By Grace Lee Boggs

Michigan Citizen, May 3-9, 2009

I am inspired and encouraged by the many different alternatives that people in this country and around the world are creating to replace the dehumanizing and destructive capitalist system which, after all, only came into existence a few hundred years ago.

As Hazel Henderson put it in the paragraph with which I ended my last column:

“We are beginning to see our world differently than mainstream media portrays. We see our choices with new eyes. We know that money is not real wealth. Real wealth is generated by productive people using the Earth’s resources wisely. We are all rediscovering the many stores of value in our own communities. We find wealth beyond money. We can change our values for the new times we live in and restore love economies (sic) to their central role in our lives.”

For example, I recently received an email from Kweili Tutashinda saying, “We are all in a monthly study group that has been meeting for over a year like you all in Detroit. It was initiated by Wilson Riles, Jr.., a former progressive Oakland city council member, long time activist and a community consultant. We are pushing for a local currency.”

Thirty years ago Kweili was in the Ahidiana Collective in New Orleans, studying Jimmy’s 1963 book The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker’s Notebook and our 1974 Revolution and Evolution in the 20th Century. Now a chiropractor in Oakland, California, he is the author of It’s Our Time: Ella Baker, Participatory Democracy & Oakland, California. He also runs a Holistic Health Center which has published a newsletter recommending healthy ways to deal with financial stress.

The Oakland study group calls their local interest-and-inflation free currency the ACORN. In fashioning it, they see themselves taking a step into history, ancient social learning, and deep into culture, and also stepping into our technological, ecological, mono-cultural future.

This is because they view economics as a human cultural phenomena and Euro-centric economics as extremely limited.

For example, Islamic religious law, called "Shariah,” regulates finances and prohibits risk, gambling, and interest or usury. For much the same reasons the ACORN also prohibits these things. Thus they avoid the Euro-centric cultural debate about capitalism vs. socialism (both systems that abstract economics out of human cultural systems) and free themselves to talk about systems of exchange that are fair, harmonious, and strengthening. By openly recognizing the positive aspects of "Shariah" Law, they also see themselves striking a great blow against those who want to demonize Muslims who believe in "Shariah." The ACORN, they say, will be Shariah Law compliant. If need be, it will associate itself with the Lariba Bank of Southern California, a bank that applies Shariah Law and would have no problem facilitating ACORN’s interest-and-inflation free local currency.

Christianity and Judaism, they note, also have strong prohibitions against the same financial behaviors..So they anticipate that true Christians and true Jews will support an interest-and-inflation free currency.

Kweili also sent me his paper on “ The Ethical Implications of Nanotechnology: A Discussion of Aristotelian and Buddhist Perspectives,” which ends with this paragraph:

“Another voice in this debate is the one of traditional indigenous societies. Today, although the numbers are decreasing, millions of people live traditional lifestyles. Some groups are hunter and gatherers and have not even joined the industrial age, let alone the electric and now biodigital and computer age. Yet modern civilized humans have not yet definitively proven, any more than Aristotle and Buddha over two thousand years ago, that they are any happier or spiritually evolved than ancient societies or traditional people. In some respects, traditional people are needed so that we can observe ways of being and existing that generates its own happiness without many machines. Without romanticizing them, it can be safely said that many are happy without modern religion, science or technology. Again, it comes down to purpose. What is the ultimate purpose of nanotechnology? The answer to this question will ultimately determine its ethical implications and ramifications.”

Obviously we have a lot of thinking and rethinking to do at this watershed in the continuing evolution of the human race .

Make Sure to Check out These Websites!

Boggs Center Website

Boggs Center Blog

Boggs Center Youtube Channel

The Michigan Citizen

Detroit: City of Hope has a new website!! DCOH has recently designed a new website and a new logo. In addition to these new efforts, there are several accompanying T-Shirts to help spread the word about this organization, and, more importantly, inform others about creating sustainable communities. The website can be accessed here.

FLYP, too, is a breath of hope. You can find it at

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