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“The TechNo-Tribe of Palo Alto – 2031 A.D.” by William Paul

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    A Community Report from:

    The TechNo-Tribe of Palo Alto – 2031 A.D.

    A little Draconian; a lot of Indian Summer on University Ave. these days. “Profit is Resilience” is a bad joke around the fire pit. “Sharing” is everybody’s middle name.

    Somebody just started a rumor in the camp: that the year is 2031. Nobody cares. Long days in the gardens and guard duty at night fill up most of each Tribe member’s time in the compound now. It’s 4017 for all they know. The permaculturists are in a 24/7surveillance nightmare while their sisters in the Transition Movement have stopped hiding from the future to push a local veggie barter plan. Both groups have adopted negative population growth by default.

    When the class and economic troubles erupted during the global environmental justice wars and crashed their beautiful for-profit tech utopia back in 2029, the PA residents erected an 18’ high barbed wire fence around the City, using material extracted from their own backyards and businesses, an irony not missed by anyone from the “age of re-use.”

    But they don’t know who they are keeping inside the fence!

    In the TechNo-Tribe, you can post a notice of a need or request on the community bulletin board. Bartering is the new dollar bill. The end of Internet-driven social media has created a new condition in the camp called “buzz down syndrome” that reduces communication between residents to a type of “psycho-babble,” a kind of talking in text.

    At this stage, they have burned all of the trees in the re-zoned city in a low tech bid to survive and have to find other things to barter for fuel with the outside. The historic “garage start-up” ethic survives.

    The TechNo-Tribe runs a few outdated gadgets with a solar / pedal powered wireless HON (hands on network). Many folks have primitive string and cans to talk over the day’s tasks. No shit.

    Good Shepherd Church of Silicon Valley has been vandalized and condemned so much that residents are shocked when a small team of anarchists open a rocket stove, bike parts and repair shop in the Nave. The Old Liberty Bank is the current medical clinic and pot club.

    Then past the torn-out CalTrain rails to the west, “Stanfordlands” is a post-ag fortress that trades Tribe seeds for shoes and matches.

    Soil tending and control is a big deal for the Tribe as the streets have been torn-up in favor of no-till farming with rows of soy beans, peas and other vegetables. One of the Tribes simplest methods of adding nutritious material to their garden beds is by incorporating well composted vegetation into the soil. Composting mimics and intensifies nature’s recycling plan. The fertility of the soil also can be affected if you till the soil and the kinds of mulches you use. A compost pile starts out as a diverse pile of kitchen and garden “waste,” and matures into what soil scientists call “biologically active organic matter.”

    In terms of ongoing cultural rituals and traditional events, they include: Latino style barbecues, fire circles and community concerts – all have become foundational pieces for their local “Ecological Landscape Immersion Program.” These are opportunities where the Tribe comes together to deeply connect with each other, that provides a space for listening in cultural mentorship, and for healing and celebration. In many ways these events are the glue that keeps these sister tribes together and moving forward on their collective journeys.

    The Tribe’s “Oath of Security” is one big unbent rule. If the community isn’t the Hero, then maybe the fence is? The razor sharp fence, a shadeless boundary, is both a ritual and a routine; a prayer for a savior and a middle finger to a non-existent warden. As far as beliefs go, the Palo Alto TechnoNo-Tribe has shifted psychically from: “The Internet and Gadgets Will Connect Us All” to “The Fence Will Save Us.”

    * * * * * * *

    “The TechNo-Tribe of Palo Alto – 2031 A.D.” by William Paul


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