that significant task. He assumed wrong.
Francesco came to us as part of the Portrait Story Project which started after Hurricane Katrina and interviewed survivors and drew strong pictures of them. He drew portraits of Coyote, Edmund and myself in 2010, like the one below.
Francesco had ridden his bike from Philadelphia to ask me questions about areas i had helped others with.
In response to Francesco’s assumption of my participation in agricultural work i replied.
“I dont work in the garden, i am a bureaucrat for the revolution.” Francesco laughed at my answer. He had of course heard tales of my fighting reactors in eastern Europe and the US, doing jail time for my beliefs. He did not think of me as a bureaucrat. Activists are interesting, exciting, important people and bureaucrats are dull and mostly useless.
But often i am. i push papers around and get approvals and schedule work crews, as i am for the TCLR roof, rather than swing a hammer. Part of my job is talking down people who we need to work with who are upset with us (as has happened with outside contractors on the CLR roof project), classic bureaucrat work. Bochie has tricked me into two garden shifts over my nearly 15 years here, both times when i was not a member of the commune. My thinking is there are a lot of people who love gardening and i hate it. They should clearly do these shifts.
And i do things that no one else here wants to do, especially asking lots of members if they want to help with the many different things it takes to run this place and i get lots of “no’s” in response. A large commune critically needs people who are willing to hear a lot of “no’s” or it needs a different internal communication culture than we have here.
And i have some mild guilt that i am not up on the TCLR roof swinging a hammer, which is inside my capacity and i do have some desire for, but in this compressed month it is not on the list of reasonable ways i might spend my time. So i will keep pushing papers, so others can keep swinging hammers.