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The New York Telegraph Tuesday Feb 4th 2020
It sounds sinister but followers of the Slow Death movement say it is anything but, just a startling name for good old self-sufficiency, using adverse publicity to generate more support.
Just as the Slow Food movement rejected the fast food ethos in favour of a leisurely meal, ‘Slow Deathers’ don’t intend to die in agony and terror; they simply intend to prolong the experiencing of living as long as they can.
As is often the case in such communities, the members are largely privileged professionals, the sort of people society can’t afford to miss in a time of crisis. In Sweden and Germany, where Slow Death, has caught on most noticeably, the government is preparing legislation to ban the ‘dropping out’ of professionals who have received vocational training at public expense. Recently their resident with legal training have been taxed arguing against their inclusion in all kinds of draconian measures to guarantee public order
Governments are wary because Slow Death holds considerable appeal for a certain kind of European. Some communities consist of an extended family in a single family dwelling while others have organised into small hamlets and settlements, often utilising abandoned properties.
They are almost completely self-sufficient, bartering and selling excess produce for what they cannot grow or make. They divide all chores as equally as possible although some people with unique or needy skills find themselves at the thick end of the division of labour.
In many European urban areas widespread resentment at conditions has led to vicious organized raids on rural communities; Slow Death settlements have been particularly hard hit and this has sparked an anguished internal debate about how they reconcile their idealist principles with the escalating chaos. The Slow Deathers know they are a target of the jealous and in many places they are being singled-out for criticism by officials.
After the Slow Deathers do their chores there is nothing for them to do. And that’s the point. All incomers must make their ‘intellectual material goods’ available to all. Each collective has a room dedicated to human achievement, a library in effect, where all books, CDs, sheet music, music instruments and DVDs are deposited for communal use. They spend all their time reading and playing music to entertain each other. Watching a DVD or listening to a CD is only permitted in groups and during periods of sunny weather, because it uses so much electricity, which they of course generate themselves.
That is the essence of the Slow Death movement. Rather than rushing towards doom and oblivion, they would rather relax and fulfil their existence, however short or long it may be, doing the things they otherwise wouldn’t have time for.