"You can't beat the system, but you can beat the culture," he insists. "That's what I'm interested in overthrowing. We can help people free their minds, create a space where people can do their thing. We can help people see that they can live this alternative way."

Yet he emphasizes that this is not a life for the lazy and unmotivated.

"These people work long hours, more than most with full-time jobs; they put sweat and blood and tears into their projects," he says. "The people behind Bike Pit put a ton of work and countless hours into something they were never going to make money off of. They're doing it for other people, not themselves. Or the punk house up the street: You have six kids living in what some would consider squalor, but they feed the homeless twice a week. They open up their home to strangers. Or with our space: People bring us tons of food, and that's what we live on, and we let them use our space for shows. It's a symbiotic relationship.

Joshua is currently living off the grid in the Art District on Santa Fe.
Christine Cool
Joshua is currently living off the grid in the Art District on Santa Fe.
Food Not Bombs volunteer Raielle serves food to the homeless in Sunken Gardens Park.
Christine Cool
Food Not Bombs volunteer Raielle serves food to the homeless in Sunken Gardens Park.

"I would argue that we don't really need the government in its current form," he continues. "They believe that money is the solution to everything. But people don't realize how little money you can get by on when money isn't your only resource."

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49 comments
btleckness
btleckness

All of you bashing this guy are close-minded buffoons. The point this guy is trying to make is that there IS still a way of life that doesn't include working your ass off to support the lazy people on welfare or the various other things the government decides to spend OUR hard-earned money. I personal would love to live the way people did before the industrial revolution and just live off the land. I feel like that would free up so much more time to find happiness in family, friends, and just the simple things in life that we don't have time to enjoy with our busy lives. (& for the record, I am a very motivated hard-worker. Wanting to live in a similar way to this Joshua guy does not equal laziness.)

preppergirl77
preppergirl77

This guy is a jackass.  You don't borrow thousands of $ then go hide from the lenders.  Second, It is NOT the governments responsibility to support your lazy ass {or anyone else's}  He doesn't think it's ok to work and make someone else money, {while making money himself} but it's ok for hardworking people to bust their ass at 2 jobs so that you can live in squalor and take money THEY earned???  Makes NO sense.  At the very least, start your own business with some sort of skill.  If you're so exceptional at math, why don't you pimp yourself out as a tutor to help kids?  Lazy ass.  Why is this country becoming such an en-titlist society???? 

VoiceOfReason
VoiceOfReason

This guy Joshua is the ultimate hipocrite. He's also a fucking leach on society. He freely admits to borrowing thousands of dollars from the federal government to finance his college education, but then refuses to pay back what he owes, despite signing a promissory note to do just that when he took out his loans. Then he plays dumb -- or is it just retard? -- and pretends that it isn't stealing. What a fucking dipshit this guy is. Look, I'm not a fan of the federal government -- although I'm a bleeding-heart Democrat who does support increasing funding for social programs. But guess what? I am ethical and honest, and I understand and accept that if I borrow money from someone, a business or the government, then I must repay my lender with interest.
If Joshua really believes that what he is doing is not wrong, then why hide from his lenders? Why refuse to provide the reporter with his full name and address where he has taken up residence, or the location of the so-called "community center"/shitty concert venue he is attempting to develop interest in?
Finally, let's address the subject of living "off-grid." Joshua and his anarchist followers live completely on the grid. They are plugged into society -- they draw thousands of kilowatt hours of electricity from the grid ever month to power their dumpy warehouse/decrepit concert hall -- and the amount of trash they produce taxes the resources of the City/County of Denver's Trash & Recycling division. The big dumpster behind their shithole warehouse is regularly overflowing, and Joshua and his asshole minions have no problem with tossing their waste on the ground ajacent to their property. Fuck these clowns; they are the definition of hipocricy. They preach against wasting food and resources, of being good neighbors and treating everyone as their equals, but they've shown complete disregard and disrespect for anyone who doesn't subscribe to their philosophy and they have no problem with tossing aside a glass bottle or aluminum can into the street,, when it could be easily recycled. 

For Joshua's creditors: You can find him at Praxis Denver, 1120 W. 12th Ave., Denver, CO, 80204.

myearis101
myearis101

GLORIFIED BUMS... get a job. oh wait how old are these people? ... right! no life experience. Idealism meets no showers and hairy armpits meets hey man can I bum a ride, can I bum a cigarette, hey man can I bum a beer?  I know all these people in the article personally, and used to be in this anarchist "community" the stench is what drove me out. I used to do Food not Bombs because I thought I was doing a service to my fellow humans, nah. the article does dot mention that when the food is dropped off all the freeloaders come over grab all the nice not rotting desirable food and items and take it for themselves then don't stick around to help with cooking, serving, or dish-washing I like the idea but to many self serving assholes, I applaud Magee in the article for trying to feed the world, she is really cute,minus the hairy armpits, young and confused , Sam, cool man you like bikes see you in the snow when I drive right past you,  but Joshua you are a bum!!! a bum with an iphone I have 2 jobs and don't have an iphone,  what or did you find that in the trash too , doubt it...

matthewdenniston
matthewdenniston

When I think "living off the grid" I do not think of sleeping in the streets, eating out of dumpsters, and taking from charity. This article isn't about "living off the grid" it is about "being homeless and/or surviving poverty".

"Living off the Grid", refers to living without power from the electrical grid (for example by having wind/solar on your property) and/or living outside of the city's street grid and away from society and society's services (like hospitals, malls, and charity). 

Living in the city and partaking of charity is the most "on the grid" you can possibly be.  I see no upside to dressing up poverty with pc / newspeak to make it sound like a good way to live or something to aspire to.

Also, if you eat out of dumpsters by choice rather than due to mindbending poverty, you need to go ahead and move back to Portland.  I like Portland, used to live in the PNW, but Denver needs to be Denver.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuD1oDth6es

...and if you take from charity when you have means, you are just a thief.

Marc Khan
Marc Khan

EXCELLENT article. Great read.

jh_303
jh_303

hang on a second here... living in a community like josh is doing is a far stretch from being "off the grid" they may not be as embedded into the grid as most of the people that have jobs, pay taxes, drive cars, have bank accounts, etc.. but this community in the SF art district relies 100% on the grid for their continued existence.  You want to be off the grid? Go buy (wait... you need money to buy land so i guess you need to be a squatter) a plot of land in the middle of no where, grow all your own food, collect all your own water, raise goats and chickens, and live by candlelight or camp fire at night... and if you get sick or hurt? Via con dios.

mj_s
mj_s

Sounds like Schizophrenia......


ellie131
ellie131

Yeah Joshua!  He's making a direct difference.  The 'we are tax payers and thus not moochers' paradigm that I keep reading about on here is a myth.  Those who pay taxes are viewed as 'givers'?  Yeah, we give it right to the Military Industrial Complex.  Look at the income disparity over the past 25 years.  The top 5% have increased their wealth exponentially and the bottom 95% are worse off than 25 years ago.  I've been seeking a job for over a year and all I've been offered are $10-15/hr 'jobs'.  My family and I are even willing to relocate and still nothing.  I have over 20 years of experience and a BS degree in Business.  We've moved to an economically depressed area because we can live off barter and the small unemployment stipend that's still coming in.  I know many 20+ year olds w/college debt and unable to find jobs that will allow them to pay back the loans and have a middle class life....I could go on.  Bottom line, the economy sucks, the opportunities out there are a myth and at least these people are caring for their fellow human beings.  Jesus would approve ;) PS I'm not a Christian


aVoiceIntheWild
aVoiceIntheWild

Awesome article. I work my ass off and pay taxes and I'd join these kids in a heartbeat.

Merika
Merika

@@fishingblues @@BackOffImStarvingYou guys obviously didn't read the article closely at all. Those "parasitic shit-birds" are helping and enriching the Denver community in fantastic and selfless acts of kindness. Everything their life centers around is helping others, feeding the homeless, promoting music and art. They dumpster dive for food that would have been tossed out by the responsible, tax paying Americans. I guess paying taxes gives you the right to waste resources with unhindered enthusiasm without a thought as to what that "waste" could be for others. These off the grid communities rely on the honor system. yeah, some people might take more than they give, but these communities survive based on the fact that they all want to help each other. A community based on helping people--sounds like that is a huge threat that should be exterminated...


Oh yeah, and in the meantime we, the taxpayers, are paying for outlandishly lavish homes in Europe for top brass military officials. We pay for bank bailouts, the auto industry bailouts, corporate level bonuses. We pay for the unchecked spending of the wealthiest corporations.  Those are awesome ways to help out the community! We just need to keep giving our hard-earned money to people who have two commas in the amount in their bank accounts-- Kudos to us! 

The people mentioned in this article center their lives around giving back to the community b/c they want to not because they feel culturally obligated or are forced to. They don't pay taxes, so what? They are doing more good for the community than any average tax paying American.

DaveGarner
DaveGarner

I admire Joshua's stance and life choices. Good for him. But this piece kind of makes him look silly. It states he doesn't believe he should have to pay for his education, yet he has no problem accepting cash for teaching students. Again I have no problem with that. Stick it to the man, man.

What I find really funny about this article is the living off the grid angle. The overall impression I got was, "You don't believe Joshua is living off the grid? Why don't you call him on his cell and ask him yourself?" I can't understand if this story was meant to be satire or sincere.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

Joshua is a freaking POS, worthless parasite.  "Taking money from the government - is that stealing? Is that wrong?  I don't think so."  Here's a clue for this loser and every other parasitic shit-bird out there.  The government doesn't have any money.  They simply steal from people who work their asses off and then give to useless individuals like this.  Joshua and his friends should be gathered and exterminated like the cock roaches they are.     

mmatisse1
mmatisse1

It was hard reading this story.  This person views the world in such extremes I can only assume there is a mental health issue in play here.  No one in their right mind chooses to live like that and steals money and brags about it.  Instead of writing a story on this guy the reporter should have been helping creditors and police find him.  Shameful this piece was even published as it glorifies what is wrong with the world today.  Lazy people not contributing to society are a waste of space in my opinion.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@jh_303       Well jh, it appears we see things in a similar fashion.  See my comment under the article "UCD's Stephen Polk...".

VoiceOfReason
VoiceOfReason

@ellie131 You're a fucking idiot. Get a god damn brain, ellie. Shua (Joshua's nickname, for those of you who are fortunate enough to have not met him personally), has you brainwashed. If you have the means to pay for food, electricity, your rent and other necessary expenses, but you refuse to do so simply to make a statment, and then you rely on others to help you out financially, then guess what? YOU'RE A FUCKING MOOCHER. Bottom line, you're either very naive or just stupid.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@ellie131   Gosh ellie, do you ever ask yourself why you voted twice for that abysmal failure Obama?  Or, like Obama is still attempting to do after five years of failure, are you still blaming Bush?

The main reason your idol Joshua is "living off the grid" is because he is hiding out from all of the creditors the deadbeat is dodging.  

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

You certainly are a preachy little pimple on society's ass. Thanks for becoming educated just so you can be a worthless, bottom feeding douche AND an eloquent braggart. By the way, those communities based on helping people that you speak of? They're called, say it with me now, "towns, cities, states, and countries."

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@Merika @BackOffImStarving   Spoken like a snot-nosed high schooler with absolutely no life experience.  You'll make a good bleeding-heart, ninny liberal.  

marcy
marcy

@DaveGarner 

Living off the grid really means living off whatever he can scrounge from the grid.  He doesn't actually live away from the grid but is actually 100% reliant on it.  One of those where if everyone took up his lifestyle, everyone starves because none of those mean old capitalists are still around producing the excess that he lives off of.

Maybe when he gets old and needs some surgery he can have one of the members of his group do it for him.  Nah, he'll just head over to the grid with his hand out and demand that someone (who gets paid for a living) take care of his medical need.

If times get too tough I'm sure he'll just take that next step of outright stealing from the grid, with the same self-moralizing attitude that he used to justify running up his credit card buying stuff from the grid with no intention of paying it back.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@DaveGarner   Your admiration for this loser says much about you dude.  

"Stick it to the man, man."  What a moron.  The"man" is none other than family, friends and neighbors who pay taxes.  

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

@fishingblues Never thought I'd say this to you, fishingblues, but I agree with you.  Well, maybe not the exterminating part, but still.  Many of these people are the ones who will pilfer belongings out of people's cars, scam the unemployment system (taking money from those who are actively looking for jobs), take advantage of charities meant for the truly sick and needy, and take more than one piece of candy from the bowls on Halloween.  All because they want to spend their days doing what they want, when they want, without doing anything that involves any level of responsibility... society obviously owes them everything in exchange for nothing, I suppose.

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

@mmatisse1I think some of the people in the story are reprehensible, but I don't think the publishing of this piece is shameful.  It seems to be shedding light on this culture, not glorifying it.  I did think it was funny, however, the following quote: "They believe that money is the solution to everything. But people don't realize how little money you can get by on when money isn't your only resource."  My next thought was, "...said no cancer patient, ever."

ellie131
ellie131

@fishingblues @ellie131 I believe that Joshua's doing what he's doing out of choice to help and regain a sense of purpose.  I never blamed Bush, I think it'd be wise if we started to demand that only farmers be elected to public office and the lawyers can all go to you know where.  Farmers would be more efficient since they have to get back to their farms...Oh, wait, there aren't that many farmers any longer :(  If one has a gift and wants to learn they should go to school for free.  Latin American countries can do this and we can't?  


Merika
Merika

@BackoffImStarving My favorite is bottom feeding douche, I'm definitely going to add that to my insult vocabulary.Thanks for sharing. 

Now, back to the issues. I would like to second @JSnowinquiry as to why you and @fishingbluesare both so threatened by this idea? If living off the grid was easy, a lot more people would do it. These communities are few and far between. There is no reason to troll everyone who can relate to the stress of crushing debt in a society that caters to a certain kind of person.

These cities, towns, states and countries you speak of, although contain people that do/want to help are, say it with me now, ill equipped to helping those under the poverty line.  There are those that take advantage of the system. BUT I assure you, a few people in Denver that live in a warehouse and feed the homeless, help fix their bikes and put on art shows are not the ones draining your precious tax coffers and stealing your Halloween candy.

They are directly contributing to the betterment of society w/o paying taxes. It isn't such a hard concept to grasp. You don't have to pay taxes to help people.  Just because you are uncomfortable with anything outside of your tiny tiny comfort zone doesn't mean it is something that should be exterminated.

With Universities getting more and more expensive and jobs that promote this so called, "middle class lifestyle" require degrees it seems that in order to be successful in this society you have to borrow money unless you are independently wealthy of course. Which, inherently, is a broken system that is designed to keep certain people at the top and keep certain people at the bottom.

But perhaps questioning the system and thinking outside of the box is too hard for you two. Perhaps you are afraid of those that do. So, instead, you use insults and intimidation to "argue" your points instead of using your brain. How archaic.

Merika
Merika

@fishingblues I wonder, you probably help your community by trolling the streets with a concealed weapon looking for those "punks" that are terrorizing your community. Stand your ground man, stand your ground. 

DaveGarner
DaveGarner

You are right. Admire was perhaps the wrong word to use. Respect is the word I should have chosen. I respect Joshua's life choices. I respect anyone who chooses to live in a way contrary to what is expected. I respect the fact Joshua has chosen to live his life in the way he sees fit. Respect, or admiration, does not mean agreeing. We can see someone's point but not agree. I think you did not read my comment. So I'll write more clearly.

HOw CAn WEsTwORDZ SAY JOSHZ LIVE OFF GRId HIM HAvE SMARTz FONE

I sincerely hope I've cleared up any confusion

soccer_jay
soccer_jay

@BackOffImStarving @mmatisse1

Good comments everyone. I found the article depressing, but interesting. Joshua was a thief, but is scavenging food from dumpsters a crime and where in the Constitution does it say that you have to contribute to a capitalistic society and be "productive" under their rules. You are correct to point out that Joshua is dependent on the grid that he despises. However, would the person who lived in a cave in UT and truly lived off the grid be a parasite to society?

cameron710
cameron710

@ellie131 @fishingblues never heard of scholarships? I think it is dumb to pay to go to school. If you can't get a scholarship, perhaps you should take up a technical trade? 30k a year is a good salary. I think the problem is that so many americans are stupid enough to be affected by commodity fetishism that they don't realize that 90 percent of the money they are spending is going to things they do not need. you do not need a million dollar house. you dont need new clothes every month. You dont need to buy so much food that you throw half of it away before you get the chance to eat it. and you dont need the latest iphone or the latest car model. there are people in this world who live without electricity or running water, in fact, up until a few hundred years ago, we ALL lived without this. The way americans live is a LUXURY, NOT a NECESSITY. 

sincerely, a person who lives very comfortably on 30k a year

nhazed1968
nhazed1968

Blane Obama? This recessed situation predates Obama by 7 years. You Republicans are fuckin idiots. Under Obama slow growth has been the norm. Bush can suck a bag of dicks...he caused this mess.

ellie131
ellie131

@fishingblues @ellie131 Banks are owned by their largest shareholders which just so happened not to be you and me.  If one wants an education it's pretty much a given that one has to borrow money or join the military and if one survives that crazy train ride, go to school and try and sit through classes while dealing w/PTSD.  I don't believe that I 'over value' my ability but being offered $15/hr jobs isn't going to feed and house my family.  That comes out to 30K a year gross, no health insurance, paid vacation, sick days etc.  Glad that someone still believes in our economic fairytale because my experience no longer has me believing in the system.  I believed up until about 5 years ago...stay asleep, it's more comfortable ;)

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@ellie131 @fishingblues Oh, and ellie, if you have been underemployed since '06 perhaps you either over value your worth -or- you might check that attitude.  No one "owes" you a damn thing.   "parasitic student loan companies" "legalized indentured servitude" are you kidding me?  I bet you still believe in Santa and the boogeyman.  If you don't want debt, don't borrow the money.  If you borrow money, with no intention of paying it back, you are committing fraud.  Do you think banks are controlled by big ugly white guys smoking stogies and laughing at all the little people?  Banks are controlled by stockholders; everyday people who are trying to put something away for retirement.   Dang girl, you've been listening to too many Marxist professors and whack job loons.  Get a grip or continue to slip.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@ellie131 @fishingblues Do you want the answer?  It seems too many don't.  Quit spending.  We borrow $.56 of every dollar we spend.  (Guess who we borrow it from?).  Quit voting for social/democrats that wouldn't know a balance sheet if it bit them in the ass.  Quit supporting unions.  (I'll give you one guess as to the catalyst for the failure of Detroit.)  Quit voting for your parochial priorities and start voting for the survival of our country.  Quit voting for higher taxes on corporations (The US has the HIGHEST corporate tax rate) and forcing them to take their jobs elsewhere.  

There is probably 1 to 2% of the population of the US that actually needs our help financially.  Quit applauding Joshua and the other millions upon millions of parasites that are defrauding their friends, neighbors and family and rationalizing it by saying they are getting over on the government.   

ellie131
ellie131

@fishingblues @ellie131 Considering I've been under employed since '06 I'm not about to blame anyone.  The system is not working, we can't continue to keep growing and buying crap and throwing it away.  LOL re Joshua and his responsibility to pay back parasitic student loan companies...c'mon, it's legalized indentured servitude for the young people.  I believe I am his creditor since we all bailed out the banks.  I was all for letting them fail.


fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@ellie131 @fishingblues Well ellie, coming from an extended farming family, I can't disagree with their common sense.

Use some of yours.  Joshua is a parasite on society and is NOT doing what he is doing for any positive/altruistic reason.  He is doing it simply because he is a loser that can't/won't compete in the real world.  He borrowed a bunch of money, in good faith, and is now ducking the responsibility of paying it back. What if you were the creditor?  Would you have a different opinion?  

And, once again, can't find a job?  Blame Obama.

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

@Merika Please.  Your kind are just glorified bums, nothing more.  In place of a bottle of cheap vodka, you inbibe anti-establishment rhetoric.  In lieu of finding a nice alley to sleep in, you seek shelter in bragging to your hipster friends about how off-the-grid you are.  Way to go.  A bum is a bum is a bum, even if said bum happens to have read some books and is able to use polysyllabic adjectives.  Your parents must be so proud, bum.  When you were a child, did you think to yourself, "Gee, I want to grow up and be a bum"?  

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@Merika     I'm going to stay with "empty headed twit".  The winner of the most inane comment award:  "If living off the grid was easy, a lot more people would do it."

Try to follow this bubble head:  No one owes you a goddamn thing.  Survival in the "real world" requires a little hard work and self-discipline.  The "people at the bottom" to which you refer, other than the mentally ill, are the lazy, irresponsible, whiners and losers that lack self-control and personal responsibility.  They have their greasy hands out for a freebie because they have some warped sense of entitlement.  The fact that you idolize the lifestyle speaks volumes about you, babe and what it says 'ain't purdy'.

Your boy Joshua, who you so admire, is a felon.  He is "living off the grid" because he is in hiding from the people he has defrauded and stolen money.    Jazus!  Some of you people are so freaking obtuse.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@JSnow @fishingblues @Merika    "It is readily apparent that you are both extremely threatened..."

Nothing screams arrogant, foolish, haughty pompous ass like a wannabe armchair psychologist.  Perhaps you should refrain from shoveling your namesake up your nose.  

JSnow
JSnow

@fishingblues @MerikaI am ambivalent about the content of this article.  I can see the argument that these people are, on some level, misusing a need-based system.  I can also see the argument that they give back to their communities in ways that many others do not.  I just thought I'd chime in on a few unrelated notes:


1.) Backoff - You win the irony award.  Accusing Merika of making inflammatory statements when you and fishingblues have called Merika, inter alia, a snot-nosed high schooler, a ninny, an empty headed twit, douchey, selfish, and a "lump."  Hilarious.


2.) It is readily apparent that you are both extremely threatened by the people described in this article.  I suspect if you were more invested and engaged in your own lives you wouldn't find non-traditional ways of approaching life so personally threatening.  


3.) Re: Stealing - Yeah, I am "probably against" stealing from credit card companies etc. as the costs are just passed on to people like me who feel obligated to make their payments. However, I am hardly about to get all worked up in their defense.  The vanishing middle class has, among other things, coincided with record profits for the banking industry.  Perhaps a "robin hood" ethos is objectively wrong.  I certainly don't think an article which merely describes the ethos, and a few people commenting in defense thereof warrants the kind of vitriol spewing from your sad little fingers.


4.) Fishingblues - It does not appear that you know this, so I thought I'd clue you in: ad hominem attacks are not the same thing as "arguments."  They just make you look like a hotheaded fool.  Also, if that's all you have, at least make them clever.  I mean jesus man, you're just name-calling.  Who is in high school? 

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

Yeah, deflect and misdirect with unrelated inflammatory statements when you can no longer justify your douchey, selfish behavior. Good job, Merika, or should I just call you "lump"?

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@DaveGarner   Well Dave, you lost me right after your "admiration".  I did read your comment and you made several good points.  I have no problem with someone who is different or even contrary.  My problem is with his parasitic behavior.  He takes; e.g. school loans and government assistance, and rationalizes that he is taking from "the government".  Did you not read my comment?  The government doesn't have any money except that stolen from hard working Americans.   

 
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