Thursday, June 16, 2011

Serious Fantasy: The Institute for the Indentured Educated Class

There is this big, somewhat ugly house next to where I am currently living. It has been stripped clean, and the owners have been gone for well over a year. It's a foreclosure. The bank tends to mow it at the last minute, so it's this hideous eye sore in a nice, tidy neighborhood. Every time I walk by it with my dogs, I get really pissed. I have thought about leaving my dogs' shit in the yard, but then I realize that that would be utterly rude to the poor guys who must mow the yard each month. So, I pick up my dogs' shit and curse the bank that owns it. Then I curse a bunch of other banks, as well as politicians . . . by the time I get back home, I am seething. So . . . here's something I'd like to do with that house.

I'd like to buy it, fix it up, and turn it into . . . The Institute for the Indentured Educated Class. Wouldn't that be awesome? We could house a few people each month who were in real dire straights, and then have writers and researchers and scambloggers come and spend time there - it would be a commune. It would help the downtrodden sans pity or paternalistic scorn, and it would inspire people to think about all sorts of issues. It would be a meeting ground for like-minded and concerned citizens. It would be a tiny plot that still represented democracy in a wilderness of decadent, destructive neoliberal shit. It would be great to do it in Texas, for it would show that Texas, like its diverse and ever-changing population, has serious potential for good.

How can we change this serious fantasy into something real?

11 comments:

Aimee said...

Donations, and commitment from individuals. Perhaps you'd be eligible for a grant...?

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

If we can come up with a solid plan, I think that might just work, Aimee.

Amy said...

So, ur still here in TX? The house thing sounds nice...just confirm there's no asbestos...cause right next to our RV in this RV park right now..there is a house covered in asbestos siding and that shit is all over the ground out here. Have to tell my kids not to touch it.

cityatworldsend said...

Number of rooms? Bathrooms? How many rooms devoted to temporary housing, and how many for fellows of the institute? How much permanent staff? You'd convert the yard into garden space, at least in part, to feed the household, right? Is there an HOA that would object to the space being used in that manner?

One Who Survived said...

Paradoxically this anecdote reminds me of what happened to so many formerly beautiful Russian houses after the Bolshevik coup: after they were collectivised they rapidly decayed.

The paradox - which most Americans, both "right" AND "left", are unwilling to think about - is that the current decay of American housing and infrastructure (and literally the physical decay of American people) resembles the degraded conditions of Communist countries precisely BECAUSE today's America and Communist Russia had this in common: BOTH regimes expropriated private property and put it in the hands of an oligarchy who didn't give a flying f--- about the country.

One Who Survived said...

By the way, unlike most Americans, I'm familiar with Communist countries from personal experience.

Kym said...

sounds like an amazing idea. grant seems like the right path to me. maybe some fundraising. but who to reach out to for the funds? why would someone want to donate to this cause? and who? brainstorm...

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

I think it has at least 3 bathrooms. That's a good question about the HOA. The 'guard dog' types for the HOA are actually separated from this part of the neighborhood (a major street and park divide it). So, I guess when it comes to their rules and whatnot, people on this side of the neighborhood can get away with more.

Permanent staff? Hmmm . . . 2-4? Thereabouts.

Plus me.

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

@OneWhoSurvived - yes. I know exactly what you're talking about, but a girl can dream . . . right? :)

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

@OneWhoSurvived - understood. I am very familiar with what you're talking about.

One Who Survived said...

Well I hope your experience wasn't in North Korea. By the way, if you're not already familiar with it, there's a documentary about Joe Dresnok, the American soldier who defected to North Korea. Part one begins here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHAMAwIWciA