This piece was originally published in Home! A Bioregional Reader, edited by Van Andruss, Christopher Plant, Judith Plant, and Eleanor Wright, New Society Publishers, copyright 1990.
In the Mattole Valley in California, and in the Ozarks, they have gone so far as to create alternative political institutions—congresses. Representatives from parts of the valley or plateau attend these congresses and they hammer out public policy positions that are quite different from those of the official state and country legislatures. The long-term hope is that people will say, well, the official legislators don’t speak for us at all. Let’s give our allegiance instead to these bioregionalist congresses which really do seem to be speaking to our issues. So the vision is exactly that we do it for ourselves. But we can’t do it alone, and probably not even in a small neighbourhood or a small community. But if we get enough of those together then yes, we can do it by ourselves and make the present political forms obsolete and irrelevant.
Excerpted from an interview in The New Catalyst, Spring 1987.
Kirkpatrick Sale (b. 1937) was born in Ithaca, New York, attended Cornell University, where he served as editor-in-chief of the newspaper and participated in student activism, and still lives in the area. His career as a journalist began with the socialist-founded magazine New Leader and in the ensuing decades has included contributions to multiple progressive magazines and radio stations, as well as his own books on topics including history and bioregionalism.