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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-16-12 07:25 PM
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LAT Magazine: Promised Land
Once a utopia for Socialist visionaires, century-old Llano Del Rio is now just dust in the High Desert wind.
By Elisabeth Greenbaum Kasson
May 2012

As one travels east into the desert on Pearblossom Highway, just past rickety towns and careworn ranches, the spectral remains of a utopian colony called Llano del Rio appear through a haze of dust. Two river-rock chimneys, positioned like faceless Moai, and an eerie length of wall are all that are visible from the road.

The stone edifices break up the scrubby surfaces of a landscape interspersed with cairns of trash, buckwheat and sage. A confluence of politics, economics and human frailty generated the rise and fall of what used to stand here, and it has sparked enough interest to fill at least one book and countless chapters in others.

Utopias are propelled by political motivation; their creation is a moral judgment on the existing state of affairs. California, always at the cusp of reinvention, responded to the chaos of the dawning of the industrial age by spawning the largest number of utopian colonies in the country. One of the most celebrated was Llano del Rio, brainchild of Indiana-born Job Harriman, who arrived in San Francisco in 1886 a minister and lawyer seeking both a higher moral ground and the ability to make a substantive change. Instead, he evolved into a vocal agnostic and Socialist.

Harriman was not a gentle theorist but an activist in the truest sense, embodying a muscular idealism in response to an economic system so anarchic an estimated 40 percent of the U.S. population had been abandoned to extreme poverty and another 40 percent to conditions just a notch above. His journey to the colonys creation as an answer to the eras pitiless capitalism was as epic as his biblical namesakes.

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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-16-12 08:17 PM
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1. Fascinating...I wonder what caused you to find this article. UTOPIA
We search for it in hard times...and never succeed to find it..but, leave thoughts about it for future generations.

I loved this from the article:

It became apparent to me, Harriman said in the introduction to Ernest S. Woosters Communities of the Past and Present, that a people would never abandon their means of livelihood, good or bad, capitalistic or otherwise, until other methods were developed which would promise advantages at least as good as those by which they were living.

My thoughts...Without a Future they can imagine...people will wallow in what they matter how bad it is...they think it will get better...UNTIL IT DOESN'T...and THEN...they search for something else.


Thanks for that interesting piece of history... Good Read.

BUT...WHY did you post it here? NOW? :shrug:

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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-16-12 08:42 PM
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2. It was on the LA Times webpage recommendations...
If you like this subject, I strongly recommend:

I was feeling revolutionary, and socialist for a brief moment, ot that I've abandoned my innate conservatism :)
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