Rural Punks

This rant was inspired by the Rural Punks article in Profane Existence #64:!/~/product/id=24379689

I did seasonal farm labor in the U$ Midwest from the late spring of 2004 every summer and at least parts of spring and fall through September 2011.  I also sometimes worked on farms in places with milder falls and winters like California, Virginia and Louisiana.
Part of my Love for the land and work came from the Do-It-Yourself mindset I picked up by being involved with Hardcore, Punk and Metal.  Some other people I knew through places like the South Side Punk House which used to be in West Lawn, Chicago and the Autonomous Zone Infoshop which was also in Chi started doing farm labor and talked about buying land and living more collectively and I was ready for it!  I had been part of these sorts if discussions in the 1990s in Ohio, but had relocated to Chi since too many people in Ohio really just did that, talk, while at least some of the people I knew in Chi were actually acting on our ideas.

I thought I would do this forever, and dreamed of either figuring out a way to do it especially by Traveling back and forth between the Midwest and more temperate zones.  This all started to seriously unravel for me in what was the 2011 season for me.

Looking back on all the work I’ve done, I’m pretty angry.  I’ve been exploited in the name of community, lied to, lied about, threatened for no good reason, sleazed up on, and have pointlessly fought for justice in the work site.  Worse has happened to many more, over all I’ve actually had it pretty good.  Of course there were good times, and I learned a great deal.  I feel like one of the students from Asia or Africa that went to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) back in the year for technical training and received racist treatment and were punished when they protested.  I’ve learned critical skills, but at what cost?

When I finally had it with all the racism, xenophobia, dishonesty, second class at best treatment and exploitation in the name of all sorts of high sounding principles, I started Traveling harder and living better than ever before in many ways.  Towards the end of last spring I did start to feel that nagging feeling that I should be getting back to the land at least for the season, but I ignored it and had the best summer of my life at 32 years old.  This spring it didn’t even cross my mind.  As I’ve Traveled I’ve fallen back on a bit of gardening and farming, and I’d probably do it more again in the right situation, but as it stands right now I’m through with giving over the best years of my life to hippie capitalists and worse.


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