A New Society on Mercian Principles

     Our vision of day-to-day life in independent Mercia is broadly set out in the MERCIA MANIFESTO.   Here, we provide greater detail in the light of the practices, principles and realities of a 21st Century approach.

     This article was written in August 2004 and has remained unchanged.

     Three main facets comprise the bedrock of our vision: Co-operative Community, Organic Democracy and Ecological Sustainability.

CO-OPERATIVE COMMUNITY

     Our vision of community is based on our awareness that individually and collectively we are all parts of a single community upon which both our survival and that of the community itself are dependent and inter-dependent. 

     As we see in nature, everything is connected to everything else.   So with human beings, crucially the basis of successful living is dependent on the way we manage that interconnectedness and in the way we behave ourselves and toward each other.

     In practical terms, this means working together in symbiosis, taking into account the needs of ourselves, of each other and of the greater whole.  Prior to the Norman Conquest in 1066, co-operative community and organic democracy thrived in Anglo-Saxon England and society flourished in harmony with the natural world.  Since that time, however, the ruling power of privileged minorities with their hierarchical political and social systems has coerced us into competing with each other, exploiting, dominating and defeating each other and the biosphere, enslaving us all through the debt-based monetary system and the sanction of war for those who do not comply.  We know the results - principally a world of injustice and suffering for the majority of humanity both from deprivation and excess derived from the rape of the physical world and irresponsibly reckless offensives into the ecosystem which sustains it.   Clearly, all is not well in the world and unless something remedial is done NOW, little basis for hope exists for ourselves and the coming generations.

     In Mercia we are encouraging everyone to live as a single extended family, with individuals, families, neighbourhoods and towns interacting with each other in the region and the wider world in a spirit of mutual care, concern and service.   We envision a lifestyle very different from that of the later part of the 20th century and the beginning of this one in which the themes are consumerism, materialism, competition, individualism, personal fulfilment, exclusiveness, prejudice, obesity and excess, to name but some of the suicidal and murderous attributes of our current lifestyle.

     We envision a lifestyle in Mercia in which the economic system, and especially the monetary system, will not enable anyone to become disproportionately wealthy in material terms i.e. excessive money or material possessions, nor abuse other regions or countries around the world, as has characterised the capitalist monetary system.  Money will be an exchange mechanism of last resort, and we will aim for a money-free system in which we simply exchange, lend, give to and share with each other.  This will lead to a way of life in which the themes will be quality of life, community, simplicity, spirituality, inclusiveness, equality, oneness, sustainability and healthiness, to name but some of the uplifting and life-supporting attributes of our vision.

     Society in the new Mercia will be egalitarian and the opportunity for personal development will be available to all people regardless of creed, gender, age, race, ethnic, religious, economic or cultural background or personal ability.  People in Mercia will be free and encouraged to express their personalities, preferences and differences, limited only by the needs of the society and the environment.

     As far as possible Mercia will be truly sustainable, with every village, town and city achieving an optimum level of self-reliance and self-sufficiency.  Where it is necessary to import from or export to other parts of the region, or other regions or countries, and where this cannot be done on an equivalent trade basis, we shall honour the spirit of oneness that enables us and others to give to and receive from each other.  For example, at the present levels of population and sequestration of farmland to an ever-diminishing number of heavily subsidised warlords of agribusiness, it will be virtually impossible for Mercia to be self-sufficient in food and energy and some supplies of these will need to be imported. 

     The capacity of a region to support a population is limited and Mercia is currently an overpopulated region on an overpopulated planet.  The present agricultural system practised in Mercia is not capable of sustaining the existing population and some areas of the region are vastly overcrowded, for example London and the West Midlands conurbation.  It is therefore critical that the population of Mercia be reduced, not simply to a level where food production is able to support the number of people, but to that where all people are able to enjoy a fulfilling life with plentiful personal space, and which still enables there to be large areas of wilderness.  It is also vital that the level of population being aimed for can be sustained in the long term and by means which do not damage the ecosystem.  Regrettably, this essential reduction of population is more than likely actually to occur, as a consequence of the U.K. Government's current support for American foreign and economic policy which can realistically be expected to lead to mass destruction through terrorism and plague over the next few years.

     Nevertheless, action needs to be taken without delay to rectify the lack of self-sufficiency in Mercia through pre-emptive measures including breaking down the over-sized, over-mechanised, global-capitalist fiefdoms into the smallest units practicable and compatible with the laws of the biosphere and its ecology, in scale with the size and topography of the Mercian landscape.   Manifestly it is untenable for the U.K. to continue forcing the fertile land of Mercia to grow more than is its natural propensity for any reason, and certainly not for the purposes of competing for exports with, for example, the corn prairies of North America.

     This change would serve to re-populate the Mercian countryside with people farming appropriate smallholdings of varying size in accordance with organic principles, restoring the inherent vitality of the land and the healthy lifestyle which has been stolen from us by the robber-barons of global agribusiness who feed the cancer of the debt-based  capitalist system.  At the same time this would ease the pressure on our over-populated towns and cities.

     It will be necessary to grow our own food within the vicinity of our villages, towns and cities.  The combination of a re-deployment of work and leisure activity into the food-growing industry, and a change to a more healthy diet with a higher proportion of grains and vegetables than at present, will help to reduce our dependence on imports from other countries, many of which have been over-specialised in food production and are struggling to feed their own people.  A much higher proportion of people in Mercia will be engaged in food production, using low technologies for neighbourhood-scale, organic dairy, meat and fish husbandry.

     With oil, gas, coal and nuclear fuel resources becoming diminished and/or environmentally unacceptable,  our energy policy needs to prioritise energy conservation.  The cleanest, safest, most secure and most environmentally acceptable policy is simply to use less energy, by reducing demand, by social or technological interventions for energy saving.  Also, we need massively to improve the input recovery rate for greater energy efficiency.  For example, 83% of the primary energy input to a coal-fired power station is currently lost before the electricity reaches the end user.   Renewable energy resources will need to be developed.  For Mercia to be fully self-sufficient, we must generate the energy we need within the region, relying on imported energy only for emergencies and other unforeseen needs.  However, at the present level of over-population, whilst wind turbines and biomass (crops and wood, etc) and solar collectors can provide a proportion of Mercia's energy, undoubtedly for the foreseeable future we will be dependent on other regions and countries for supplies of solar, wind, tidal and hydroelectric energy.   In view of the current political instabilities of the Middle East and Africa it may be unimaginable that they could be tomorrow's suppliers of solar energy.   However, this may need to be.  The solution for contributing to such a development lies in our declaration that we are no-one's enemies, and that we are all one.  It is not inconceivable that following the turmoil of the present times humanity will be able to live in peace and goodwill.   This is surely not idealistic but realistic, because without peace and goodwill we will assuredly destroy ourselves eventually.  Our vision for peace and goodwill in Mercia will serve as an example for others to follow.  The conservation of energy and the transition to renewables will thus be a priority objective both for self-sufficiency and to assist the wider world in fulfilling its energy needs.

     A major consideration in the arguments for an alternative lifestyle is that of the healthcare system.  At present the cost of healthcare is so great that it would be inconceivable that a money-less lifestyle could supply the healthcare system which we have come to demand as a birthright.  Our answer is that just as good health is a birthright, so is protection from abuse of our health by others and by ourselves.  Health is a function of spirit and state of mind and salutary treatment of the body.   A healthy individual and community spirit are the well-spring of individual and community health.  We expect health to improve in Mercia because of the lifestyle we envision, which will engender a healthier spirit and also eliminate unhealthy practices, including the use of pharmaceuticals, pesticides and herbicides, polluting fuels and overcrowded, dirty hospitals.  The unhealthy use or abuse of drugs, solvents, alcohol and tobacco will also be discouraged as the sense of self- and group-responsibility is encouraged. 

ORGANIC DEMOCRACY

     What the west and particularly the U.K. currently understands to be democracy is not democracy but plutocracy, the rule by the rich, endorsed by the legislature of parliamentary autocracy.  Democracy in its true form is 'rule by the people' which does not currently exist in the U.K.  Such 'democracy' as is claimed by some to exist is merely an illusion - window-dressing to disguise the plutocracy.  In the U. K. the form of government at Westminster is purportedly Elected Representation where the people, the Crown's subjects, elect individuals i.e. members of parliament, to represent them at the national government level.  The same applies at local elections.  In practice, the Westminster government of 2004 is run by a small group of people who decide and enact primary legislation, headed by a lawless, lying, treacherous control-freak with support from less than 10% of the electorate.  In amongst and behind them are the plutocrats, an equally small number of people with mainly financial interests such as the international bankers and business people who manage the capitalist system.  It is they who really run the U.K. and they to whom the politicians of the day defer, rather than to the people of the country. 

     In Mercia, a true democracy will be created, in which all members of communities of varying sizes will decide upon their own local affairs.  Every community will appoint someone who will represent their requirements to the next body of co-ordination responsible for the wider area as appropriate, e.g. folk, leet, hundred and shire which in turn will send representatives to the regional assembly, namely the Witan.  True power will reside with and remain within the communities, a bottom-up democracy as distinct from the top-down governments of the United Kingdom, with each body of Mercian democracy being accountable to that which elected it.   Such matters as require a regional approach will be referred back to communities as advice by way of subsidiarity rather than directives.

     On this basis, the people of Mercia will be empowered not as subjects but as free citizens who are both self-responsible and responsible to the greater whole, thus actualising the twin aspects of democracy, with freedom, rights and authority on the one hand and responsibility, duty and obligation on the other.

ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY

     Considerable effort will need to be made to develop a viable society in Mercia, primarily because of over-population and the inheritance from the United Kingdom of the practices and physical manifestations of an unsustainable social, economic and political infrastructure which has depended on local, regional and global exploitation.

     During the transitional period, day-to-day life in Mercia will revolve around creating truly sustainable communities, whether in cities, towns or villages. Each community will work to develop true sustainability through collaboration and good practice such as recycling, reduction of consumption and careful management of resources including food, water, energy, materials and the whole environment. All members of communities will contribute to this collective endeavour on the basis of 'from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs'.  In this regard, members will be enabled and encouraged to use their talents fully and be free to pursue constructive individual initiatives of their choice.  In this way, individuals, communities and ecosystems will be mutually enabled and enriched.

     There will be few public services as there will be no regional government and communities will be largely self-sufficient.  In the interests of self-sufficiency and true sustainability, people will not be employed in and will be encouraged not to engage in unnecessary manufacturing and service activities, nor engaged in anti-social self-enrichment.  Therefore people will be working less and travelling less, freeing the roads of traffic and pollution.   The U.K.'s monetary system will be abolished in the Mercia region and existing debts such as mortgages, personal loans and credit cards will be cancelled, with debtors and mortgagees of their sole residences retaining use of the assets they have part-purchased.  Part-owners of second or more homes will make those properties available to people who do not have a home.  Those assets will fall into a new legal category of community ownership.  In view of the growing appreciation that we are inter-dependent, the ownership of property will become less of an issue.  In the future, it is possible that all property will be owned collectively by the community.  Different forms of community habitation will also evolve, reflecting more co-operative living. 

Sustainability: Sustainable Cities, Towns, Villages and Rural areas

     We refer here to true sustainability whereby each city, town, village and rural area is viable in its own right without having to depend on outside sources and could maintain a steady state indefinitely.  In reality this is very difficult to achieve, hence our emphasis on the need for population reduction.  We regard the U.K.'s idea of 'sustainable development' as a contradiction in terms because 'development' implies ongoing expansion.  Whether true sustainability can mean a high technological standard of living cannot be foreseen at the present time and would probably depend on new energy technologies, as yet not available.  It may be that optimum agreeable living will be the primary measure of quality of life.

     It will be necessary for everyone to recognise and remember why a profound change in our present collective lifestyle is required, namely that it is not ecologically sustainable, it is unjust in relation to the rest of humanity and ultimately it is both suicidal and murderous.  Without such awareness, the changes we propose would probably be unacceptable to most people.  We must emphasise, therefore, that we feel that our vision is based on necessity rather than choice. 

     Given that a large proportion of Mercian citizens currently live in cities, the sustainability and desirability of city life presents the most pressing challenge.

     The main issues which need to be successfully addressed include:

Energy:  Sources, Supplies, Research

     The energy budget is set both by non-renewable and renewable sources of energy including solar, water, wind and biomass (vegetation and wood).  During the transitionary period from dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear fission to renewables, communities will encourage conservation.  Also, the importation of fuel supplies will need to be on a last resort basis.  In view of our vision for a more limited, steady-state economy our energy requirements will be much reduced compared to hitherto. 

     Climate change and toxic releases are forcing a move away from fossil fuels and towards sustainable, clean and renewable energy resources, and we support that.  However, owing to the generally accepted threats and dangers associated with climate change, a case is being made (by James Lovelock, proponent of the Gaia theory) to resurrect the poison of nuclear energy generation as a means of combating carbon dioxide levels.  We believe this must be resisted by all means necessary in favour of preferably passive renewable energy supplies.

      It seems likely that the present trend of global warming will continue for the foreseeable future.  This means we will have to adapt to it.  Its worst effects, namely flood and drought, will cause loss of life both directly and indirectly.  Providing that the Gulf Stream does not fail as some predict, in Mercia we are geographically-placed to enjoy a relatively mild and consistent climate and we should be shielded from the worst of the climate change.   Nevertheless we are likely to experience sporadic loss of harvest, as in 2004, and fluctuations of supplies from abroad.  This will require some greater effort to compensate than can be expected from the U.K. authorities who are traditionally unwilling to ask people to make sacrifices either through moderating demands and consumption or through offering assistance in the supply chain.   The greater level of support from communities in Mercia will help to alleviate the worst of any expected difficulties.

Food, Agriculture and Water

      It is imperative, when planning for sustainability, that all cities consider the production, marketing and distribution of food, as well as the recycling of food wastes, within their boundaries, together with a more balanced effort to maintain the water needs of the entire ecosystem of which humans are a part.

Waste:  Recycling, Management

     Moving toward sustainability will transform many of the day-to-day activities of consumers, workers, and business people.  The conservation of resources will require considerable and consistent effort and awareness and will seem inconvenient by comparison to the careless, throw-away practices to which many have been addicted and habituated.   This will nevertheless be an essential discipline for ecological sustainability.   

Biodiversity

     In the past this has not been given appropriate priority even though much knowledge exists.  We must give the academic community the support it needs to address the decline of genetic diversity, the number and variety of species in the cities, the variety and quality of the cities' ecosystems, and the ecological and evolutionary processes that sustain biodiversity.  The potential threats of high-technology genetic engineering will also be addressed with deep concern and scepticism, and no further introduction of genetically-engineered organisms will be allowed in Mercia for the foreseeable future. 

Healthcare:  Health Centres, Hospitals, Remedies

     Environmental, cultural, and institutional barriers to good health must be removed and appropriate health care services must be equitably distributed throughout the cities.  Healthcare will be aimed primarily at prevention of sickness, and cure will be based increasingly upon non-invasive, natural remedies.  We regard the trans-national pharmaceutical companies with deep mistrust and we seek to eliminate the use of their questionable though certainly hugely expensive products in favour of more traditional medicines.

Transportation

     There will be a system in which people’s and communities' needs and desires for access to jobs, commerce, recreation, culture and home are accommodated using a minimum of resources.  The elimination of the capitalist economic system will profoundly change the daily routine of people who hitherto sat in one-person cars in rush-hour traffic queues crawling slowly into the cities.  In future there will be far less traffic in the cities because much of the population will have moved into the countryside, and the traffic generated by long-distance trade will have disappeared with the change to local self-reliance.  The need for energy conservation will preclude the ubiquitous use of the private car. 

Air quality

     This will require modifications of practices and procedures for individuals, businesses and public entities that will have a positive impact on air quality.  Notably road-going vehicles using petrol or diesel engines will have to meet yet more stringent emission standards, forcing the need for alternative clean fuels or emission-reducing technology.  Industries will have yet more stringent air pollution standards imposed.  Smoking and offensive odours in public places will be banned.

Economics:  Economic management

     This requires the comprehensive interaction of production, services, resources and energy use through the complete recycling of by-products, elimination of waste and toxins or products harmful to local ecosystems and communities.

     At present, in the U.K.'s money-based economy, economic activity is primarily directed towards earning money.  In the absence of a money-based economy, economic activity will be directed primarily towards sustaining the community.  So whereas at present most people are engaged in relatively unnecessary manufacturing and service industries, in Mercia people will be engaged in repairing and replacing the housing stock, producing food, clothing and other basic essentials, and caring for those unable to help themselves such as the elderly and the infirm.  Ours will be an economy operated as much from the heart as from the head, facilitated by a community spirit in which everyone helps and cares about each other so that no-one's well-being is neglected and everyone is able to support mutually. 

Justice and social responsibility

     True sustainability must include a process of collective decision-making and address issues of social inequality as well as ecological degradation.  This will require education at all levels, and this will be provided by every community.  As one of the three cornerstones of future life in Mercia, ecological sustainability will be accorded a high priority in community affairs, with resources being made available to support all endeavours towards sustainability.

Industry and commerce

     The economy of Mercia will become essentially subsistent and self-sufficient as soon as possible.  Therefore, Mercia will become and remain a fundamentally sustainable bioregion with a steady-state economy, in which production and consumption will be based on ecological and human needs.  The elimination of the capitalist monetary system will engender a different set of priorities in all businesses, including the minimisation of unnecessary production and the conservation of resources.   Technology will at last be the servant of people, facilitating greater leisure time.  Even so, the existence of technology will not justify an increase in productive capacity.             

Community: services and expenditure

     Policymakers must be committed to including long-term sustainability issues in their decision-making processes.  Continuing effort and awareness will be required to reduce the infrastructure of an over-consumptive economy such as trunk roads and motorways.  Canals, trains and trams will accommodate the primary transport needs.

Amenities: Public and Private

     Citizens' commitment to parks and open spaces, recreation and street-tree programmes becomes stronger with increased involvement in hands-on activities to design, create, and maintain these amenities, with due consideration being given to the needs of indigenous animals, birds, insects and other wildlife with which we share the cities.      

Defence

     As an essentially self-sufficient and peaceful region, Mercia will be non-threatening to other regions and states and thus will not invite pre-emptive attack.  Also, the decentralisation of society will make the region extremely difficult to conquer and control.

     Mercia will rely heavily on its co-operative foreign policy as the first line of defence and the Witan will be required to work actively for the creation of a new-style United Nations of harmonious regions with the power to take action against aggressive and irresponsible states.

     Upon the peaceful transfer of power from the U.K. authorities to Mercia, all professional standing military forces located within Mercia and loyal to the British crown will be disbanded immediately.

     All nuclear, chemical and biological weapons on Mercian soil will be dismantled immediately and rendered harmless as soon as possible.  Their existence in Mercia will be illegal under our Constitution and the Witan will be required to campaign vigorously for their eradication from the globe.

Transitionary Period

     Global warming may be a natural, unstoppable phenomenon (though mankind is surely contributing to it).  Its effects may soon destroy our veneer-thin, technological civilisation which most likely would default back to something very similar to the less technological type of civilisation we have outlined above.  In addition to that, notwithstanding global warming nor other major earth changes, we fully expect the U.K. government will collaborate with other governments and the plutocrats regardless of the consequences to lead us all into a global disaster of some sort within the next few years.  Therefore we consider our initiative to create a 21st century Mercian society is timely, necessary and to be welcomed and embraced before the present-day society breaks down into disorder.

      The most optimistic predictions one might reasonably make about the future in the U.K., and which add to the many reasons to detach ourselves from the U.K., include the following:

1.  The U.K. economy will continue to grow.  However, at the time of writing (August 2004), the one trillion pounds threshold of personal debt has just been breached, bank interest rates are continuing to climb, albeit slowly, and the price of houses is beginning to fall on account of first-time buyers finding it impossible to make the first rung on the housing ladder.  This suggests that the limit of the debt-based economy has been reached and many people are facing grave financial hardship.

     This is not unprecedented, and it might be described as a correction, a balancing of the system.  Only those people who have overstretched themselves will be much affected.  However this will be a lot of people, and there will be more of a public backlash than hitherto because people are more communicative and the media more reactive.  Although potentially resilient, the economic system is not entirely proof against continuing crashes, a weakness which considering the level of increasing instability across the world constitutes an ever-present potential threat.

     The U.K.'s economic and political system is controlled overwhelmingly by the banking fraternity, as it has been for hundreds of years.  The imbalanced, predominantly left-brained thinking of the bankers is primarily responsible for the numerous life-threatening issues which face the U.K. population, including international terrorism, our contribution to global warming, and exotic new viruses such as Mad Cow Disease, Chicken Flu and SARS which have arisen from extreme intensive farming.  The system is resilient, however, and may yet lead to a catastrophe resulting from one or more of the above, for which alternative outcomes, such as we are proposing, need to be in place.

     Not only individuals but banks, finance companies and the wider field of business, industry and commerce will be affected by such catastrophe.  On the whole, it will be individuals who suffer most.  The question is, how will individuals respond?  It is possible that their discontent, mainly with politicians, may be mobilised by, for example, a refusal to accept loss, on the basis that they are victims of a system which has encouraged them to take debt.  In fact, the system has forced people to take debt in order to generate the money supply, which comes into existence only as people take on debt in the form of credit card debts, bank loans and overdrafts, mortgages and personal loans of one sort and another.  The bankers and their cohorts have much to answer for.

     There is some resistance to capitalism, globalisation and the global monetary elite (Global Monetocracy), though at present not enough political activism to cause things to change.   The suffering of the masses would be an ideal vehicle for far-right politicians and that could be disruptive to the point of collapsing public confidence in the system.  It could be fatal for the system as confidence is its foundation.  In such circumstances, the economic system would probably default back to a much less sophisticated system involving self-reliance, mostly with considerable hardship.  To avoid a scenario in which the most ruthless take the spoils it would be far preferable to have our alternative system already in place for when that happens.

2.  Terrorism

     Unless a way is found to undermine the terrorists from both west and east, who appear to be motivated primarily by economic considerations, it is probable that terrorism will affect the world to a catastrophic degree.  This is the terrorists' aim, and there are many vulnerable targets, especially our wholly unjustified confidence that the lifestyle we have entertained in the U.K. will endure.  The U.K. economy is based on abstractions such as a currency which is primarily merely figures in computers and depends on our collective agreement that it really is 'money'.  Our loss of confidence alone could potentially be enough to destroy the U.K. economy.

    Since it is unlikely that any mainstream, present or future U.K. political party, all of which complacently and complicitously operate within the framework of the western banking system, will seek to change the way our economy operates sufficiently to remove the origin of terrorism, we can expect serious disruption from terrorism in the near future.

     One thing is sure, as long as violence from any source continues to beget violence from another, the cycle will remain locked in an expanding vicious circle.  For so long as the manufacturing of weapons continues and global disarmament is delayed, terrorism of all kinds increasingly will remain the order of the day.  Even if one has yet no direct experience of its consequences, it is not difficult to agree that it is a nihilistic evil of the utmost stupidity.

     It is crucial that we reach an accurate definition of terrorist and identify all those to whom the definition applies.  For example, nation-state terrorists such as America, Britain, Israel et al are as evil as the increasing number of self-help suicide bombers whom they are provoking.  That as a reaction to the attacks on America in 2001, America and Britain have colluded in an illegal invasion albeit of another rogue state not a member of their nuclear club, beggars belief.  It is the mentality of the adolescent thug who having had one of his dangerous toys destroyed, resorts to trying to destroy other people.   Then again, there's the oil in Iraq........

Conclusion

     In light of our prognosis for the short-term future under a U.K. government, and the intractability of the U.K.'s top-down hierarchical political, economic and social systems, it is as well that so much thought and preparation has been given over many years to a smooth transition to a Mercian, co-operative community-based, ecologically-sustainable, organic democracy.

     The increasing registration of people who wish to become Mercian citizens will be critical in helping to achieve peaceful transfer of power from the U.K. authorities to the new Mercia.  We therefore urge you to register as a citizen without delay.

     Our vision set out here provides a glimpse into a way of life that will be at once remote but also familiar;  remote in the sense that the lifestyle we have enjoyed, and might want to continue enjoying, under successive U.K. governments has been relatively stable and secure, although we now discover that we have unknowingly and involuntarily (having been duped by our leaders and their plutocratic masters) been on the winning side and those on the losing side - the rest of humanity and the planet herself - are desperate and justifiably up in arms;  and familiar in that we envision a life more in harmony with the natural world and more considerate and loving towards all other people and our Mother Earth.  It is not too late to remove the wealth-and-power-hungry bankers, corporatists and politicians.  We too have power, an effortless power centred in our hearts, a power with which those others are scarcely acquainted.  We need to be of one spirit in Mercia and with all on the planet and to love the earth, our mother.  Let us now make a start, with you, today.    

     Please now register as a citizen, and contact us for any reason.

 

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