Kaller: Would you say that Greens everywhere are in favour of a more localized economy?
Gilman: I don’t know about that. I would suspect that’s true, because it’s almost forced by the idea of a more Earth-friendly society. On the other hand, I don’t know what Green Parties in other countries are doing. Certainly in this country, that is true, and is something I’ve worked for in
, a more localized economy. Minnesota
Kaller: When I looked at the early issues of the North Country Anvil [a 1970s publication Gilman edited in rural Minnesota], I found it interesting. How integral would you say that was to the early Green Movement?
Gilman: I’d say a good many of them were integral.
[Gilman went on to describe some of the early Greens, mostly farmers and homesteaders from various Christian denominations; I didn’t want to publicise their names without permission.]
They were Luddites; back-to-the-landers, and that particular aspect of the Anvil, carries over to the Green movement … [but] the Greens function on the Internet, and they are not Luddites in the sense of wanting to go back to the land; that was a function of the 1960s and 1970s, especially here in the Midwest. It may not have been as strong elsewhere, but I suspect it was – certainly in
New England it was. That was one aspect of the Anvil.
Kaller: It felt like such a rural publication.
Gilman: One of the things that interested me was that it is a rural voice for the Green movement, whereas many others like Murray Bookchin were very much urban.
Kaller: When you were talking about these early ideas -- systems theory and the Club of Rome – how many people were paying attention? How big was this movement?
Gilman: It would be impossible for me to say; I was very much on the fringes of it. I was reading a lot of books, but I wasn’t involved; I was raising kids. I was not involved as an activist in any way.
Kaller: But you were interested early on.
Gilman:Yes, I became interested in the mid-1970s, and my reading went back before that. But through the 60s I was “nesting,” as they say, working full-time and raising a family, and that does keep one a little busy.
Kaller: I know (chuckle). I was trying to get a feel for how small the number of people were, and what kind of people.
Gilman: One key person whose work I read a good bit of, and went to several conferences with, was William Irwin Thompson – and I won’t blame you if you’ve never heard of him. I have a number of his books up there; he came out of the Sixties. His first and best-known book was The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light, the rest were less well-known and less interesting.
In any case, I joined his Lindisfarne Association, and went a number of seminars and conferences, where I met some very interesting people. Mary Catherine Bateson – I never met Gregory, but his daughter Mary Catherine was at many of these conferences – and people like Wendell Berry and his wife, and a number of very Green-leaning people. They were also anti-capitalist, also, but again it’s a much broader thing than capitalist vs. socialist.