Today it is likely that more people than ever before are consciously engaged in some kind of decentralist venture which expresses not merely rebellion against authoritarianism, but also faith in the possibility of a new kind of society. Each crisis in the human situation has produced its decentralist movements in which men and women have turned away from the nightmares of megapolitics to the radical realities of human relationships.
With Loomis’ great historical understanding, this invaluable book provides indispensable grounding for today’s activists. In it, she documents the ideas and experi-ments of some of the early decentralists—among which include Arthur Morgan, Henry George, Benjamin Tucker, Paul Goodman, and Ralph Borsodi. They all shared a common belief in restoring community self-reliance and bringing economic and social activities back to a more human scale. Friend of cooperation, of self-sufficiency, of the household economy, of the small community, their early experiments played a pivotal role in introducing and supporting: organic agriculture, consumer rights, and cooperatives and worker-owned businesses. Actively engaged in community land trust, the ecological use of resources, alternative education, consensus decision-making, nonexploitive banking and alternative currency, these earlier movements saw a resurgence of neigh-bourhood revival, community economic reconstruction, co-ops and land trusts—many of which continue to operate successfully today.
Referred to as the “grandmother of the counter-culture” Mildred J. Loomis (1905–2000), author, educator and social activist, taught at the Borsodi School of Living in New York state. Later, when she moved to Ohio—where she lived her convictions for more than half a century—she continued with conferences, workshops and seminars, at her home, Lane’s End Homestead, which became an outpost of the Eastern School of Living. There, as well, she established and published The Interpreter, a newsletter which “interpreted current events from the view-point of decentralization.”