Jumat, 31 Maret 2017

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there's so much more to it. and you're gonna hear a little bit about that today because of the pioneering work that he did in welcoming spanish-speaking people into minority enterprise, into helping them in education, helping them be counted in the census and so much more.

and we've put together an incredible panel. and the history-making aspect of this is that these were the people who were there. they're the people who were participants and who came up with the initiatives, sat with the president to create them and then to execute them. so, they were the

engineers, the participants of so many things that - in fact, i heard some remarks last night by the first united states treasurer, rosario marin, who is here today. please stand. let's welcome the first, madam treasurer was the first

hispanic immigrant treasurer in the united states. and i thought she put it so well at a little dinner we had with our panelists last night when she thanked them for opening the doors, for creating the path through which people like her were able to achieve things

that historically they would not have been able to do in america. but she attributed so much of that progress and opening to these people who worked so closely with richard nixon. we have a panel; that's why the chairs, and i'm going to introduce the moderator of the

panel, who is henry ramirez he was an incredible educator - still is - with the whittier union high school district where he pioneered in efforts to bring mexican-americans into the educational mainstream like they had never been before and

he was noted nationally, given numerous awards for that. he worked with the united states civil rights commission and did extraordinary work there. he was a counselor to presidents nixon, ford and reagan. and president nixon, in the first part of his administration, asked him to be the first

chairman of the cabinet committee on opportunities for spanish-speaking peoples. we're honored to have him and he's going to introduce the panel. please welcome henry ramirez. thank you. thank you so much. good afternoon. on behalf of my fellow

panelists, and myself, we express our appreciation to the staff here of the nixon foundation, and we welcome you to participate today in our discussions and in the learning of history that is going to go on today.

and since we only have a couple of hours in which to retrace an incredible history that the world still doesn't know, we shall begin by asking stu spencer to come out and take his place.

stu is the person who, in the 1950s started the first activities of that history, to be followed by david gonzalez, who was my former student at rancho high school and who joined stu spencer, to be followed by a gentleman

that arrived in washington, d.c. in 1959 after he served in the air force. he came from the southern part of texas. g.g. garcia, who will talk about the environment in washington before the other persons arrived in the late 1960s, to be followed by martin castillo, the

first chairman of the cabinet committee on opportunities for the spanish-speaking people, a very prominent attorney here in southern california, to be then followed by, theresa speake who helped president nixon and helped all of us implement the

programs so that hispanic people could participate in the business opportunities of our country. and then, of course, theresa will be followed by manuel oliverez, who will then tell you about some of the things for which he was responsible that added to that history.

and then the man who communicated to the world the first things that happened, and the first things that happened, and the first things that happened carlos conde, a well-known writer from houston, texas and myself, henry ramirez,

who will try to keep order today, in this room. so we will commence, each one having a maximum of eight minutes. but, truth be told, i know they're going to take ten. we'll start with mr. stu spencer. thank you, henry. they never make these tall enough.

it's not only nice to be here today with a lot of people that i worked with historically in the political process, mostly california, some in texas. i just want to take a minute and really thank loie gaunt for being here today. loie? we used to call her mrs. nixon.

i noticed that there's a lot of young people here today. and that's a blessing, because when i look at the members of this panel and myself, and the things that we've been through. we can tell you about any damn thing we want to and you're not going to know whether it's true or not. so consequently i'm going to really try to not be a

historical revisionist and tell you as it was or at least as i saw it in the early days of the outreach programs. i'm going to start by taking you back to the year 1950. that was sort of the first time, if you were a political anthropologist you'd look at the landscape and you would

see that there was really no outreach being done by either political party in the state of california at that time. but in 1950, it was the year that dick nixon was running for the united states senate against helen gahagan douglas. earl warren was running for re-election against jimmy roosevelt democrats, son of the president roosevelt.

and in california we had a thing called cross-filing. cross-filing meant that if you were a republican you could run in the democrat primary without the designation republican after your name of vice-versa. if you were democrat you could run in the republican primary. so, and i was a student as east los angeles junior college at the

time and the warren campaign, the warren political strategist, they came up with a concept that "let's take advantage of cross-filing, get deeply involved, in the democratic primary in the barrio of la." which i'll talk about a little bit later. so, that community

at that time was about 80% mexican. chicano is what they used to call themselves. and 90% democrat, so it was a good test market. so, i was contacted at that time, i'm going to east lajc, by a man by the name of pat hillings, who was a successor to nixon in the old 12th congressional district, which

is later turned into the 25th. i was a young man involved in a lot of volunteer activities, a young republican, and driving hillings around, taking care of his laundry. all the things that you do as you start out in the process and clinical the process. pat called me up and told

me about what the warren people wanted to do, and they had spoken with the nixon people, so to speak, campaign organization. and he asked me if i would be willing to go in, take over this project which would last about six weeks, and see

if we could put a campaign together in east la. now, my first reaction was, you know, why me? i mean, i'm not qualified to do this. but this is an important point about the nixon organization. the answer i got was that i was a trusted peon in the organization. otherwise trust was always important

in that organization. and it should be in all political organizations. so, i went and met with the warren campaign people and i basically accepted the job. and they had a caveat that was interesting, the caveat was that the percentage of the money that

was spent in the budget had to come out of the chicano community. so after accepting the job, i went back to college. i said, you know, i know where this place is, but i don't know anything about it. i have to find somebody that knows this community, this barrio. i had a friend, a fellow student, eddie maldonado.

eddie was a, "street smart", i guess is the term we use. he wasn't political, but he knew the community. he knew it inside out. so i explained the project to eddie. i said hey, i would like to get involved, i need your help because i don't know the community etc., etc. and he just kept looking at me.

and finally i said there's five hundred bucks in it for you eddie. i got him. so i explained the requirement, the money requirement to him. i said who in the community could come up with either seed money, or help us raise it? he says give me a day and let me think about it. two days later he comes back.

he came back and said "you and i have a lunch with a gentleman by the name of armando torres". armando torres was in the wholesale grocery business. i think it was sparton groceries, is that right? and he had money, there was no doubt about it. so, we explained the campaign concept to armando,

he accepted the responsibility and he went out and formed a small committee of other fellow chicanos with dr. kareon, which is a famous name in that community. consuela tebonza, frankie vega who was front row. his father was on that committee and there were

others i can't remember to-date. but the basics are, so here's what the campaign consisted of. the first outreach campaign by a republican candidate, in this case two, warren and nixon. very simple. we put a headquarters in on first street, next to the karaoke bar, that was a mistake.

karaoke bar was a union hangout. after work they all drank beer at the karaoke bar. came out the front door of the bar, there's a big picture of warren in a plate glass window. he would throw a brick through it. so, armando torres one day got me aside, he says, "spencer", he says, "do

all campaigns spend this much money on plate glass?" i said, "i don't know. do at it armando. we'll find out later." we had an appearance by the governor warren. he came to the headquarters opening and he came to a reception in somebody's home someplace in the district. i don't remember where.

we sniped the district at night with signs. both warren and nixon's. and we had a sound truck that spent about two hours a day traveling the area, promoting the two candidates in spanish. now this is the bare necessities campaign by today's standards. there was no mail, there

was no radio, there was no television. it was just a little smaller actions, so to speak. now the area that i'm describing, the barrio, you know it, atlantic on the east, whittier boulevard on the south, la river on the west, and let's say the monterrey hills on

the north, hispanic then and 90% democratic. and in the end warren received 25% of the vote and i don't frankly remember what percentage nixon got, but it was probably a little less, because down ticket to a degree. but the project was deemed very, very successful by both campaigns,

warren and nixon. and of course it was nixon's first statewide win and it was sort of his launching pad to the next goal he had in his life. now there was no follow-up in the party apparatus, in the years '51, '52, '53, to what we tried to do in 1950.

but in 1952, nixon was selected as a running mate for eisenhower and they went on and won the election. and i said, this time and point in history was sort of the beginning of what i call the domination of the republican party in california by richard nixon. and that lasted for 10, almost 15 years.

and i'll tell you, that domination was thorough, workmanlike in every way, and i will explain some of it to you. because his first step was to take control of the party apparatus, the republican party apparatus. he named the state chairman. he saw that the state committee members were appointed were nixonites,

as we would call them. he concerned himself and his people with who is the county chairman in at least the 43 major counties in the state and then he also had us and other people find candidates to run for the county committee who were, again, nixonites.

so he was basically reaching out to dominate his own party here in california. and he basically achieved that goal when he ran for re-election with ike in 1956. and after the 1956 election, a meeting was held, a postmortem meeting, by the nixon campaign people.

and at this meeting were some of his best operatives, i was not there, some of his campaign people, best operatives, and a whole group of young republican congressmen like joe hope, pat hillings, glen lipskin, craig osmond, bob wilson, h. allen smith, and politicos like murray chotiner

and bernie brennan and herb klein. and the committee was chaired by bob finch. now all of the aspects of the 1956 campaign were discussed, and of course the future of dick nixon was discussed, but also i was involved in the future of the party in the state of california.

so down, in that meeting under, let's say the category of the future for the party in california, pat hilling brought up the idea and reminded him that in 1950 we had an east l.a. experiment, as they called

it. and he raised the idea that there was a potential here in that community, that we should pursue the party and the republicans and nixon or we should pursue strategies and tactics to encourage chicanos to at least take a look at the candidates. and the conclusion was, they agreed,

and the conclusion was that the vehicle that they would use at that time was the county party organization in los angeles. now, the next year and a half was spent selling this concept. because we had other powers, we had finance guys downtown. we had other thought leaders in

the community who didn't think practically, tactically, or politically who we called, in those days, the downtown crowd. and let me tell you who they were. the were the l.a. times, it was owned by the chandler's. it was some of the oil companies, signal, union. there were insurance companies: pacific mutual, ace of call, bankers,

oh these were the people ad hoc committee, they called the shots in la. they decided who was to be police chief, who was going to be the mayor, who would be on the city council, and they were powerful and in the main they did good work for the city of los

angeles, but they didn't understand the word outreach. so it was a tough sell. now the committee, to set the tone for you, the committee of 30. they lived in pasadena, they lived in san marino, when they went to work they didn't even have to even drive through east l.a. they came on the san diego freeway.

and we were also about a decade removed from sleepy lagoon in the pachuca wars. now, i say that because historically that was the mindset of these people in the downtown crowd. they didn't know what was in east l.a., and they were being asked to pony up

money, to make an [xx] to this. well, there were a sufficient number of nixon people on that committee, thank god, that they agreed and they put money forward, earmarked money for outreach for the republican party in l.a. county. so that was a big step forward. now, nothing ever goes smoothly.

we had other problems. internal problems. we had a senator from, we used to call him the senator from formosa, senator bill nolan. we had a governor who didn't [xx] republicans, and senator nolan and dick nixon in many ways were on a collision path.

they both wanted to be president of the united states some day. so, there's an old adage in politics. if you are running for president, you better have a solid favorite son position before you go to the rest of the nation. nolan didn't have that, and of course now dick nixon did.

but because of these internal battles that were going on, bill nolan announcing he was going to come home and run, not for re-election, he's going to run for the governorship because he wanted to use his platform to go for the presidency. this was a surprise to goody

knight, city governor, so he's says, "what am i going to do?" so we had to hear, you know, a lot of conversations went back and forth above my pay grade at the time. but the end result was, bill nolan ran for governor, goody ran for the senate seat, nixon sat on the sidelines and watched them destroy each other. and we lost 1958

because musical chairs don't work in the game of politics and you can't run in california. fun, write the word, no one did. so with nolan and knight, running state-wide, realizing that nixon controlled the operation or controlled the party apparatus. they were looking for friends.

and he had to turn to this gentleman for his friends, so nixon made a very, very fast strategic move at that time that involved outreach. number one, he named a new l.a. county chairman. he named my old former partner bill roberts and myself as the staff people on the county committee.

bill was executive director, i was field director. and our liaison to the operation was bob finch, so finch comes to us and said, told us we had to do this. but with it saw this empowerment they were given us came a very, very directive, and that was

to revisit the chicano question and find ways to reach out and be inclusive. so my partner and i, bill roberts, we thought about that a great deal. we said, how do we do this? finally the answer that came to us was, you know, let's not screw around. let's be bold! so we went out and established a republican community service

center right in the middle of the barrio. we named a director named raul benal, who was a very savvy street guy, not a political guy but he knew the community well. we stayed open seven days a week. we brought services to the area such as free polio shots. the lawyers did it from the downtown law firms who

could council some of the people who lived in the area if they had immigration problems, things of that nature. if they had a real legal problem, we'd refer them to a local lawyer. we helped raised money for the east side boys and girls club, and we held work fairs. otherwise, employers would come to

our republican service center, get a desk, people could come in, they'd have jobs available, they'd be interviewed, etc. we made a requirement of the businesses that came, that if you've got a chair or a desk in headquarters, every time you interviewed a bunch of people you had to hire two people.

you can't just come here and talk and put on a show. you gotta hire somebody. and it worked. we also held seminars on health care, and things like how does a teenager qualify for scholarships, and all those sort of those things that are important. and also while this is going

on, bill and my partner and i were on the outlook for candidates. we were trying to recruit chicano candidates to run for public office. tried to recruit henry here. he was too smart. he didn't run. but generally speaking on the whole terms the community service center was simply one.

the nixon republican party at the time was saying to the community, "you got a problem, you come and see us. we'll try to help you." and i'd like to stand here today and say that the community service center was a roaring success, but it was a tremendous step forward.

the real test came when the election was over in the fall of november, if that service center was still there, because that whole community was sitting back and laughing and smiling and said, "the day the election's over we're never gonna see him again." we stayed.

we were there. and we got brownie points. and we got a lot of good comments out of that so we stayed. so things are looking good in terms of outreach in this part of the city. then a catastrophe hit us. if you hotel in la

in the 1960's, the democrats nominated a young, attractive, charismatic catholic. the east side of la fell in love with john kennedy. you could not go into a barber shop, a small bar, or a mom and pop store where there wasn't a picture of john f. kennedy on the wall. that's pretty tough to overcome.

so, as we all know, nixon lost the election, thanks to cook county, illinois. and a new county chairman came in who didn't share the outreach philosophy of the nixon organization, and he was elected. then after the defeat of nixon in '60 the party in california, something set in which i'm

going to call, i'm creating a new word, "goldwater-itis". there were people- and i sensed it early on- they supported nixon in '60, they voted for nixon in '60, but after he got defeated. and it felt like, oh boy we can go get goldwater.

it was a sensation to politicians, if you grew up in the nixon school of politics. they did not share the same ideals and outreach. their concepts were nothing like. and of course the pathway that he ran on, goldwater, was a basic anti-communist platform which was nixon's big game anyway.

he was the guy that was on the house activities committee and he was the person, all the heat from the eastern press and everybody because he was too to hard on certain members who were alleged communists and so forth. but the point is, outreach was not at the top of the agenda.

it wasn't the second thing on the agenda with this new group that came in. they were preaching the gospel of anti-communism. nixon had been preaching the gospel of anti-communism and outreach, the two of them together. now, all the downers being said, i think

if we had a county chairman who would have stayed back, taken the heat, stayed the course, i think at the end of the day the republican party of california would have taken a really giant step forward in outreach because this new chairman basically closed the east l.a. republican service

center, and the party continued a lot of activities after that. but nothing that was conducted in the manner of a shared partnership for this community. that was sort of the key to a good outreach program. you have to make the people you're reaching out to shared partners in the effort and the chairman didn't understand that.

but in 1960, later than '60, early sixties, mid-sixties, they elected a new state chairman by the name of dennis carpenter. he was a lawyer from orange county, he was an ex- fbi agent and he spoke very fluent spanish. and he shared these concepts about each. so one of his first steps was to hire david gonzalez, who you're going to hear from today,

who became a statewide coordinator later and was one, one of the real implementers of the outreach programs after that for the republican party. so let me leave you with a thought. the nixon organization started thinking outreach in 1950 and it became a

part of their belief system and sort of became ingrained in the body politics in the era, both parties. now you can ask the question fairly, why did he do this? well number one, i personally believe that he was like me. he grew up in california. he went to school with chicanos. he adopted some of their cultures. we played ball, we played with

chicanos, we played against chicanos. we were all one big southern california family. we had fights, yes we had fights. so, it was sort of in his dna being a southern california boy from yorba linda to understand something about the hispanic culture. and the second thing was tactically,

and he was a good tactician, if you were looking at the future and the votes and where they were gonna come from- we'd already gone through the migration of rural americans from the mid-west and everywhere- you'd know they were coming in a million a year in the forties from the mid-west and the fifties.

every year a million of them came in. there wasn't that big of a migration from mexico at that time. if you looked at it tactically where, where is the future gonna be? you'd have to say, "if it's gonna be south of the border, it's gonna be south of the border." so let's get involved.

let's get into the outreach. that sort of thing. and it, it's ironic because as we stand here today there are more mexicans in l.a. than any city in the world except mexico city. and that's what was in his mind and other politicians'

minds, in the fifties and sixties, when they knew that this growth somehow, somewhere was going to come. so that's it. do i turn it over to - thank you, stu, for that introduction into the history of a man that changed the world

in so many ways. and following up the work that stu did, he was the man that ran the campaign to elect ronald reagan president, ran the campaign to elect ronald reagan governor, campaign to elect richard nixon president.

and he was there at the very beginning. when our young men had come back from the second world war, had gone to school, gone to college, who were now ready to take their places in american society. and so, we have a

young man whose father was one of those veterans, and who stepped in there to follow up on the work that stu had started. david, please tell us about that part. well, i thought about what i was gonna say here today and one of the questions that i get

asked a lot is, "how did you get involved politically?" there was a young man that i had met by the name of frank vega who brought me into a campaign that i knew nothing about. it was in east l.a. we were working for a candidate at the time by the name of bill rusko that was running for congress.

didn't know what the heck i was doing, tell you the truth. but, we managed to pull 35% out of a predominately democratic community for a republican candidate. that caught the attention of a fellow by the name of dennis carpenter, who at the time was the vice chairman of the republican party, who the

following year became the chairman, and who hired me on to do outreach for the hispanic community. some of that outreach were cocktail parties; we went to democratic organizations that we knew weren't going to necessarily vote for our candidates, but we wanted to let, we took the battle to them. we

went to organizations like m.a.p.a, mexican american political association, and other organizations. we went to city council where a group of us, like frank and some other gentlemen, knew city councilmen and we befriended them and went out and told our story. there was no better time

that i can remember and i've been involved politically for a long time. for two gentlemen, dennis carpenter and duke spencer, were truly committed to the outreach of capturing the hispanic vote. and without their support, it would have been a tough uphill battle to do because there was

opposition within the republican party. they didn't understand the hispanics, they didn't understand that we, as a family unit we're very conservative people. we believe strongly in our religion and our culture and our family and our country, and my dad served in the second world war.

i was second generation and they didn't know this. and it was, the things that were accomplished couldn't have happened like i said, without the help of stu spencer backing it, and frank vega put a lot of effort into it, put together a lot of, we had a,

we called a young turks club, a lot of young guys out there doing the outreach for us, and denny carpenter definitely was very instrumental as the chairman of the republican party, knew the culture, knew the language, knew the people and

it was quite an experience to have at that point in time of history to be doing an outreach with these two gentlemen. thank you very much david. at this time in history, of course, in south texas there was a man that had been

working the fields in michigan, illinois, indiana, california, texas. with cotton, tomatoes, grapes, and he joined the air force when he came of age. he came out of the air force, went back to his little town in south texas and realized that the world

about him had grown up, and he belonged to a new world. so he packed his bag, he said his farewell to his parents, to his friends and went in 1959 to washington, d.c. to go to georgetown university, and

because he knew washington in 1959-1960, before any of us ever even thought washington would be a place of employment for us, he was there with senators and congressmen, working up in congress, working local newspapers, and he

will tell us about the environment that he found in washington, d.c. into which the rest of us came. so g. g., now it's your turn. yes. in the movie "butch cassidy and the sundance kid," sundance kid asked, "can i move? i can hit a target by moving better."

i need the podium. i'd like to ask for a moment of silence to remember those who have gone before us. mark with a sign of faith especially those for whom we here pray. john [xx] interim chairman of the cabinet committee. jose desol full bird colonel, us army, retired from puerto rico.

carlos reese, associate director. and mercy hernandez, associate director. one of the many forms of mexico is the canciones populars, better known as the canciones rancheros. it has been developed and cultivated for over one hundred years. like the corrido, the generic form is lyrics with a narrative set to music, preferably musica mariachi.

the themes are love for romance, history, values like patriotism, maschismo and volentia, boastful bravado among others. in the middle of one such song, a national screen idol and popular male vocalist, interjects the lines.

translated in its broadest sense, it means, "i do not ask for charity, i only seek opportunities." migrant farm workers from the rio grande valley in south texas in the early 40s and 50s were too proud and it was a well order pride to accept government handouts. we

traveled to the four winds in excess of a thousand miles each way in search of work, rather than to stretch our hands, palms up, for government handouts: unemployment, food stamps, and welfare. we went north to the midwest: wisconsin, michigan,

indiana, ohio, and illinois; west to california, oregon, to the yakima valley in the state of washington; east to florida; and even the deep south, mississippi and louisiana, and back to the south texas, rio grande valley. the works of the ranchero resonated in a preteen doing a

man's job in the cotton fields or in el bloqueo, the blocking of sugar beets, with the infamous short hold, of course. i heard the echo in president richard nixon's statement on december the 31st, 1969 establishing the cabinet committee

on opportunities for the spanish-speaking. he announced that the 1970 census of populations would, for the first time, count the mexican, the puerto rican, and the cuban heritage peoples of the united states. you see, before then we didn't count. it was all in black and white.

chairman martin castillo and dr. henry ramirez both were personally responsible for that major achievement. after 400 years, we were finally recognized. cristobal colon, for whom we celebrate this day, a native of italy, was a spanish speaker. he discovered america in the name of the king

and queen of spain, fernando and isabella. martin castillo and dr. ramirez were the first and the last chairman of the cabinet committee. the alpha and the omega as it were. i am humbled by their presence here today. at this point it is necessary to cite an entire passage from the president's statement. and i quote: "many members of this significant minority group have

been too long denied genuine and equal opportunity," said president nixon. in signing the bill, he cited specifically employment, job training, and a real share in american business enterprise. as a concern for his administration for creating equal opportunity for all spanish speaking americans. i will get back to capitalism later. the purpose of the committee must

be read with a beautiful respect for text, in which every word counts. he said, "to foster a new awareness, with the government, for the specific needs and concerns of this significant group. and to to insure that existing and future government programs, in

fact reach the spanish speaking people." the first was a challenge. it was difficult to overcome the inertia, the mindset that was there in the federal bureaucracy. they had a fixation with african americans and recognizing their constitutional rights. he foresaw then what was needed for the committee to succeed. the dedication of its members,

the support of government. the receptivity of private enterprise and the proven drive and talent of the spanish speaking people. in rereading that statement, i was struck with what he had done. he gave us a shell, for a change, the cabinet committee. it would be up to us to listen for the voices

from our community and to transform them to national policy for the white house and the congress of the united states. he could have simply ordered his very able personal staff to do it, or his own cabinet officers, sante cavo,[sp?] perhaps, because he knew

comebacks and triumphs, the same as we then too. respecting our integrity and our traditions, he started the best and most permanent way for change for us through evolution. he wanted us involved in directing our own destiny. that was his particular genius. anyone can do a contra

study of the status quo for hispanics, before president nixon took office and after. the conclusion is inevitable. there has been a radical transformation of our community for the better. this in part has been the result of the cabinet committee. hispanics today are in the news and we are represented in every

major field of endeavor, success models even. i want to say president nixon created more executive level positions in the federal government and in the foreign service than any other president. more hispanic millionaires, but that is a task for the historian, the statistician, the

ph.d., poli-science majors, authors or curators. the country knows who we are by our sheer numbers, we are projected to be even more numerous in the year 2050. indeed, 30% of the total population according to the pew[sp?] research center.

we are the number one minority. but it sure doesn't feel like it. our most significant task today is to introduce new questions. what about capitalism? he started to do what he really wanted to do for us. that is introduce us to capital formation. the world of stocks and bonds.

and in a share of the prosperity of the market place. due diligence requires for us to address other questions of the day. there is not enough time at this discussion to give a spin on, for example, immigration from the spanish speaking world. education, which is of

paramount importance to us. health care and care for our veterans. if you notice there is no hispanic voice in the national traditional immigration monologue, for example. we are like sheep without a shepherd. we have no national spokesman. our solutions need to be in the form

of legislation, appropriation bills approved by both chambers of congress and signed by the president. in the words of president richard nixon himself, "we need a lobby." we spanish and mexican in particular owe a debt of gratitude to president nixon. this man had a

great mind and was a great leader. we need to tell that story. it will be an easier task because dr. ramirez is preparing his memoirs, so we can use that to begin with. we must follow up in this discussion with a solid action. we need to meet again to firm up these and other recommendations and resolutions, which flow from this forum.

we couldn't begin to settle that debt of gratitude to the president by working with the richard nixon foundation and the presidential library and museum. i personally would like to see a bronze statue of the president with the two chairmen confirmed by the

u.s. senate, to memorialize this proclivity for us hispanics, and maybe a documentary giving our side of the story, so that posterity will not hear just watergate, watergate. in conclusion, i challenge the majority in our community, hispanic democrats, to show us

what they have for their voter participation. high level appointments are commendable. they are good for the individual and even better for their appointing authority. but what about the community? surely, they are not satisfied with a special assistance to the president with one secretary and one administrative assistant.

let us not kid ourselves that it's a dog and pony show. we need institutions like the cabinet committee with the president's personal blessings and the budget appropriations to reflect the desired clout. richard nixon will undoubtedly be remembered for watergate, as kennedy will be for the bay of pigs and lbj for his

folding up under the anti-war student demonstrations and bill clinton for monica lewinsky. but we hispanics will remember richard nixon for defining us and empowering us. i repeat: richard nixon provided us with a catalyst for change. the means to empower, to benefit hispanics, the cabinet committee.

he expected us as staff to listen to the hispanic voices and to develop the objective for our community, to feel the need and the concern of the hispanic to be consultants as it were to the president and congress, and develop recommendations to national policy to benefit our community.

in short, he taught us how to fish. relax. imagine for a second yorba linda: trees, rows of trees, more trees, rows of trees, lemons growing from the branches, oranges growing from the branches, of whom g.g. spoke.

richard nixon was born here. as he grew up a very poor man. he got to know us picking oranges, picking lemons. in that world, there is no hypocrisy. when you're at the bottom of the bottom of the bottom, human beings get to know each other quite well. and so when he was elected president,

january 20th, he swore on the bible to be a good president. and a few days later, like three weeks i believe, he asked martin castillo to come to washington to be in charge of those mexicans he got to know. martin?

well, i was a lawyer...i am a lawyer in los angeles, but at the time i was also and i used to donate my services to all the mexican-americans. war on poverty, nowadays it's... and we had quite a battle going on over here. because the predominate effort was toward the black community.

it was a constant struggle we're, you know, dogs fighting over a little bone. but they controlled the funding sources. opal jones and her group were downtown andwe had a mexican guy in charge named aragon. we wanted to get our foundations funded. we had to arrange to meet him in

the restroom or something so he could sign in cause the black guys wouldn't let us in. that was the kind of competition, so they came to feel racist i guess, but we were just highly competitive, and you know, if you're trying to knock me down, we try to knock you down. that kind of stuff.

so we did it and i was used to it. my dad was a career army guy and he was at omaha beach on d-day and i was a fighter pilot and we were combative in nature i suppose. but we're also very conservative with family values. very religious, very patriotic and i was a democrat.

in my book, we'd make ideal republicans according to the values that republicans continually espouse. there are a lot of problems, but anyhow. so, i was a democrat. i was asked one time by judge leopoldo sanchez, the first mexican-american that was elected to office to be a judge. later everybody was appointed.

and at the time reapportionment was coming up and he asked me to go up to sacramento to lobby jesse unruh, who was speaker of the house, and one of the most powerful men in california. so i went up there with a couple of guys and he said, "mr. castillo why should we vote to proportion a

district where a mexican american will probably be elected?" i said "well, because it's supposed to be representative government and we're a large group and we have no representation. that's number one, and number two, you always get our vote." he looked at me and i'll never won't forget this, he said,

"mr. castillo, we're always gonna get your vote," and that really bothered me. because it's like the difference between courting a girl and being married to her. as long as you're in the courting stage, you do extraordinary things, i mean you

really bust yourself to do it. once you're married it's "okay let's do that" or something, you know how it goes. so i decided we had to get in, somehow get into the courting stage because i'm from new mexico. we had republicans. my dad was a life-long republican although i believed he was a democrat.

and his friends were democrats and so when the republicans were in, we were in, when the democrats were in, we were in, it didn't matter who was in, we were in, okay. my dad, by the way built, he was head of goolocks here in albuquerque, built the first

community center in borelles, the community center so i came by it naturally in any rate i was called by ginger seville who had worked for senator keego, i believe, as his head administrative assistant. and she asked me to be on a commercial for the candidate richard nixon. it was gonna be filmed in new york.

well i was very suspicious, the republicans calling me, i mean, come on. so, but i agreed to go, but i wasn't gonna be clever, i wasn't gonna write down anything in case they got in my room and knew what the questions i was going to ask or anything. i was stupid but that's the

way i was thinking at the time and so i went there and there was a representative group in california. a black guy, a postman, a lawyer, a mexican you know. supposed to be a representative cross section of california. well what happened is that i hammered the candidate for about 15 or 20 minutes on mexican-american

stuff, and he loved it. i was cross-examining him because i am a lawyer and he loved it and he was fighting back and we were going back and forth. we took about twenty minutes of the hour program. and i guess he liked it, because i was called sometime later after he won the election by bob finch

who, as you remember, was the lieutenant governor of the state before he went to washington. he had been an administrative aide for congressman nixon, i believe, and he, he was a very close friend of the president. so he called me and asked me to go back on the transition team.

i didn't know what that meant, but it sounded like a big honor. so i went. i had a big zapata mustache. i remember i shaved it off because i wanted to come in at the lowest level of acceptance, you know how that works. and so i got there and i stood out. he was secretary of health, education, and welfare . so i had to wait for him. he didn't know i was

coming that particular morning. i sat out there for most of the morning. i waited for him. he was in conference and all the newspaper guys came out, and the photographers, and there was mr. finch. and i said, "hi mr. finch." he said, "hello martin, get to work." that's all he said and he took off.

i thought he was going to embrace me, and tell me how great i was for coming or something. he said "get to work". i didn't know what to do. he said "talk to my secretary if you need anything." so we got an office and we got some machines, we got a secretary, and what we started doing was amassing

a job bank because i was tired of hearing, "well, mr. castillo, we would hire a mexican, but there really aren't any qualified people." so we sent out the word and we got a heck of a job bank. there were all kinds of professionals all kinds of phd's. we found people under the rocks that i didn't even

know existed, because i was just from california, and that's what we did. well, after that i went back to my law practice, and i was sitting around there one day and my secretary said, "secretary finch was on the phone for you." well, by that time, he was like my hero for crying out loud. so i went to the phone and i felt like saluting.

instead he said, "martin, the president wants you to come back and work for him." i said "i don't want to go back there, i did my job and i'm happy and i got a lot of stuff to do here, blah blah blah blah." he said "well come out and i want you to talk to daniel patrick moynihan."

he was called the gremlin of the white house. he was a democrat also, and the president appointed him because the president above all, in my view, was a pragmatist. he wanted to get things done. and he sounds the best way in his mind to get things done. so daniel patrick moynihan convinced me, he was wearing no shoes, his hair was all messed up, his tie was rumpled, his shirt was out.

he said, "martin, god darn it you gotta come to work cause the president thinks it's the greatest thing since enchiladas." so that sold me. compared to an enchilada, you know what do you ask. so i came back and they appointed me to be the chairman of the interagency committee on mexican-american affairs.

now the interagency committee on mexican-american affairs had been started by lyndon johnson in 1967 and i didn't find this out until i got there, but it had a shelf-life of about six to eight months. so i was going to be out of a job in 6 to 8 months, after i shut down my practice, you know.

so i figured something had to be... so i went to the white house and i told him i want to get a bill through congress. so the president says, "well go do it." i never, how do i get a bill through congress? well we figured out a way, i'm sure the white house helped us. and we lobbied the democrats, senator montoya, i remember congressman menhaym.

senator javits, the big republican guy with a big constituency of puerto ricans helped us a great deal. rubicoff helped us a great deal. all the guys from texas, most of them helped us senator tower certainly did and it was a lot of mexicans in chicago, kansas city, the cubans

helped us because we changed it to cabinet committee on opportunity for the spanish speaking. and the reason that came about is one, we had to get it through congress okay and we couldn't get it through with mexicans in the word, just mexicans. although we were sixty-eight million, the puerto ricans were one and a half million, the cubans were a half a

million and the others were about a million or a million and a half. we were the dominant group but we didn't have a national presence. bob finch pointed that out to me one day when i was riding with him. and i said, "mr. finch, don't you think it's a little unfair? all the dollars that go out of here for the poverty programs and for needy people, minority people. the majority goes to blacks."

i said, "why is that? it just doesn't seem fair." he said, "well look around you - you see any brown faces?"- we were riding through washington- i said, "no." he said, "well neither do they." so i realized that we had to have a national presence. so this idea we had to get the bill through to keep alive, and had to

include the hispanics too, spanish-speaking, to get the votes, but it was also a great idea because all of a sudden we had a national presence. all of a sudden we meant something to politicians. so now the first thing to do, i suppose, and probably the greatest accomplishment that the cabinet committee made, by the

way, we had to shape the bill, and we got it through and we became the cabinet committee on opportunity for the spanish speaking and i was the first chairman. but the next thing we had to do was to get some money. the way you get money in the federal government, especially for

the minorities programs and everything, by numbers, they go by numbers. politicians do everything by the numbers, haven't you noticed? so to get numbers we had to get into the census as a group, well that was pretty tricky business because mexicans are caucasians, a lot of people forget that. we all know that.

and in fact it really bugs me when a mexican says, "well, those white people." i say, "god damn it. god damn it. you're white." anyhow that's another story for another day isn't it. so we had to get it, we had to get it into the census and so maury

sands, was a very nice man, he was secretary of congress. he helped us and of course the president was all for it. and so we met with the census people, with the help of secretary sands. we convinced them, they believed us, they bought it. a lot white house pressure, i must say. cause it was good for, for everybody.

and we got it through. well, the money started coming in that way and our job as ombudsman was to see that various government agencies got it out to the right places and that's we had our staff for, we had a bunch of bright guys, bright young guys, some of whom are here.

they're still bright, but they're not so young anymore like me, and that was our job and that's what we did and probably the court of carlos conde wherever he is, he stepped out. he says it's probably this effort of the cabinet committee probably produced the greatest equal opportunity

for the longest time of any of the things that the cabinet committee did. and i firmly believe that, cause it's still there and a lot of people are made at the word "hispanics," they call it a mythical term. well it was a political term, ok? but it worked. so, the next thing that i want to talk about

briefly, theresa speake is going to speak about neda - national economic development association- and how it prospered under the guidance of chairman ramirez. and i want to tell you how it happened. and this is, again, the president didn't care how things happened. he knew what we were trying to do, and he just said, "do it."

and so what we did, my friend ben fernandez who used to work for me, or worked with me, as a consultant, stole the idea from a mexican american cpa in colorado to give technical assistance to mexican americans to tap into the economic stream. so i stole the

idea, ben stole the idea, gave it to me, i went to heladio sandoval from texas who is head of the sba, and a very good friend of mine. and i told him we need to get it funded. he funded it, we got together a board: puerto ricans cubans, mexicans. we did all the right things to give them a national presence.

we formed a board. they took off, we had ten officers i believe to start with and then theresa and her group carried it on to bigger and better heights. then we went on to other things, cause we only had a staff of 30, i think. something like that, was around 30? yeah.

and so, we had a lot of work to do. we worked. we worked ten, twelve hour days. we worked on saturday. because and we knew that they were going to get us. the president had told me, "martin get as much done as you can while you can," because he knew, and i

knew that if we were just being programatic and we were centered on one thing like that, that the politicians would get it and they got it, but not before we got a lot done. but we ran and we ran and we ran. and, i just

want to read, i don't want to take much time, but i want to read you something that i think is good because we have a diverse audience here and we all have different talents. we all have different ways of looking at things. but we're all mexican american and we should be, in our own way, working for a goal.

so let me read this. "an understanding of the role that we all play must also be better developed if we are to to reach our goals. each of us has something to offer, just as each of us has his limitations. the relevance and assessment of each of us lies in

our subscription and commitment to a common cause in accordance with our available resources and talent. although we may track on a different plane, or march to a different drum. in the end, let me leave a, let us leave a legacy to future generations, the significance of how we

did it, as well as the value of what we did. but more important that we did it together." and one of the persons with whom marty did it, to get it done is here in the audience and the out of respect for him, in recognition for the great work he also did. i would love to

have fernando davrio, wherever you are out there, please stand up. and so theresa speake will now tell us how she was able to take this work that marty castillo had done to start this organization to help people

become business people, to become part of our economic system in our country. theresa, your turn. i am very honored and humbled to be here today in the presence of these gentlemen who went before me and who were there. i was

not there at that time, but as you said somebody had to implement this later on down the line. so the implementation part is where i came into play. i also want to recognize the fact that we're here to recognize and be a testament to nixon's legacy

on behalf of entrepeneurship. this is what this is all about and i was doing some research in preparation of my remarks and i read the "bridges to dignity" speech that he made when he was running for office. when he was running for office

he said, "you know, in this country we have a civil rights commission that concerns itself with the rights, the legal rights, the civil rights of minorities, but we do not have such an institution or such an organization that addresses the

economic rights of minorities. if i get elected, when i get elected, i am going to look to do that because it is critical." he also, as has been mentioned before, was a very astute politician, he recognized that among that minority group were hispanics, the fastest growing

group in the country. and why? it's been said several times: he was a californian. i mean, he was raised with them, he knew them, and he recognized that this was going to be a part of this minority component that needed to be assisted and that

is very important because he also made a statement after he was elected that said "you know, everybody has the equal opportunity. we kind of start with a level field of opportunity, but not necessary a level field of knowledge, of understanding." so it was very important to

follow through on this vision that he had and he did that. in march of 1969, shortly after being elected, he, under executive order, established the office of minority business enterprises. that gave the authority and the funding that was going to be needed to put in place some programs that

were going to assist minorities and their business development. his vision, to me, and it's already been said, speaks a lot to the old adage: give a person a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. so that really is the important

thing about the programs that were initiated, that neda was able to implement. and as many of you know, or if you don't know you should know, today hispanics are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in this country. and woman, hispanic women, are even the fastest growing. so i am very proud of that.

after establishing ombi, he then looked, or at the same time, looked to the cabinet committee to assist with many of the things that he wanted to get done. as martin said, because i talked to him before this, he said, "let's get it done. just do it. i have a mandate."

so he got involved, as he mentioned earlier, in helping identify this entity, which ended up being the national economic development association. and, working with ben fernandez, who by the way, was the first hispanic that ran for president in the united states. he is deceased at this time.

and with hillary sandoval, who was the first hispanic administrator, and, by the way, although i was unable to have my power point here today, i have a photo of hilary that says "padrino." so as you all know, he was the godfather. he was the one that provided that seed capital to neda when we first got started.

he gave us $600,000, which in those days was a lot of money. and we started with six offices. and the whole idea of the concept for this organization was that it was going to develop skilled entrepreneurs and professionals. it was going to provide the hispanic community an opportunity to grow a middle class.

it was going to bring talent to bridge the distance between hispanics, hispanic community and the non-hispanic business community. and the idea was basically to develop a measure of independence and control over the lives of hispanics through business ownership. now that organization was formed through a group

of hispanic businessmen from across the country. puerto rico, florida, new york, new jersey, california. with us today in the audience, and i would like him to stand, is frank vega. he has been mentioned several times. frankie actually was a signature on the articles of incorporation for neda, along with ben fernandez and

several other very prominent businessmen. again, the operations started with six hundred thousand and it started in la. we had six offices. los angeles, new york, miami, chicago, kansas city, and san antonio. does that ring a bell by any chance? highly hispanic-populated communities. our mission was to go out

there and reach those hispanics and those communities and get them into entrepreneurship. shortly there after we got a two point one million dollar grant from ombi and then we went to sixteen offices and then we grew to twenty-five offices. i came into the picture in 1972 when i attended the nixon convention in miami.

i met the neda people and when i got back to fresno i was hired as an administrative assistant. i was a very low man on the totem pole. i was not the director, i was not a phd, i was a single mother with three kids and a high school education working as a secretary working in this organization.

now i want to say something about neda. neda was a premier organization. all of their professionals had degrees. and the reason they did that is because they didn't want anybody to say that this was just one of those rip-off organization being funded. no, no, no, these people had

degrees from stanford, harvard, i mean mbas. and here i was trying to grow in that organization. so, i was going to school full-time, working there and working my way up. so i ended up in 1970 to 1980, i became the director of a neda office in california. working my way my education to fit in with that

neda model of a professional. by 1980 neda had it's ten years under it's belt and it had really really assisted a lot of people. i had some reports that you probably all have seen here. this is the twenty-five year report. i have a ten year report here

and a twenty year report, but in the first ten years they had reported over 1.6 billion in 1980 of financial assistance for their clients, not to speak about all those firms that got certified an 88 program and got contracts and grants.

i mean really this organization was really very, very, very powerful. and very, very supportive of increasing the businesses in the areas they were at. not only were they helping businesses, but they were building minority banks, local development corporations, small business investment corporations, and therefore

within the communities they were at, the resources were there for the business people that were trying to get started. in 1980 in december there was a change the administration at the national level. there was a movement to decentralization of funding so the national organization basically collapsed.

it folded, we were all left without jobs, without anything. i was in fresno, here i had a vp position at organization that didn't exist. so i talked to a couple of ladies in the organization and i said you know what? what we do is so important, that we need to continue this.

so i incorporated my own california non-profit as a spin-off of neda and we called it neda san joaquin valley. we started with a small grant in fresno, we then got the next round funding from mbda, which now the office of minority business enterprise had become the minority development agency.

so we got that first grant, started with fresno, went to stockton, went to sacramento, went to oakland, went to san francisco, came down to riverside, we grew the california neda. and that agency went from 1981 to 1997.

in 1981 i started my organization. remember, the national organization closed down. anna muller, who had been with the albuquerque, new mexico operation and you were there for the opening of that office. i gave martin his remarks that he made that anna had sent me, of how proud

he was to see this organization getting started in new mexico. anna is still there today doing the missionary work, working with minority hispanic businesses. so the legacy goes on in that mbda is out there funding these organizations, and neda is out there. in closing what i want to

do is just talk a little tiny bit about not only the successes of the businesses we help with, and i want to focus on one in particular, which is very near and dear to my heart in the valley, but on the board and staff members. remember neda was not only developing business, but it

was developing its people so that we would go on to bigger and better things. we had phil sanchez, many of you knew ambassador phil sanchez. he was one of the original board members of neda. i tried to get him to come up from fresno today, but he couldn't make it. but he had three appointments from president nixon, he was the director of the oeo office,

he was an ambassador to columbia and to honduras. we had micheal cardinas, michael cardinas is a former neda board member. he was appointed in a later administration as a small business administration administrator. john lopez, a former neda employee, became a mcdonald's franchisee. and let me tell you, that man,

i don't know how many mcdonald's he had, and he is right now a major supplier for mcdonald international. and of course me, simple little me. as i mentioned, i was a single parent with a high school education, i started as an administrative assistant. i went on to be appointed by governor dumasian, governor wilson,

president bush forty-one, and president bush forty-three. so the legacy that nixon gave us of striving out to do and grow is still alive and well. finally, the client: fred and louise ruiz started their own little mom and pop mexican food products in chileri county back in 1979.

they came to neda in the early 80s. we got them their loan to build their first fabulous, you know, plant because they had been operating at an old, like a turkey ranch house or something, and the usda had come and said, "no, no, no, you can't be there. you have to have a sanitary facility."

so they bought this beautiful building with an ldc, through the ldc to larry local development corporation 504 loan. today, they have two thousand six hundred employees. they are the first among the top ten u.s. hispanic owned manufacturing firms in california. they are first among the top

500 hispanic-owned manufacturers in the united states. they are sixth among the top hispanic-owned firms in the united states. in addition to being successful in business, by the way louise has passed away, but fred has been very active in his community. he is a board regent for the university of california

school system, best california systems. he was inducted into the hall of fame by sba in 1992, and he has donated over a million dollars to the central california children's hospital and their ruiz for kids non-profit has donated nearly one million

to children-based community nonprofits. i rest my case about the nixon legacy with the hispanic business community. and the story continues of which the world has yet to learn more. in the oval office, he and i had a long discussion about many things that had to be done and just

as marty had worked with the president way back in 1969 when the census bureau told the president, "sorry, we can't count the mexican americans because all the forms have been a printed and there is nothing we can do,"

well at the urging of marty, the president told them, "destroy those. print brand new ones and include the counting of the mexican-americans and the spanish speaking people." with that knowledge of the numbers, a lot of things could be done and were done.

and so when i came out of the oval office and went to our offices of the cabinet committee, i called manny, a wonderful man, who also spent most of his youth from kindergarten to high school, i think high school, i'm not sure. in about twenty-seven,

thirty-seven schools throughout the country. he was a full-time migrant. and after he came out of the marine corps, he decided at age twenty-some to go to the ninth grade to get his high school diploma. but the counselor told him no, no. you go straight to college. i came and i told

manny, "manny, i want you to do three things. the president has already approved it. one, we're going to take the federal government to where the people live. two, we're going to count in all of the federal government, the army, the navy, all the agencies, how many

spanish speaking persons there are there and how much money goes out to the spanish speaking people." pretty big job. manuel oliverez will tell us the story of what he did. manuel. my legs aren't working. he's 82 years old, but look at him.

eighty-two years young. remember that. first i want to express my deep appreciation to my great story teller over there, martin castillo, who tells a beautiful story and to dr. ramirez for giving me the opportunity to serve in

the cabinet committee for five years. i was recruited out of sacramento, i was at a conference at sacramento, hank ivedo called me over there to come to the side, and we were having a state wide chicano conference in sacramento during that year. and hank

calls me over and he says, "you want to go to washington?" i said, "what am i going to do in washington?" he said, "well..." the only thing i asked him was, will i continue to serve my community if i go to washington, d.c.? i didn't ask for cash, i didn't ask for grade level, i didn't

ask for how much i was going to get paid, nothing. i should have asked, who's going to take all my furniture and stuff? but i didn't, so i had to pay for it when i went. happens. well, i was new and i didn't know the game. and he said, "yes. we have been told that we can continue to serve the

spanish community, you don't have to worry about that". and so i said look. count me in. that was probably april of '69. then i waited and waited for the phone call from him to say, "hop a plane and fly in." on a sunday, in i

think it was june 2 of '69, i hopped a red-eye special out of san francisco-because i'm from monterrey, california, now living out of orlando- and i hopped a red-eye special out of san francisco, arrived there at 6:30, went to the old executive office building. there was one guy sitting

with a bunch of chairs and i was the first one there. and you have no idea how scared you get when you're sitting there and you're now working for the government of the united states and you don't know what the heck to do. the united states of america! you know, 300 million, 50 states, and you're sitting there and

you don't know, "what am i supposed to do?" well, it doesn't take very long before the system gives you, you know, you hack on to the system and it rolls along and you're okay. but i still remember that, 41 years ago. in 41 years i still remember that feeling in the pit of my stomach, what am

i doing here? but then it became a lot of fun. i just want to comment on one thing that, on neda, i have to be, the company, my leaders to sba when they sat down with hillario sandoval and signed the first contract. fly on the wall

on all of these things that happened. but one of the things that isn't mentioned is that fernando fernandez, also being chairman of neda, he was the first chairman of neda. he was also a precursor of getting us started on savings and loans. he was hot on savings and loans.

that's when i found out if you got a board together, got a couple hundred thousand dollars you can put a savings and loan together. and he went around the country getting, putting savings and loans together. my brother pete oliverez, he was an entrepreneur and he was with ben fernandez in that particular. so i just want to

share that. that isn't too common knowledge that we, with neda, also had a strong drive on creating savings and loans by hispanics, for everybody. you know, everybody wanted a house, or a building. you can't say saving and loans are for hispanics, run by savings alone.

hopefully the profits are for hispanics, but the loans are for anybody who went. now, the chairman says "manny, i want you to talk about what you did at the cabinet committee." i was director for program operations. that's why i was a fly on the wall on most of these programs. i want to talk about one, two, three, four, five

things: federal regents, agency task forces, 16 point program, team, and top level support. if you're taking notes those are my five topics and i'll go through them pretty fast. there were ten region offers during that time we were, this is 1970 to 70- i left in '73 to go to the air force.

10 regions, and i was instructed to put together a team to go to six regions, and they were san francisco, denver, dallas, chicago, new york, and kansas city. and we put the team together, chaired by dr. ramirez, and we asked two...we had two questionnaires we gave them.

one questionnaire had to do with personalities, your representation and utilization of hispanics in policy making and grants giving jobs. how many do you have? where do you have them? how do you recruit them? and second is contracts and grants. just two big things, contracts and grants.

how much money you got, and are you giving it to hispanic americans? just make sure you give it to qualified hispanic americans. got to be able to do the job, but...those were the two things and they flew all over the country. the team of six...about ten people to a team under the chairmanship of dr. ramirez.

and we had these six regions. and it was...it had never been done before, so i think we were kind of creating a path that has been followed by many others since then. a follow on to that was the agency task forces, which that was in the regions. now we did the same thing

in washington, d.c. and g.g...mr. garcia was one of the many team members who was given a region, an agency or two agencies to develop a strategic plan to deal with recruitment of hispanics or the utilization...the recruitment and utilization of hispanics in the

federal agencies and also contracts and grants. the same thing we were doing in the regions, we were trying to do in washington, d.c., our team. now, to be honest with you, we were full of ambition, we full of dreams, we were full of hope, we were full

of ourselves, i guess, because as i've been doing this business since '69, and i still do it. i'm retired, but i still do it. and i have come to understand that we were like don quixote with the windmills, because there is a myriad of regulations and

attitudes in the system that make progress almost impossible. make it almost impossible, but the beauty of us is that we were so ignorant that we didn't know that. as i look back now that i've been doing it so many

years, i have no regrets of what we did, g.g., when we took on the system like we did. but we took it on with faith and we took it down with hope and we felt that every day we would be able to make a difference. and i think that two things have remained since then. one is what martin castillo

spoke a minute ago about the census. the census continues to count us and keeps increasing in terms of the complexity of the questions they ask about us when we go out for numeration. that data then is used to program. and so there's more opportunity for us because of that census.

so, the census, the cabinet committee and census, what it did for the census, is the biggest thing they ever did for hispanics. everything else is kind of, all these little programs that i was involved in, they had a shelf-life. but not the census. the second thing that has continued is the 16 point program.

the 16 point program the hispanic employment program, the spanish speaking program, whatever you want to call it. the reason that it's one of the big ones is because it creates, it still continues to make the agencies aware of hispanic americans and the need to do something about it.

to recruit them, to train them, to promote them, and to provide opportunities for them. now, does the system do it the way we would like it to and expect it? no. i'll be honest with you. it doesn't. but that doesn't mean that it won't.

that doesn't mean that we quit. that doesn't mean that we stop. we continue to push. i've been doing that for 41 years, i will continue, and i won't stop. my hope still remains that what we started in the cabinet committee way back in '69,

that it will be, you know, you never lose hope, como don quixote. you keep on rolling. and those who follow us, like theresa followed us, and others will follow teresa, the young people who are in the colleges and universities now, they will follow us and

what we have said and shared with you today will make a difference, and they will create that change that creates a level playing field for everyone. and g.g. said, you know, hispanos, mexicanos o hispanos. we're a family. we're a family, you know.

a hispanic family. and we don't ask for anything. i never ask for it. i don't ask for privileges, i don't ask for exceptional efforts. i just want an even break. i just want an even break for my people. i just want them, if they're qualified, if they're educated

if they're willing to work, if they can do the job, then give them an opportunity to do the job. and that's all. that's all i've ever asked for myself. that's all that teresa, who told you her life story, starting from a clerk to

be a state director and put together an internal percent. that's something that almost everyone of us has internally. but regretfully there are some conditions that don't enhance that or don't let it flower the way it should. i don't point fingers at anything, i'm just saying that's the ambiente

that we live in that impacts upon our opportunity to improve our condition in our great country. one of the things that i was very proud of in the committee was the people i worked with like g.g.. and fernando rio castallie, he was our administrator. ray carrasco from sacramento out of el paso.

mr. conde. alejandro misera from el paso and carlo fluis, su alma esta con dios, he was a, these were all tremendous, and many others, these are the ones that i remember. they were tremendous individuals with hope and ambition and the drive to improve opportunity for hispanics, a great team.

and finally i think what made the job so enjoyable, not only the opportunity to serve our community and the expectations that we could make a difference, was that i and g.g., and the rest of us always knew that dr. ramirez was right behind us, and

if anybody called up and said, you know, "fire those sons of a gun," he says, "why? they are doing their job. " which means we had top-level support. when you have top-level support, you can stand out and take on the system. but if you don't have top-level support, you'd better be careful because you can lose your job. we always had top-level support. i could always count on dr.

ramirez to protect us, to be our buffer,that would let us continue to do our job. and so i gave great great thanks to these 2 men, 1 for bringing me on board, martin castillo in '69, and to dr. ramirez, who gave me the effort and the

opportunities to do all the programs and work and serve my community, serve my people, serve my country. i think the biggest thing is, to serve my country. the country's been great. my mom never went to school, my dad only went to second grade, i went to grammar school never went

to high school. thankfully in california if in junior college you can cut, they let you stay. it took me three years to do high school, and then i went to the university, then i went to got my masters then i went to harvard for executive leadership. so, in this country,

you know, it's up to you. i'm so proud of being an american and the great opportunities it give us. from migrant farm worker, you know, no education at all to be able to serve the president of the united states. can you imagine? the more, when i think about it, i get goose pimples. it really, it really

something to know that in this beautiful, great country of ours a migrant farm worker can do that. and, i leave you with that, i just want to share that sense of great pride i have in this beautiful flag that i wear on my lapel. you see, stu spencer, what you started?

and so this man, richard nixon, with all the firsts you just heard a little bit today. one day in the oval office i said to him, "you know, we don't have single mexican-american general." he said, "well, dammit, go make one." the man wound up with four stars eventually. general cavazos.

one time i told him, "you know, our culture, is such that we love god. we're god fearing. and cultures define a person's relationship to god." so i said to him, "you have white house sunday service here all the time. i would like to have an archbishop say mass here."

he said "well, let's just do it!" so we invited frankie vega and four hundred and ninety-nine more mexicans to come to the white house for a sunday service. for the first time. i wrote him a memo that said, "i'd like to have this country recognize our heritage."

so, he proclaimed national hispanic heritage week. ucla gives credit to lyndon johnson for that, but it was president nixon. it's just on and on, and so, in spanish we have a word that's called "informador," the one who informs. and so if people don't know

about all these things is carlos conde's fault because that was his job. so, carlos would you let know what you did at the white house? i didn't hear anything you said. i'm the last one on the program and i feel everything has been said. i feel like the guy who thought nobody was paying

any attention to him, so when he died, he had on his tombstone, "i told you i was sick." and this is, so i'm going to be short because everything has been said very eloquently by my colleagues. he's been recognized before, but i would like to wake him up

again and recognize him once more, fernando diniro. you're one of us and you should be up here fernando because you made some great contributions to the early hispanic movement in the u.s. so, i always think of you in that regard. i'll tell you how i

got to washington for the second time because, i was a washington correspondent early in my career, and then i went to latin america as a correspondent, again as a foreign correspondent. and then i came to houston, texas to work for the houston chronicle. and i wrote a five

piece article called "the hyphenated americans," and it was nominated for a pulitzer prize, which i didn't win, i won other prizes, but i didn't win that one. but it got a lot of play and a lot of publicity, and george h. w. bush was a

congressman from houston. and so i got to know him by covering some of his stories or when he came and doing some of the stories on him. one day after president nixon had won the presidency, he called me and he

said, "would you like to come to washington to work for president nixon on hispanic affairs?" and he explained to me what i would be doing or what he thought i would be doing, excuse me, what he thought i would be doing." i said "sounds interesting." so he said, "let me put

the person on the line who is heading that committee." and he put martin castillo on the line, and martin explained to me what i would be doing for the cabinet committee, what he wanted me to do, and i accepted and went and it

was one of the most interesting experiences that i have had in my life, although i'm still a journalist, and this is what i've been for most of my life, my profession. i went to washington to try to develop a program that the people in the

us could understand about the hispanic-americans. and at that time when i was going from texas to washington - although i had been in washington as a correspondent - spanish speaking sounded a little bit pretentious. and it sounded pretentious because i came from texas and i

was a regional latino and i always thought that they were mexican-americans. california was a long way from texas and the few that i knew, they always came back saying they were from pasadena or places i've never heard of. so it didn't register to me.

so, i said, "why spanish speaking?" and so this was because they wanted to start including the puerto ricans, who at that time didn't register with the large mexican-american community. and at that time, as you'll recall, the cubans were just coming into

the country after the castro take over. so they weren't, in a way, computing with us. it was hard to accept them. mexican-americans probably constituted about three fourths or more, maybe eighty percent of the population at that time. so, it was a job and the president

wanted to include every one. and so we undertook that with the leadership of martin and then henry and i did some work which i guess they thought was good enough and then they asked me to go the white house. and so i went to the white house as the first

spanish speaking, or the first mexican-american. and for a while, i guess a lot of people thought that i was one of the filipino waiters because i looked something like them. so i went to the white house, and i was the first one there to undertake some of the probe.

i was working under herb klein by the way, who was the the director, not the director but they called him counselor, communications counselor. and it was a daunting, not problem, but a challenge because again there were three quarters of the people

were mexican-americans in the u.s. the cubans didn't even get to be a million and the puerto ricans were, in a way, isolated, so we had to find a way to bring them in. and martin, to his credit, did very good work in trying to integrate

all the communities. my challenge was trying to educate, not educate, but to inform, i guess is a better word, the press, the media about latinos. for a while, you know, everybody wanted to call us chicanos.

and of course, chicanos played bigger in the southwest. didn't have any meaning at all to puerto ricans in new york. and, the cuban americans could care less about, you know, what the mexican americans' problems were because they did not have the same problems we did. so, how do we coalesce all of them?

well, by and by, again with martin's leadership and then henry's we were able to put together a program, all-inclusive, but we had another problem. and that was the problem of the mexican-americans and the southwest. chicanos were always struggling with those

problems, because we called ourselves the spanish-speaking committee, they thought we were, again the word that i use, were pretentious. so we were always trying to struggle with a common unity and i remember martin was with us, henry was still

not the chairman, but i organized a meeting in houston and it took me a long time. and so, stacio mendiola who was from houston, and he's now one of the academic leaders at the university of houston. so you know we set it up very well, tables

and plenty of people, and right in the middle of the program, here comes stacio with all his gang, and boy, there was a brawl. and so, that was one of my probably most, interesting experiences that we had, but it got better and then we

went to new york and it was easier with the puerto ricans and the cuban-americans by that time were beginning to establish you know there their own communities here and so it wasn't hard for the cubans, but it was difficult for us

with the mexican-americans. for one thing, most of them were democrats, die-hard democrats. didn't want to accept or understand that president nixon wanted to be an all-inclusive president. there were always issues that were coming up that we could not, in a

way, confront successfully. you know, like education programs and so forth, but little by little, and then with the help of all the latinos who were now coming into government in all the agencies, that began to change because of them.

and we had one strategy, which i tried to promote, and i say it worked and it's still working, but what we were trying to do, and they could spell it, henry and martin and the rest of my colleagues could speak

better to that, but what we were trying to do and what i was trying to do with my job was to promote the fact that we were going after the mid-level jobs in government. because at that time, if you were recall history, johnson did not have very many appointees.

kennedy did not have very many, hardly any appointees. so we were realistic enough to know that we were not going to get any cabinet jobs at that time. so what we said is, let's go for the mid-level jobs and then we'll put our own people in

there, and those are the ones who make the decisions as manny pointed out, these are the ones who control who gets hired, how you're going to divide up the money and so forth. and i think we were successful, because later on we made a list and we had about 60, henry?

or 80 appointees? we went in that direction, and then we felt that things would get better. after i went to the white house and i will end with this, after i went to the white house, it wasn't difficult

for me to try and advance these programs, but there was also many times when the white house, because of the way it was made up, would not pay much too much attention to us. we really had to work to develop a program that was all-inclusive. it was not the president, the president being nixon.

it was more the mindset of those who had come with nixon. and it was difficult for them, i guess, to accept the latino and appreciate what he was trying to do and what he was trying to accomplish. but little by little, like everything else, we did it.

and take a look now at the at the white house. i was the first one, a long time ago, i grant you, but now there's counselors to the president, special advisers. so it's become now just something that's routine to have latinos, but 45

years ago, i guess, i was the first one. and i still have my check for when i testified at the watergate grand jury, i never cashed it, and i think henry was one. who else was?

to me it, i guess it was sort of a, if you can call it a badge, but maybe i wouldn't wanna go that far, to be that extreme, but it was an accomplishment. it was a sign of accomplishment, you know, the fact that they thought i had

been involved enough to be cited by the, not to be cited, to be indicted, not indicted either. i should've..., but to be subpoenaed, that's the word, subpoenaed by the grand jury and when i told them what i was

doing i guess they accepted it and here i am. but i would like to close just by saying how much i appreciate the people who put this together and gave us the opportunity to talk to you, and i for one did not think

that there was still that type of appreciation for the work that was done by what i called the pioneering group in washington and these are the people you see here and i am glad to have been just a little bit,

made a few contributions to it. so i thank martin, my first boss, first leadership, and i thank henry who continued the job. thank you very much. and now as a finale i think you are writing questions some of you? and i think they're gonna bring them up to me.

but as they bring them up i would like to add a few little tidbits. first one is that i have finished writing a book about that time and it has a possible title, not for sure, of 'the nixon no one knew.'

for many reasons the story you heard today is not something, it's a good one, but not something that other people in new york, new york times cbs, nbc, etc., want the world to know. and watergate brought an end to the cabinet

committee, and it's sad. i recall when herbert hoover had assigned an fbi agent to be my liaison. and he would always check my travels to make sure that there would be no problems. and one time this agent came to me, and he said,

"let's go for a ride." went to virginia, into the woods, where he kept looking around and when he saw that no one had followed us, he said to me, "i have applied for a transfer out of washington because i

will not get caught between giants. they will squash me. i just came out of the office of the counselor, the lawyer to the president, the man who's there in the white house to advise the president. the counsel for legal affairs. his name is john dean.

and i went there yesterday, right after the break-in. because we knew that he was the person that knew about the people who did the break-in." but that day, the president, ehrlichman, haldeman were out of washington. so he went to his office and john dean said,"i

'm too busy right now. but come back tomorrow." so he went back the next day. and john dean says "you see those three boxes in the corner there? anything you want is right there." so the man told him, "you know what? you have already obstructed justice." he folded up his briefcase

and he said, "i'm leaving you now." and that's when he came to me and said, "this thing is bad. that man knows a lot," and, you know, now he's parading himself as a person that didn't know anything. that's in my book. and many other things like that. so we thank this

man who occupies a very big place in history. i have some questions here. this is a good one: what is your fondest memory of richard nixon? being in that oval office when he says to me, "you know, i eat enchiladas.

i eat tacos. i ride horses, i go to 16th of september parades, i wear hats, i wear sombreros, i try to get that mexican vote, but all i ever get is five percent. this time i want you to help me get fifteen percent."

and i reached into my shirt pocket and pull out a three and a half by five card and i said "mr. president, i suggest if you do these five things, you'll get twenty-five percent." well, he laughed, twirled around in his chair, and used interesting language.

he said, "you know, you're just a latin teacher. i'm the politician! and you're telling me you're gonna get twenty-five percent if i do this things?" "yes, i suggest read them well," so he did, he said, "haldeman, get in here. dr. ramirez said i'll get 25 if we do these things,

let's do it." one of them of course was we got to bring in 100 mexican/americans at very high level positions and of course we worked at it. we got someone to 76. there were other things, but that's all in my book. that was a fondest memory. how much time do we have?

jonathan. one more question. let's see. before the us census counted mexican-americans, how did the us government meet the needs of its latino population? well...one time i called the pentagon and i

said, "you aren't advertising to get recruits into the armed services." "oh yes, we advertise all over the place for minority recruits." i says, "well, how much money do you spend on spanish tv, spanish radio, spanish newspapers?"

and he said, "we don't have to go there. we do that in the la times and new york times and abc, cbs, because they're caucasians, they're white people." all the money went into black media. things like that. we didn't count. that's the answer.

jonathan, we're finished. ladies and gentlemen, i hope you've enjoyed this panel presentation. thanks to each and every one of you for participating, both you as an audience and you as participants. to show our gratitude and we historically have had many panels like this and

major speakers and i know why you come. you don't come for the lavish honorariums. you come for the gifts that we give you and today is no exception because we're presenting each one of you with a beautiful limited edition, limited to the number we can sell, mug: "what would nixon do?"

i should have had special ones made for you, "what did nixon do?" because you have answered that question in terms of the historic initiatives, the vision that he and you expressed on behalf of spanish-speaking people. and thank you for building a record that we

will have online within just a few days, thank you for coming, i hope all of you enjoyed it, please come back.

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Aki Home Furniture

we now face an existential crisis that maybring human civilisation to an end. this needs a whole of society effort to try and resolve it. our current system is a planet-killing ponzischeme. it’s a giant casino of absolutely epic proportions. the consumer way very easily debauches. i think we are losing a sense of communityin many ways. we need to learn about these fundamentals ofa deeper connection to one another and to nature. maybe there’s another option, maybe there’sanother way - way to live which isn’t the

way that i have grown up with or become accustomedto or just fallen into. the story of industrial civilisation tellsus that limitless economic growth, advanced technology, and material affluence are thepathways to prosperity. but as we reflect on the world today, it is clear that thisis failing both people and planet. we know this in our heads and feel it in our hearts. and yet, it seems we have not found a newstory by which to live. we are the generation in between stories, desperately clinging toyesterday’s, but uncertain of tomorrow’s. but then again, perhaps the new story is alreadywith us. perhaps we just need to live it into existence.

i came because i was looking for a way tosimplify my life. i knew that the way that i was living my life wasn’t right and thethings that seemed – that it seemed necessary to strive for weren’t the things that ireally wanted to strive for. and i’ve always felt that. [beautiful windows.] so i guessfor the last five or six years i’ve sort of been paring back. i just, yeah, i felti didn’t want to have debt, i didn’t want to… didn’t want to feel obligated to worka 40-hour week and not have time to do the things that really mattered to me. so, for the past year or so i’ve been experimentingwith, i guess, living simply, living sustainably, and trying to challenge myself, i guess, tolive in a way that is less ah harmful towards

the planet and, ah, less energy intensive.i guess i feel like this experiment is an opportunity to push myself a little bit furtherand challenge not only myself but the modern environmental movement to, yeah, come to understandwhat it is to live sustainably. i’m really looking forward to this year,being part of a team working together to explore, ah, what it really means to live simply andsustainably, to work towards living within the resources of one planet. how we can justimprove constantly. and i’m really excited about sharing that beyond the group here andbeyond this place as much as we can to inspire and educate others as well. the idea of this project really interestedme because i’d been trying to apply these

principles in my own life in quite an individualway, hadn’t had much support from the wider group of people i was with, so the idea ofcoming here to be in a supportive learning environment and to be meeting lots of newpeople who are asking similar questions, challenging things in a similar way, that’s what excitedme, that idea of working as part of a larger movement. ah, i guess my interest in this project wasto join with like-minded people, learn some skills, give my daughter the opportunity ofliving, living on a rural property. being part of a documentary to…to educate andinspire others to one planet living, sustainable living.

um, so i was interested in this project becauseit provided me with the ability to put the theories of natural building and natural foodproduction into practice on a bigger scale than i’m able to do in cities and withoutactually buying any land, because land’s so expensive at the moment. i’ve been studying permaculture for a longtime, but i’m excited to put it into practice. i want to have experiences and i wanna beable to use my hands, and have knowledge from experience rather than from books. in terms of the existing infrastructure, inaddition to the house there, there’s a small earth ship, a cob round house, some basiccomposting facilities, and a moderately sized

farm shed, if you like. my mother loved thisplace. so much so that my sister and i spread her ashes here, once she passed away. sheis very much the seed for us, in being able to explore sustainable pathways for the property.it was not long after this that i was introduced to samuel alexander’s book entropia, andrealised that we were truly on the same page, envisaging a simpler way. i shared all thiswith the gunai kernai land and waters aboriginal corporation’s cultural heritage managerabout our small braiakolung patch, and wurruk’an was born. with permission to use “wurruk”,a local indigenous word for earth and story, fused with “k’an”, a mayan term forseed. we are beginning the build of a tiny house.it’s about 2.7 by 3.6, and about 3 metres

high, so it’s got a footprint of about 10square metres. we’re trying to use as much reclaimed timber and reclaimed iron as possible.for the last two or three months i’ve been jumping into skips on the side of the roador jumping into people’s back yards when they tell me that they’re renovating, orgoing to the tip shops or salvage yards or finding windows on the side of the road. we’vegot about 15 people here for the build over the next week and at the end of that buildi’m hoping that we’ve more or less got ourselves a beautiful, unconventional, tinyhouse. this is the tiny house that was built by agroup of people in, when was it, it was january, as well, so it took about a week, and theni had to install some of the ceiling and a

few other bits and pieces myself, but it gotfinished in a week. so this is the outside of the tiny house. it’s made out of prettymuch nearly all recycled materials, building materials, it’s probably about, i wouldsay about 95% all recycled building materials. these weather boards are actually skirtingboards that we sanded down and varnished. so i guess that the main feature of the tinyhouse is the geodesic window, which our carpenter nick made. it’s beautiful. he actually madethe frame and i cut all the glass and did the patterns. first time cutting glass and,what do you know it worked! and then i made a candle-holder for it and everything. thismakes it a really warm and beautiful space to be in and i look forward to many winternights with candles. then we’ve got, like

most tiny houses we’ve got a loft for eitherstorage or a bed. that’s my bed up there. it’s got a really cute little window. youcan fit quite a lot of things into a tiny house and to be honest it’s quite comfortable.i’ve got my couch, my bed, i’ve got a work station as well. this is my little desk,where i end up doing designs from, which is a really beautiful place to work. i oftenwork with the door open, i’ve got a view down into the valley there. i often work witha kerosene lamp, candles, sometimes a head torch if it’s getting a little bit too dark.there’s no power in the house and that’s what i like about it. i like to kind of goback to nature and it really gives you a feeling of the fluctuations of the seasons and thecycles of nature as well. i prefer to live

in a tiny space. i like to nest, and i don’tthink that you miss out on much … much more than living in a conventional house, in aquite a larger house, and that’s because it makes you minimise, it makes you realisehow much you don’t need, as well. it makes you realise how functional a small space canbe. in our modern society we have the, usually the feeling that bigger is better, and i don’tnecessarily think that that’s the case. i think that smaller is more cosy and morenourishing. i grew up in quite a conventional way, ina little family in sort of suburban england, but my family had a really strong connectionto the natural world. we’d often go for walks in the forest and along moors and ihad a deep love of nature from a young age.

and when i was a teenager i, through videoson the internet and through publications, discovered the extent of the ecological andsocial crises happening in the world today – the deforestation, the pollution in theoceans, the toxic dumps, the factory farming. that really hit me very hard and i becamereally concerned about how we were living. i had a deep sense that we shouldn’t begoing down that track but at the time i had no idea that there was an alternative. you can’t produce an answer unless you namethe problem accurately. unless we really understand the circumstances we’re in, we’re notgonna get the solutions to find the path to it and i’ve seen what i call, after barbaraehrenreich, a lot of bright siding. aah…

it’s all happy-clappy, it’s all good,we’re all going in the right direction, there’s renewable energy, sunflowers, allof this. i think, in part, some of that is a personal psychological response of peoplewanting to talk about the good news because it allows them to go on. but we have to dealwith this problem as it really is, and it is arresting and it is difficult. and to pretendotherwise, to pretend it’s going to be light and easy, that it’s going to be businessas usual, that everybody can keep on making profit and we won’t have to change much,to think like that, actually means that we can’t get to the solution we need. we needbrutal reality in order to solve the problem. techno-optimism in particular is, is reallyinsidious, it’s about telling us we don’t

actually have to change anything, we can stillhave everything we have now. so we don’t have to worry about any of these pesky limits,we’ll have everything we have now we’ll just do it all in a green sort of way. … ithink we have to have a recognition of the fact that we are facing limits, and some senseof the relative timeframe for the different limits that we’re facing, because then weknow what we’re trying to prepare for, and we have an appropriate kind of sense of urgencyas to the need to do it. i hope that by the end of the year i’llhave a deeper grounding in what it means to live simply, and a greater confidence thatthis is in fact a way of approaching life that is deeply nourishing. i believe it isand the experiences i’ve had so far tell

me that it’s something that could be appliedto lots of peoples’ lives for great benefit, but i think the explorations of this yearwill help give me confidence in communicating that message and sharing it with a wide rangeof people. i hope that by the end of the year these practical explorations will give megreater clarity of my own realities and vision and how i see my life being a beautiful contributionto these difficult times that we’re in as a species. i want my life to be a gesturetowards a more stable and loving world. i guess i’m expecting this year to be difficult.i’m expecting to, yeah, again push simple living to its probably more extreme ends andtry and, i mean i know it’s gonna be uncomfortable but i wanna try and find what my limits areand try and pare it back to something that’s

somewhere in between and more comfortable.and i guess i’ve been doing that by myself for a little while now and i’m hoping todo that with a bunch of other people that are interested in the same kind of thing andmaybe we can work together and as a community it might be more rewarding or more enjoyableor even a bit easier. and yeah i mean if you can extend that to community living, i guessit’ll be easier to extend to much broader society. [oh ok, no it’s not matching up anymore.]i spent the last eight years working in an office, as a town planner, in a number ofdifferent roles, doing different things and in the end of those eight years i was actuallypartaking in projects that i was very passionate

about, but the bulk of my work that was comingfrom up above, my bosses, was not something i was proud or really fully passionate about.so quitting my job and doing a bit of travelling and then applying to be a part of this projectgave me the ability to remove myself from the daily grind, i guess you could say, andyou know i found that once i you know built my salary up over those eight years workingfrom part time to a full time, senior employee in a local government, i started spendingthat money on luxuries, and since i’ve quit my job it’s been nice to just strip allthose things back and try and live more simply with far less. so over the year i’m hopingthat i’ll be able to construct some form of abode on wheels for very little money,as i don’t have much, using recycled materials

as much as i can. i’ve always had sort of minor health issuesand in my mid-30s they’d developed to a point where it was necessary for me to reallydo something … to really take responsibility for my health, because i wasn’t findingthe medical profession helpful and i wasn’t finding anything else that was helping me,and so i started taking responsibility for my health. and as i understood more aboutthe way my body works, and the importance of the food that i put in it, and that foodis medicine, and the importance of knowing where your food comes from, and connectingwith your food, the more interested i became in soil, and in gardening, which i had neverreally… i mean i’d always been a city

girl, i never really knew how a strawberrygrew… wouldn’t have recognised half the plants on my plate if i’d seen them in agarden. so those understandings led me to leave a desk job that i loved but which irealised wasn’t healthy for me, it wasn’t good for me to sit at a desk for five daysa week all day, every day, it wasn’t good for me mentally, or physically, or spiritually. ok, so this is the cob cabin. it was builtin a workshop about a year and half before the project started. it’s… the walls are30cm thick cob, which is sand, clay and straw and water, and the floor is also cob. there’snot a lot to show in the cob cabin because i didn’t come with a lot of things, so ihaven’t got much in here, which i’m really

loving. i gave away or sold most of my thingsbefore i came to australia for this project, which was a really liberating experience.so obviously in the process of being here i’ve accumulated things, because that’swhat we do. one thing i’ve done is make a bed from pallets. there were some rocksleft over from the build and some planks lying around so i made some shelves from rocks andplanks. i’ve got a little plastic solar powered light, which doesn’t put out muchlight, but that’s so … i don’t have any other form of power in the cabin. i’mnot going to have any heating for winter. the walls being 30cm-thick cob, it’s reallywell insulated so it’s really cool in summer and so far it’s been really warm on colddays, but obviously we’re not in the heart

of winter yet so i don’t know how it’sgonna be. we need a certain level of material possessionsto be satisfied but beyond that point, which is surprisingly low, it’s actually lessabout what we have and more about the way we live and the way we treat others and theway we feel ourselves to be in relationship with the wider world, and lots of beautifulwriters spoke very clearly about how people can find more satisfaction in a less consumptiveway, which at the same time makes us happier in the west and it also reduces the load thatwe’re putting on other people around the world who don’t have access to the wealththat we’re taking from them. so voluntary simplicity for me is a very elegant way toboth increase personal satisfaction and sense

of meaning and richness. there’s now a mountain of literature thatis overwhelmingly convincing that not only are there savage limits to growth but we’vegone through many of them, in the sense that it is now utterly impossible for all peopleto live at anything like the standard of consumption or environmental impact that we have in richcountries. and yet the mainstream has virtually ignored that case. the economy at the moment,despite all those brilliant tech-fix things – like the computerisation of everything– the resource use rates are going up at a fiercer rate. so if technical advance, technicalfix, is going to solve our problems, well i want to know is when’s it going to start?

it often seems to me that these debates aboutour environment, our future and our, you know, environmental future come down to almost ablind faith in technology. and i should say that by background i’m a technologist, icome from applied physics background, so, you know, i like what technology does forus. but, we have to be really careful about putting so much faith in this factor. well, essentially all human political systemsexist to extract wealth from the periphery and concentrate it at the centre. it’s justthat some of them do it a lot more effectively or efficiently than others. capitalism doesit extremely effectively. so it’s a very effective mechanism for sucking wealth towardsthe centre. what you do is you create a ponzi

scheme, essentially, you’re sucking everythingin, but you constantly require a larger and larger periphery to suck it into in orderto keep expanding the capacity of the centre. and if you can’t keep expanding, it willcollapse, like any ponzi scheme, so you have to keep reaching out further and further. i don’t necessarily think it’s certainthat we’re in for collapse or that it’s happening now. i think trying to make sucha call, a certainty call on this is, would be extremely brave. but i just think the evidencedoes appear to be assembling and stacking up for… that it’s likely that we may evenbe in the early stages of a collapse mode right now. it just makes sense to me to startto prepare and i suppose that that to me means

expect… being more self-reliant. we’re using organic gardening practices.so we’re not using any pesticides, we’re not using any fungicides, we’re not usingany chemical fertilisers, anything like that. it’s mainly about trying to build soil inwhatever we can, mostly with compost and mostly with manures. food is more than just fuel for the body,it’s… it’s your connection to the land. it’s the most, food is the most intimateconnection to the land because you interact with four of the five senses, you know thetaste and the texture and the smell and the sight, so it’s quite an amazing thing…to be able to enjoy good food, fresh food,

seasonal food, real food, food that doesn’tcome out of a can or a package and you mix water with it or… i don’t understand thosetypes of food. the giant middlemen in the form of huge multinationalcorporations and supermarket chains, are not able to treat farmers in a way that respectsthe absolute reality and necessity of diversity. these farmers are being pressured to growstandard-sized apples without a single blemish, they have to fit the machinery – that isthe harvesting machinery, the washing machinery, the supermarket shelf and the packaging. theend result is we burn tonnes of food every year, the end result is that the very researchand development at university is now concerned about transportability and the looks of productsnot the nutritional value.

we don’t know now when our food naturallygrows. you know, we get watermelons in june, in victoria, watermelons don’t grow in junein victoria, you know. and i think that that’s really disconnecting. when you wait for somethingto grow in your garden, it’s a completely different feeling because you’ve anticipatedit, you’ve cared for it, it not only tastes delicious but you’ve got this kind of connectionwith it that makes it taste even more delicious – and the fact that you’ve waited forit all season… so we get some of our food from the garden,but during the winter we haven’t had as much coming in from the garden, so get somevegetables from the baw baw food hub, so we’ve been getting sacks of potatoes and sacks ofcarrots and sacks of onions from them, as

well as garlic in bulk and things like butterand cheese. they also do veggie boxes, with a range of different vegetables from the localarea, so we’ve been getting them as we’ve progressed through the year. aside from thatwe get our dry goods and other food from a variety of different places. so, we’re aimingto source our food as locally, ethically and organically as possible, so we choose whichsupplier we get different items from so that we’re getting it from as close as possibleand grown in the best way possible for the environment. because to me food consumption is a moralact. it is also a political act. and it is up to us, the consumer – or i like to callourselves the citizens, not just consumer

– to do something about it. because we can’tall wait for authorities or government to do something about it, we just have to dothings. it has to be from the bottom up. my name’s hayden and i build super adobedomes, and i run workshops and i hope to do it full time and as a real job. it’s 3.6min diameter because that falls under the 10sq metre floor space that it needs to be classifiedas a ‘shed’, so we don’t actually need a permit for it. about 95% of the buildingmaterial is earth. we’ve got a really really large pile of earth that we’ve just pulledfrom the site here, so hopefully if your soil is the right consistency you get to use areally really large percentage of soil that’s on your site. so it’s really really localmaterials, really really cheap, and yeah really

really easy to build with. yeah, this is our composting toilet setup,which we built over the course of a few weeks out of a combination of salvaged hardwood,local cypress, which makes these, and, yeah, just some other materials that we found aroundthe place, some hessian sacks from down the road. it’s a pretty simple system. there’sa urinal over on this side here, and a composting toilet on this side. after we’ve finishedusing it we put in a cup of sawdust, just here, from the local cypress mill, and thatjust helps it to… it balances the carbon and the nitrogen and it helps it to compostinto a fertiliser. so when we’re done with the bin, when it’sfilled up most of the way, we’ll take it

out and put it in a holding bay with all ourother bins and they’ll sit for about 300 days, and we’ll check on the compost afterthat time. and during that time they’ll just compost away until eventually they’re,yeah, beautiful fertiliser for the garden. we’ve used permaculture in the gardens,where we’re trying to maximise diversity and make sure that there’s a lot of differentkinds of plants around. we’re planting herbs and things like that, as well, for integratedpest management. permaculture can be defined in many different ways but it basically, itstands for permanent agriculture first of all, and then permanent culture, ok, so theway i see it is basically it’s planning and designing for more permanent kind of systems.just like nature does, really, it’s mimicking

nature. so, it’s utilising design and carefulresearch and planning to ensure that you’re creating a self-cycling system that’s regenerativeand produces no waste. so permaculture is really a design systemfor both sustainable land use and sustainable living. and so it’s addressing both theproduction side of the conundrum and the consumption side, and saying why not bring those thingsback together? well we eat food… we grow a garden, why don’t we grow the food inthe garden and integrate that whole…? rather than the industrial system, which stretcheseverything out in these long supply chains. so bring it back together. and through thata whole lot of design principals emerged, that, you know, small-scale systems actuallymade more sense than large scale ones, that

you need a diversity rather than a monoculture. and it’s not just sustainable, sustainableis not nearly good enough…what you need is not sustainable, you need regenerative,and that’s exactly what permaculture provides you the ability to do. rather than our extractivesystem, where we’ve constantly been sucking resources out all the time, and cannibalising,catabalising our natural capital, all the time, rather than doing that and leaving ourselvesless and less and less ability to produce and meet our needs in the future, if you institutea permaculture system, you’re actually rebuilding that natural capital. sustainability’s a funny one. yeah, i feellike it’s a bit of a buzz word at the moment.

sustaining. yeah. i don’t know what it isthat you’re trying to sustain anyway, i mean, yeah, when you think about sustainabilityit means i guess that you can continue doing what you’re doing ongoing into the future,indefinitely. but i just don’t really think that there’s that much that we should betrying to sustain at the moment. we should be looking at solutions that can improve theland over the long term, and can improve the lives of people. but i don’t think the rampantinequality and the extreme concentration of wealth in the hands of the few is somethingworth sustaining. i think that’s something worth destroying and challenging and replacing. you’re really answering what is a deep humanneed, because that’s how we evolved. it’s

coming back onto a track that would allowlife to continue evolving, that would allow for real progress. the other path is suicidal,we are going to soon get to the point where ‘localise or die’ basically, because wecannot continue extinguishing species, cannot continue creating frustration, fundamentalism,terror. we cannot continue so blatantly destroying any form of democracy. you know, things aregoing to change and i think we’ll see, you know, that people are waking up very, veryrapidly to the benefits of localisation. ah, this week we're retrofitting our existingfarm shed to be a kitchen, lounge and craft space. we want a multi-functional large areathat can be converted to different uses with portable bits of furniture, so with the materialswe're using, we've sourced locally milled

timber from a local sawmill, and we’re alsousing as many recycled materials as possible. so we've got a bunch of floorboards and bitsof iron that we're going to use as cladding for the internal space. we’re also goingto be doing a recycled bottle wall along the front of the building here, to let as muchlight in as possible and that’s also going to feature some large glass doors to bringthe outside in and feature that beautiful view we've got of the property. there's so much waste these days, of buildingsthat are getting torn down or scraps of wood that are left over from building jobs, thatwe can divert those resources from landfill and actually use them in a meaningful wayand be really creative with just making something

out of nothing. we’re here at the wurruk’an kitchen/loungeroom/communal space, which we’ve been living in now for about three or so months. i guessthe theme starts with our recycled timber. these ones up the top and on the side hereare oak floorboards that were left over from a building project and we were able to getthem very cheap. we’ve got some recycled windows that there are a couple of sets aroundthe room. so over here you can see we’ve used a combination of corrugated iron andsome hardwood fence palings that we were able to get for free from demolition. we also scoredsome of this splashback stuff around the sink and the oven, which is heat proof, and thatwas left over commercially and we were able

to get it for free. these beautiful benchtops, both these ones and the larger slabs, came from a sawmill, from jedwood. we werevery luck to get their off-cuts and be able to actually use them with the help of ourprofessional carpenter to get them to this stage, which is really nice. up on the roofwe’ve actually had to use some ply wood. we were a bit short on materials to do thewhole thing with reclaimed stuff. and there’s also insulation and framing behind all ofthese walls and the ceiling now so that insulation was also you know a bit of a compromise. webought that new as well cos that can be pretty hard to find secondhand. it’s been really great to have a wood-firedstove to cook on. it feels a lot better than

cooking on an electric stove as we were before.just knowing that the source of energy that we’re using to cook with is a renewablesource is better. at the moment we’ve used some off-cuts from building, which have noother purpose, and we’ve also sourced some of our firewood from this property and alsofrom nearby forests in the way that is permitted. so, it’s clear enough now that we need totransition swiftly away from a fossil fuel energy economy to an economy based on renewableenergy. not only due to climate change, but also because in coming years or decades fossilenergy production will inevitably peak and decline. but we can’t just green the supplyof our energy, we also need to, i think, significantly reduce energy demand, because there’s noway that we can run a globalised energy-intensive

consumer society purely on renewable energy.yes, we need to transition to 100% renewable energy, but that implies significantly reducingenergy demand, and it would be far easier, obviously, to meet 100% renewable energy ifwe consumed much less energy. so that should be our goal. but given the close connectionbetween energy and economy, a society based solely on renewable energy would have reducedenergy supply, and therefore would probably have to go through a phase of economic contraction,at least in the developed regions of the world. so i think if we were successful in transitioningto 100% renewable energy we wouldn’t be able to live high-consumption, energy-intensivelifestyles. we would need to aim for far more humble but sufficient living standards.

the silver lining to consuming less is actuallyconsuming more of what we really want and what we really long for. and that includes,you know, hand-made, artisan products that, you know, most people treasure much more thansome mass-produced product. it includes more time to breathe and to sing together, to dancetogether, to make things together. there’s a whole universe of things out there thatwe could do right now without money, but it requires the insight and the courage to connectto others, and to form groups where we can change the ‘i’ to a ‘we’. you don’t need that much in the way of materialthings if you know that your neighbours have got your back, and anytime you get overwhelmedby things, you can go next door and there’s

someone who’s shoulder you can cry on, orthey can come to you, or someone who’s tomatoes you can water, then they’re coming and helpingyou fix your bike, or whatever it might be. there are just so many advantages, there areno disadvantages to building community, and the potential advantages are absolutely massive,so i think that’s something we really, really need to focus on. i think the benefits of living in a communityreveal themselves to you more and more each day. there’s the strict financial benefitof being able to share in the costs of making this transition. and also the benefits ofbeing able to draw on each other’s skills and attributes and knowledges so you don’thave to do it alone, you don’t have to do

it financially alone, skills alone, some ofthose things are very intimidating for people trying to make that step. but more than thatit’s about being… doing it together. and what’s possible here is possible not justbecause of us as individuals but because when we get this unique collection of individualstogether we’re capable of so much more than what we would be on our own. so we have to do one of two things: we eitherjust accept that we have no community at all, we just have a casual neighbourhood and somenice acquaintances at work and perhaps a couple of people that we drink with at the pub, orwe create community, intentional community. and i think that’s the side that’s alwaysinterested me personally as well as in my

research, is how can people create intentional…how can you consciously do it? i know people subconsciously do it all the time. i meanit’s our natural position, but can you actually do this, can you set out to create this? andthat always fascinates me. you gonna have to come up with some idea of how you’regonna make decisions. yes, we’re going to have consensus, and yes we’re going to livelightly on the land, and yes we’re going to support each other and yes we’ll lookafter each other’s children and elderly and all of that sort of stuff. but it dependswhether you have any experience with doing that. i think the other thing is that we arelosing so many of those skills from living in community. it’s like, you know, i knowthat i have to develop skills in organic gardening

if i’m going to become an organic gardener,i know that, so therefore i also have to develop skills in inter-human, interpersonal relationshipsif i’m gonna live in community. don’t assume you were kind of born with that becauseyou weren’t. you have to learn how to cooperate, how to put the group above the individualand that’s very challenging. there’s been a lot of challenges, i’mnot gonna lie. i think although we had to live the first few months without much infrastructure,without a warm kitchen space, without much of a lounge room or without a whole lot ofrunning water and we had a composting toilet that was sort of outside, i don’t thinkthe infrastructure were all that big, i think there seemed to be a sense in solidarity inall doing it together and that kind of gave

me a lot of comfort, knowing that we wereall kind of pulling through and stronger because of it. so i feel like the infrastructure challengeswere a little bit problematic but they weren’t as hard i think as the community challengeswe faced, when there was conflict in the community and our conflict resolution around that weren’tfully developed so yeah, i think i struggled a lot when things were not going well andpeople left and things weren’t fully resolved, or when there was substantial difference inthe direction that people wanted to take in the project, whether people wanted to buildlots of infrastructure or start practicing simple, simpler living. i feel like thosechasms, those sort of divides were challenging for me because i didn’t know where i satand didn’t know how to bring the group back

together again. i wanted everyone to startworking together again. obviously starting at a community from scratchwith people who don’t really know each other at all and designing a property and finishingbuildings, houses and bits of infrastructure is very challenging in the context of one-yearproject, so, yeah, that social aspect of just getting to know each other and getting decision-makingprocesses in place has been one of the key challenges. another major challenge i thinkhas been the group figuring out how to accommodate a wide range of peoples’ styles of voluntarysimplicity. it can be interpreted to differing degrees and there’s not necessarily anyright or wrong answers, so just figuring out how the group can accommodate the varietywithin our personal direction and preferences

has also been a challenging component of thatsocial side of things. one of the humbling learnings i got from beinghere was how difficult it is to be in community and how in a way we have to relearn that art– that we have broken that long tradition of shared ritual and song and mythology andliving in one place and knowing that history. that’s kind of been fragmented for us andwhen we now come together in groups it’s much harder to find that common culture todraw upon in times of discord and in times of confusion. so it’s easy for us to fragmentback into our individual desires and paths and i know that for lots of people, as resourcesbecome more scarce and we have to rely on each other more, there’ll be positives tothat but there’ll also be lots of challenges.

so i’m very motivated now to keep practisingand developing those skills of communication and conflict resolution, naming the difficulties,bringing up the emotional challenges. and also celebrating together, creating, relaxing,learning how to play and dance in a group and, it’s a real, it’s the art of beinghuman and the art of being together. we’ve been living in a tent, or we wereliving in a tent at the start of the year, and yeah the tent was in a place where itdidn’t get a whole lot of sun and as it began to rain a bit more as we were cominginto winter it didn’t dry out so it started to get mouldy and, yeah, there was a bit ofpressure on us to do something else and we decided that building a small house with recycledmaterials would be the simplest way to do

that so, yeah, so we did. this beautiful structure behind us is thehouse that we built over the course of about three months out of pretty much entirely recycledmaterials. we had to make five purchases. we bought some cement for the foundations,some steel bracing tape, because it was a bit wonky, we bought some screws for the roof,we bought some… [a tub of wood glue]… a little tub of wood glue for, to make somewindow frames…we bought chains to hold the windows open. [hinges] oh and we bought, therewere six things, we bought some hinges as well. but that’s it; everything else isrecycled materials we got entirely for free. yeah, we went by dumpsters from demolitionsites, we looked on the website gumtree and,

yeah, we ended up getting, yeah, pretty mucheverything we needed to build a whole house just for free. if, yeah, we can demonstratethat it’s possible to do without three and a half years of training and without tensof thousands of dollars, to build a house that is gonna be a lot better in terms ofits ecological footprint, then i think that that can kind of disperse that knowledge moreamongst the people that might not have the money to take part in a more conventionalsustainability movement. yeah, so the total cost was about $420 if you, include, yeah,the petrol money that went into it. it’s a lot more time consuming doing it for free,but yeah, it’s definitely worth it. [a lot more rewarding, i think]. yeah.

so while i’ve been at wurruk’an i’vebeen continuing to work for eight hours a week for book publishing clients and that’senabled me to cover the small expenses that we have at wurruk’an. so we’ve put $30a week into the kitty, which is, you know, the great benefit of living in a community,that for $30 a week each we’ve been able to pretty much feed ourselves for the entireyear. and obviously all of us have little extras that we like, that weren’t itemsthat everybody wanted, and so we’ve bought our own, i don’t know, cheese, or bread.i think i’m right in saying that we’ve all spent under $100 a week this year forour basic living costs. [the borrower receives the full amount andpays it back, plus interest. either way the

interest that it collects on loans is oneof the bank’s principle sources of income. now mr moreton has obtained his loan. he hasincreased his bank credit by nearly $2000. but this credit was not transferred to himfrom some other account, so where did it come from?] so currently the existing monetary systemessentially has a growth imperative built into its structures, because banks createmoney by loaning it into existence as interest-bearing debt, and in order for that debt to be paidback, plus the interest, that implies an expansion of the monetary system. so it needs growthfor stability. but we also know that growth is the driving force behind our environmentalproblems, so if we were to transition to a

post-growth economy, as we need to do forenvironmental reasons, this would require us to create a different type of monetarysystem and banking system, one that wasn’t so dependent on growth. and i think there’sa huge amount that governments can do to reign in the worst aspects of the current system,but perhaps a more promising line of opposition, given that governments don’t seem to bedoing much, would be for individuals and households to try to create new forms of economy. tryto escape the existing monetary system as far as possible. and they could do this throughthings like creating local currencies, local exchange networks and engaging in practiceslike barter, and gift, and sharing. it would be … it’s obviously so much easier fora community to deal with the contracting economy

if communities and households shared the stuffthat they had. so there was a long process of… what feltlike a long process of learning to communicate with each other and it’s immensely satisfyingnow to feel that that process has actually been really successful. and to be living nowin a… with a community of people who when problems arise know how to work through them.and i think we’ve actually been really successful at making those… at developing those communicationskills, and it’s a nice feeling when, you know, when we have a meeting and someone raisesan issue and you can see the change in… you can see the different way that peopleapproach it, you can see the different ways that people sort of think about, respond toissues, especially if, where at the beginning

of the year they might have felt a littlebit attacked now they think through the reason for the issue coming up. yeah i think we’reall much better at, i think we’re probably all in some way more mature community dwellers. living in such close quarters with other peopleas part of a community, especially on quite a small scale where we all use the same loungeroom and kitchen and there’s you know seven or eight of us in that same space on a dailybasis, it certainly presents a lot of challenges on a personal and a group level, that arejust inherent to human beings and you know families and communities and all types ofhuman relationships. so it’s certainly been challenging but i know for myself that’smade me look inward and examine my own personal

journey and where i’m at and how my ownpsychology is evolving and just you know, if you feel a bit down one day or feel a bitanxious about how someone else is acting, it’s ended up kind of flipping around andmaking me examine how i’m contributing to those sorts of dynamics or social situationsand just, yeah, trying to learn more about myself i guess. so i’m gonna be building my house in lessthan a week now. i’ve got fourteen people coming out to learn how to build a tiny houseon wheels, and i’ve been gathering materials for the last couple of months in melbourneand around the local area to build a tiny house on wheels out of recycled materials.you know, we’ve got a few rough plans but

being a tiny house it’s quite easy to gowith the flow and being recycled materials we’ve had to adapt to that and it’s gonnabe a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, i guess. so there’s a major, major benefit if youdon’t get trapped into working 20, 30, 40 years to pay the mortgage on your two bigmcmansions, boy oh boy have you gained a lot of time and freedom from worry to do otherthings. and in a sane world we would be able to build a very nice little house for, i reckon,$10,000 at most, and you can do it for less than that if you like, and that’s a perfectlyadequate house. now, you’ve saved $400,000 there, by the time you take in the paymentof interest and the loans to the bank and tax on the money. that’s not negligible;there is a benefit for moving to simpler ways.

so we’re three days into the workshop andit’s going really well. as you can see we’ve got the full timber frame of the walls upand the group’s working really well together. they’re all learning off each other andnick, our carpenter, is doing a really great job, so i feel very lucky to have everyoneworking so hard and we’re on schedule. i was really humbled by the good will, theenergy, and all of the contributions brought by everyone who made it possible. it was justan amazing week of everyone’s energy vibing and making this beautiful house possible,and, you know, i’ve got a little bit left to do but i’ve basically had people comeand build me a house with really great intentions and we all learnt a whole lot. and it couldn’thave gone any better. i’d say it was probably

the best week of my life without a doubt. there’s a whole history of these sort ofenergy descent ideas and permaculture being associated with a move to the country, a moveto rural areas as a place that’s a better place to be more self-reliant. and that stillmay be true, but for most people there’s both a necessity and an advantage in lookingat where they live already. and for most australians that is some sort of detached housing in whatwe call suburbia, whether that’s in our capital cities or whether it’s in similarhousing in our regional towns and even villages like the one we live in – that most peopleare living in those separate houses on small blocks. and what that template of living makespossible is it’s possible to incrementally

adjust what is happening there and providea lot of people’s needs by growing food, by modifying the house to make it more…ah, less dependent on energy, by harvesting some of the water, and by using some of thespace that exists in our relatively large houses to start doing more in the householdeconomy. doing things for ourselves, rather than depending on money. one of the things that’s most exciting aboutthe intentional communities movement now is that it’s like we have right across thelandscape hundreds of experiments about how to live in a way that confronts and resolvesissues associated with climate change and peak oil, you know, environmental damage ona global scale. instead of just having a one-way

solution, which just says this is the waythat we have to go forward to resolve this, instead we’ve got all of these little bubblesof creative responses and you know new ways of living and being together and, buildinglives together. patterns of settlement and patterns of production are popping up allacross the landscape, each offering different pathways, and it’s almost like the… asmore of these emerge we have more opportunities for resilience. ideally i’d like to see more initiativeslike this, where people with resources and land and spaces, making them available toallow, you know, passionate and enthusiastic people to live more self-sufficiently anddemonstrate through example that there are

other ways of doing things. so there’s so much that we can do rightnow, without spending any money, to greatly enrich our lives. and let’s not be fooledby this idea that we have so much choice in the modern economy and that our lives wouldbe so limited if we were to choose a different path. we have not even begun to explore thepotential for more diversified, localised ways of doing things. there are reasons for pessimism, because it’sa big, big task, and we’re in a lot of bother, and we are not very far down the path to thekind of consciousness that we need. but there are a lot of strong reasons for optimism.one is, that the vision of an alternative

way is, i think, so attractive, it’s whatkeeps me going, and it’s so easily done. we could do it in weeks, if we wanted to.it’s about moving to ways that would liberate all of us. you don’t want to wait until you have absolutelyno choice. so i would say it’s a bit like we’re standing on the edge of a cliff andwe’re going over the edge, like it or not we’re going over the edge. that’s notup for debate. so what are you going to do? are you going to stand on the edge of thatcliff and wait for someone to shove you off? or are you going to put on your parachuteand jump? because, not that base-jumping is without its risks, but it’s a lot less riskythan going over the edge without a parachute!

so let’s not think of it as good guys andbad guys, and let’s not believe for a minute that the way we’ll change it is by gettingsome good guys to go into those large structures. let’s look systemically at how we can shifttowards smaller structures with more holistic knowledge, underpinnings, and that reallyis the localizing path. when you know how to live simply, the senseof freedom can be just overwhelming. there’s nothing as addictive as freedom, and there’snothing as attractive either. so, i think if we find the right way to explain our ideasto people, and explain the ideas that are fundamentally workable in the first place,then there is so much that can be achieved, there’s no need to despair.

i came to wurruk’an wanting to explore areally radical form of voluntary simplicity, because i felt a real sense of urgency aroundthe various crises that the world is facing at the moment and radical simplicity seemsto me to be the best and most logical response. after the experience this year of living incommunity, and despite all of the challenges, i feel really strongly that this is the rightway for me to live. so, yeah, my intention is to return to new zealand and find or founda community and in the long term i’m really hoping to live in a community that operatesin a gift economy. that feels like a right and responsible way to live, or thing to worktowards. the person i was at the start of the yearis vastly different to the person i am at

the end of the year. as i would hope wouldbe the case for every other year for the rest of my life. my plans for the future extendas far as i should probably pick that zucchini over there. beyond that, not many plans. buti… i’m imagining that rachel and i will probably stick around here at wurruk’anfor a little while. i’m feeling pretty settled here, it’s feeling a lot like home. i thinkthe number one thing that’s been solidified in my mind this year is that my favouritethings in the world are imagination, creativity, and teamwork. and the combination of thosethree things is, yeah, personally the recipe for living in a beautiful way in the future. i love community, i love other people, i loveliving and spending time with other people.

i don’t know whether or not living in anintentional community is part of my future. one thing that i knew coming here was that…living in community is a challenge, it involves effort, and that that effort is worth it. yeah, it’s been a really transformationalyear for me… i didn’t expect to have the opportunity to be constructing my own housethis year, so it’s been very humbling to have the generosity of all the people involvedand the land owner to allow me to do that, because it’s been quite a journey to collectthe materials and go through the process of building over an extended period of time,so that’s just been fantastic and blown my expectations out of the water. so, oncei’ve finished my house, which will be sometime

early in 2016, i plan to relocate it to melbourne,hopefully in a back yard somewhere that affords me a location where i can ride my bike andcatch public transport without having to be car reliant. but after moving it to melbourneand living there for a little while and enjoying a bit of city life, i don’t really havea plan. i’m very happy to have that feeling of freedom and liberation for the first timein my life and i’m going to make the most of that. one thing i get paralysed by is this senseof having to do it right, somehow not making mistakes. and we’ve made so many mistakesliving here, you know, there are buildings that are leaky, there are disagreements thatnever got resolved, there are contradictions

in the way we’re living, and compromisesthat we had to make. so, from one perspective, we failed, we haven’t transformed the worldor led this perfect example. and from another perspective, those very failings are our gifts,and they are the offering, and they are the learnings, because we’ve risked and we’vebeen willing to put our values on the line, and we’ve been willing to test these ideasand try and bring them into, you know, the shared reality. you know, no one holds theanswers, no one has the perfect solution, it’s gonna require a response from everyoneif we’re going to be moving towards a more wholesome and enduring way of life. and, youknow, the challenges, the failings, the mistakes, the triumphs, they’re all part of the storyof change and i just hope that other people

can feel that encouragement to make theirown beautiful mistakes along the way to… on the way to integrity.

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