Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Concord Hymn Revisited: Story Telling for Social Change

…here once the embattled farmers stood, and fired the shot heard round the world…

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “Concord Hymn” in 1836 for a dedication in Concord, Massachusetts to honor the men who gave their lives at the Battle of Lexington and Concord (April 19, 1775), the first battle of the American Revolution.

Travel left 3,000 miles to a spot just outside the glamour of San Francisco Bay. Here sits Concord CA, a small working class city at the weathered heels of Mt Diablo and flanked to the north by the bay’s brackish waters that glow in the dull flames of oil refining. At its southern flank rests the plastic town of Walnut Creek packed with brand-o-phile stores doing their part to fuel the debtor-nation.

Photo by Ted Hamiter  http://www.flickr.com/photos/trhamiter/2890931015/

Step forward to the year 2065, an author is honoring a movement and the date of December 21, 2012 with a poem. Much like the village of Concord MA on the outskirts of Boston, the non-descript city of Concord CA, would eventually become known as the marker of Economic Revolution.

The year 2011 was rough on the middleclass and the future didn’t look bright. In early 2012 the economy was still stagnant, China and India were consuming more energy and US gas prices hovered around $6 per gallon. Thirty years after Reagan devastated energy policies the country still had no cohesive plan. Because 2012 was an election year, Republicans were continuing the transfer of wealth to the upper-class and Big Business. The outlook for the common man was bleak.

A small group of frustrated citizens gathered and outlined a socially-just plan that would improve the living standards for all Concordians; the plan was published on the Mayan Time of Transition, December 21, 2012. The plan had a one-two punch with the first hitting immediately and the second coming about ten years later. For the initial phase, the group endorsed the Transition Town movement that focused on local economies and sustainability.

Within ten short years the city was completely transformed:

1)      There was an excess in local organic vegetable and protein food production.

2)      Unemployment was at a negative 15%.

3)      90% of suburban polluting lawns were converted to edible gardens.

4)      Water consumption dropped by 70%.

5)      Rooftops were retrofitted for algae production and then harvested for liquid energy conversion. The city became a green oil producer.

6)      There were no food deserts in any part of the city, fresh food was available within a five minute walk, children and adults enjoyed real food and obesity was below 15%.

7)      The environment was being regenerated and the city was carbon negative.

But the citizens weren’t satisfied. They knew their Garden of Eden was in danger. Sustainability and a happy healthy society are the enemy of Big Business and financial institutions that need an ever-expanding debtor economy to survive. The evil empires and their crony politicians would be coming.

By now the Transition Movement was sweeping the nation. It was time to release the final punch; the knockout punch that would put Big Business on the canvas where it belongs, supporting citizens and not controlling them. On January 1, 2023 most Concord citizens stopped paying loan obligations for homes and cars. They used social media to encourage the nation to do the same. Banks, Wall Street and insurance were crippled—the robber barons were forced to act responsible for the first time since the early1980s. The redistribution of wealth–back to the middleclass–had begun.

…here once the embattled farmers stood, and fired the shot heard round the world…

-Roger Ingalls


Roger Ingalls is well travelled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

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10 thoughts on “Concord Hymn Revisited: Story Telling for Social Change

  1. Fairy tales and fantasies for social change? Why do I not believe Roger is not going to change the world by telling us to plant lettuce on our lawn or by welshing on obligations.

    I’d appreciate it if you’d mention at the top of the post that Roger is the day’s guest blogger.

    • Hello-
      I realize that this post was a little scrambled and hard to follow but hopefully it got the point across. I do believe that urban farming, if widely adopted, would have profoundly positive impact on society. I also now believe Wall Street (and the likes) provides little to no real value to humanity. Now, would I participate in a financial takedown in the yr 2023…only time will tell.

      If you saw my name at the top of the post would you still read it?

  2. Viva La Revolution! Why can’t fiction lead the way for social change, instead of just commenting on it.

    It brings to mind a novel, The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk (the author), which also portrays such a vision.

    Great post,Roger.

    Alon Shalev

    • Alon-
      Thanks for the feedback. Actually, your seminar re: the use of fictional activism to promote real change inspired me to write this post. As you can see I’m not very good at this kind of stuff but it was fun and personal.

      I just read a few snippets of The Fifth Sacred Thing online. I see the similarity to my post, now I’ll have to read the book.

  3. Al – we have been consistent with Tom posting on Tuesdays and Roger on Thursdays. When we have had guest bloggers in the past, I have put their name in the title.

    Would you prefer to see for example – Concord Hymn Revisited: Story Telling for Social Change – Roger Ingalls?


  4. As a new follower on this blog, I agree that the authorship of the posts need to appear at the top of the blog. (Some themes do this automatically). The information about the blog gives the impression that Alon is the author of the blog … and since it seems that in fact others are contributing posts as authors or contributors, it would be helpful to have this indicated in the title or the credits at the top of each post. And how about acknowledging all of the blog authors in the sidebar?

  5. katie on said:

    I have been researching lately about the ideas out there of actually coming together as a people to effect change. The other 99% of us who are poor, pulluted on and overworked have little real power. Does anyone know of any ideas or goings on currently to get this ball rolling???
    Also I love the idea here, greener and much less greedier! great!

  6. I really like what you guys tend to be up too. This sort of clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the wonderful works guys I’ve added you guys to my own blogroll.

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