Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "A Country of Craftsmen"

This poem came out of the March 6, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] satsuma. It also fills the "Artist" square in my 5-1-18 Gimmicks / Roles / Characters card in the Pro Wrestling Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] satsuma, [personal profile] fuzzyred, and [Unknown LJ tag].  It belongs to the series Arts and Crafts America.


"A Country of Craftsmen"


Delaware and Pennsylvania were
settled first by the Leni Lenape,
and then by Quaker farmers.

The first attempt to implement
Georgism in Delaware in
the late 1800s failed, but
its proponents didn't give up.

In 1900, architect Will Price and
sculptor Frank Stephens got together
and established the village of Arden,
an artist colony in Delaware.

It was a single-tax town with
a radical Georgist bent.

The Ardenites formed
a close-knit community of
tolerant, free-spirited liberals.
They were nature lovers, poets,
artists, actors, and intellectuals.

In Pennsylvania, the water mills
along Ridley Creek powered
the manufacturing boom.

But Will Price had taken a look
at the industrial revolution -- and
how sick it made people -- and decided
maybe it wasn't such a good idea after all.

In 1901, he founded Rose Valley as
an Arts and Crafts community.

It was not a free love colony,
it was not single tax, and
it was not communistic.

Instead, Rose Valley was
a little island of non-conformity.

For administration, they
had a town meeting
called the Folk Mote.

They built a series of mills,
mostly to make food or
raw materials for crafts --
flour, paper, textiles, furniture,
feed, bobbins, sandpaper,
books, and ceramics.

The Rose Valley Association
did not produce arts and crafts
itself, at least not at first; instead
it built houses and studios that
it rented out to craftsmen.

They published a journal of
arts and crafts, The Artsman,
and started an art gallery as well.

In 1904, Elizabeth Magie of Arden
invented the Landlord's Game to teach
about the drawbacks of capitalism --
and its alternate game, Prosperity,
which taught Georgist principles.

The community made sure that
everyone had access to land and
its natural opportunity for labor.

In 1906, they established
the first free college, called
the Henry George University.

Eager students poured into
the area, drawn by its promise.

In 1908, people founded the Arden Club
for community activity, with gilds for
everything from art to theatre
to Georgist economics.

They filled their calendar
with plays, pageants, fairs,
and Ardenite holidays.

In 1913, they built
the Crafts Shop that
offered facilities to
all kinds of creators.

They set up Arden Forge
and Arden Weavers,
whose goods became
popular in the area.

These were just villages
at first, tucked away in
quiet places, but then
they grew. They grew.

Arden spilled over its borders
to spawn two neighboring villages:
Ardentown in 1922, and Ardencroft
in 1950, both with Georgist principles.

Rose Valley, too, took up the mantle
of the single-tax system and
a more socialist society.

Because only the value of
the unimproved land and
its public improvements
like roads counted toward
taxes, people spent less on
personal property and more
on creating public works.

First Delaware and then
Pennsylvania converted to
a single-tax system, making
all of their state colleges offer
free boarding and tuition.

They created organizations
with collaborative structures
instead of competitive ones.

More and more artist colonies
sprung up, some eclectic and
others more specialized.

The buildings were both
practical and beautiful, like
those of Arden and Rose Valley.

As other states noticed that
Delaware and Pennsylvania
no longer had the same kind of
problems as everyone else, they
started to convert to Georgism.

Then people began to realize
the harm done by coal, oil,
and the other fossil fuels.

It was Rose Valley that
first explored green energy
and learned to incorporate it
into the environment.

Their architects designed
buildings sturdy enough
to hold up a living roof
or a set of solar panels.

Others used their experience
designing and remodeling mills
to invent low-impact hydroelectricity.

Windmills went up. When they
killed birds and bats, they came
right back down to be torn apart
and rebuilt better than before.

The people understood that they
had to protect the environment,
because without it, they would have
no natural opportunity for labor, and
they would all become poor like in
the bad old days of capitalism.

It was hard going, sometimes,
but they were inspired by the tales
of how people built Arden and
Rose Valley from nothing.

In the end, they became
a country of craftsmen, and
they replaced the stars on
their flag with roses.

* * *

Notes:

Arden is a Georgist community in Delaware. They use a single-tax system.

Rose Valley is an Arts and Crafts community in Pennsylvania.

The Arts and Crafts Movement spread around the world, with different iterations in different countries.

Arts and crafts have many benefits. Learn how to be artsy. Explore some projects for children and adults.

Elisabeth Magie invented The Landlord's Game. It also has an alternate version, Prosperity. This site shows a timeline and more information about the game. Among its principles is a natural opportunity for labor -- that is, land allows people to hunt, fish, gather plant foods, collect raw materials for crafts, and so on. Another appearing in later rules is the free college, promoting the benefits of universal education.

Fossil fuels have many disadvantages. We need to replace them with green energy, which has lots of advantages. Notice that peak everything means we don't actually have a choice. Sooner or later the nonrenewable resources will run out whether we have developed alternatives or not. The only choice we have is how we make that transition, not whether we make it.

A green roof is covered with plants. This has some advantages over a bare roof. However, a green roof is heavier -- sometimes much heavier -- which requires a stronger building underneath it. Consider whether a green roof is right for you and how to design one.

Solar panels turn sunlight into electricity, which has many benefits. Think about whether solar power is suitable for your area. You can hire a professional or build your own. Both options absolutely are viable and work better for different people, so consider the pros and cons for yourself and ignore anyone who tries to push you toward only one of those ways.

Low-impact hydroelectricity follows principles that minimize harm to wildlife or the environment.

Wind energy has many advantages. Unfortunately, it can kill a lot of wildlife. In our world, people usually leave the killer windmills standing and just try to invent better ones next time. In this poem, the craftsmen immediately take down the poorly designed ones, improve the design, and put up new ones. Read about wildlife safety precautions in the wind industry.
Tags: art, crafts, cyberfunded creativity, economics, fishbowl, history, poem, poetry, politics, reading, weblit, writing
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