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On the Line

Ruth Conniff traces the journey of an ex-felon to the White

[[:mag/berry0909.html|Inverting the Economic Order]] Wendell Berry

A properly ordered economy puts nature first and consumption last.

Wall Street's Gall Les Leopold

Investment firms are up to their old tricks again, and nobody seems to be willing to stop them.

Making Refugees in Pakistan Kathy Kelly and Dan Pearson

We met people who fled from the Taliban, Cobras, and drones.

Interview: Rafael Correa Amy Goodman

"What we've undergone in recent decades worldwide has been totally insane, and all of this is a result of capitalism," says the president of Ecuador.

Poem Alicia Ostriker

Dave Zirin says his alma mater, Macalester, has lost its way.

Calexico Crosses Frontiers Elizabeth DiNovella

The band's eclectic music defies categories.

Will Durst tallies all the memos he missed while he was out.

Books Matthew Rothschild reviews Fire and Ink, edited by Frances Payne Adler, Debra Busman, and Diana García; Cry Wolf, by Doug Anderson; This Side of Early, by Naomi Ayala; and The Mind-Body Problem, by Katha Pollitt.

Jim Hightower asks why we're getting stiffed by the banks, again.


The new head of the Environmental Protection has a history of suing the agency for trying to do its job.

The reach of this story extends from the lowliest working stiff to the highest court in the land.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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