Calta is Power
Discovering, transforming and equalizing power. It is no coincidence that most of my "work" is on nuclear energy issues. But the definition is broader, to include political power in the form of building consensus and creating resistance to the existing inequitable structures. There is also the issue of power in intimacy - the ultimate search for balance. Finally, outsiders critique the corporation and a proposal for a new radical economic entity.
- Debate with Hans Blix, Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- "Giants Fall" Speech at Temelin NPP
- Gorleben RadWaste Blockade Report
- India, Pakistan and US Nuclear Weapons Hypocracy
- Chernobyl Anniversary Speech at Dukovany NPP
- International Hereld Tribune letter on Subcritcal Testing
Consensus Decision Making
- Shared Path, Shared Goal - Fingerbook Text
- Accessible Revolutions - unfinished
- With Open Hands: Fingerbook on Open Relationships
- Buyers Club and Barter Network
- Non-Monitary Economies Project
- Corporations as Machines: Form is Content [Mander]
- Rational Lotteries
- OPTEC: Open Public Trust and Equity Corporation
After Adela and i got married we went to the Temelin Action camp and she signed in as Adela Paxova-Kubickova. Taking my first name (instead of the last name) and adding the "ova" that women add to their husbands names when they get married (and drop their own name). Not really knowing what i was doing i signed in after her as Paxus Adelova-Calta, which got a riot of laughter from the Czechs. The "ova" extension is only used for women, and it actually means "the property of". But i kept it, wishing to honor my wife in my name and tangling the traditions of our two cultures.
I would find out many years later that Calta was a Sicilian word for Castle, but when i choose it the only thing it meant was 'power' in a language i had made up many years earlier. Pax Calta, Peace Power, it seemed like a good combination at the time and looking back a decade and a half later, it would appear this balance is at the center of my identity quest.
Kreisky Forum Speech - 5 Blossoming (May) 97
No rational definition of sustainability includes the current design of nuclear power plants. The people alive today receive the benefits from these reactors and then the following thousands of generations have to deal with the expensive and dangerous radwaste we are producing. Interim waste sites have been plagued by popular opposition, technical and geologic problems and as the recent UK decision demonstrates, governmental rejection. As for long term spent fuel storage - there is not an operating site anywhere in the world, though dozens of countries have been working on it, some for decades and billions of dollars have been spent, virtually every national program has been delayed.
To be sustainable a resource must reproduce itself. The ambitious plans for a nuclear breeder program are in a shambles - with the Super Fenix in France never to rise again due to endless technical and licensing problems. The Japanese breeder program is likely permanently derailed in the wake of the serious accident at the only operating breeder facility at Monju.
Reprocessing is the other way the nuclear industry has attempted to sustain itself. But the economics of reprocessing have always be questionable at best and now numerous utilities are canceling their reprocessing orders. The recent UK decision to block the NIREX dump site also seriously endangers the THORP facility in England, which now will likely have to add huge waste transport costs to its fragile economic justification.
I can sympathize with many of the people in the audience today and those listening to the nuclear debate in general. With the conflicting claims of the nuclear lobby (including the IAEA) and environmental groups - who should you believe? Perhaps the rule i use is helpful. Listen to the experts who have no vested interest in the industry. With this in mind permit me to read you a quote:
”Nuclear plants are thus uneconomic because at present and projected costs they are unlikely to be the least-cost alternative. There is also evidence that the cost figures usually cited by suppliers are substantially underestimated and often fail to take adequately into account waste disposal, decommissioning and other environmental costs.“
That is from the World Bank, which has no vested interest in nuclear power but with the experts needed to evaluate it.
On the topic of CO2 reduction. The British governments 1995 Nuclear review found it was 3 to 5 times cheaper to reduce CO2 with non-nuclear solutions, than by building more reactors. The UK is a pro-nuclear government, if they say reactors are not the solution to climate change, i tend to believe them.
But before we get to far into the question of if nuclear power is an appropriate solution to the problem of climate change, i think it is instructive to ask the question, even if it were a solution, Where would these reactors be built? The nuclear industry is in decline, all of North America and Western Europe, except France has stopped building reactors. Yet this is where nearly two thirds of the reactors on the planet are and most of the elaborate infrastructure needed for nuclear power is.
Electricity deregulation is the final blow to nuclear in West Europe and North America. The German power utilities have informed their minister of environment to stop advocating new nuclear construction, because they have no intention of paying for it.
In the US, operating reactors facing a deregulated market are looking at closing early. If we pause and consider this for a moment, it is an incredible situation. The major investment for nuclear is the initial construction and then the promise is low operating costs. But if operating reactors in the States can not compete in a deregulated environment, then there is no chance for new construction.
The French nuclear giant EdF has recently completed a study which shows for the first time that gas is cheaper than nuclear power. With there usually commitment to transparency and open discussion, EdF is not releasing its own study. But the French pro-nuclear Le Monde got leaked a copy and ran as a headline „The End of the Nuclear Age“. With EdF looking at US$ 30 billion of debt and a government forced debt reduction package, plus the prospect of no new replacement orders for reactors - things are not so bright for the model French nuclear industry.
Beyond all this, i would contend that nuclear is not only economically and environmentally unfriendly - it is also undemocratic. The recent string of accidents in Japan has convinced the majority of the population for the first time even that nuclear power is the wrong solution. Japan thus follows almost all of the western countries, where the initial popularity of nuclear power, promoted by the industry and government claims was consistently eroded.
So this is all pretty depressing, where are the energy solutions for climate change if not in nuclear?
For many sectors of the economy the problem of sustainability is vexing. What is the sustainable level of steel production? How many microprocessors can we make this generation and leave enough of the scarce component resources for the following generations?
Fortunately, we do not have this problem with energy resources. We have a whole class of energy sources which are renewable: Wind, solar, geothermal, ocean and biomass. Most of these come in several different forms. Every country has accessible renewable resources, most have vast untapped potential.
First lets look at the disinterested studies. The European Commission estimates that by using a best practices approach we can obtain 19% of our primary energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. This is nearly 3 times the current level. This expansion would also permit Europe to meet its currently proposed CO2 level commitment.
A more robust analysis was done by a group of technical universities which created the Low Energy Europe report. This shows that at the current level of energy services (distinct from electricity or energy supply), using the currently available best technology for both saving energy and capturing renewables, we can cover 100% of Europe’s energy needs with renewables.
In conclusion, we can see that in terms of promotion of nuclear power as a solution to the global problem of sustainable development we can see the IAEA has outlived its usefulness. Perhaps with Dr. Blixs departure, we can put in his place a director for a new UN agency, who’s task it is to promote renewable energy sources and efficiency.
Thanx you for your time.
PS During the discussion which followed the presentations. Hans Blix [outgoing Executive Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency] got upset when i said nuclear power was undemocratic and he said that the protests at Gorleben were undemocratic. In my reply i reminded him that the majority of the Germans support the protesters and he retorted that the government did not. To which i shot back „then we will have to replace the government, wont we?" [which has no happened], which brought a few laughs from the audience. Later when i was saying protest was a needed ultimate democratic check to governments because they make mistakes, Blix was shaking his head fiercely in the front row. But when reminded the audience that had it not been for such protests, we would still have communist regimes in most of eastern Europe, he stopped shaking his head suddenly - apparently never having considered this point.
October 1, 1995
You see that ? [point to the plant]
That is a symbol of the past. The worst of centralized decision making. A blind love for technology no matter how dangerous or expensive. And today it is a symbol of rich countries efforts to fool and rob the east.
If there is a positive future for this region it is in the people who are standing around you now. People who care about more than just money. People who think of things other than just themselves.
I was in England last year, talking to an old friend who is now a professor at a famous University of Economics there. I was telling him about our campaign against Mochovce.
He said we were foolish, that we were fighting giants, like the huge bank called the EBRD and the giant French utility, Electricity de France, that were determined to complete the reactors. He asked me why i did this work.
i told him it was the right thing to do.
He said i was wasting my time.
Today we have won, today we have forced both the EBRD and EdF out of the Mochovce project. Mochovce is dieing for a lack of money, a giant has fallen.
My friends from Bulgaria have stopped the Belene plant since the revolution in 1990 and their continued protests may well insure this plant is never finished.
This year in the US the Watts Barr II nuclear plant was stopped, it was more finished than Temelin, they had spent more money on Watts Bar II than they have on Temelin. But they cancelled the plant anyway, because it did not make economc sense to finish it.
To the south of here lies Austria, where in 1978, before Chernobyl and before the US accident at Three Mile Islands, Austrians voted to never start the 100% completed Zwentendorf reactor. When the government called this popular referendum, they were certain they were going to win it and the reactor would be started up. People just like you stopped that plant. That giant fell also.
In the Ukraine where the nuclear mafia is much more powerful than in the Czech Republic, the current plan is that the Chernobyl reactors will be closed and replaced with gas fired plants. Another giant downed.
My professor friend called me back from England the other day, he said he was wrong. We were not foolish. He wished us luck in our fight.
So when someone asks you why you do this work. Tell them first it is the right thing to do. And then remind them that giants do fall.
[Time 3 minutes without translation]
Germans do things in a big way. Twenty years ago the resistance to storage of nuclear fuel at the Gorleben facility started and for 18 of those years thru protests and legal actions they succeeded in preventing the arrival of any spent fuel shipments (tho some other waste was delivered). There have been two shipments since the German state finally broke through all the obstacles and the third one has just gone through - this is part of its story. The demonstrations have grown larger each year - this is a glimpse into the piece of it i saw.
What is interesting to me about the background is that many of the people who started the resistance movement against the Castor (which is the name of the fuel container) moved into the area and started working the land there. We are often talking about getting local people involved in various actions, this is a case where the actions went on for so long that the activists actually became the local people. This is a mostly agricultural area and the people who moved became farmers. But the local resistance is very deep, all thru the action old people from around the towns were seen supporting demonstrators in lots of ways, from cakes which arrived at midnight to rides for protesters on farm equipment between the 14 different camps which were organized along the routes of the transport. The kitchen told me that a significant amount of the food they prepared for the protesters was donated by the local farmers. But the support is actually much deeper, with farmers putting their tractors on the line in blockades, knowing that the police will likely smash them (as they have before).
We arrived the night before the transports did and the main camp was already several thousand. Rampenplan was cooking and asking only donations, they were loosing thousands no doubt, but were totally happy to be there, even with the stress. The sky regularly had helicopters in it, but the tactic from last year of flying very close to the ground and destroying tents had been abandoned. We walked over to the special crane which moves the Castors from the end of the train tracks to the trucks, from here they make the 18 km journey to the village of Gorleben.
Two things were amazing about the crane. The first was that we could get so close to it. We stood about 15 meters (about 50 feet) from it at the closest point. Last year some people climbed the fence and took a welder to the legs of the crane and managed to cut thru three of them before they were stopped, just short of collapsing the whole thing. Even with this history, there was only one low fence of 1 meter and then another high fence of about 4 meters, with simple three strands of barbed wire at the top. The crane itself stood well above the fence an easy target for someone coming from the trees or even with a good throwing arm and a rope from besides the tracks.
The second thing which surprised me was the relationship between the police guarding the crane and the protesters, it was extremely cordial. The police were making no effort to avoid conversation with the protesters, in fact they even initiated it on a couple of occasions i saw. Some protesters were allowed to sit on the first low fence with their feet over onto the police's side. I saw one protester offer an officer a paper tissue for his runny nose, he took it and they continued chatting. I wondered to myself if the police would be able to fully function the next day in beating the same people they had taken such kindness’ from the night before. And even if they did perform the mechanical work of beating up the protesters, certainly psychologically such contact makes the job expensive. Many protesters reported that the police guarding the transport opposed the transport, but felt they needed to do their job.
My favorite piece of propaganda from the action was a flier which was in the green color of the German police. It called on the police not to do the job of protecting the Castor transport and it gave a phone number for them to call. What was great about it is that it came from a groups of „critical police“, who were refusing to support the transport. When i talked with a few Germans about this they said that the civil service system in Germany was such that these police could not get fired for such insubordination, they would likely never get promoted again, but apparently they were driven by their beliefs to act in such a way - inspiring.
The Castors themselves are huge. Weighing a bit more than 500 metric tons, they fill a freight car of a train and are something like 20 meters long. They looks like a large pillars on their side made of stainless steel. Because of previous protests 6 were brought this time instead of one. As i watched it a man from the action group Robin Wood came by with a Geiger counter and informed me that the gamma radiation was 20 times background levels. So i stepped back from the fence, the thing was big enuf to see without being close.
When the second round of police were called up (over 30,000 total were called officially, up from 19,000 at the previous transport) women were included for the first time in the group, which met with serious protest both from police and some of the media. The principal issue is damage to reproductive systems. Police traveling with the Castors on the train are allowed to go 150 km and then they have their life time does and are not allowed to travel with them again. On the shifts for this transport they were allowed to walk beside them (at somewhat greater distance) for 4 hours and then permanently shifted away. The police labor even called for this shipment to be abandoned because of the danger to the forces. Our delaying tactics may ultimately succeed, because the Germans simply run out of police who can escort the transports (there are 420 more to go and they have only moved 8 so far in three shipments).
It is interesting to note that the principal reason for choosing the Gorleben site is that when it was selected 20 years ago it was considered ideal, because it was located in a „nose“ of west Germany surrounded to the north, east and south by east Germany, so in the event of an accident the communists would likely get the problem. Now of course it is located in the center of unified Germany just over 100 miles from Berlin. The best laid plans.
The past two shipments had gone from the crane thru the village of Dannenburg which is about one km from the crane. But the blockade this year made it impossible. About 20 tractors were parked in the road, which alone would have made it difficult, but huge holes were dug underneath the road, which were not a problem for normal traffic, would be potentially dangerous for the 500 plus ton Castor transports. The police had to take another route, which was several km longer, which means some more delay. The transports were 4 hours late in arriving at the crane because of demos which took place en route, including one where people put concrete on their hands and feet and connected themselves to the tracks. The police, unable to figure out how to remove the demonstrators without cutting their limbs, cut out a section of track and then spent a few hours replacing it.
We slept for two days on the section of road which lead from the tracks to the final storage in Gorleben. At midnight the second night there was the voice of the police on the loud speaker „Auctung, Auctung, this is the Police“ (in German of course). They told us that we were in violation of some relevant laws and they gave us three warnings (ultimately they would give many more warnings, something like 8 over the course of the eviction, many after it had started). They explained that they would start by using simply physical force of the police to remove us, then would escalate to water cannons and finally they would use clubs to remove us if necessary. In one of the relatively few agreements between all of the protesting groups - the first section of protesters after the crane (which was called X-000 „X thousand“, the entire event was called day „X 3“ for the third transport), it was agreed that this first part would be without violence and without property destruction - just thousands of people, Gandhi style blocking the transport with their bodies. In the end, it was at least 5,000 and i would estimate 10,000 people who were on the road for this first part of the action.
It was not the case that the entire action was non-violent. The German Autonom group is fairly famous for their hard tactics. At one point the day before the transport the police advanced on an Autonom position (a separate camp) and found first rocks coming at them, but they continued to advance, presumably with the intention of arresting. Then the Molotov cocktails came out and the police decided that the arrests were not so important. This little trick was not without troubles, one woman got hit by a Molotov and ended up in the hospital in critical condition. The boulevard press ran the headline „The first Casualty of Castor?“, perhaps - certainly not the last. The whole protest is often described as a kind of civil war.
At about 1:AM the police started to move, just using the promised physical force. It was the same kind of scene which most of us have seen at demos, police pulling people apart, various hand grips, police putting fingers in peoples noses and turning, some punches in the face - but it was not excessively violent. As often is the case, it very much depended on the attitude of the police person who got to you. Many were sympathetic with the protesters and made some effort not to use too much pain. Others were exhausted and frustrated. Still others were clearly into hurting people. As Crystal once said, „Every cop has his/her own agenda“
The difference for me was the sheer size. Even with the relatively efficient removal, because of the tremendous number of people on the road, they could not move very fast. There is a bit of a race against the clock. The Castor can not move on the road at night, for legal and logistical reasons. It takes about 8 hours to go the 18 km from the Crane to the storage (at least it did with X2 - the second transport), a bit longer because we forced it to take an alternative route. So daylight is the key. All through the night there were occasional announcements of other actions going on, members of the German Parliament, on site, spoke to the protesters telling them that they were doing the right thing. Announcements of more tunnels beneath the roads brought cheers and there was even a brief musical performance, but people were so exhausted that this was cut short. The evictions started at 1AM, with the likely intent of clearing the path by daybreak, but it was clear by about 3:30 AM that simply physical violence was going be too slow. So the water cannons started.
I did not think they would use the water cannons at night, because even with the helicopters flying overhead which huge lights it was quite difficult to see and if you hit someone directly in the face with a water cannon you can really hurt them (Tom tells a story of a Belgian woman going deaf). Water cannons are also a variable strength weapon, at X2 they used them both at high pressure and with tear gas, but the bad press coverage of this tactic was sufficient to start the cannon with low pressure and no tear gas. Still low pressure is enuf to knock you down if you are standing. The police actually took a fair amount of beating by the cannons themselves, they had to be in front of the cannons to move us and were often soaked and hit - which could not have made them very happy. The cannons themselves have an odd comic appearance to them. Long nozzles between two large lights all mounted on a large joystick controlled form inside the cab of the vehicle makes them look like cartoon characters a bit, with huge eyes, long noses and bobbing heads. There comic value disappears when you hear people getting hit.
But even with the water cannons (which did slowly but steadily increase in pressure as the night wore on) it was not possible for the police to use tear gas, because of the high level of press attention and the bad press they got last time for using it. Similarly, they probably selected not to start clubbing people for the same reasons. So as it was a full 4 hours of daylight passed before the demonstrators were removed (excluding the Freiburg folx who climbed the trees and set up cat walks which the police were totally unprepared for and end up running the Castors under them). Then because of the huge number of police and vehicles involved, it took them another couple of hours to reorganize themselves before the transport could start moving.
We were some of the last people to be removed. They finally had started the eviction process coming from both directions to try to speed things up. A huge plastic sheet was put overhead of perhaps 1000 people (at one point the press donated 50 meters of plastic to protect the protesters). And the group regularly broke into choruses of „We all live in a Yellow Submarine“, which the internationals in my affinity group found hilarious. Our group consisted of people from the FAIRE and PIANO projects and friends and we had decided to use „Siemens“ as our identifying password. The need for the password was that people often went away from the group and when they came back had trouble finding us in the sea of protesters. So they would call out „Siemens“ and listen for the reply „Boycott“ and then go to the place. Other groups picked up this technique and the group beside us was „Elvis“ to which they responded „Lives!“ („Leben“ in German).
We were only able to hold our position for a couple of minutes. Krista Piano got punched several times in the face, Tom from Gent got his arm twisted again (he had been up front earlier and been thrown out of the line the night before). Nadia Piano’s nose was twisted and got cut. Sarah Piano got fingers up her nose. Ogy Faire and i simply had our wrists held back long enuf to convince us to cooperate. Then we were the last we were temporarily blocked from getting with the larger group because the police finally controlled the first part of the road and formed a line separation us from the mass of the group. Steph Wild got thrown around by the police as she tried to cut thru their lines to return to the other side. Ultimately they let us reconnect.
I don’t really know how many people were there, no one can guess very accurately, many people intentionally stayed out of sight. There were entire camps which i did not see (and the media paid no attention to). There were camps of motorcycle folx, a women and lesbian camp (i would have called it lesbians and other women, but you don’t mess with this name stuff), there was the Hamburg camp, which was harder action folx, there were wild cat action camps, people staying with friends in the towns along the way and almost all of these did not make it to the main action at the beginning where there were probably 10,000 people (including perhaps a couple thousand non-activist visitors). The numbers don’t really matter - the spirit was incredible, the cost both political and financial was huge and the message was clear, it is not just about trains and geological sites - it is about people being upset and active on the issue, which is not going away.
I could not stay to the very end, so Krista Piano and i did some quick talking and walking on the way to her next stop to try to catch the Castor on route. We went thru the village of Dannenburg and caught what for me was the most telling incident of the entire action. About 40 police in full gear came and started puncturing the tires of the tractors which were in the blockade. This road could not be used because of the underground tunnels in it, so this was a measure probably designed as revenge by the police against the local people (Tom theorized that the tractors might be moved to block the other road, but this seems unlikely in retrospect, because of the distance and speed of the Castors at that point). The local people physically stopped the police from damaging some tractors and drove some others away. But the anger of the local people was intense. They did not outnumber the police by more than a dozen and had no weapons - but the police knew they were totally in the wrong and started to retreat. The local people started to advance and there was this surrealistic scene of angry unarmed locals advancing against totally geared up police with shields, clubs, guns and the whole bit. Soon the police were running from the locals. They ran into a near by field where 5 or 6 helicopters descended and picked them up as the locals chased after them. As the helicopters flew off, i was reminded of the final scene of the Vietnam war, with US marines fleeing the embassy in Saigon holding on to helicopters - uninvited violent intruders running from their failures.
- Paxus reporting from the German Nuclear War front
The Hypocrisy of Sanctions
by Paxus Calta and Tycho Sierra
[This article appeared in the Czech Magazine 7th Generation in Sept 1998]
Were there any realism on the international political stage, the recent US effort to bring economic sanctions against India and Pakistan for testing nuclear weapons would be widely laughed at as outlandish. The US has convinced the other G-7 nations and Russia to freeze all non-humanitarian loans to these countries including funds provided by the World Bank and the IMF: an amount totaling over US$ 1 billion in the first month alone. Will the sanctions promote faster global agreement on the Comprehensive Test Ban and Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaties (CTBT and NPT)? Unlikely. Will the sanctions lead the US to adhere to its obligations under the NPT currently in force, which requires all nuclear weapons states to work
towards the ultimate goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons worldwide? Highly unlikely.
Neither India nor Pakistan ever promised that they would not develop nuclear weapons. Specifically, they are not signatories to either the revised NPT or the CTBT The reason that they have not signed these treaties is that the declared nuclear weapons states (China, Russia, France, the UK and US), have not held good to their commitments under these same treaties to eliminate their nuclear weapons. So the US, technically in violation of a treaty it has signed, is punishing India and Pakistan for breaking treaties which they have not signed.
It gets worse. Despite warnings from the US intelligence community, the US has to take principal credit for these nations having nuclear weapons. The US based multinational General Electric and its subsidiary, GE Canada, were responsible for building the first nuclear power plants in these countries. These undoubtedly provided the foundation for both the indigenous nuclear power and the nuclear weapons programs. Construction loans for these reactors were guaranteed by the US Export Import Bank (just as the Temelin project is).
Further, this is not the first time that India has tested nuclear weapons. In 1974 in the Rajasthan Desert, India announced it had tested three different nuclear devices underground. The difference between then and now is that India is finally admitting that it has a stockpile of nuclear weapons (currently estimated at about 60 for India and 25 or fewer for Pakistan as compared to over 15,000 for the US). Up until 1993, the CIA claimed India was not assembling nuclear weapons.
Sanctions against India and Pakistan are useless as warnings to other nuclear threshold states. Every other "threshold state" (including North and South Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya) has signed on to these treaties (though none have yet ratified them). The only country with a nuclear arsenal which has refused to sign either the CTBT or the NPT is Israel. Though Israel will neither confirm or deny it, South Africa admits that Israel was their partner in the 1973 off-shore test of a nuclear weapon. South Africa has subsequently admitted that it also had nuclear weapons, but claims to have destroyed them all. It seems unlikely that any other threshold state would publicly announce tests, invalidating their intention to ratify these treaties.
The final hypocrisy is that the US has continued to test and develop nuclear weapons since the September 1996 signing of the CTBT. The US conducted two "subcritical" nuclear devices in 1997, where
conventional explosives are mixed with nuclear materials in underground tests. Some claim that this is in violation of the treat which prohibits "any nuclear weapons test explosion or any other nuclear explosion". But certainly the spirit of these treaties, which were designed to eliminate nuclear weapons, has been violated by the US, which continues through its US$ 45 billion "Stockpile Stewardship" program to develop new nuclear weapons, that are tested using computer simulations instead of physical tests.
The sanctions against India and Pakistan are virtual certain to fail in stopping their nuclear weapons programs. If anyone should be punished it should be the US.
[I'm sorry, i can not yet speak Czech. - spoken in Czech]
So i'll will be short. I have just two things to say:
First, they will lie to you [point to the plant]. They will tell you it is safe - there will be accidents. They will tell you it is healthy - your children will get cancer. They will tell you it is clean - it is dirtier than brown coal. They will tell you it will create jobs - most of the jobs will go to western companies like Siemens. They will tell you it is good for the economy - nuclear power is the most expensive power in use today, it will hurt the economy. They will tell you it is the only choice - you have lots of other possibilities, cogeneration, hydro, wind, natural gas and more. They will tell you they can control it -they told us that also in the US - they announced last month there are more than 45,000 uncontrolled radioactive contanminated areas in the US - they can't control it. Millions of crowns will be spent to tell lies to your children in schools and on tv and radio. They will lie because they will make a tremendous amount of money if they lie to you and you believe them. Don't believe them.
But there is another thing i want to tell you:
You can stop it. In the US, England, Germany, Canada, Netherlands, Italy, Australia, Austria, UK, Sweden - people just like you have gotten together and stopped any new plants from being ordered in their countries. People got together and protested, just like this action today. Carrying the same smiling sun banners and buttons you are wearing, but in their langugage. Sometimes small groups, sometimes large groups - but they kept doing it until the leaders saw the problems with nuclear power and stopped it. The nuclear industry is dying in the west. The industries only hope is to start construction in East Europe. There only hope is to fool you - don't be fooled.
Ask yourself this question "If nuclear power is so wonderful, why has every country in west Europe, except France, stopped ordering new plants, since even before the Chernobyl accident?" "Why is Siemens, a German company, buying up Skoda so it can build plants here, when the Germans won't let them build plants in Germany?"
Today, we must send our message loud and clear "We are tired of the lies and we can stop this nuclear madness - we will stop this nuclear madness."
Total time 3 minutes 10 seconds, without translation.
Revolutions are about changing the relationship between large institutions and individuals. The sexual revolution was such a change, with the power of the state and especially the church being significantly reduced basically thru a mass agreement to ignore the proscribed rules. It is not necessary to overthrow a government to have a revolution. In fact with the current social and political structures this type of classical revolution is likely the wrong approach. These institutions are generally entrenched and often increasingly irrelavent.
Possible sections include - moving away from money, intentional communities and hacking the govt thru the net.
With Open Hands
A Handbook on Open Relationships
@nti-Copyright 1995-96. All materials are in the public domain. Please copy, distribute, translate and change as you like. Giving us credit is nice, but not necessary.
What is an Open Relationship?
Why this Handbook?
Privacy vs. Honesty
Don’t Kiss and Tell
Switching and Crossover Effect
Not a Contest
Counting and “Managing”
Kids (by Jan and Adela - under construction)
Gays (under construction)
Free Love vs. Open Relationships
Space for Honeymoons
Meeting Each Other - introducing lovers
Breaking up - open relationships end also
Why Open Relationships?
Where Can i Get a Paper Copy of this?
This work will never be finished, but there are number of people who have helped make it happen so far, especially Adela, @nissa, Chuck, Erikk, Helmi, JanH, Sigrid, Susan, Tobias and Ulla. To Lu and Veronika & Erikk for translating (into German and Czech). Ben and Erikk have slaved over the DTP and scanner to make it pretty. To the KUD DTP folx for great hardware and kind patience. Also thanx to Amanda, Nick, and Helmi for contributing the grafix. Many images were stolen from Paramour Magazine see the credits and subscription info which appears on the inside back cover.
There is a fitting story - this Fingerbook was a love letter. Once upon a time Ulla and i were honeymooning and she said “i do not mind you having other lovers, but it is not what i want for myself.” Then Chuck came along and he and Ulla seduced each other. A short time later Ulla said “This is complicated help me to avoid the mistakes you have already made.” So i wrote this long letter which some others read and suggested it become a handbook. And after many edits, long conversations and few fights it has become what you see before you.
This handbook is dedicated to all those who are at least willing to try something different, however difficult it seemed to be.Home
WHAT IS AN OPEN RELATIONSHIP ?
An open relationship is when two lovers* do not limit each other in having other lovers. There are many other words used to describe this (f.e. multiple relations, non-monogamy, polyfidelity, omnigomy). I chose „open relationship” here because it sounds nicer and you can have an open relationship with just two, providing you are open for more - so in a way it is a step before these other names.
The other way of defining an open relationship is by what it is not. A closed relationship (a monogomous agreement) means at the very least, neither of the lovers will have other sex partners. Often in monogamy there are more restrictions on new intimacy. Having ”affairs” or secret other lovers is NOT open relationships.
Graphic * Woman Chating
* this handbook uses the word „lover” in the original sense: someone who is in love with someone else, who has a deep feeling of caring for their partner. The common use of the word „lover” these days means „sex partner” (for example, „They became lovers last night”). Even with this attempt to reclaim the word, i think our society is stuck with the „lover = sex partner” definition (in English at least, other languages have different problems). Sometimes i try to use „intimate” as a step beyond simple friendship while leaving the question of sex out of the description.
WHY THIS HANDBOOK?
This book was not written to convince people that open relations are the right thing for them (tho some reasons appear later) Instead, it is written as a guide for people who are in open relationships, are considering them, or are just curious about how they might work. Because there are almost no role models for successful open relationships, a friend of mine used to say „we are beginners playing by the advanced rules“. This handbook is an attempt to help all of us beginners.
After reading this Fingerbook, Kim asked “Where is the Love?”. I am sure people can fall in love without my advice. This work is about how to take care of each other and work thru difficult emotions and situations.
It is a guide which shows a path. There are lots of other relationship paths, but even if the advice here is useless for your particular relationship, the issues brought up are nearly universal (jealousy, privacy vs honesty, switching problems, honeymoons, etc.). Hopefully, this handbook will be useful at showing trouble areas even if it can’t offer perfect advice for your exact situation.
Open relationships are almost always more complex than closed ones. There are more personalities involved and for open relation- ships to work you have to deal with difficult emotions which frequently can be played down or ignored in a monogamous contract.
Grafic: naked on the phone “damn”
This handbook assumes that at least the shared lover/s (this means any lover one involved in more than one relationship) honestly want to maintain their relationships. Much of the bad name that open relationsips get comes from people who are basically monogamous but find a new and “better” lover while they are already involved. They claim to be trying multiple relationships, but really what they are trying to do is let the old relationship end slowly. Then after a while, when things begin to fall apart, they say “Oh well, multiple relationships do not work“, and often people agree. Nothing will work emotionally if you enter it in bad faith. Open relationships are more work than simple pairs; some people find it effort well spent.
This handbook comes from my experience and a tremendous number of mistakes, plus advice from others who are dedicated to this lifestyle. This guide is written mostly because so little of practical value is written on the topic. It is also my hope to demystify open relationships a bit - they are possible, difficult, but possible.
Almost everyone is jealous. How could your lover be attracted to someone else? Aren’t you enough? How can your lover hurt you by being disloyal to you?
Open relationships are an agreement to communicate about these kinds of feelings. If you can’t talk over how you feel about the other relationships, you don’t have a chance. That does not mean open relationships only work if you completely escape jealousy - not at all.
If you have jealous feelings, you need to build bridges around them. You have to work with the lover you share on how you need to be taken care of. For example, lovers living together: “Get him to send you love letters at work, so i don’t have to see them.“ Or “don’t tell me how wonderful he is in bed when you know i’m not feeling so secure about our sex.“
But you also should not demand complete isolation from the other relationship for a few reasons. First, it is not possible - you will get the other lover on the phone occasionally; their schedule will affect the lover you share; you may find yourself at the same party or event together.
But more importantly, it won’t work for you - if you ask never to hear any information about the other romance, it will grow more threatening in your mind - whenever you don’t know where the shared lover is you will assume he or she is with the other lover. By “locking yourself out,” you make it impossible to support your shared lover when things are difficult in the other relationship (this is a potential advantage of a balanced long-term open relation-ship), and finally, if you block out the lover, you will never get a chance to move through your jealousy.
So the bridges over jealousy cannot just be walls which block out your view of the other relationship. You need to balance the limits to what you can hear and see with honest communication between you and your lover. The primary burden falls on shared lovers in helping find „safe“ things to communicate to lovers working on jealousy. For example, it is probably easier to talk about a nice cafe conversation with your other lover than about a wild night of lovemaking.
You can take care of a lover who might be jealous by highlighting the differences (both positive and negative) about the other lover. If your jealous lover has no interest in art, but the other lover does, you might explain that you and the other lover fill this need (art) for each other. Similarly, you can complain (if it is true) that your other lover does not share the interest in politics that the two of you have in common. The task for the shared lover is to keep clear in the mind of both partners why both relationships make sense and do not compete.
Graphic of * Jumping woman
Transending jealousy: It is something of a debate whether jealousy is something you acquire from your culture or if it is a „genetic“ thing. What i am certain of is that it is something you can move through if you want to work on it.
The theory is simple: you want your lover to be happy; they are happy when they are with the other lover; this should make you happy. It rarely works that easily - at least not at first.
The single most important thing you can do to transcend jealousy is to be secure in yourself - to be confident about yourself, feel strong in your relationship, and understand each other, what you give each other and why you make sense together. This does not mean you have to have exact words or perfect descriptions for all these things - some will be undescribable feelings (for example, “that magic we feel dancing naked in the rain“ or “that special afternoon in the canoe“). Once you are secure in your relationship, jealousy is less like to take root.
But when it does take hold, try to connect to what works about your romance, both for yourself and your lover. Find the strengths of your intimacy and play to those strengths (for example, if your best times together have been playing, go to a fun spot that makes it easy - if intellectual talking is your bond, find that controversial topic you never discussed before).
Escaping jealousy is a process; take it a bit at a time. When you are feeling strong in yourself and your relationship, ask your lover to tell you something about the other lover. One of the best things you can do to melt jealousy is actually meet the other lover (this is discussed later). Jealous imagination can make them a perfect opponent; if you meet them, they return to real-life size.
The ultimate test of overcoming jealousy is to watch your lover enjoying the other lover and feeling good about it inside. This can be an incredibly liberating experience. It is not necessary for a working open relationship; some people will never get there and do not need to. For others, it is a desirable goal.
PRIVACY vs. HONESTY
Even if all those involved in an open relationship have transcended their jealous feelings, it is not desirable or useful to share everything about the relationships with all involved. Relationships have their confidences, secrets, special private moments, inside jokes, and more.
Trying to manage privacy while being open is one of the hardest balances of a working open relationship. You come back from a fantastic evening with one lover; how much do you tell the other? You’re exhausted from hours of partying with one and the other wants to go out dancing or make love; what do you say? The second question is easy: you say you‘re tired and explain as much of why as you think your partner can hear. The first question is trickier - it depends on how strong you are feeling in the relationship and if your other lover can share the good news in a way which works.
When you are asked a direct question - “How was it last night?“, then the asking intimate takes some responsibility for hearing the truth. Judge how much detail you go into by what you know about them, and by their expression when you start to tell more.
This does not answer the question of how you know what to keep secret. Ideally, the rule would be that you would keep secrets just as you do with friends. Sadly, it seems many change their keeping-secrets rules with lovers; many sworn to secrecy feel it is okay to share the hot news with their lovers. I can give no commands here, only suggest that unless you are asked a direct question, it’s beeter to be too private than too loose, because then you won’t betray people‘s trust.
DON’T KISS and TELL
Something which may be uncomfortable in beginning a new relationsip is revealing the news that you are already involved with someone else. The answer to the question, “when should i tell someone new that i have another romance?“ is “As soon as possible“. If your having another relationship makes a new one with this person difficult or impossible, the fair thing to do is to bring it up early. It can potentially save you both a lot of time and pain. This is triply true for folks who are married - if you really want to make someone angry, then emotionally fool them for a couple of “dates“ before mentioning that you are married!
If you are just looking for a hot night, you can leave the truth to the morning. If you want an open relationship, don’t kiss and tell.
SWITCHING and CROSSOVER EFFECT
Switching, when you go from being with one lover to being with another, may require some management. The easiest way to switch is to put something else in-between - do some work, read a book, call a friend, visit a neigbouring country. If switching is hard for you, don’t do it more than needed (for example, don’t phone one lover immediately after you have spoken to the other; if you are spending a day with one lover, but they have to leave for lunch, don’t schedule lunch with the other lover).
Switching can also be a problem for the lovers between whom one is switching. It can be hard to meet a lover after they have spent time with the other especially if they are in an extreme place because of it. When your situation with one lover affects another lover (f.e. you are depressed and angry when you meet your lover after having been with the other), this is the crossover effect. Many people believe that different relationships (especially if they are in different places), are independent. This is a myth.
In most things, most people don’t hesitate to ask a lover for support; ideally it should be no different asking for help around your other relationship - but this ideal often escapes us. There are two likely problem scenarios. First, if your lover is not very happy about your other lover - they may too quickly suggest you abandon the other relationship: the simplifying solution. Alternatively, if the trouble in one relationship goes on for long, it may damage the other by being a constant burden to it. If these are likely problems, you would do better to seek counsel from a friend or less involved person.
But one lover can potentially be your best counsellor about the other, for a couple of reasons. First they may be the easiest person for you to talk with. They already know you well and because they know you, they may be able to see what part of the problem in the other relationship is your responsibility (which may be hidden to you). This may help you unlock your problem with your other partner.
If you are in an open relationship, you need to accept a certain amount of crossover effect and as with almost everything, the better you communicate what you can handle and desire to your lover, the more success you are likely to have.
NOT A CONTEST
„Which lover is more important to you?“, i’ve been asked. Because open relationships are unusual, people ask these kinds of questions to try to understand them. You probably would not seriously think of answering the question „which of your closest friends is more important?“ Most people chose multiple relation- ships because they find different desirable things in each of their lovers, in general it does not make much sense to compare them character by character - though some of this is unavoidable.
One lover will always be more interesting, fun, better sexually, more artistic, more political, better looking, more grounded, more intelligent, more spiritual, have more attention for you or what ever - but it is very unlikely that one lover will have all these traits (and whatever else is desirable to you), over the other.
But one of the things which is especially important in open relationships is making lovers know why they are special, why they are unique in your life. Especially people new to open relationships need to know that they are not just one of a group - but that their relationship is important and why.
COUNTING and „MANAGING“
People occasionally ask me „How many lovers do you have?“ i often answer with the phrase „How many friends do you have?“ Some people get annoyed by getting a question as an answer. The rest usually reply „I don’t count,“ to which i say „Neither do i“.
Which is actually true, i am tired of trying to decide if a non-sexual romance counts, or if the lovely Bebop, who was a close friend for over a decade before we became sexually involved should count - our relationship is basically unchanged.Which is not to say that sex does not change relationships. It almost always does; Bebop is an exception (and exceptional). But it does not have to. In an ideal world/community, you could develop intense friendships, experiment with sex and if you did not like it go back to the friendship. In the real world, this almost never happens. Sex brings expecations (and new definitions, now you are „lovers“ and not just seeing each other). There is often no going back.
And besides trouble deciding “who counts,” i find this counting only gets used against me. Rarely do people say „it’s great that you are open to being close with this many people“, instead i often hear „you can only be having superficial relationshps then“ - again a ruling no one would ever apply to close friendships.
People used to ask „How do you have time for all these romances?“, to which i replied „i don’t watch TV“ (which is true, but a bit beside the point). You make time for what is important to you. I do political work and spend a lot of time „managing“ romances. If this sounds unromantic, you need to see it as the same thing ever busy person does (tho generally balancing one romance with many other things).
[Editor’s note: I would strongly disagree with Paxus. Counting is real, number of lovers are real - decide for yourself how to count, you’re smart enough. Counting is real because managing is real and, in most people’s world, not easy - just like with friends, time spent with one lover is not always spent with the other (though it can be). And not everybody has or can have Pax’s freedom - though he will argue this, I would argue back, point- ing to the 90% of people around me not living in his kind of world. - Erikk]
Many people have primary relationships; commonly it is the lover who you live with, but this is not necessary the case. So what is a primary relationship?
Most people would say a primary relationship is the „most important one“ or the one in which you spend the largest amount of time. But the first means ranking and rating - and the second could easily not be true if you, for example worked with a secondary relationship or lived far away from your primary one. Primary relationships often share property or have long-term plans together, but neither of these is necessary or sufficient condition.
Unfortunately, the best definition which we have come up with so far is: A primary relationship is the one which you take care of when you cannot reach a decision about how to take care of all your relationships.
This is a negative definition, but it works and in a way it defines the „primary“ nature of the relationship. When there is trouble and you can’t all agree, you take care of the primary love first.
Ideally, the primary relationship was been formed with the understanding that the relationship is still open to new other relationships, but this is often not the case. We’ll look at the easier first case first.
Suppose your partner in a primary relationship is spending time with someone else. You started out knowing this day would come; you were open to new romances, and did not think about it much during your own honeymoon (see “space for honeymoons”), but now this feels like a lot of time. The tools for dealing with jealousy and other issues have already been discussed; what is special about primary relationships is the power - and respons-ibility - contained in the denifition.
You could say, „i really need you to take care of me and not see this person for a while until our relationship feels more secure“ and because yours is the primary relationship, your partner would probably attempt this. You need to be aware of this power - and use as little as possible in a primary relationship.
The reasons are clear and simple: If you abuse this power, placing lots of restrictions on the other relationships, you will strain and may break your own. But there is also a higher reason -keeping the spirit of open relationships. You are trying to give your partner as much freedom as possible. You should take care of yourself, but fundamentally, you want the partner coming to you from her or his desire, rather than your need.
Monogamous relationships which try to „open up“ are a common special case. You are changing your agreement (which may have never been precisely formed) this almost certainly means a long and possibly difficult discussion about why your relationship is changing. The unshared lover will likely feel threatened and if the shared lover really wants everything to work, it is time to cancel the rest of your busy life and get this part right. Seriously consider bringing in a trusted shared friend in as a mediator (at least at the start ofthe discussion). Ideally, go to somplace unusual (and beautiful?) with no distractins to try to work this out. Come back with clear definitions and norms (see pages 32-33) and hopefully a renewed sense of commitment and feeling of attraction to your long term relationship.
* KIDS (under construction)
[ This section is Jan Haverkamp’s idea; he will write it with Adela - Ulla says she has nothing to say about it, but in fact she has a lot to say about it and hopefully will edit it]
* GAYS (under construction)
[Another section to be added - if you or someone you know could write about how gay open relationships differ from the straight culture, please contact the address on the back cover]
FREE LOVE vs OPEN RELATIONSHIPS
Free love is different from open relationships in my mind. Free love means being attracted to someone and feeling free to have sex with them. It also means feeling free to move on. Open relationships mean more commitment, working on difficult feelings when they come up, commiting to supporting one lover’s feelings about another. People practicing free love have a different expectation: “we will come together, we will have our wonderful moments and if it happens again, great; if not, that is okay also.”
SPACE for HONEYMOONS
Many people in the first few open relations seem to forget that relationships have lives, which usually start with a fairly intense honeymoon period. During this period the honeymooners have stars in their eyes. They see all the wonderful things about the new partner; they have not yet run into the problems or character traits which will disturb them later. This is a very difficult time for an “old” relationship, for several reasons. First, the “old” lover will likely feel threatened - because there is always some comparison in relationships, the old lover is simply less wonderful than the new one (you don’t see the new one very clearly yet). Second, the old lover may show some less attractive sides - anger, complaint. Finally, the honeymooners will have a very natural desire to spend a bunch of time togethe - right when the old relationship is in need of support.
But honeymoons are not forever. And if you are the old lover, you have to take the long view. You will have to ride out the honeymoon and see where things settle out in the end. And if you can avoid getting crazily jealous, the shared lover will hopefully remember why they are in an open relationship and will stay better in touch with their strong feelings for you.
If it is possible, honeymoons may be a good time for the old lover to start something new. Anything from a long-delayed project to a new hobby can work. There is a temptation to pick up another lover, in order to „get even“, or maybe to feel taken care of - generally this does not work very well. New lovers are not usually easy to find, and bad choices can be emotionally expensive. Better to spend more time with a close friend.
The shared lover in a honeymoon situation faces a difficult challenge. A careful mix of supporting the old lover, while enjoying the new one is the best choice. To do this, if you have a busy life, drop something you do. Skip more classes, spend less time with other friends, put the project on hold, take vacation or sick days off work. Treat the relationships like living things that deserve time. Create time not only for the honeymoon, but also so you do not lose touch with the earlier lover.
The classic fear is calling one lover by the other’s name while you are in the middle of a passionate moment. In fact, it does not happen much; people remember who they are with, and lovers feel different from each other - physically, and in many other ways. But mistakes do happen. Roll with them, laugh at them, make fun of them - but don’t get stuck in them.
I had a lover who was telling a story once, when she was a bit drunk. I was the main character in the story, which was not familiar to me. As it continued, i realized she was mistaking me for her other lover - i just let the story go on, though i could not help the growing smile on my face. When her mistake finally became obvious to everyone, she turned bright red. The people listening were stunned and looked for a crisis, but it had become fairly comic and in the end, we all just laughed.
You are not choosing lovers because they are perfect. You certainly are not.
If you thought you had an excuse to forget „politically correct“ safe sex before you went into open relationships, you have no excuse now. Even if you are not very sexually active, the mathematics of open relationships are not on your side - nor your partner’s. Open relationships are partly about taking care of each other; safe sex is physically taking care of each other. The danger is less AIDS (obviously dangerous, but relatively difficult to give someone) than other sexually transmitted diseasess. If you do not know what is safe, teach each other and if you are unsure make a commitment to go and find out.
Sexual agreements and restrictions on types of risky sexual behavior in other relationships is one of the more sensitive and difficult things to agree on in open relationships (especially if there is a primary relationship involved). The tools are the same as always: be honest, forecast problems, discuss them before they are in front of you. One of the things to do in your discussions is to try switching places with your partner in discussing the issue - make sure that your arrangements are fair from every direction. Otherwise you will build resentment.
MEETING EACH OTHER - INTRODUCING LOVERS
If the partners can handle it, one of the best things you can do in open relationships is to introduce the various lovers to each other. There is many opinions on how to do this, but i think the best way is to keep the shared lover out of the first meeting. It is also wise for the two meetign for the first time to arrange the meeting themselves, without the shared lovers assistance.
Why meet each other? For me, one of the most interesting pluses of this has been that frequently, even though they may be very different from each other, they like each other. Second, it demystifies the „other“ lover - when you meet someone, you can see that they are human, not tremendously more wonderful than you, certainly not the threat your imagination was trying to make them. One of topics of conversation will almost certainly be the shared lover. There there will be some likely comic moments, usually mockingly critical of the shared lover.
Third, by creating some type of relationship between the non-shared lovers, it will be possible for them to communicate without the bridge of the shared lover - who is frequently in the difficult position of carrying messages s/he does not wish to. This also ensures some trust. The stories will come directly from their sources, not through the shared lover’s filter.
Finally, it just makes sense: these people have significant ties to the same person; they should know each other, They don’t have to be great friends and may choose to see each other rarely - but a bit of knowledge is better than fear in mystery.
One thing to avoid is “ganging up” on the shared lover when you return from this first meeting. There are quite likely things which need to be explained, but the wrong way to start is by saying “You lied to us and we are both furious with you” - recognize that this is difficult thing for everyone including the shared lover, do not avoid the issues brought up, but at least begin by assuming there is another side to the story.
Keeping open relationships means letting in the possibility of new romances. This needs some trust and can be helped by making agreements. But some agreements which seem like good ideas are mistakes. The most common mistake (i’ve made it a few times) is to promise to tell your old lover before you get involved with a new lover. It is a nice idea, but sometimes it just does not work out that way. In particular, you don’t want to have to stop an unexpected, wonderful romantic evening because you did not forecast it to your old lover.
One replacement is flexible agreements. These need your common sense, but can be more useful than rules (see below). One flexible agreement you can make is to try to inform your lover about possible new romances. It should be flexible because it can drive your lover crazy to hear all of the possible intimacies you might have, especially if you have an active romantic imagination.
But flexible agreements go much farther than simply this one example. They have to do with communicating, describing what is likely to happen and what you need to happen. „I’m going out with my friends tonight, i’ll be back around midnight“ (forget open relationships for a moment) - Is 1:00 AM about midnight, what about 3:00 AM?
The problem with many relationships is that people make hard commitments to what they desire (or frequently, what they think the other desires) rather than what is comfortable or even possible. „I’m going out, don’t wait up“ is hard to say. Is it hard to hear? Sometimes it is - but frequently, these flexible options are available and we don’t take them - creating trouble when we walk in exhausted at 5:00 AM.
You can also see agreements as „rules“ or „norms“ - an interesting division for discussing politics, etc., as well. Rules, like laws, always happen or there is some punishment. Norms happen almost all the time, but when they don’t, it is not a crisis. It is just an exception. The more you can live with norms instead of rules, the more durable your open relationship will be. Norms are in essense flexible agreements.
It sometimes happens that one lover just does not want deal with any of the aspects of the other relationships, does not want to get the other lover on the phone, does not want to hear that lover’s name and has absolutely no interest in meating with them. This is an unstable situation, not unmanagable, but damaging.
The shared lovers options are severly limited here and they must watch their own feelings. If the new relationship becomes very important OR complex it may not be emotionally or ethically possible just to split your life and pretend this undiscussed relationship does nto exist. The “process perfect” approach is not simply to walk away. Instead try to give the uncooperative partner options (they will likely be hard ones like “open up some or i will have to go”), but if you can do this in good faith it is certainly better than abandonment.
BREAKING UP - Open relationships end too
Monogamy is simple. You are in love with someone for a while and someone comes into your life who appears more wonderful, you either break up the old relationship and start the new one, or you push away the new possibility (holding hidden resentments?) and hold onto what you have.
In a open relationship,you have another option, but - what if after facing six months of jealous or unworkable feelings you find you do not want to be in the old relationship anymore? Well, the old relationship will likely fall apart - but before it does, you should try to be clear about why. It is not enough to simply say "new is more wonderful than old, so i'll dump the old". This means falling into the monogamy trap. It assumes there is no balance possible - sometimes there isn't, but part of the commitment of open relationships is that you will try to stay in touch with those things which attracted you to the old relationship in the beginning.
You should try to celibrate your magic, find the "us". Sometimes it is possible to move apart and stay friends or sex partners occassionally, sometimes you need to move onto something different. But try to avoid the monogamy blindness, where you flee from your broken relationship, blaming the other and ignoring your responsibility or the changes you (or your partner) may have gone thru which make the relationship make less or no sense.
"Don't leave one lover for another." This is a key norm for open relationships. One of your basic responsibilities in open relationships to find the sense in each relationship based on itself, not the others.
WHY OPEN RELATIONS ?
If it’s all this work, why bother with open relationships? In part it challenges part of our socialization: society’s standard is monogamy, a possessive contract which implies love is scarce, like CD players or hair driers, and once you’ve got it, you better grab it and hold it, because you don’t want to be without it. I think we can be more creative than this about our feelings.
The philosophy behind open relationships is, fundamentally, that we who are interested in them are complex folks. It is unlikely that any single person will fill all our needs/desires. If more than one intimate will be filling these needs and desires, it makes some sense to judge the rightness of sex for these relationships independently from other relationships.
So I believe the line society draws between having sex with someone you care about and not having sex with them is somewhat silly. Some meaningless relationships are sexual, some powerful intimacies are without physical contact. The former would be called „lovers“ and the later „friends“ in our common language - i find this more than stupid.
The idea behind open relationships is that each relationship is free to determine the best way to communicate. If it includes sex, that's fine. Because we have not escaped our socialization, we have to work with our lovers in order to accept other sex partners. But it is useful work, in helping us to understand our desires and insecure feelings and if we succeed, we set our lovers free, to come back to us out of true desire.
At the point when you are able to overcome your jealous feelings, when you can be happy that your lover is enjoying being with someone else - there is a tremendous liberation which occurs. You stop holding tight, and love with open hands - this makes you much more attractive to your lovers, who will feel both free and secure. This starts a positive cycle - you feel better about yourself, and make lovers and friends happier too.
In a secure open relationship, the gifts of having another lover become possible. A lover who was having trouble relaxing sexually was able to “break free“ through a partner who was more sexually experienced than me, and somewhat suddenly i found myself with a more passionate and expressive intimate. One of the most magical moments of my life was watching two of my lovers become lovers - very rare, very precious.
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Buyers Coop and Barter Network
The culture developing around the use of the World Wide Web is a simple extension of the competitive economy. Typically, websites, which offer economic leverage to consumers, do it through conventional economies of scale (e.g. www.amazon.com) or by pitting customers against each other in the form of on-line auctions (e.g. www.onsale.com). There is another way.
The Buyers Coop would approach producers and establish what kinds of quantity discounts they were willing to provide. Then the website would promote the products at the discounted prices (with a small mark up), and interested customers would sign up on a list and when the list had reached the number required by the producer the order would be placed. The list of customers would form an ad hoc Buyers Cooperative, which could chat amongst each other and provide informal user support if desired. With time the Buyers Coop website would include information like how long it had taken for the last group to form to purchase a lot of goods and product evaluations from buyers.
The small mark-up would cover the costs of several things. One part would be the overhead of the Buyers Coop: web development, vender outreach, consumer protection, marketing, etc. The Buyers Coop would have its principle responsibility be to the customers who used the site. The Buyers Coop would publish on the web a detailed accounting of its operation, to lead by example that the new web culture should require higher levels of transparency in business. It would be a for profit company. 
The initial majority shareholder would be a Barter Network, which would also be the direct recipient of a fraction of the small mark-up. The Barter Network gets at the deeper problem of unsustainable consumerism. If the web simply accelerates the rate of consumption world wide, then there is little chance there will be much let for future generations. We need to use the web to more effectively distribute used goods and enhance money-less economies. The Barter Network would also be web based and work to match various offers with requests through computer and human assisted transactions. [For example, If Chris wants a toaster and has a bike, if Dana wants a bike and has an aquarium and Sky has a toaster and wants an aquarium a trade can be offered across the three].
The Barter Network will also have a barter bank of items offered for free by members of the network to help ease "transaction friction". In the above example if Sky is a bit disappointed by the kind of the aquarium offered by Dana, the Barter Bank might choose to add fish which had been donated to help improve the chances of successful trades. The Barter Network will be a non-profit organization.
Money Promoting non-monetary
the economies of
Barter Fingerbook version 0.1
A physicist, a chemist and economist are stranded on a desert island with food in cans and no way to open it. "If I climb the tree and throw the cans at exactly the right angle, they will hit these stones and break open", said the physicist. "I have much easier way" began the chemist, "if we put sea water on the top and boil it with sunlight through the economists thick glasses, the pressure difference will burst open the can." "I have an even easier way" boasted the economist "first we assume we have a can opener…"
This project assumes that the money system itself is central to the problems of industrial capitalism. The existing money based economies both permits and promotes resource consumption at an unsustainable rate and the inequitable distribution of wealth. Money permits the value of labor to be divorced from the actual product or service being produced and thus fosters unethical (though often legal) economic power relations. If alternatives to money based economies are not developed, the planets ecology will collapse under the materialist desires of our current culture.
What is it all about?
We plan to research, develop, promote and integrate three "traditional" economic concepts: barter, sharing and gifting.
Who is "we"?
The project is open. Several people from Twin Oaks community are involved. A European environmental youth network called EYFA (European Youth for Action) is involved. Maybe you will join?
Are there any resources?
The foundation for Deep Ecology has granted $3500 for this project and Twin Oaks Community's Movement Support has adopted the project and will sponsor it with hours.
Where do we start?
Barter: We plan to build on existing knowledge of barter systems, which are in practice on several continents through what are called LET Systems (Local Exchange and Trading). We will examine the common barriers these systems face and what causes their failure in an effort to inoculate future systems from these obstacles and threats.
Sharing: One of the institutions with the greatest experience with sharing is the intentional community. These groups represent the state of the art in sharing in industrial society. We will examine what makes a community successful and what sharing models can be exported those living outside of them.
Gifting: The most radical and least practiced of these concepts is economies based on gifting rather than markets. Imagine the fundamentally different value set people would adopt if instead of working for personal profit, they were working for the appreciating of their colleagues and their voluntary support of them. This project will seek out cultures (both contemporary and historic) where gifting plays a more central role in the economic system and will identify the factors needed to develop gifting systems. Further, new instruments for catalyzing gifting, such as Personal Sustainability Agreements, oriented towards people outside these money-less systems will be developed and promoted.
Possible specific outputs of the project could be:
- A handbook on developing and promoting money-less economies
- Workshops at community and barter system conferences in Europe and the US
- Development and distribution of "Personal Sustainability Agreements"
- Fostering a network of individuals and groups committed to promoting these ideas
- Media work in promoting these ideas (to both mainstream and progressive media)
- Analytical work on gifting systems and integration of other money-less systems
How do i get more info?
Contact: Paxus Calta
Non-monetary Economies Project
138 Twin Oaks Road
Twin Oaks Community
Louisa VA 23093
Form is Content
The most important aspect of these eleven rules is the degree to which they are inherent in corporate structure. Corporations are inherently bold, aggressive, and competitive. Though they exist in a society that claims to operate by moral principals, they are structurally amoral. It is inevitable that they will dehumanize people who work for them and dehumanize the overall society as well. They are disloyal to workers, including their own managers. If community goals conflict with corporate goals, then corporations are similarly disloyal to communities they may have been part of for years. It is inherent in corporate activity that they seek to drive all consciousness into one-dimensional channels. They must attempt to dominate alternative cultures and to effectively clone the world population into a form more to their liking. Corporations do not care about nations; they live beyond boundries. They are intrinsically committed to destroying nature. And they have an inexorable, unabatable, voracious need to grow and expand. In dominating other culutres, in digging up the earth, corporations blindly follow the codes that have been built into their genes.
Would our society have been better off if we had been told, fromthe beginning, that corporations would behave as they do? As with every other new piece of machinery, large or small, we were only presented with the pros, never the cons, of this creature called the corporation. There was never a vote, whether on balance corporations destroy more than they contribute. Nor was there ever any effort to articulate the principals by which they operate and in the manner in which they would ineveitably behave. Articulating these principals ives us a picture of we should have been given a long time ago.
Now that we see the inherent direction of corporate activitiy, we must abandon the idea that corporations can reform themselves, or a new generation of executive managers can be re-educated. We must also abandon the assumption that the form of the structure is "neutral". To ask corporate executives to behave in a morally defensable manner is absurd. Corporations and the people within them are not subject to moral behavior. They are following a system of logic that leads inexorbly toward dominant behaviors. To ask corporations to behave otherwise is like asking an army to adopt pacifism. Form is Content.
[From: In Absent of the Sacred, by Jerry Mander, Sierra Club Books, 1991 p. 136]
This is a failed grant application.
Non-profit organizations working on progressive issues are chronically underfunded. A solution is to use a lottery approach, where the lottery entrant specifies the charitable target of their contribution in the event that they loose. This lottery will be operated only as a website to reduce operating costs and thus increase prizes. The Rational Lottery itself would be a non-profit organization.
The second problem is that corporations keep their internal finances a closely guarded secret, enabling them to perform illegal and/or unethical acts with a minimal fear of being caught. With the advent of the World Wide Web, we should be seeking higher level of transparency in operation, specifically web based organizations (and ultimately all for profit organizations) should make detailed accounting available on the web. The Rational Lottery would lead by example, by putting up detailed internal accounting of its operation, even though this is not legally required. It is possible that winners names would be not made public and there would be some other small set of confidential data. Generally speaking, however, a detailed enough accounting would be available to insure the funds were not being used illegally or unethically (unless you start with the presumption that gambling is unethical).
The third and final problem is that generally speaking there is little discussion and debate about the potential negative impact of new technologies. One solution is to take a small fraction of incoming revenues from this lottery (perhaps 1% or less) and make it available as prize money for people who write essays which both identify problems and propose pragmatic and/or clever solutions to he hazards of new technologies. All technologies will be eligible for review, but special attention will be given to the problems and proposal associated with the World Wide Web. If it is acceptable to him, we could call this the "Mander Prize", for Jerry Mander author of Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television and outstanding technology critic.
The are three different possible approaches to dealing with legal restrictions associated with gambling.
1) Organize the Rational Lottery as a non-profit club, where members join and pool resources. [This may not prove legal].
2) Work with native American groups which are permitted to operate electronic gambling services (like www.uslottery.com)
3) Locate the server and supporting organization off-shore.
The later two solutions have both been implemented already.
There are several factors that should contribute to the success of this idea.
1) The Saatchi-Saatchi commitment of $50,000 in marketing .
2) The explosion of Internet based gambling (estimated at US$ 60 million in 1996 and US$ 600 million in 1997).
3) Increased prize money over most lotteries (typical lotteries give 30 to 35% away in prize)
4) The possibility that the non-profit contribution will be tax deductible [this will need to be investigated by lawyers].
While this idea may not be either patentable or copyrightable it is being submitted based on communications with Joan Doan of Saatchi-Saatchi which are enclosed.
OPTEC: Open Public Trust and Equity Corporations
i agree with Mander almost completely. The corporation, like television, is a structurally dangerous entity. The problem is not what is being produced or even how it is produced (or the content of the television programming) - the very form gives it a trajectory towards doing far more harm than good. Where we diverge is that the technology is unreformable (in the case of corporations, for TV he is likely right and it can not be).
The key to the reform is recognizing the structural problems of the corporation and building in as much as possible the antidote. The reason that it is short of revolution, is that there are aspects of the corporate culture which are likely necessary to survive in the contemporary economy. Perhaps, if we are lucky, OPTECs will be a transition technology as we move to other economic forms which are more sustainable. But just as i do not see an energy path shift away from coal and oil without going thru gas on its way to renewables. At least not if we want to avoid intolerable climate change.
The Key Principals are:
- Openness of accounting
- Openness of decision
Making Contribution to the Community
- Split Profits with an independent non-profit entity
Electronic Direct Democracy
- Service oriented to customers
- Direct Democratic Control
Promoting Positive Products
- Evaluating the politics of producers
- Giving Airspace to Boycotts
Environmentally Friendly Operation (mostly)
- Use greenest products available in operation
- Minimize use of paper
- Minimize travel of products
Taken together these steps move towards a responsible corporate entity, but they do not solve the foundational problem of the need for corporate growth and exploitation. They are in essense an effort to survive in a for-profit environment with a new less destructive form of economic entity. There will certainly be efforts to destroy such concept. However, if people choose to move their money thru such an entity, it maybe possible to construct a transitional economic entity, proving alternatives are possible and moving us on the road to structural change.