Now that I've laid out much of how the Gathering operates, what goes into it, and what it represents, let's take a look at how these things merge back into the wider world once the Gathering is over. Thanks so much for sticking with me this far :-)
This is the final portion of a work-in-progress paper on the Rainbow Gathering, and specifically the importance that I believe it holds to the freedom movement, both as proof-of-concept and as an already established global network. I am very much looking for input, please give any feedback, ask any questions, and generally just let loose, so that I can create the most fleshed-out writeup possible.
- Part 1: Introduction, Key Principles
- Part 2: History, Original purpose of the gathering, Interactions with the state
- Part 3: Layout, Camps & Kitchens, and Infrastructure
- Part 4: Conflict resolution, Consensus-based decision making
- Part 5: Rainbow outside the gathering, Conclusion (this post)
Rainbow Outside the Gathering
Don't worry, just because the Gatherings are a short-term events popping up here and there, doesn't mean there are no permanent manifestations of Rainbow. The connection, support, and infrastructure extends far outside the gathering as well. The Rainbow network is made up of 3 main components: the permanent Gatherings/villages, the rolling kitchens, and the individuals and households that function as way-stations for traveling family.
- All around the world, you can find Rainbows ready & willing to help out family in need. This network is completely decentralized, and mostly available through word of mouth, various Facebook groups, email lists, and the Light-Line. In my travels, I have stayed the night with various people I've found this way, and on my way to last year's National Gathering, a brother I connected with on Facebook drove 2 hours out of his way to pick up my little sister and I, bringing us to the Gathering.
- When the Gathering is over, many of the kitchens that feed people at the Gathering load their equipment and crews onto a converted school bus, and head out onto the road to spread the Rainbow ways and feed people for free. At any given time, there are dozens of rolling Rainbow kitchens setting up at things like Standing Rock & Ferguson, working with Food Not Bombs, and of course feeding at regional gatherings throughout the year.
- The most permanent & self-sustaining manifestations of the Gathering are the intentional communities and eco-villages. Although there are a variety of communities around the world that live in alignment with the values and practices of the Rainbow, there are also a small handful that literally came out of Rainbow, or are even permanent Gatherings themselves.
- My favorite example of these is East Wind, which is a kitchen, setting up at Nationals every year, and usually bringing a bus load of people and 5-gallon buckets of peanut & almond butter from their eco-village in Missouri. Their village houses between 80 & 100 people at a time (they've even started having babies born there), operating on a completely anarcho-mutualist system. They grow their own food, share their clothing, and make & sell rope sandals, nut butters, and excess produce to cover monetary expenses.
East Wind (Photo Source)
Conclusion: Anarchy from the brain vs Anarchy from the heart, time for Synthesis
Having traveled to a huge variety of festivals, conferences, convergences, and other world-changing events over the last couple of years, I can definitely say that the Rainbow Gathering is by far the most life-changing, and the best example of the practice of "act as if you already are who you want to be". From decision-making to waste disposal, from emotional connection to feeding masses, Rainbow offers us solutions that can be applied to almost every aspect of human life.
The biggest issue facing the liberty movement right now, and the reason that I promote Rainbow so much, is that there is an artificial divide based on the labels folks use to self-identify. On one side those who identify as "anarcho-capitalists", "voluntaryists", and "libertarians", and on the other side those who identify as "anarchists", "hippies", "Rainbows", or who don't self-identify at all, and simply want to be good people and help make the world a better place. There are only 2 real differences I see here:
- Most of those on the an-cap side have reached the ideas of anarchy through critical thinking, philosophy, reading, and debating, while those on the hippie side have reached these ideas through personal experience, suffering/empathizing with oppression, and the need for community.
- Folks want to live different lives themselves. Some are entrepreneurs and want to have to compete and push themselves more and more every day to survive, while others want to work cooperatively, live simply, and produce all their own necessities of life.
One side uses specific terms like the non-aggression principle and talk about economics a lot, while the other side simply does what feels right, and knows that the decisions we make affect every other living thing on the planet. As soon as humans stop arguing about the 1% of things they disagree on and work together on the 99% we share (freedom, peace, and love), the world we want to see will manifest almost instantly