I’m an electrician. Recreational and round-the-town bicyclist. Tinkerer. Shy single person. Afro-cuban drummer. Here’s my Facebook page.
- Coining new language for new situations.
- Shared meals with friends
I don’t like:
- Theft (especially bicycles)
- Prison and Military Industrial Complex (what percent of poor men aged 18-28 are exploited by one or the other face of this industry?)
- Afro-cuban drumming
Career. At 37, I’m still having a hard time committing to a career. I hope my construction contracting business as an electrician will become more profitable for me, and of increasing benefit to my customers, as I develop capacity to consult on and implement conservation, demand-response, and renewable co-generation plans. Long term, I hope it can grow to at least the point where I could sell it or pass it on to hired management and earn a small residual income as part owner. Whatever becomes of my business, I hope it can become a bridge to bigger projects, such as large cooperative community energy developments and/or developing affordable cooperative community housing. I’ve invested a good bit of business development in Philadelphia, but don’t rule out a move to a rural homestead nearby, in California, or possibly anywhere in the world.
Love. I think marriage is too primary as the accepted way for people to bring love into their adult lives. Still, it’s probably the relationship that suits me best, personally, as I am naturally loyal, tending to focus on one relationship at a time — whether in friendship or erotic love. I could see being a home-maker who does occasional contracting work, or fixes up houses for supplemental income. I could see growing my business — or getting an energy engineering degree and career as employee elsewhere — to a high enough income level where I could provide a primary income for a couple, or traditional family. Without children, it could make sense for both me and my partner to pursue work life energetically.
I remain ambivalent about ever having my own children. I think I’m more inclined to adopt or foster children, and I feel I have considerable work to do to stabilize my life and bring my income level up to where I’d feel comfortable taking on that kind of responsibility.
Many in my neighborhood are strongly oriented toward social change, and serious people around here are expected to ‘have a politics’. I have to acknowledge that part of me rebels against this. I suppose it’s a humanist nostalgia for a life defined by community, not civilization. For minimally-analyzed pragmatic reasons, I’m registered Democrat and vote pretty loyally for that party, except occasionally in the smallest of local races, where, say, a Green at-large candidate for City Council might have a prayer.
I have streaks of Libertarian and anarchist, but I think neither is very realistic as long as there are enough fossil fuels available to give various states around the world power (as in work/time physical power) to project military hardware across the globe and through the atmosphere. While this condition dwindles more or less gradually during the first 2/3 of the 21st Century, too much money and influence will remain bound up in strategic control of resources that, ultimately, determine one nation’s ability to defend itself against the rapacious greed of another. The assumption of a peaceful posture on one pole of global power will create the opening for industrial/military interests to aggressively consolidate resources/power from another pole. Unfortunately, global industry has achieved the win-win situation of profiting from the preventive and/or agressive military stances of any and all nations, both in spite of and because of these nations’ opposition to each other. The only way globalized industry loses is if all nations stand down: i.e.: if by some miracle, nations arrive at a global agreement to stand down and live in peace. Such a consensus would be a miracle, even absent the industrial imperative that it never happen. Given the multi-pole and distributed nature of global power, industrial powers are well-positioned to covertly prevent peace by inciting rebellions and violence as necessary to maintain a general condition of dangerous instability, and to profit from war (or the preparation for it) for the foreseeable future. Perhaps there is some hope for peace by the end of the 21st Century, when military ambitions can no longer fuel global projects with fossil fuels, and a peaceful nation can provide for its defense with less concern for the disposition of fossil fuel resources on the other side of the globe.
I believe that prisons, and US imperialism through global military presence and intervention, absorb a class of citizen who would otherwise drive radical social change in the United States. These are 18-28 year-old men (and, increasingly, women) raised in a culture affected by generations of poverty and, for some, a legacy of racism and slavery. Whether through the threat of insurrections or through a more sustained democratic revolution founded on the radically different perspectives engendered in a culture that has endured generations of repression and poverty, unleashing this class from incarceration and ‘voluntary’ conscription would trigger radical changes in today’s politics. Fortunately, immense financial resources would be available for redirection at the same time due to slashing of ‘security’ and prison spending, and there is some small chance that the combination of immense new political pressure with a radical relaxation of pressure on the Federal budget could mold a new national order without breaking our basic framework of representative government protected by a constitution.
Day-to-day, I have not been activist. I try to make a living without hurting anyone, and I’ll join a march or demonstration now and then — usually working the periphery and trying to disseminate information in a non-confrontational manner to people who are obviously curious, but who generally won’t approach a crowd of energized, yelling people. I hope to have increasing opportunities to recommend energy conservation measures to my clients and customers, and to develop methods and systems for conservation and renewable energy generation that could have radical impact on at least the local energy economy. For example, can I develop a legal/cooperative model and installation methodology that halves the installed cost of solar PV renewable generation on row homes, by forming block-long cooperatives and installing across dozens of properties instead of one at a time?
In general, I have an intuition that progressive social change has to do a lot more support for what it wants, rather than opposition to what it does not want. I often wonder what the result would be, if left-leaning community organizers and political activists used their foundation of (often) college-level education to get engineering degrees and donate 1/2 of their resulting $80,000+ salaries toward their social change goals (retaining incomes — or at least equivalent hourly wages — higher than they have now). The shift would transform a US economy facing a shortage of engineers, and could provide many times the funding for the ultimate goals of these causes, over what they have today. Maybe I’m naive about the scale of Federal budget impact on which social projects move forward and which do not. Certainly, corporate interests have learned that political activism leverages a handsome return on dollars invested. The question may be, though, whether to fight those investments with volunteer or low-paid labor, or to simply join the economy and contribute money directly to projects that need it.