Riding-Out the Storm in the Ecovillage

Ecology as the global networking and outreach identity for the Intentional Community Movement

A. Allen Butcher • The School of Intentioneering • Dry Gulch Ecovillage • Denver, Colorado

Intentioneers.net • 4thWorld@consultant.com • June, 2021 • 2nd Edition • 18,665 words

Parts of this paper were first published in the author’s The Intentioneers’ Bible,

and portions will appear in a future book by the author.

Introduction

Intentional community is a counterculture, organizing ideal societies separate from and in reaction to perceived inadequacies of the dominant culture. There are, however, exceptions to this rule, as the kibbutz movement played several important roles in the establishment of the State of Israel. Then, too, the cohousing and ecovillage movements both work to integrate themselves into the dominant culture, similar to how worker and consumer cooperatives are generally accepted by the establishment. Yet it can be said, without reservation, that intentional communities develop and model methods for responding to the challenges and opportunities of changing times. Frank Manuel recognized this in his 1965 edited collection of essays, Utopias and Utopian Thought, in saying, “… the utopia may well be a sensitive indicator of where the sharpest anguish of an age lies.” (Manuel, p. 70)

Contents

Introduction                .           .           .           .           .           .            .           .            1

Intentioneering Ecological Lifestyles             .           .           .            .           .             3

Ecological Spirituality and Biosphere Consciousness           .            .           .             7

Bioregionalism           .           .           .           .           .           .            .           .             8

Fourth World              .           .           .           .           .           .            .           .          10

Community Land Trust          .           .           .           .           .            .           .           14

Cohousing                   .           .           .           .           .           .            .           .         17

Gaia Trust                   .           .           .           .           .           .            .           .           20

Global Ecovillage Network                .           .           .           .            .           .           24

Ecovillage Education             .           .           .           .           .            .           .           26                   

Utopian Studies                      .           .           .           .           .            .           .          32

First Fellowship of Intentional Communities            .           .            .           .           34

Second Fellowship for Intentional Community         .           .            .           .          36

The Foundation for Intentional Community              .           .            .           .          37

Sustainability Statistics          .           .           .           .           .            .           .           41

Ecovillages in the FIC Communities Directories                   .            .           .           46

Partnership Spirituality           .           .           .           .           .            .           .          48

References                  .           .           .           .           .           .            .           .          50

Intentioneering Ecological Lifestyles

While escapism is one of many attractions of intentional community, one may think instead of living in an ecovillage as a pro-active response to the existential threats of climate change, resource-extraction overreach, cultural homogenization, contagion, extinction, injustice, violence, and other problems of the “outside world.” Collectivization is a natural response to threat, and it is developing in many ways among the various forms of intentional community.

People seek in community the strength, security, and meaningful engagement in the company of like-minded friends, afforded in collective methods of survival through uncertainty. Such communities attract to them hopeful, innovative ideas, and the people who come up with them, often refining those ideas then diffusing them as social or technological innovations throughout the dominant culture. Ecovillages and other intentional communities are both influenced by the dominant culture, and in turn actively influence that larger, outside-world culture. Each individual in community, socializing, raising children, working for the good of the community, or working for oneself first to then be able to contribute to the community, is part of the dynamic of building and maintaining not just one’s home community, yet by extension also both the ecovillage network and the larger Intentional Community Movement.

There needs to be a societal pressure-release, a place for people who cannot acculturate to, or who refuse to assimilate within the dominant culture. Intentional community provides that. While many people want to live and work within a cultural system that is structured enough that they do not need to think about how the system is organized or how to change it for the better, others are simply unable to work or live within that system and need to be able to create or find a social system more suited to their temperament. Such freedom is typically found in land trust communities, which for the most part only stipulate how the land is to be used.

While for some people the need is to be their own boss and not have to answer to anyone else, which is the sort of environment found in less-structured intentional communities, others want to engage with many like-minded people using more structure to create a shared culture of community. As taught in the School of Intentioneering, the issue of sharing versus privacy is answered differently in different types of intentional community. In communities like cohousing which share privately-owned property one begins with the assumption of privacy and asks, “How much am I willing to share?” In contrast, in communities which share commonly-owned property, like communal societies, one begins with the assumption of sharing and asks, “How much privacy do I need?” The difference is in the often-expressed conflict between individuality and collectivity, and each community design finds an appropriate balance between these levels of consciousness, such that ideally neither the individual nor the group is submerged by the other.

I once conducted an email survey of former members of the communal society called East Wind Community (EWC) asking exEWers (i.e., former or ex-members of East Wind) why they joined EWC and why they left. Nearly all the responders said essentially that they joined for idealistic reasons, like to live more ecologically in the country, or in a feminist, egalitarian society, or in a non-capitalist, non-authoritarian culture, and left for personal reasons, like to return to college, or to do kinds of work and develop careers not available in community, or to have and raise their children close to their supportive grandparents.

Other reasons for leaving at least communal society are to either find a partner with whom to have the kind of intimate relationship which one cannot find in the communal group, or once they have found such a partner in community, to leave and enjoy an exclusive nuclear-family relationship outside of community. The relationship issue, like the work-options issue, is partly a function of the size of the intentional community. In some ways, small communities or “cofamilies” of 3-to-9 mostly unrelated adults and children provide closer, more intimate lifestyles, while larger more impersonal communities may provide more opportunities for finding a partner. This partner-search is one of the primary reasons why people move from one communal group to another, then another, and another; community-hopping around the country or around the world.

Some people spend their entire adult lives searching for or working to create the fabled “beloved community.” For some, community is the last resort, or their last great hope for a sense of belonging. Others do find something like utopia, or the best approximation of utopia they can help create, and live happily-ever-after in community. Yet some find that the trade-offs they have to make to live in community versus living in the outside world add up to simply too great a cost.

A very common dynamic found in communitarianism is that people join when they have reached their rope’s end in the dominant culture, and have become thoroughly disgusted with the status quo of “the establishment.” Upon joining intentional community, they internalize communitarian values, and become heartened by experiencing that we humans really can live in harmony, cooperation, and mutual aid, sharing personal responsibility for self, society, and nature. This is such a positive revelation for many people that they then return to the outside world to apply what they have learned from their community experience, and subsequently make a positive impact upon that larger society, or at least become accepting enough of it to survive more-or-less happily within it, where-as previously they regarded that culture in the most negative way. Call this the “Pythagoras-Plato Effect,” named after two ancient Greek philosophers.

The Greek philosopher Plato (427 to 347 B.C.E.) was living in Athens, Greece and becoming ever more disgusted with Athenian politics. He wanted out of the drama and so traveled to Italy to learn from the philosopher Pythagoras, the 6th century B.C.E. mathematician who discovered a geometric theorem named after him, and the mathematical ratios of musical intervals, and who first coined the term “philosopher” to mean “lover of wisdom.” Pythagoras had died about a century earlier, yet the work he had done and the cultures he had influenced were continuing his ideas about society and governance, which can be summarized as “philosopher kings,” which Plato later carried on. Pythagoras disliked popular sovereignty and democracy, yet he had learned other feminist values and ethics from a priestess at the Oracle of Delphi named Themistoclea. Pythagoras taught women as well as men in his school-community called “Homakoeion,” founded at Crotone in south Italy about 530 B.C.E., which is considered to be the first known intentional community in Western Civilization. (Eisler, p. 112; Harrison, p. 646; Metcalf & Christian, p. 671)

In her book on Ancient Greek religion Jane Harrison reports that the cynic philosopher Diogenes, a contemporary of Plato, credits Pythagoras with passing down to us “primitive theology,” or as Riane Eisler calls it the “ancient mysticism” of Neolithic societies, probably including the Goddess Trinity of Maid, Mother, Elder. (Eisler, pp. 25, 112; Harrison, p. 262)

Pythagoras was a superstar in his era, when wisdom and teaching was honored about as much as was strength in the warrior culture. Plato’s experience in Pythagorean community was so inspirational to him that he returned to Athens in 387 B.C.E. and started a philosophical school called “The Academy,” admitting, as did Pythagoras, female students. Plato wrote his political utopia The Republic in 375 B.C.E., still taught today in philosophy and political science classes.

The present author had an experience of the Pythagoras-Plato Effect after growing up in the dominant culture during the end of the Vietnam War and the Watergate Era. Having become disheartened by establishmentarianism, a word to which we were introduced by our 6th grade teacher, I blamed “The System” for all the travails of the time. When in college the first time I had no interest in studying business or governance, thinking that those were the problem. I was studying philosophy yet could see no future in it, so I dropped out and joined rural communal societies: first East Wind Community (E.W.), then Twin Oaks Community (T.O.).

After twelve years in communal society I returned to college, and earned degrees in business and political science, the very subjects I had earlier spurned. What changed in my thinking? I had learned in community that politics and economics, much like religion, are not the problem, they are tools used to shape society and culture, and so like anything else they can be used for good or for evil. In egalitarian community we designed participatory forms of governance and time-based economic systems to support our highest values and ethical ideals in communal cultures that continue to thrive today, more than half-a-century after their founding.

I am aware of former members of East Wind and Twin Oaks who left community to become computer programmers, construction contractors, fire-fighters, emergency medical technicians, nurses, doctors, business consultants, and even investment bankers. In the 20th century members of Israeli kibbutzim became military generals and at least one prime minister. During the European Middle Ages there was essentially a revolving door for people between life as titled royalty and as leaders of Catholic monastic orders. The experience of self-organization in intentional community has helped many people to live in the outside, dominant culture, often applying communitarian values in their beliefs, professions, passions, and lifestyles.

Reversing ecological degradation and establishing harmony between humans and the world we inhabit is a recent countercultural motive for intentional-community organizing. In prior ages, other cultural stresses provided the inspiration for the social innovations which subsequently arose within intentional communities. Responding to concerns about the dominant society through building intentional community, whether the issue involves religion or spirituality, politics, economics, technology, sociology, psychology, or philosophy, is called by the present author, “intentioneering.” Many different types of intentional community result from the different designs for community developed for responding to various concerns.

While in earlier times the generic term for people living in intentional community was “communitarian,” there is now available for use the shorter term “intentioneer,” which emphasizes the individual’s commitment to designing and building intentional community.

Regardless of the focus of the particular community, the increasing adoption of the term “ecovillage” within the larger Intentional Communities Movement, by many different types of communities, is now making the terms “intentional community” and “ecovillage” synonymous. A similar dynamic has evolved with the term “kibbutz,” as originally it meant specifically communal society. In recent decades, due to the privatization of three-quarters of the nearly 280 rural kibbutzim, resulting in their transformation into cohousing-like communities on government land trusts, and due to younger generations of kibbutznics forming different kinds of urban intentional communities, the term “kibbutz” is now also synonymous with the term “intentional community.” Similar usage of the terms “cohousing,” “coliving,” and others add to the confusion. Although these terms may have once had clear definitions, people tend to use the terms indiscriminately to mean whatever kind of community is at hand. The result of people using communitarian terminology to mean different things in different contexts is that it can be very confusing and difficult to understand exactly what kind of intentional community people are talking about. Although such obfuscation, or mash-up of terms, is not helpful for explaining the design of individual communities, at least the term “ecovillage” serves to add an emphasis absent from the terms “cohousing” and “coliving.” (“Cohousing,” 2020; Marks, p. 62)

Ecology grew to become the global networking focus for the intentional communities movement during the last part of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, since any community wanting to use the concept for describing itself can call itself an “ecovillage,” regardless of the community’s prior economic, governance, social, philosophical, or other identity. There is no minimum requirement for adopting the ecovillage name or identity, only an intention to live lightly on the land, in right-relationship with all living beings sharing it, and there is no single right way of doing that. Terms like “sustainable” and “regeneration” are often used to describe aspects of at least the physical processes and energy systems, and sometimes the social systems, developed or adopted by ecovillages.

The wide and growing acceptance of the term “ecovillage” suggests that climate change, species extinction, and other aspects of global warming are becoming greater concerns for ever more people, as we look for ways to survive or “ride-out” the storms and other dangers of the present and coming tribulations.

Ecological Spirituality and Biosphere Consciousness

Ecological consciousness becomes a spirituality as people revere as sacred the components and dynamics of environmental systems, and recognize in them a life-energy they choose to consider to be divine. Such a view of divinity can be overlaid upon any living organism, ecosystem, bioregion, or planetary ecosphere, with the latter represented by the name Gaia, an ancient Greek earth goddess, the mother of time and of creation, imparting wisdom to commoners and kings through the Oracle at Delphi. In a similar way, the Gaia Hypothesis, as developed by James Lovelock in his 1979 book Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, imparts an understanding of how life is sustained on the planet, which is as Jeremy Rifkin wrote in The Empathic Civilization, a “self-regulating entity that maintains itself in a steady state conducive to the continuance of life.” In both The Empathic Civilization and in The Green New Deal Rifkin presents this awareness as a “biosphere consciousness.” (Rifkin, 2009, pp. 26, 593, 598; Rifkin, 2019, pp. 212, 244)

The awakening to a biosphere consciousness in America can be said to have begun around the first Earth Day in 1970. Through the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s various appropriate-technology focused communities or alternative-technology centers—these terms were used as keywords in the descriptions of some of the communities included in directories printed by the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC)—developed more-or-less independently the concepts of renewable resources and sustainable technologies. These research and development communities were called “planetary villages” by Corinne McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson in their 1985 book, Builders of the Dawn. (McLaughlin & Davidson, pp. 335-8)

Among the early alternative or appropriate technology centers in the United States were:

●  Arcosanti near Cordes Junction Arizona, begun in 1970;

●  Cerro Gordo near Cottage Grove, Oregon in 1973;

●  Farallones Institute founded in 1969, with its Integral Urban House started in 1974 in Berkeley, California;

●  High Wind near Plymouth, Wisconsin in 1981;

●  Meadowcreek Project near Fox, Arkansas in 1979;

●  New Alchemy Institute founded in 1969 near East Falmouth, Massachusetts, becoming the Alchemy Farm Cohousing community in the 1990s; and

●  New Life Farm near Drury (later near Brixey), Missouri, founded 1978.

In the 1970s the first “ecovillages” were developed in the U.S. and Europe, called ökodorf in Germany, sometimes as long-term protest encampments, such as at the anti-nuclear-energy-waste site at Gorleben, Germany in the late 1970s, and at the anti-nuclear weapons action at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in Berkshire, England between 1981 and 2000. (Bates, p. 423; Christian, 2009, p. 1)

In 1975 the back-to-the-land magazine Mother Earth News began building an educational center with passive-solar buildings and organic gardens near its offices in Hendersonville, North Carolina, calling it an “ecovillage” by 1979. (Bates, p. 424; Christian, 2009, p. 1)

In the mid-1970s Bill Mollison, ecology instructor at the University of Tasmania and a student David Holmgren, together developed the idea of “permaculture,” drawing from the earlier works of: Eugene Odum of the University of Georgia, publishing Ecology in 1963 and later Fundamentals of Ecology; Wes Jackson teaching at the California State University in Sacramento, later of the Land Institute in Kansas publishing New Roots for Agriculture in 1980; and Masanobu Fukuoka in Japan, publishing The One Straw Revolution in 1975. The book Permaculture One was published in 1978, and Permaculture Two in ’79. The first permaculture design course (PDC) was taught in 1981. Many of those involved in the founding of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) had been trained in or were themselves permaculture designers. (Bang, pp. 44, 49-50, 261)

The magazine Ökodorf Informationen (Ecovillage Information) began publishing in 1985, later becoming the German magazine Eurotopia, with a series of European community directories by the same name published at Sieben Linden Ecovillage beginning in 2000 (English versions in 2001 and 2014).

Bioregionalism

The growing ecological awareness was fashioned into a movement called “bioregionalism,” beginning in 1975 with the coining of the term by Allen Van Newkirk (Canadian), and the advocacy for bioregional mapping by Peter Berg of Planet Drum in San Francisco. Others included: Kirkpatrick Sale author of Human Scale (1980), Dwellers in the Land, (1985), and The Green Revolution (1993); and David Haenke of New Life Farm in Missouri, organizing the first Ozark Bioregional Congress in 1980. As of 2020, the Ozark Area Community Congress (OACC) has held forty-one annual autumn Congresses, and continues to be an important countercultural networking organization for the Ozarks. (Bioregionalism, 2021; Sale, 2021)

The 1983-84 annual report of New Life Farm by Vinnie Wittenberg explains the bioregional mission.

“The Bioregional Project of New Life Farm, Inc. was created in July, 1982 to aid in the development and coordination of the Bioregional movement in North America. In the long term we work towards the establishment of sustainable human societies designed according to ecological laws and principles, and functioning in mutually beneficial cooperation with the larger “Earth community.” The Earth community is made up of all the living and non–living parts of the ecosystems in which we live. …

“The Ozark Area Community Congress (OACC), with support and coordination provided by New Life Farm, has had four yearly convenings, with … average attendance of 200, with about 100 organizations represented … The OACC resolutions of 1980 constitute the first comprehensive bioregional/green platform written. (New Life Farm, p. 4-5)

“Organizing the first North American Bioregional Congress (NABC I) was our largest project so far. NABC I convened from May 21-25, 1984 northeast of Kansas City. It brought together 217 participants from 130 organizations, and from 32 U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, as well as England, Australia, West Germany, South Africa, and four native North American tribes.

“The major purposes of NABC I were to bring continental bioregionalists together along with those also working in political ecology, sustainability, and the broad scale green movement; help unify the bioregional movement; seed new bioregional congresses and organizations; help focus green movement energies towards new coalitions and impact on existing political/electoral systems; explore the great common ground between bioregionalists and native/indigenous peoples; constitute NABC as an ongoing event and continuing organization; and celebrate North America.” (New Life Farm, p. 4-5)

Among other bioregional organizations and events is the 1991 conference of the Sisters of Saint Frances’ Farm in Oldenburg, Indiana, hosting the Ohio River Watershed Bioregion Congress and Festival. This event is one indication that both Catholics and Protestants had begun to see the need to steward God’s creation, as opposed to the Old Testament (Genesis 1: 26-8) view that God encourages humanity to take “dominion” over all of the earth, as a result typically despoiling it rather than respecting that humanity is part of a web-of-life.

The North American Bioregional Congresses took place every two years from 1984 to 1996, beginning in northwest Missouri in 1984, then: Michigan (Great Lakes ’86); British Columbia, Canada (Cascadia ’88); Maine (Gulf of Maine ’09); Texas (Edwards Plateau ’92); Kentucky (Ohio River Valley ’94); and Mexico (Cuahunahuac ’96). After that the NABC events happened less frequently. The Kansas Area Watershed (KAW Council) hosted NABC IIIV (Prairie 2002), and Katuah Council hosted NABC IX in 2005 at Earthaven Ecovillage in North Carolina. This list is from a website created in 2010, so whether more NABCs have occurred since then is unknown to the present author. (Bioregional Congress, 2010)

Fourth World

In economics, the First World is the dominant culture of market-based economies. The Second World is state-planned economies, of which few remain, while the Third World is comprised of developing countries becoming either First or Second World. The Fourth World is comprised of societies that are happy with their local economies and are not trying to become part of the First or Second Worlds. While traditional, tribal cultures are considered to be part of the Fourth World, many Fourth World cultures are comprised of people who were born into the First World, who then decide to leave it, or at least to create alternative cultures, to become Fourth World. This includes all intentional communities, bioregional congresses, transition towns, and various regional associations such as: the Zapatista region of southern Mexico; the Emilio-Romagna region of Italy; the Basque and Catalonia regions of Spain; the collectives of the San Francisco Bay Area of California; and the Kurdish region of northeast Syria.

The Institute for Social Ecology (ISE) in Vermont champions regional democratic-decentralist associations like those listed above, often using the term “democratic confederalism” to describe them. While these are not primarily, and may not even be explicitly organized from an ecological imperative, ecological awareness is typically as much a focus for these regional associations as it is for many ecovillages. ISE uses the French political definition of the term “commune” to mean local or regional self-organized political organization. This was begun by Murray Bookchin, presumably to emphasize the Paris Commune of 1871 as a model of popular sovereignty, during which the city was briefly free of control by the French state and church, only lasting however, ten weeks and ending in disaster. In contrast, the English economic definition of “commune” refers to communal intentional communities, the best example of which for secular communities in the U.S.A. is Twin Oaks Community. Using the 501(d) IRS status, T.O. does have a “statement of religious belief.” One of the co-founders of Twin Oaks, Kathleen Kinkade, invented in 1967 a non-exchange, time-based economy of sharing called by the present author the “vacation-credit, labor-sharing system,” now in use over fifty years, with different versions adopted by other communal groups. (Bookchin, pp. 98-100)

Kathleen Kinkade’s income-sharing, labor-credit economy represents perhaps the best example of the second stage of Marxist communist theory, following the first stage of class-conflict. Marx and Engels could only define the nature of that second stage of communist theory by calling it the “administration of things” in Engels’ 1880 pamphlet, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, and by using Morelly’s 18th century maxim, “from each according to ability; to each according to need” in Marx’s 1875 letter, Critique of the Gotha Program. Avoiding the violence of Marxist class-war, Kinkade’s labor-credit system, which values all labor equally that benefits the community, represents a collective update of the individualist Morelly’s Maxim to Allen’s Axiom of, “from all according to intent; to all according to fairness.” Egalitarian communalism skips class-conflict to go straight into the fabled “worker’s paradise.” (Tucker, pp. 531, 689)

As a movement the Fourth World includes, as written in the announcement for the First Assembly of the Fourth World in 1981, “the whole spectrum of the alternative movement … for a human scale and a non-centralized, multi-cellular, power-dispersed world order.”  The

Fourth World Assemblies enjoyed a substantial amount of trans-national development through the decade of the 1980s. Then after ten Assemblies of the Fourth World the network went dormant in the 1990s. (Fourth World, 1981)

The Fourth World Movement was begun in England in 1966 by John Papworth, who founded in that year Resurgence: Journal of the Fourth World, which later merged with The Ecologist. Papworth founded in 1980 the Fourth World Review: For Small Nations, Small Communities & The Human Spirit, and began working with Nicholas Albery on organizing annual Fourth World conferences. In the announcement for the First Assembly Albery explained that the Fourth World, “has been variously defined to embrace small nations, groups working for their autonomy and independence at all levels from the neighborhood to the nation, minority groups, whether ethnic, linguistic, cultural or religious, and those groups in the fields of peace action, ecology, economics, energy resources, women’s liberation and the whole spectrum of the alternative movement, who are struggling against the giantism of the institutions of today’s mass societies and for a human scale and a non-centralized, multi-cellular, power-dispersed world order.” (Nicholas Albery, quoted in Fourth World, 1981, emphasis in the original)

The First Assembly of the Fourth World took place at the City University in London, England in 1981. Over 400 people attended presenting over 200 papers in 22 different discussion forums addressing human-scale, decentralist, confederal alternatives to the dominant culture. In 1984 Nicholas Albery and Mark Kinzley published a book titled, How to Save the World: A

Fourth World Guide to the Politics of Scale, which included Albery’s definition of the Fourth

World presented above. (Fourth World, 1981)

Since the last of the Fourth World Assemblies in the 1990s at least two new forms of the Fourth World have arisen within the First World. These are Transition Towns, and the municipal organizing of the Democracy Collaborative, which has been connecting with Native American tribes.

The global Transition Initiatives movement began in a course taught by the permaculture designer Rob Hopkins in Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland in 2004. Two students, Louise Rooney and Catherine Dunne coined the term “transition town,” and in 2006 Hopkins founded the first transition town project in Totnes, Devon, England. (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transition_town)

The Transition Town website presents a list of seven aspects of Transition groups (paraphrased):

•  Good group process;

•  Present a vision of the desired future;

•  Connect with those of similar interest beyond your natural allies;

•  Collaborate with like-minded organizations;

•  Find and develop programs that are doable and inspirational;

•  Connect with the Transition Network, and be creative in outreach to the larger culture;

•  Evaluate the results of your actions, and celebrate successes!

(See: http://www.transitionnetwork.org to download the “Essential Guide to Doing Transition” or go to: https://transitionnetwork.org/resources-essential-guide-transition/

Rather than being a form of intentional community, Transition Towns are a way of organizing within the circumstantial community of people who happen to live in proximity by chance, not by intention. One of the projects sometimes developed is the mapping of local recourses for self-reliance, such as sustainable or regenerative projects in health, education, energy, food and other economic sectors. Transition Initiatives emphasize: social justice, the circular economy, and distributed governance. The idea of “distributed governance” is similar to what is called “democratic-decentralism” in the School of Intentioneering, and to what is called “democratic confederalism” or perhaps “confederal municipalism” in the Institute for Social Ecology.

In Cleveland, Ohio there is a project called “The Evergreen Cooperative Initiative” inspired by the Spanish Mondragon cooperatives. The Evergreen co-ops were begun by the Democracy Collaborative, comprised of the Cleveland Foundation, the Ohio Employee Ownership Center, the City of Cleveland, and the city’s major hospitals and universities. Evergreen is considered to be “a new model of large-scale worker-owned and community-benefiting businesses.” Part of “The Cleveland Model” involves collaboration with public and non-profit organizations, such as city agencies, universities, and hospitals, to replace the non-local corporations which have been providing services to these “anchor institutions” with local worker-owned cooperatives providing the same services. The model is to redirect the cash flow going to out-of-state corporations to instead support locally responsible businesses and jobs. The Evergreen cooperatives receive exclusive contracts for food production in urban greenhouses, laundry services, solar energy systems, and energy conservation retrofits, which they then use for securing funding for the growth and development of the co-ops. (See: http://www.community-wealth.org/cleveland)

The Democracy Collaborative has developed an ongoing initiative for identifying a preferred economy called “The Next System Project,” involving conferences, essay contests, publications, and much more toward an equitable, nurturing, and sustainable culture. (See: http://www.thenextsystem.org)

At least one Native American tribe has recognized the similarities between the values inherent in worker-owned businesses and their own cultural traditions and are building them on their reservations. In an article on the community-wealth.org website dated July 7, 2014 Sarah McKinley and Marjorie Kelly reported that the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Lakota tribe of the Great Sioux Nation, one of the poorest communities in the country, is the

site of a federally funded “Regenerative Community” being built by the Thunder Valley Development Corporation, praised by President Obama in a public speech for its planned energy self-reliance and social enterprises intended to support the Native residents. (McKinley & Kelly, 2014)

Elsewhere on the Pine Ridge Reservation the Native American Natural Foods company is a Native-owned buffalo meat and apple, cranberry, and other fruit snacks company which received help from the Democracy Collaborative for converting their business to an employee-owned company (found on the web at: http://www.tankabar.com). In their article titled, Indian Country the Site of New Developments in Community Wealth Building, McKinley and Kelly explain that these are two of five Native American projects supported by The Democracy Collaborative and the Northwest Area Foundation through their “Learning/Action Lab for Community Wealth Building.” (McKinley & Kelly, 2014)

The Learning/Action Lab arranged visits of members of the Pine Ridge Reservation and other tribes to existing social enterprises such as urban farming projects, an employee-owned cleaning company in the Bay Area, an employee-owned solar energy company in Denver, a Native-owned grocery in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and the Evergreen Co-operatives in Cleveland, Ohio, the network of three employee-owned cooperatives which The Democracy Collaborative also helped to create. As practiced in these initiatives “wealth building” involves the development of local assets for the creation of enterprises that anchor jobs in the community. (McKinley & Kelly, 2014)

The Democracy Collaborative has come to a heightened awareness of the profound intersection between Indian values and the principles and vision of the community wealth building approach. As one [Native American] participant put it, “What we perceive as a paradigm of building a new economy is really about returning to what our ancestors knew.” (McKinley & Kelly, 2014)

As some Native Americans see cooperative organization as a return to ancestral knowledge and practices, one wonders what they may think of the non-monetary, non-exchange, time-based, labor-sharing communal economy.

Community Land Trust

The Old Testament Jewish view of land is markedly different from the later Roman law of “dominium,” in part because the Jewish concept arose prior to the invention of the more sophisticated forms of money and markets of the Roman Empire. Prior to the development of Roman property law, which remains the basis of land tenure in Western Civilization today, the ownership and control of land was dependent upon either one’s ability to defend one’s private holdings (whether peasant or king), or in the case of the Jewish nation, upon one’s adherence to the pronouncements of religious authorities.

In her 2008 book, The Earth Belongs to Everyone, Alanna Hartzok explains that in “Talmudic rabbinical discussions” the Jewish rabbis decided among themselves how to apportion the conquered land of Canaan among the various Hebrew tribes. Recipients of fertile land received less land than the recipients of poor land, and those with land closer to the city paid a tax to the treasury that was then give to those with land far from the city, in recognition of the advantage of location, since transportation of produce to market over long distances was a great expense. “In this, then we see affirmed the doctrine that natural advantages are common property, and may not be diverted to private gain.” (Hartzok, p. 98)

Mildred Loomis (1900-1986) of the School of Living suggests in her 1980 book Alternative Americas that the term “back-to-the-land,” in the sense of people deliberately choosing to live an agrarian as opposed to an urban lifestyle, may have originated in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s publication in 1762 of Émile, a treatise on education in the form of a novel. In Émile, Rousseau affirms that people living in nature learn and experience the ideal of the sinless, un-fallen human lifestyle, as opposed to the sinful aspects of living in the dominant culture. (Loomis, 1980, p. 57)

Ralph Borsodi (1886-1977) had written This Ugly Civilization (1928) and Flight From the City (1933), and was invited by the Council of Social Service Agencies in Dayton, Ohio to consult in the planning of a President Roosevelt-inspired New Deal community project. The Council was attempting to relieve unemployment in the city and in 1932 had developed a series of “Cooperative Production Units,” devoting urban buildings to food, clothing, and other production cooperatives, bartering their production among the units for either raw materials or finished goods. About a dozen such units involved 350 to 500 families. The Council wanted to expand into rural production units, hoping that getting people out of the city and onto the land would make it more possible for them to have self-reliant occupations as small farmers and craft workers through the Great Depression. This was the basic idea of many of the New Deal community projects, and with Ralph Borsodi’s help, the Dayton projects became one of the first federal subsistence homestead projects of the Farm Resettlement Agency (FRA), called “Liberty Homesteads” or “Dayton Homesteads.” Fifty homestead colonies were planned for around Dayton, offering leases to families for 3-acre plots, rather than ownership, in order to avoid speculation in the price of land. This anti-inflationary-speculation arrangement was later part of what became called “limited equity,” yet in the 1930s it was unacceptable to the local investors to whom Ralph Borsodi marketed his idea for financing, which was the issuing of “Independence Bonds.” With the failure of local financing, partly due to attacks against the project by local newspapers, the Liberty Homesteads members democratically decided to apply, evidently with Borsodi’s reluctant help, for federal grants. Tim Miller states that this was through the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), while Fogarty states it was the FRA. By 1933 the Council had received $309,000 in federal funds. Then in 1934, Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior, under whom was administered both the FRA and the NIRA, federalized all the homestead projects under the Division of Subsistence Homesteads (DSH). The resulting confusion, delays, increased costs, and decreased local control brought the entire project to a halt, which ended Ralph’s faith in government assistance. (Fogarty, 1980, p. 17; Loomis, 1980, pp. 59, 94; Miller, 1998, pp. 129-31; Questenberry, p. 118)

Significantly, Joseph Knapp arrives at the same conclusion about government assistance in the context of 1930s farm cooperatives that, “cooperative enterprise thrived best from internal strength free from external bureaucratic controls.” (Knapp, p. 144)

By 1936 the last homesteading families left Liberty Homesteads, and among them was Mildred Loomis, later writing in her book Alternative Americas,

“I was part of a cooperative homestead-household. I remember the shock we all felt when Borsodi explained among some new principles community title, rather than individual title, to land.

“Land, like people, should not be subject to buying and selling,” Borsodi said simply. “Land is not a humanly-produced product: land is everyone’s common heritage.” We would-be homesteaders, to put it mildly, were startled. … We had long and vigorous discussions; fear and anger frequently cropped up. Borsodi was sure of his approach. Factions developed, for and against “community lands tenure.” Delays and no action. Some said this time was filled with “bickering”—I called it “mis-communication” and inept group-process, stemming from our woeful mis-education in land-ethics.” (Loomis, 1986, p. 86; emphasis in the original)

The experience of Liberty Homesteads turned Borsodi against any kind of government involvement in decentralized, cooperative projects, causing him to develop a new focus upon educating people for small, local self-reliant communities. “If American people are to develop wisdom about their lives and their problems—what to use government for, where to live, how to be healthy—a new education is needed. Let us build a School of Living for this.” (Ralph Borsodi, 1933, quoted in Loomis, 1986, p. 87)

The School of Living (SoL) was founded in 1934 and continues today as both an educational organization and a regional community land trust (RCLT) in the Mid-Atlantic States, holding land for residential communities in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. As a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) educational organization SoL holds each parcel of land under a separate Title-Holding Corporation 501(c)(2). This legal structure was first advocated by Robert Swann for land trusts.

Robert Swann (1918-2003) served time in prison for his conscientious objection to war, where he subscribed to the correspondence course on decentralism and community-building offered by the School of Living. The texts used were Borsodi’s books and Arthur Morgan’s The Small Community.  This course was created by two former Methodist missionaries to India, Ralph Templin and Paul Keene, who believed that the School of Living was, “the closest thing to Gandhi in America.” (Loomis, 1980, p. 77)

In 1960 Robert and Marjorie Swann created the Committee for Non-Violent Action (CNVA) in Voluntown, Connecticut, on a community land trust called the CNVA Farm. CNVA served the peace movement by supporting protests, boycotts, marches, pickets, and civil disobedience against the military-industrial complex.In the mid-1960s the Swanns were working to rebuild bombed and burned out churches in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement, and realized that part of the helplessness of the black population was due to their landlessness. Working with Slater King, cousin to Martin Luther King, with organizers of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and other civil rights organizations in the South, they created New Communities, Inc. in Tennessee in 1969, a community land trust serving the dispossessed poor. Beginning in 1967 Swann and Borsodi together, with assistance from Loomis and others involved in the International Independence Institute (III), wrote and published in 1972 The Community Land Trust: A Guide to a New Land Tenure in America. Then in 1973 the III was renamed the Institute for Community Economics (ICE), merging the models of the moshav settlements of the Israeli Jewish National Fund, beginning in Palestine in 1890, with the Indian Gramdan movement, and the School of Living land trusts, and thereby beginning the first community land trust organization and network in America. (Loomis, 1980, pp. 61-2, 77, 125-8)

As Dan Questenberry of the Fellowship for Intentionaal Community (FIC) writes, Bob Swann’s contribution to the design of community land trusts (CLTs) is the provision that CLT directors be comprised of activist community organizers along with legal, financial and other technical experts from the larger, surrounding community, not just residents of the CLT. This bylaws provision transforms a private land trust into a community land trust, with the “community” being not just those living on the land. Bob Swann’s design was used in the design of the Community Land Trust of the Southern Berkshires. In his article Tools for Community Control of Development Bob writes that having non-residents on the board is a good way to assure that the residents could never by themselves dissolve the trust and take private possession of the land. Better yet, the regional community land trust (RCLT) model, such as the SoL-RCLT, substitutes people living in multiple, non-contiguous plots of entrusted land for Bob Swann’s idea of non-residents on the board-of-directors. (Questenberry, p. 120; Swann, p. 2)

Cohousing

Denmark is a progressive country originating many cultural innovations, some of which have spread to other countries, particularly the cohousing community design, called in Danish, bofœllesskaber (pronounced: bow-fess-cobb-er) and translated as “living communities.”

Another Danish invention that has inspired community organizations, particularly those forming alternative community schools in various countries including the U.S.A., is the Danish Folk School Movement. In 1806 Reverend Grundtvig published a translation of the poetic Viking sagas, from which he developed for his own teachings an emphasis upon the old Norse tradition of the power of the spirit. In response to the periods of German occupation of Denmark, first under the Prussians beginning in 1864 then the Nazis in the 1930s, the Danes relied upon their traditions, thanks in part to Grundtvig’s work, in creating a Danish cultural renaissance. Many Danish youth left the cities for rural communities to found folk schools for teaching new agricultural techniques, cooperative organization, and Danish poetry and art, much as the young anarchists during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) organized their rural population. (Kinney, pp. 2-3; Morgan, Arthur, p. 138)

The cohousing community design was imported from Denmark to the United States by, “a husband-wife design and consulting team … Charles [Durrett] has a professional architecture degree from California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo [California] and Kathryn [McCamant] holds her degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley.” Katie and Chuck published Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves in 1988.(McCamant and Durrett, p. 203)

While attending Cal Poly, Charles Durrett may have been exposed to the space-use designs of egalitarian communalism, as a now retired professor of architecture at Cal Poly was Henry H. Hammer, a former member of Twin Oaks Community. In a personal conversation with the present author in 1990, Henry stated that a friend of his had earlier introduced him to the Cohousing book, and they determined that he was teaching at Cal Poly the same years that Charles was likely taking classes there. Henry also made informal presentations at Cal Poly about his architectural designs for passive solar heating in communal households at Twin Oaks.

While Henry Hammer taught that particular space-use designs can encourage specific desired behaviors, he was not the first person to recognize this potential for the built environment. Charles Fourier (1772-1837) wrote about this in 1822 via his concept of “passionate attraction” (see: Traite de l’Association Domestique Agricole), which influenced the 19th century Associationist communities in the U.S., including Brook Farm, a center of New England Transcendentalism. A little earlier, in Report to the County of Lanark: A New View of Society printed in 1813, Robert Owen (1771-1858) presented his belief that the primary influences upon the development of a person’s character is one’s physical and social environment, and therefore through deliberate design of the environment positive character traits can be engineered, especially individual happiness. (Garnett, pp. 7, 14; Hayden, pp. 150-1, 154, 218, 353)

Excellent sources of information about space-use design for community is Dolores Hayden’s books, Seven American Utopias: The Architecture of Communitarian Socialism, 1790-1975, and Redesigning the American Dream. A Hayden quote is found at the beginning of chapter 15 in the Cohousing book. (McCamant & Durrett, pp. 195, 206)

Of the various regional cohousing networks in the U.S.A. in the 1990s, the Rocky Mountain Cohousing Association (RMCA) was chosen for expansion into Cohousing-U.S.A. about 1996. The choice of RMCA was partly due to the network having been actively organizing for several years, and partly due to Katie McCamant being from Colorado. Around the time of the transition of RMCA to Cohousing-U.S.A., two former members of Twin Oaks were on the RMCA board-of-directors, Velma Kahn and Allen Butcher, and over the decades former members of Twin Oaks and other groups comprising the Federation of Egalitarian Communities (FEC) joined cohousing communities. Another community network, the Fellowship or FIC, aids the cohousing movement by staffing and stocking a book-sales table at “coho” conferences, and especially by aiding cohousing groups with designing their decision-making and conflict resolution processes, through the FIC’s network of meeting-facilitation and group-process trainers.

As the cohousing movement grew in the U.S.A. various types of intentional communities began calling themselves “cohousing,” in the same way that some of those and other communities began calling themselves an “ecovillage,” to the point that practically any type of intentional community, other than communal societies, sometimes use the term to describe themselves. On the cohousing.org website there is a page presenting the “common characteristics” of cohousing communities and the “types of cohousing,” along with the statement, “We trust that as knowledge of cohousing grows creativity will expand and more and more methods for achieving community will arrive.” Both the cohousing and ecovillage ideas are growing the intentional community movement, while some groups use both terms in their description. (Cohousing, 2020)

As Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett explain, the Danish bofœllesskaber communities began with meetings of friends in 1964, from inspirations that the architect Jan Gudmand-Hoyer and friends found in utopian fiction, especially Thomas More’s Utopia written in 1516, and in historical Danish cooperative housing.  In his Encyclopedia of Community article “Cohousing,” Charles Durrett explains that Gudmand-Hoyer graduated from Harvard University with a graduate degree in 1964, and while in the U.S. he “studied U.S. ‘utopias’ such as Shakertown, Drop City, Twin Oaks, and many more, …”  Gudmand-Hoyer’s first community attempt was stopped by its neighbors from being built by their purchase of the property required for access to the site. The community group gave up the project in 1965. In 1968 Jan Gudmand-Hoyer wrote an article for a national publication about his ideas and experiences titled, The Missing Link Between Utopia and the Dated One-Family House, presenting the design of private dwellings around common facilities. Over a hundred people responded to the article with interest in living in such a community, from which a group formed to plan new community projects. Another article that helped to inspire the bofœllesskaber movement was published in 1967 by Bodil Graae titled, Children Should Have One Hundred Parents. Over fifty people responded who wanted a child-oriented community; one of whom was Hildur Jackson, later of Gaia Trust. (Durrett, p. 195; Jackson, p. 43; McCamant and Durrett, pp. 133-5)

Gaia Trust

In 1987 Ross (Canadian) and Hildur (Danish) Jackson in Denmark created the Gaia Trust to provide grants to ecovillage trainers and organizers around the world, with money that Ross had made from selling computer software he designed between 1984 and ‘86 for the foreign exchange currency markets. Karen Litfin states in her 2014 book, Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community, that Ross explains in his 2000 writing, We ARE Doing It: Building an Ecovillage Future, that “a spiritual experience he had with Swami Muktananda inspired him to create Gaia Trust.” Ross writes further about his spiritual path in, Kali Yuga Odyssey. (Jackson & Jackson, p. 14; Litfin, p. 12)

Ross Jackson created Gaia Trust from beliefs similar to those from earlier in the 20th century of Ralph Borsodi of the School of Living (New York City, NY), and Arthur Morgan of Community Service (Yellow Springs, OH), both organizations active today in the community land trust movement. Jackson writes:

“Whether the global economy collapsed or we were able to make a planned transition to a sustainable future, I understood that it would be necessary in either case to build a new culture. At the foundation of this culture must necessarily be sustainable human settlements, and for this we needed good models. I believed that a network of ecovillages that provided such models would be an extremely valuable base on which to build. (Jackson & Jackson, p. 14)

“Community” has always been the essence of human culture from time immemorial. But by adopting a new name, “ecovillage,” the basic concept became infused with new energy.” (Jackson & Jackson, p. 15)

Hildur Jackson, a social activist, wrote in a 2005 Communities magazine article titled, From Cohousing to Ecovillge: A Global Feminist Vision? (emphasis in the original) that she found with her husband Ross, five other families to help purchase a farm near Copenhagen and create a bofœllesskaber called “Hoejtofte” in 1970. In her 2005 article Hildur answers Sigmund Freud’s question, “What do women want?” saying, “I believe the answer is community.” (Dawson, p. 12-3; Jackson, pp. 42-5, 48; Jackson & Jackson, p. 14)

In 1990 the Jackson’s bought a second property near the northwestern Danish coast, using its original name, Fjordvang, to create a conference center and ecovillage much like that at Findhorn Community in Scotland. Yet the local authorities refused their applications for additional housing constructed on the property, so after several years of frustrating negotiations the Jackson’s gave up and returned to the Copenhagen area. In the mean time, the Jackson’s invited Robert and Diane Gilman (American) in 1991 to visit Fjordvang, “to build an ecovillage and work on our common cause,” and the two couples hosted two ecovillage conferences at Fjordvang. The Gilman’s were founders of the Context Institute and publishers of the magazine founded in 1983 called, In Context: A Quarterly of Humane Sustainable Culture. After thirteen years, in 1996, In Context evolved into the magazine named, Yes!: A Journal of Positive Futures as alternative to all the negativity of anti-war, anti-nuclear energy, anti-pollution and other protest movements. (Bang, p. 23; Jackson, pp. 47-8; Jackson & Jackson, p. 14; Mare, p. 4)

The Gilmans’ first project commissioned by Gaia Trust was to gather information about various ecologically sustainable human settlements worldwide. In May of 1991 the Gilmans’ report on ecological settlements was published with the title, Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities. In this work the Gilman’s printed their now commonly used definition of “ecovillages” as being,

“Human scale, full-featured settlements which integrates human activities harmlessly into the natural environment, supports healthy human development, and can be continued into the indefinite future.” (Christian, 2003, p. 143; Dawson, p. 13; Gilman & Gilman, 1991; Jackson & Jackson, p. 14; Mare, p. 4)

September 1991 the Gaia Trust invited to Fjordvang twenty community organizers and “broad thinkers” to “discuss how Gaia Trust could best use its funds.” Three of those who subsequently maintained a long-term involvement with ecovillages and Gaia Trust were Max Lindegger, Declan Kennedy, and Albert Bates. (Jackson & Jackson, p. 15)

At the Fjordvang center the Jacksons, along with the Gilmans, hosted the first international ecovillage conferences in September, 1991 and again in 1993, the later date at which was formed the Danish Network of Ecovillages, the first national ecovillage network. (Dawson, p. 13; Jackson, p. 47; Jackson & Jackson, p. 15; Litfin, p. 12; Mare, pp . 4-5)

The Gaia Trust continues to fund a range of ecovillage-support projects. Jan Martin Bang explains Ross Jackson’s operative theory in his 2005 book, Ecovillages: A Practical Guide to Sustainable Communities, as being, “that relatively small amounts of money could most effectively be used in getting the right people together to share ideas and inspirations, who would then go back to their projects more motivated and stimulated.” (Bang, p. 22)

Besides conferences and network meetings the Gaia Trust provided grants to over 300 projects in more than 40 countries, until 2003 when its funds ran low. Ross Jackson explained the positive aspect of this funding cut-off being that the regional associations would thereby not become dependent upon Gaia Trust. Since then the Trust has focused upon funding its own projects, such as Gaia Education, and making small awards to individuals.

The December, 2012 issue of Ecovillages Newsletter, produced by Diana Leafe Christian, reported that Gaia Trust made awards of 10,000 Danish Kroner (about $1,700) to five ecovillage activists that year: Max Lindeger (Australia); Declan Kennedy (Germany), Albert Bates (USA); Kosha Joubert (South Africa, Germany, Findhorn); and May East (Brazil, Findhorn). Max, Declan, and Albert were instrumental in creating GEN networks on five continents between 1995 and 2000. Kosha helped set up the GEN-Africa organization, and May directed Gaia Education and its Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) courses worldwide for seven years, obtaining endorsement for Gaia Education from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). May taught EDE in her native Brazil while creating a Gaia Education network in South America, named “CASA” in 2013. (Christian, 2012, p. 1; Jackson & Jackson, p. 16)

The 2012 awards were given to the early initiators of the ecovillage movement as tokens of reverence for all those who midwifed the new culture, in honor of the progression of the Mayan calendar to the fifth Sun cycle in December, 2012. (Jackson & Jackson, p. 17)

Another GEN missionary, Jan Martin Bang (British/Norwegian) relates the story in his 2005 book, Ecovillages, about his involvement in the evolution of the Green Kibbutz movement in Israel. Jan learned biodynamic agriculture from having lived at a Camphill Village in Norway, where differently-abled children and adults or “villagers” live in community with non-disabled “co-workers.” Camphill is a global network of therapeutic communities, growing out of the philosophical tradition called “Theosophy,” based upon the Austrian Rudolf Steiner’s (1861-1925) version called “Anthroposophy.” The first Camphill school-community was founded in 1939 in Scotland. (Miller, pp. 23-4)

Jan and wife Ruth moved to kibbutz in 1992, Jan (pronounced “yawn”) explains that, “Within this movement I was trying to create an explicitly environmental agenda.” With other kibbutznics interested in organic agriculture the group set up in 1994 an office called the “Green Room” to encourage and support environmental projects in kibbutzim. In 1995 Jan and Albert Bates of The Farm in Tennessee met at a conference, and Albert explained that he was on a mission to find someone or a group in kibbutz to train for and then teach and organize permaculture projects in the kibbutz, and that he had funding for the training. Jan was soon on a plane to The Farm to take their permaculture design course. Soon after, Jan writes, he “found himself at Findhorn in Scotland” attending the 1995 conference which initiated the Global Ecovillage Network. Returning to Kibbutz Gezer, Jan and David Lehrer of Kibbutz Ketura began the Green Kibbutz Group, teaching ecovillage design, desert ecology, and permaculture at Kibbutz Gezer and Kibbutz Lotan, working with individual kibbutzim, the kibbutz movement offices, and the Israeli Ministry for the Environment. By 1996 there were seven kibbutzim in the Green Kibbutz Group and more expressing interest. (Bang, 1996, p. 45; Bang, 2005, pp. 17, 37)

Global Ecovillage Network

There was no imperative compelling enough to provide sufficient reason for global community-movement networking beyond affinity networks and regional associations, until the advent of the ecovillage concept. No political, economic, or social concern or identity ever motivated cross-movement networking of communities as has the concern for the environment and the desire to live in harmony with it, and so appreciation for those who developed the idea and who nurtured the ecovillage movement must be expressed, for the brilliance of the idea and the dedication of those who contributed their time and resources to it.

In 1995 the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland hosted a conference on the theme, “Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities: Models for 21st Century Living.” Over four-hundred people attended the “Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities” conference, with three-hundred more refused due to lack of space. The conference proceedings were published in 1996 by Findhorn Press.

E. C. Mare of the Village Design Institute at The Farm listed in the article A Concise History of the Global Ecovillage Movement five ecovillage movement issues recognized at the 1995 Findhorn conference (from the conference video “Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities”):

●  The appropriate scale for creating a new culture is neither the individual nor the society, instead it is the sustainable-community level of ecovillages. [Note: this is essentially what Ralph Borsodi, founder of the School of Living, and Arthur Morgan, founder of what is now Community Solutions, said in the 1930s, and what their organizations have taught ever since.]

●  Ecovillages must not become insular, exclusive, or sheltered, yet must interact and integrate with the surrounding culture in order to survive and advance the movement.

●  Ecovillages must be the “necessary yes,” a positive solution to mounting global problems, in contrast with organizations like Greenpeace which are the “necessary no.”

●  Sustainability is not enough in itself since it is “only about stabilizing the global phenomenon through applied negative feedback. The ecovillage was envisioned as the setting from which human potential could leap to new heights unforeseen, with abundant love, cooperation, and creativity—as a leap in quality of life.” (emphasis in the original)

●  The “Global South” and its many traditional villages is to be included along with the intentional communities of the “Global North,” for a “global solution, answering global problems, requiring a truly global perspective.” (emphasis in the original) (Mare, p. 6)

Immediately after the Findhorn conference, twenty people from various ecovillages met for five days and created the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN). The communities initially forming GEN include: Crystal Waters, Australia; Danish Ecovillage Association; Ecoville, St. Petersburg, Russia; The Farm, TN, USA; Findhorn, Scotland; Gyurufu, Hungary; Lebensgarten, Steyerberg, Germany; The Ladakh Project, India; and the Manitou Institute, CO, USA. (Bang, p. 22)

Initially, three autonomous regional networks were created, including: the Ecovillage Network of the Americas (ENA) coordinated by Albert Bates at The Farm in Tennessee, GEN Europe/Africa coordinated by Declan Kennedy at Lebensgarten in Germany, and GEN Oceania & Asia (GENOA) coordinated by Max Lindegger at Crystal Waters in Australia, with funding for these centers provided by Gaia Trust for the next several years. Hamish Stewart served as the International Secretary at Fjordvang in Denmark, providing an umbrella organization called GEN International. Additional plans were to create an educational program for the ecovillage movement, and to participate in the United Nations’ Human Settlements Program called “UN-Habitat.” (Jackson & Jackson, p. 16)

Rashmi Mayur at the 1995 Findhorn conference passionately encouraged GEN to attend UN Habitat II planned for Istanbul, Turkey in 1996. Dr. Mayur, leader of the International Institute for a Sustainable Future in Mumbai, India, attended UN conferences as a GEN ambassador, presenting speeches and workshops. Attending the Johannesburg UN Earth Summit in 2002 Dr. Mayur suffered a stroke and never fully recovered. (Jackson & Jackson, pp. 15-6)

Inside the 1996 UN Habitat II conference venue GEN built a straw-bale wall plastered with clay to illustrate ecological building materials, with photos mounted on it of ecovillages around the world. Hildur Jackson produced 5,000 copies of a booklet handout titled The Earth is Our Habitat. GEN offered over forty workshops addressing issues concerning ecovillages and global politics, and invited forty spiritual leaders to attend them, who then praised the ecovillage as an important new concept in their concluding statement. Outside the conference venue an architect from Auroville, India built an earthquake-resistant house from mud bricks produced on-site, and GEN coordinated local Turkish builders in building a traditional Harran beehive-shaped stone house. GEN was invited to address the UN delegates, and as Ross Jackson writes, “Istanbul put GEN firmly on the global map.” The Global Ecovillage Network received UN non-governmental organization (NGO) status in 2000. (Jackson & Jackson, pp. 15-6; Joseph, p. 1)

In 2003 the Gaia Trust cut back its funding for GEN, resulting in the regional centers having to become more self-reliant. In 2008 Kosha Joubert, then residing at Sieben Linden in Germany, was elected GEN president. Kosha had been one of the thirty educators who developed the Gaia Education curriculum, getting financial support from the German government for teaching it at Sieben Linden for both local and foreign participants. Kosha was then involved in supporting the emergence of the African ecovillage network in 2012, successfully attracting funding from the German Foreign Ministry. (Jackson & Jackson, pp. 16-7)

Kosha and others represented the involvement of a new generation of activists and organizers in GEN, “inspiring increasing momentum in all regions.” GEN’s youth wing, NextGEN, attracted many to the movement, such as Cyntia Tina, the North American representative for NextGEN at the GENNA Alliance meetings beginning in 2014. (Jackson & Jackson, p. 17; Tina, p. 14)

Ecovillage Education

GEN’s educational mission began to develop in 1998 with Hildur Jackson’s invitation to fifty-five educators from within the ecovillage movement to meet at Fjordvang, Denmark to brainstorm methods for combining in one educational program instruction in organic farming, permaculture, renewable energy, wastewater treatment, ecological building, green business and economy, meeting facilitation, conflict resolution, and more. The method of instruction was to be the “Living and Learning” concept, in which people live the community lifestyle while learning to design their ecovillage. In 2002 Hildur Jackson and Karen Svensson published Ecovillage Living: Restoring the Earth and Her People, which included the “Sustainability Wheel” method of teaching the many related subjects. In 2004 thirty educators met at Findhorn, Scotland to discuss Hildur’s and Karen’s teaching idea, and the following year at the GEN+10 Conference the Gaia Education project was founded as a separate entity from GEN. May East of Findhorn took the lead and soon created the four-week course called “Ecovillage Design Education” (EDE), now taught around the world. In 2008 EDE was made into an online course with aid from the Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain, becoming a masters-level course offered online in ten languages. (Jackson & Jackson, p. 16)

Global Ecovillage Educators for a Sustainable Earth (GEESE) is a multi-disciplinary educational initiative for sustainable community. The first GEESE meeting took place in 1998 at the Gaia Trust’s Fjordvang conference center in Denmark. GEESE’s first product was the “Ecovillage Design Education” curriculum presented at the 2005 GEN conference at Findhorn. In 2008 came “Gaia Education Design for Sustainability” (GEDS), now an online masters degree program offered in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, intended to support the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In 2012 the 5th edition of the Teacher’s Guide: Design for Sustainability and the Gaia Youth Activities Guide were published. In 2014 the community-led “Project Based Learning” vocational courses were developed as four-week long intensives. Gaia Education is recognized by the United Nations as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), active with 146 partner organizations in 55 countries on six continents, with over 25,000 graduates worldwide.  (Gaia Education, 2021)

The Gaia Education Outreach Institute (GEO) started the Geocommons College Year program at Derbyshire Farm in New Hampshire in 1991, teaching community, ecology, and mindful living, through taking small groups of eight-to-twelve college students to a few ecovillages around the world, for college credit through the University of New Hampshire. In 1991 the first cohort of college students spent the fall semester studying and experiencing community on the Derbyshire campus, and touring intentional communities in the U.S.A. for two-to-three weeks. Spring semester the students visited, studied, and worked on two-to-four intentional communities in Europe, at Findhorn in Scotland and Plum Village in France, and in India, at Mitraniketan and Auroville. Summer semester the students worked on the design and implementation of an educational ecovillage of twelve households being created at Derbyshire Farm, called the Monadnock Geocommons Village. (Geocommons College Year, 1995)

The Geocommons program inspired a similar academic experience called Living Routes, which assumed management of Geocommons’s ecovillage-emersion program in 2000. Living Routes was created by Daniel Greenberg with Monique Gauthier and others based at Sirius Community in Shutesbury, Massachusetts. Living Routes’ mission was, “to develop accredited, ecovillage-based educational programs that empower participants to help build a sustainable future.” Living Routes added more sponsoring institutions to those of Geocommons, including: Pacific Lutheran University, Greenfield Community College, and Cornell University. Additional community site visits included: Sirius Community, Merriam Hill Center, and Ecovillage at Ithaca, U.S.A.; Green Kibbutzim Lotan and Gezer, Israel; and Crystal Waters, Australia, with plans for more in Russia, South America, and southern Africa. (Greenberg, 2000, Let’s Go!, p. 28; Living Routes, 2000)

College courses about and field trips to intentional communities is common. Daniel Greenberg compiled such a list of courses related to community taught at various colleges and universities in the fall 2000 Communities magazine. These courses were offered through a range of academic fields, including: anthropology; religious studies; political science; and international studies. (Greenberg, 2000, College Courses on Community, pp. 53-5)

While an entire academic year studying and experiencing community for college credit is unique to Geocommons and Living Routes, these opportunities ended in 2014 for a couple reasons, including student and instructor concern about the “carbon footprint” of air travel.

In 2016 Dan Greenberg began a consulting project for aiding ecovillages and other intentional communities in creating their own, on-site educational programs, called “Custom Academic Programs in Ecovillages” (CAPE). (See: http://www.cape.consulting)

Affiliated with Gaia Education at Findhorn, Scotland, Gaia University in Morales, Mexico,  offers free courses, diploma programs, and undergraduate and graduate degree programs online, supporting “world-changers to create strategic projects and regenerative livelihoods” and “training leadership for ecosocial regeneration,” at: http://www.GaiaUniversity.org

Some of the first ecovillage training centers outside of the U.S.A. are: Ecovillage Training at Findhorn in Scotland; Center for Appropriate Technology in Wales, UK; Lebensgarten, Sieben Linden, and Z.E.G.G. in Germany; Torii Superiore in Italy; Kibbutz Gezer and Kibbutz Lotan in Israel; O.U.R. Ecovillage in British Columbia, Canada; and Ecological Solutions at Crystal Waters, Australia. (Christian, 2007, p. 36)

In the U.S.A. there is a growing number of ecovillage training centers, including: EarthArt Village, CO; Lost Valley Education Center, OR; Earth Island Institute at Berkeley, and Occidental Arts & Ecology Center at Occidental, CA; Thrive Ithaca EcoVillage Education Center, NY; Dancing Rabbit Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture, Rutledge, MO; the School of Integrated Living (SOIL) at Earthaven Ecovillage, Black Mountain, NC, and Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm, TN. (Christian, 2007, p. 36)

The Farm in Tennessee, U.S.A., founded in 1970, began with a series of lectures called the “Tuesday Night Class” by Steven Gaskin, attracting hundreds of people at San Francisco State University. 320 of those people decided to create a communal intentional community, settling in Tennessee then growing to over a thousand people. Later, with privatization to a land trust the community population fell to about 150 adults with 40 businesses employing 85% of the community’s wage earners. The Farm focused upon ecofeminism, organic farming, renewable energy, sustainability, and the integration of traditional cultures, beginning The Farm’s Ecovillage Training Center and the ecovillage.org website in 1994.  (Bates, p. 424; Mare, p. 3)

The Los Angeles Ecovillage (below) acquired a single-family house and a near-by apartment building with common space. “We try to reduce our environmental impacts while raising the quality of neighborhood life. We share our processes, strategies and techniques with others through tours, talks, workshops, conferences, public advocacy, and the media.” (Los Angeles Eco-Village, quoted in Christian, 2007, p. 30)

The material-spiritual concept of making our lifestyle consistent with our greatest values and highest ideals includes the intention of living, as Robert and Diane Gilman wrote in Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities, in ways that integrate “human activities harmlessly into the natural environment.” The Gilman’s state very insightfully that, “There is hardly anything more appealing, yet apparently more elusive, than the prospect of living in harmony with nature and with each other.” (Gilman & Gilman, 1991)

Utopian Studies

Another form of ecovillage education, or one could say of education for intentioneering, is utopian studies. There are continental academic intentional community studies organizations in at least North America, Europe, and Isreal, which welcome participation by representatives of contemporary communities of all kinds, not just communal societies, as well as academicians studying them and/or the historical intentional communities. The oldest of these is the Communal Societies Association (CSA) located in the U.S.A., founded in 1975 with the name, National Historic Communal Societies Association (NHCSA). (Ovid & Bang, p. 11)

Global intentional communities networking began in the Israeli kibbutz movement, the largest national network of intentional communities in the world. There are several kibbutz federations, and in one of them, Kibbutz Ha’Artzi, Mordechai Bentov, cofounder of Kibbutz Mishmar Haemek, founded the International Communes Desk (ICD) for responding to inquires from around the world for information about the kibbutzim. In 1981 ICD sponsored a global communities movement conference in Israel, called the first international conference of communities, although there had been a series of European international conferences prior to that, involving mostly contemporary communitarians with few academicians, presented in the paper An International Network of Communities by the present author. (Butcher, 1989)

The proceedings of the 1981 ICD conference were published in a book titled, The Alternative Way of Life: The First International Conference on Communal Living, edited by Yehudit Agasi and Yoel Darom. Fifty community delegates from outside of Israel attended this conference from Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand, along with thirty delegates from the kibbutzim. For many years ICD published a journal called Communes At Large Letter (C.A.L.L.), now mostly distributing information online. (Butcher, 1989, p. 1; Yagasi & Darom, pp. A, B)

Various intentional communities in the United Kingdom had been meeting from the mid-1970s through an organization called Communes Network, and in 1979 Laurieston Hall in Scotland organized the first International Communes Festival (ICF), founding the International Communes Network (ICN). ICN met for six festivals through 1985, over-lapping with the beginning of the kibbutz conferences. The second ICF met at Mejlgard Castle, Denmark in 1981; the third at Hasselt, Belgium in 1982; the fourth back at Laurieston in 1983; the fifth at De Refter, Holland in 1984; and the sixth and last at Le Puy, France in 1985. As festivals, the community activists attending ICN events were very unlike the academicians comprising much of the kibbutz-inspired conferences, and were unable to establish any ongoing community movement support initiatives, and so the ICN went dormant. (Butcher, 1989, pp. 1, 11-2)

At the 1978 NHCSA conference in Omaha, Nebraska, Yaacov Oved, cofounder of Kibbutz Palmachim, attended and talked with Donald Pitzer of the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, IN about founding a global academic communal studies organization. This meeting resulted in the International Communal Studies Association (ICSA) being organized and sponsoring their first global conference in 1985, with the proceedings published in the book Communal Life: An International Perspective, edited by Yosef Gorni, Yaacov Oved, and Idit Paz. (Gorni, Oved, & Paz, 1987; Oved & Bang, pp. 4, 6)

The ICSA began a triennial conference schedule, with the second ICSA conference held at Robert Owen’s historic community site at New Lanark, and at Edinburgh, Scotland in 1988, where the idea of a European communal studies association took shape, creating the UK-based Utopian Studies Society-Europe. (Oved & Bang, pp. 9, 65)

The 1991 triennial ICSA conference took place at Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania with a focus upon the Amish and Mennonite communities in that region, and other Anabaptist history. The 1993 ICSA conference was hosted at Robert Owen’s New Harmony historic community site in Indiana. Other ICSA events were held at: the Yad Tabenkin Institute in Efal, Israel in 1995; Amsterdam, The Netherlands in 1998; ZEGG in Germany in 2001; Amana Colonies, Iowa in 2004; Damanhur, Italy in 2007; Emek Yezreel College, Israel in 2010; Findhorn, Scotland in 2013;  Tamera, Portugal in 2016; and at the Camphill communities near Hudson, NY in 2019. At the Camphill ICSA event the two large therapeutic community networks, Camphill and La’Arch, enjoyed the most extensive connections they have had. The La’Arch community network founder, Jean Vanier, passed away only a few months before the ICSA conference. The 2022 ICSA event is planned for Denmark. (Oved & Bang, pp. 18, 65-6)

Many communitarian activists or intentioneers involved in the various intentional community movement organizations attend ICSA events, which serve as convenient opportunities for community activists and utopian-studies academicians to connect. While the Global Ecovillage Network has developed teaching materials for classes about intentional community, so also have various academicians developed their own syllabi for teaching utopian studies. At some point, one may think, the two would likely benefit from collaborations focused upon developing teaching materials about community to be shared and widely used, both in academic and community settings. How this may come about is an intriguing challenge in which the School of Intentioneering is playing a part with the production of this paper Riding-Out the Storm in the Ecovillage, and other resources on the history and organization of intentional community.

First Fellowship – Fellowship of Intentional Communities

The idea of an association of intentional communities in the past only resulted in the creation of separate affinity networks of similar types of communities, until the  mid-20th century when some of those groups began to come together in regional and continental associations.

In Builders of the Dawn published in 1986 the authors present at the end of their book a list of community networks active at the time. Although it does not include any of the Christian community networks (e.g., Hutterite, Bruderhof, Shalom Communities) or any therapeutic community networks (e.g., Camphill or La’Arch), it does include community networks in several different countries and regions: Australia, Japan, Israel, Europe, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.A. Also omitted from the list is the Fellowship for Intentional Community in the U.S.A., because at the time it was only beginning to awaken from about a 25-year hibernation. (McLaughlin & Davidson, p. 362)  

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) was created in 1948-49 from at least three different converging movements. First was the pioneering efforts to create the first community land trusts in the 1930s, although they were not called that at the time, some of them receiving support from the U.S. Government’s New Deal social programs. The second community group was the Quakers with their centuries-long history of communitarian activity. The third group was people reacting to the horrors of the Second World War. Arthur Morgan had visited many of the Civilian Public Service conscientious objector camps to find men who may be interested in right-living in small communities, after their release at the end of the war. Many did, bringing their families to join Morgan in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and the Morgan-inspired Celo Community at Black Mountain, North Carolina, founded in 1939 and considered to be the first successful community land trust. The Vale community was founded in 1940 by the Morgans in Yellow Springs. (Miller, pp. 156-8)

Alfred Andersen was one of those refusing the draft during WWII as a conscientious objector, serving eight months in prison. In his 1985 book, Liberating the Early American Dream, Al Andersen explains that he joined Arthur Morgan at Yellow Springs in 1945, staying five years to help with Morgan’s Community Service Inc.’s (CSI) annual summer Small Communities Conferences. Andersen writes that he “suggested sponsoring an Experimental Communities Conference immediately following the other.” This became the first Fellowship of Intentional Communities (FIC). (Andersen, pp. 23-4)

Arthur Morgan (1878-1975) never attended college, yet he founded a civil engineering firm that was contracted to build seven dams to control flooding of the Miami River around Dayton, Ohio. In 1921 he became president of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, and in the early 1930s he suggested flood control projects similar to those in Dayton for the Tennessee River, becoming the first director of the Tennessee Valley Authority. This work plus his book-writing projects kept Arthur busy, so it was one of his sons, Griscom Morgan, who worked with Al Andersen to organize the events which became the first FIC. (Andersen, p. 24; Miller, p. 163)

Griscom Morgan (1912-1993) writes in the section “Some Basic Concepts for Intentional Communities” in Community Service’s 1988 publication, Guidebook for Intentional Communities, building upon CSI’s earlier, An Intentional Community Handbook, that it was at the 1949 Community Service Conference that the term “intentional community” was adopted.  Sixty people from the U.S., India, and elsewhere attended, accepting the word “intentional” for the new organization due to its connotations of intent, purpose, and commitment. The name “Fellowship of Intentional Communities” (FIC) was adopted as it was found that encouraging and supporting friendly relationships among people in different communities was the primary value of regular meetings. Subsequent FIC events took place at the Highlander Folkschool in Tennessee, the Quaker Center at Pendle Hill in Pennsylvania, and at Glen Hellen, Antioch College’s Outdoor Education Center. (Fogarty, 1972, pp. 151-3; Miller, p. 164; Morgan, Griscom, p. 9)

Griscom Morgan writes further that the 1949 conference decided on a definition of “intentional community” to be a minimum of three families or five adults, living “close enough together geographically to be in continuous active fellowship.” (Morgan, Griscom, p. 10)

While it was found that the main value of the First Fellowship was socializing among people from different intentional communities, that motive-to-meet wore thin by the mid-1960s, especially as one of the larger communities attracted members to join them from the smaller communities. And so that first iteration of cross-movement community networking went mostly dormant, with only a small revolving loan fund for communities funded by two Quakers and named after the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) staff member Homer Morris, keeping the association barely alive. (Morgan, Griscom, p. 9)

Second Fellowship – Fellowship for Intentional Community

In the mid-1980s interest in community networking arose again as those new groups that had arisen out the 1960s and ‘70s became stable enough to begin reaching outside of their own affinity networks to engage with other types of intentional communities. The primary organizing resource used for this was Communities magazine, published by a consortium of three pre-existing journals that united through a series of meetings at the Twin Oaks Community Conferences held most years since the early or mid-1970s.

The Fellowship or FIC was rejuvenated by a small group of networkers, incorporating at Stelle Community near Chicago, Illinois in 1986. The five people present at that inaugural meeting were: Charles Betterton of Stelle, the present author Allen Butcher of Twin Oaks, Dan Questenberry of Shannon Farm, Laird Schaub of Sandhill, and Don Pitzer of the University of Southern Indiana. Descriptions of the community networks that came together to form the FIC are presented in the paper by the present author titled: Inclusive Association of Intentional Communities: Community Network Histories Related to the Fellowship: 1940s-1990s. The Second Fellowship organized events at many different intentional communities over the decades, including the “Art of Community” trainings. (Butcher, 1999)

Of the five co-founders of the renewed FIC or Fellowship, Allen and Laird were active in the Federation of Egalitarian Communities (FEC), and it had been Allen’s interest in cross-movement community networking since the FEC or Federation was created as an affinity network a decade earlier, founded at East Wind Community in autumn 1976. As it turned out, the strength of the FEC as a communal movement eventually became the single most important source of support for the FIC and Communities magazine for about three decades until the changes of the late twenty-teens. The Fellowship probably would have re-awoken without the involvement of the Federation, yet it may have soon gone dormant again without such a strong sponsor.

Communities magazine, as unique and important as it is for the intentional communities movement, never supported itself, always relying upon labor and financial subsidies from both intentioneers and sponsoring community organizations. For a decade or so Twin Oaks Community provided much of the resources needed to keep the journal in print, then it was Charles Betterton and the FIC for a few years, until the Federation became active in the Fellowship and became its primary supporter. Yet no matter how professional a look the magazine adopted, including full-color, and no matter how compelling its content, the magazine rarely paid for itself, although publishing for sale the Communities Directories usually did bring a positive cash flow. Communities magazine was in need of a new sponsor, and whatever misgivings any of the Ecovillage Network of the Americas (ENA) activists may have had about the difficulty with funding a magazine, ENA needed some kind of periodical for its outreach, and everyone must have been excited about the new beginning!

The Foundation for Intentional Community

In her Communities article “Leading Edges of Collaboration: GENNA Alliance” Cynthia Tina presents in the fall 2018 issue the process that resulted in both ENA becoming the Communities  publisher, and the FIC’s evolution to a new structure and management. The transition of the FIC from the older to the newer generation of activists had occurred earlier with the change of the executive directorship from Laird Schaub (Sandhill) to Sky Blue (Twin Oaks), so the transition this time was from single-person leadership to a collective board or council-leadership format.

Cynthia explains that the FIC transition involved six “key networking organizations” collectively called the “GENNA Alliance.” Cynthia’s list is, with paraphrased descriptions:

●  Fellowship for Intentional Community—Supporting the communities movement and cooperative culture through Communities magazine, Communities Directory, online resources, event co-sponsorship, and more;

●  VillageLab—Consulting group for the “new paradigm” organizational design of businesses and intentional communities;

●  NuMundo—Facilitating connections between individuals and “impact centers” like intentional communities, permaculture farms, social projects, and retreat centers;

●  NextGENNA—Propelling young adults to energize intentional communities through events, education, and leadership opportunities;

●  GEN-US—A meeting place and incubator for leaders in the ecovillage movement from the U.S.A.; and

●  GEN-Canada—A re-emerging network.

Spring of 2014 at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Missouri representatives of most of the above organizations met to form a consortium to engage more resources more effectively in the work that the Fellowship was doing, which was helpful to and consistent with what all the organizations were generally doing to various degrees. That meeting failed to produce an agreement-for-collaboration. Cynthia writes, “In the years that followed the Dancing Rabbit meeting, various configurations of FIC, GEN, and similar organizations met in attempts to bring greater cohesion and solidarity to the regenerative communities movement in North America. … None of us wanted to build yet another organization, but rather harness what each organization already brings to the table …” (Tina, p. 14)

May, 2018 at La Cité Écologique in New Hampshire, after five years of “exploration, trial, healing, and deep community building,” a five-page document was signed by representatives of the GENNA Alliance partners, marking a new era in the North American intentional communities movement! This was now the third incarnation of a North American association of intentional communities. (Tina, p. 14)

Cynthia explains that over twenty people “run and steward” GENNA Alliance as an independent “collaborative platform.”

“We envision a world of interdependent cooperative communities stewarding the conditions of regeneration, justice, peace, and abundance, in order to realize the full potential of flourishing for all life, for all generations to come.—GENNA Alliance” 

In 2016, three decades after the re-founding of the Fellowship, organizers and activists from various intentional community groups and movements comprising the Global Ecovillage Network–North America (GENNA), founded just over two decades earlier, infused the Fellowship with new energy and enthusiasm. The Fellowship for Intentional Community’s executive director at the time, Sky Blue of Twin Oaks, wrote in Communities that for twenty years the Fellowship and ENA had collaborated on various projects, and it was felt by many that merging energy and resources was in everyone’s best interest. Sky wrote in a publisher’s note in a 2016 issue of Communities, “It was amazing to experience an affinity born from a radical experience of community between people from such a diversity of cultures.” (Blue, p. 7)

By 2019 the FIC and ENA had long had inter-locking directorates and an overlap of common membership, which facilitated the discussions about how to reorganize their respective activities to be more efficient and effective. One significant change was the FIC name. From the original “Fellowship of Intentional Communities” adopted in 1949, the name was changed to the “Fellowship for Intentional Community” in 1986, then to “Foundation for Intentional Community” adopted seventy years after the founding of the organization. Cynthia Tina explains in an “FIC News” article in the summer 2019 Communities issue titled, “Introducing the New FIC,” the new name,

“We loved the kindred-spirit sentiment of “Fellowship,” but we didn’t care for the old-school masculine connotations. The title “Foundation” speaks to our commitment and professionalism.” (Tina, p. 4)

This evolution is tracked by observing the change of Communities publishers through 2019:

● Fellowship for Intentional Community–Communities no. 182, spring 2019

● Foundation for Intentional Community–Communities no. 183, summer 2019

● Foundation for Intentional Community–Communities no. 184, fall 2019

● Global Ecovillage Network–United States–Communities no. 185, winter 2019

Ecovillage Network of the Americas (ENA) = Global Ecovillage Network-North America (GENNA) comprised of three regions: GEN-US, GEN-Canada, and Mexico or Mesoamérica (Joseph, p. 1)

The FIC-ENA collaboration and reorganization is explained in brief in the winter 2019 issue of Communities by Chris Roth, in his “Notes from the Editor” article titled, “Passing the Communities Torch to a New Publisher.”

Those of us committed to relaunching the magazine spent weeks in each successive phase of the process that eventually led us to a formal transfer to GEN-US. … When the GEN-US Council and the FIC board of directors finally entered formal negotiations to transfer the magazine, and then reached an agreement, it was the culmination of several months of focused effort to find Communities a new home … one in which it would be a natural fit. (Roth, 2019, p. 10)

The agreement was that GEN-US would take on the magazine and the book sales, leaving the FIC to pursue other adventures.

And quite the adventure 2020 became with the coincident global spread of the Covid-19 pandemic! While the self-isolation and economic shut-down keeping people at home caused increasing use of online Zoom meetings for connecting intentioneers and people new to the intentional-community movement, and presumably also increased readership for the magazine, it did not result in a sufficient increase in revenue to make Communities funding much better than it had been for long. Chris Roth wrote in his fall 2020 “Notes from the Editor” article that,

“Our former publisher’s efforts to scale up through rebranding and through hoped-for projects including a new print Directory and eventually a multi-faceted online platform for community-seeking-and-matching ran into the brick wall of lack of finances. … Sometimes it’s appropriate to scale down. That’s what both FIC and the magazine (now with GEN-US) have chosen.” (Roth, 2020, p. 5)

The last Communities Directory was printed in 2016, and printing a new one would be a wonderful boost to the image and esteem of the reorganized FIC and ENA, yet that project must wait.

While the FIC has produced its own series of Zoom events for people active or interested in community, as of spring 2021 more than 11,000 people in more than 160 countries are reported as having participated in the online presentations, discussions, and tours of ecovillages presented by the Global Ecovillage Network during the first year or so of the Covid-19 pandemic, through its online series, “GEN Ecovillage Summit: Living Solutions for a Regenerative World.”

“It is a remarkable fact that the builders of ecovillages often have more in common with each other than with their respective local cultures, no matter where they come from. A common, global vision is emerging that has the power to change the world.” (Quoted in 2000 from http://www.gaia.org/about/history.asp in E. C. Mare’s A Concise History of the Global Ecovillage Movement)

Sustainability Statistics

As there is no specific requirement for calling a community an “ecovillage,” other than the intent to and practice of enjoying ecological living, many intentional communities began to adopt the ecovillage identity for expressing their environmental concerns. Diana Leafe Christian writes in her book Finding Community that the Global Ecovillage Network “doesn’t even try to establish criteria or regulate which projects can and cannot call themselves an ecovillage, but rather encourages ecological and social sustainability in communities wherever possible.” To help communities develop their ecological focus, GEN distributes a procedure for ecovillage self-audits called the “Community Sustainability Assessment,” designed for an intentional community or a traditional village to determine how ecologically sustainable are its design and practices. (Christian, 2007, p. 35; Mare, p. 7)

A few communities/ecovillages have done studies of how energy and resource efficient are their design and practices. It is unknown to the present author whether GEN collects information from groups using their Community Sustainability Assessment, yet collecting and reporting some of those results may be of interest. In the mean time, there is the following from different sources.

 Twin Oaks Ecovillage, VAEcovillage at Ithaca, NYDancing Rabbit Ecovillage, MO
 2007 Data-87 Adults2004-165 Adults2015 Data-65 Adults
Gasoline 
Average per-person use in USA or state500 gallons/year 466 gallons/year
Community Use15,267 gallons/year Part petroleum, Part biodiesel
Per-Person Use175 gallons/person 28 gallons/year
Percent Difference35% of ave. Am. 6% of ave. American
 
Electricity 
Average per-person use in USA or state11,000 kWh per-person per-year 4,168 kWh/person/year
Community Use268,065 kWh Includes solar panels
Per-Person Use3,083 kWh/person 744 kWh/person/year
Percent Difference27% of ave. Am.39% of ave. Am. use18% of ave. American
 
Natural Gas1 therm = 100,000 BTUs
Average per-person use in USA or state767 therms in VA 417 therms in MO
Community Use16,221 therms  
Per-Person Use186 therms/person 22 therms/person
Percent Difference24% of ave. Am.41% of ave. Am. use5% of ave. American
 
Water 22% of ave. Am. use 
    
Solid Waste   
Average per-person use in USA or state  34% is recycled by the average American
Per-Person Use and Percent Difference  DRE produces 18% of the average American’s waste, and 73% of that is recycled

Twin Oaks Community (TO) was founded in 1967 in Virginia, U.S.A and has been building its ecological, sustainable, or regenerative systems ever since, yet has done little to document its successes. Only one such study is known to the present author, created by Bucket Harmony for presentation at the 2008 student housing cooperative conference called the NASCO Institute, using 2007 data when the community population was 87 adults and around 17 children.

Energy SourceAverage Use Per-Person in USATO Consumption in 2007TO Per-Person Use for 87 AdultsPercent Difference
Gasoline500 gallons/year115,267 gallons175 gallons/person65% less used!
Electricity11,000 kWh/year2268,065 kWh3,083 kWh/person73% less used!
Natural Gas767 therms in VA316,221 therms4186 therms/person76% less used!

1 – http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/saving/efficiency/savingenergy.html

2 – http://www1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/tips/appliances.html

3 – http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/ng/ng_cons_num_dcu_SVA_a.html

4 – 1 therm = 100,000 BTUs

The EcoVillage at Ithaca (EVI) community project started in 1991, growing out of the experience of several people involved in a coast-to-coast walk across the U.S.A. called “The Global Walk for a Livable World.” The 2010 Communities Directory lists 165 members at EVI. (Dawson, p. 30)

Today Ecovillage at Ithaca is comprised of three separate cohousing neighborhoods on 176 acres in New York State near Cornell University. EVI has a car-sharing service and a local currency. Some of the homes have composting toilets. The homes utilize passive solar heat, and every six-to-eight homes are connected to a shared utility room with two natural-gas boilers that supply space heating and domestic-use hot water. (Christian, 2005, p. 46)

Diana Leafe Christian reported in her 2005 Communities article, “When Ecovillagers Use the Cohousing Model,” that “EVI residents consume just 39 percent of the electric power, 41 percent of the natural gas, and 22 percent of the water use of the average household in the northeastern United States.” (Christian, 2005, p. 46)

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage (DRE) has by far the best analysis of their energy usage, thanks to a study done by Dr. Joshua Lockyer, Dept. of Behavioral Sciences, at Arkansas Tech University, Russellville, AR. Three summers, from 2013 to 2015, research was conducted by graduate students and DRE residents into a number of different energy and resource processes at the community. At that time Dancing Rabbit was 65 people on 280 acres of “recovering industrial farm land.” Dancing Rabbit is a community land trust leasing plots to members for residences and businesses. (Lockyer, pp. 523, 528, 538)

The Rabbits have a local currency called Exchange Local Money or ELM System. Members use open source designs and lending services for tools, both within the community and among a local network of communities.  (Lockyer, pp. 522, 525)

DRE members have a care-sharing service called Dancing Rabbit Vehicle Co-op (DRVC), sharing four vehicles among 67 users, or 0.06 cars per capita, or 92% less than the average American rate of 0.08 cars per capita. Car usage for 2013 and 2014 local trips, omitting long-distance vacation-driving, was 899 miles, or less than 10% of the average American driving total of 9,455 miles per year (Transportation Energy Data Book). The Rabbits used biodiesel for many years yet it has been difficult to obtain, the production of it is not very energy efficient, and it gels in cold weather, making it only usable part of the year. Gasoline use is 28 gallons per person per year, 18% being petroleum and 10% biodiesel, compared to the average American’s use of 466 gallons/person/year, which computes to DRE using 6% of the average American’s total fuel use, and 4% of specifically petroleum fuel use. (Lockyer, pp. 529-31)

The Rabbits recycle 73% of their municipal solid waste, compared to 34% for the average American, and only produce on average 18% of the solid waste of the average American (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2015). (Lockyer, pp. 528)

Propane is the only form of natural gas used at DRE, consumed at the rate of 22 therms per person per year, or 5% of the average American’s use of 417 therms of natural gas (United States Energy Information Administration 2006). (Lockyer, p. 532)

Electricity is produced at DRE by their 25 kilowatt solar panel array, connected to the local utility grid for backup and for selling excess power generation. Average consumption is 744 kWh per year, which is 18% of the average American’s use of 4,168 kWh per year. (U.S. Energy Information Admin. 2013). This figure includes business as well as domestic use, while some Rabbits have no electricity in their living space, so the numbers are not perfectly comparable. (Lockyer, pp. 532-3)

Water usage at DRE is sourced from both rain catchment (i.e., self-supply) and from a public supply. Per person water use from the public supply at DRE is 7 gallons per day, while the self-supply is not metered and therefore estimated at 13 gallons per person per day, for a total of 20 gallons/person/day of water use. This is 23% of the average American’s use of 88 gallons of water, and 9% of the average American’s use of the public water supply (U.S.Geological Survey estimate). The Rabbits’ water use is 35% public supply and 65% rain catchment, compared to the average American’s 87% public supply and 13% self-supply water. A complicating factor for DRE water use is that the reported figure is for all uses including agriculture, while agriculture is not included in the average-American statistics. (Lockyer, p. 535)

Joshua Lockyer’s resource-use study concludes with a quality-of-life component, utilizing a 2015 study of members of almost 200 intentional communities, including Dancing Rabbit, by researchers from SUNY Binghamton and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. That study concluded that “intentional community members lead lives that are highly meaningful and satisfying relative to a variety of other segments of the public and that their lives improved after they joined their respective intentional communities.” (Lockyer, pp. 536)

Joshua Lockyer states that Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is,

“an example of positive social transformation for justice and sustainability. … [O]ngoing engagement with advocates and practitioners of degrowth, commons, and intentional communities … opens up spaces to analyze processes of cultural change and transition that are of fundamental interest to social and behavioral scientists and of direct import to policy makers concerned with the sustainable use and conservation of natural resources.” (Lockyer, p. 538)

Ecovillages in the FIC Communities Directories

An analysis of the growth of the number of ecovillage-like communities through four of the seven Fellowship for Intentional Communities (FIC) directories from 1990 to 2016, requires use of the keyword listings in them, since many groups do not use “ecovillage” in the name of their community. The 2016 directory has a different format from that used for the earlier directory versions. Use of keywords was discontinued while a new data category was added called “Type” using the code “Eco” for reporting a more accurate number of ecovillages.

●  1990/’91 directory: 8% of listings are ecovillage-like.

●  2000 directory: an estimated 20% are ecovillage-like.

●  2010 directory: an estimated 25% are ecovillage-like [Note: In this Directory (pp. 12-13) Laird Schaub reports that 32% of the 2010 listings are ecovillages, possibly due to using a different set of keywords than the present author. 34%, Laird states, claimed the cohousing identity. Laird estimates 100,000 people living in intentional community in the U.S.]

●  2016 directory: 33% of the listings state they are ecovillages.

These FIC directory totals of ecovillages are not the whole picture, as not all intentional communities are listed. Many intentional communities do not want to appear in directories, and many others may not even know about the FIC. These directories are, however, the best listing of intentional communities available, although there are organizations with directories in various countries around the world, like the Eurotopia directories mentioned earlier in the “Ecological Spirituality and Biosphere Consciousness” section. The percentages of ecovillage-like groups presented for the four community directories, 1990, 2000, 2010, and 2016, may be relatively representative of the proportion of ecovillages to all forms of intentional community in their historical period.

The 1990/91 Directory of Intentional Communities includes an index with several terms related to ecovillages, although only two communities in the listings actually use a term related to “ecovillage,” which are Ecological Village in New Mexico and La Cité Écologique in Quebec, Canada. The index lists the following numbers of groups: 5 appropriate technology; 3 ecology; 7 EcoVillages; 12 permaculture; and 3 stewardship. This totals 30 communities, divided by 375 total listings equals 8% of the listings being eco-oriented. (FIC/CPC, 1990, pp. 3, 299-309)

The 2000 edition of the Communities Directory lists in its Keyword Index a number of terms used by communities in either their descriptions or survey questions related to ecovillages: 13 alternative/appropriate technology centers; 18 ecology; 71 ecovillage category; 37 ecovillages; 21 environment; 9 nature sanctuary; 39 permaculture; 24 stewardship; 25 sustainability; 10 sustainable agriculture; and 12 sustainable living. This totals 279 communities, although some use more than one of these key words. With about 600 communities in North America and 100 in other countries, totaling 700, that computes to 40% of the listings in some way related to ecovillages, although some groups are listed in more than one category, so a more accurate number may be half or 20%. (FIC, 2000, pp. 435-48)

The 2010 edition of the Communities Directory listed in its Keyword Index the following count of communities using ecovillage-related terms: 32 earth-centered; 112 ecological; 114 ecovillages; 47 environmentalism; 14 nature preserve; 54 permaculture; 243 sustainability; and 24 technology alternative/appropriate. This totals 640 groups, with some groups using two or more of the keywords. 1,055 North American groups plus 250 outside North America equals 1,305 total listings, divided into 640 groups equals about 50% ecovillage-like groups, although there are many communities listed with more than one of these keywords, so a more accurate number may be half or 25%. In his summary Laird Schaub stated that 32% of the 1,055 communities listed in North America identified themselves as ecovillages, which is about the same as the percentage which identified themselves as cohousing communities (34%), with a few using both descriptions. The difference between Laird’s and Allen’s figures may be due to each using a different set of keywords in their analysis. (FIC, 2010, pp. 12, 477-8)

The 2016 edition of the Communities Directory includes more than 1,200 total U.S.A. listings of both established and forming groups, and 250 outside the U.S. This edition of the Directory does not include a keyword index, instead it offers a “Type” of community category, using “Eco” for ecovillages in its cross-reference charts. 123 of the established communities in the U.S.A. claim the “Eco” identity. Adding the 250 community listings from outside of the U.S.A. to the U.S.A. total of 1,200, equals 1,450 total directory listings. Of that total, 473 communities, both established and forming, or 33%, claim the “Eco” identity.

Egalitarian culture is a form of Partnership Spirituality

Partnership Spirituality

The many ways to live in harmony with each other and with nature show the many approximations of paradise that people create and enjoy. The partnership of women and men, of humans and our environment, of the races, of the generations, and of our different abilities, talents, economic means, and levels of awareness and mindfulness, are all affirmed, honored, and enjoyed in Partnership Spirituality.

The partnership of heaven and earth, of timelessness and of temporal awareness, and of spirituality and of secular worldliness, all recognize that dualities provide many ways to represent wholeness. While the idea of duality is a simplification of the complexity in our world, we can add as many dimensions as we can hold in our minds, and think of each as another level of partnership awareness. While a single dimension can represent all there is in the universe, as is seen in Trinitarian monotheism, taking the step into the Binarian monotheism of Partnership Spirituality encourages more than one view about issues, in place of patriarchal and other authoritarian systems. The partnership of thesis and antithesis theoretically creates a new synthesis or synergy, opening new pluralistic understandings of our shared reality, rather than the one-and-only-right-way-to-live paradigm of a centralized religious or secular authority.

While people have always sought an ideal way to live, and continue to experiment with lifestyles today, the striving for an ecological lifestyle shows where lies the greatest anguish of our age. Biosphere consciousness, bioregionalism, eco-spirituality, sustainability, and regeneration are all like the melodies and rhythms of a human-and-nature harmony that we invent, share, and practice with each other.

As there is no one right way for everyone to live, so there are many different cultures that people create to live their highest ideals and greatest values. The many different societies people construct and enjoy today are called “ecovillages” and “ecocities” when they emphasize the partnership of people and planet as the means of assailing the anguish of knowing that how we have been living has brought us to our greatest peril.

From our experience of sharing in community, and of integrating our way of living with the ways of nature, we have learned how to live well with a fraction of the resources used by consumerist culture. Through sharing, people together make comfort and happiness the goal of life, rather than incessantly striving for a competitive advantage of one over another.

For those who see that the wisdom of ecological living provides the means to assuage and allay the sorrow and distress of knowing all that we are losing in this time of climate change, the love of wisdom brings together the feminine and the masculine world views, for affirming opposites-in-harmony as dynamically balanced as the Taoist Taijitu.

As God is love and Goddess is wisdom, the partnership of love and wisdom creates an accessible picture-of-paradise in which to live. God and Gaia love you and guide you to wisdom, and together gift to us and share with us all creation!

***

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Political-Economic-Religious Pluralism

Love and Wisdom in the Culture of the Religious Left

A. Allen Butcher • The School of Intentioneering • Denver, Colorado • November 11, 2020 • AllenInUtopia@consultant.comhttp://www.Intentioneers.net • over 3,600 words

For more depth see the 15,000 word, 5-part posts at Intentioneers.net blog and “Intentioneers” Facebook page, and the 1,000-page ebook The Intentioneer’s Bible at Amazon.com

Toward an Age of Equality and Ecology in Partnership Culture

Making our material lives consistent with our spiritual beliefs is the ideal of “material spirituality.” A material-spiritual lifestyle results from a mindful “intentioneering” of culture toward a preferred lifestyle, which includes the deliberate design of religion. Cultural self-determination through induced spiritual evolution is essentially the subject of James Davison Hunter’s Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America. Hunter states that the dominant culture’s affirmation of its conservative moral authority is challenged by progressivism’s efforts to “resymbolize historic faiths according to the prevailing assumptions of contemporary life.” (Hunter, 1991, pp. 44-5) This is similar to Riane Eisler’s explanation in The Chalice and the Blade of the “re-mything” of the Creation and other ancient stories by the Hebrew priests who last rewrote the Torah or Old Testament of the Bible around 400 B.C.E. (Eisler, 1988, p. 85) In the same way, it is to us today to re-symbolize and re-myth patriarchal religion for the creation of an ecologically-responsible Material Spirituality and a socially-egalitarian Partnership Spirituality. We say it is true, then for us, truth it is!

Partnership Spirituality asserts that constructing a preferred culture of social and ecological responsibility requires a balance of patriarchal religion and women’s spirituality, in favor of environmentalism and of gender and racial partnership in an egalitarian religion. From such a cultural base of partnership, human society may best respond to the range of problems now aggregating into a potential perfect-storm of a 21st Century Dark Age, defined as a time when children can no longer be educated. Many educational systems around the world today are struggling against increasing challenges including: racism, sexism, climate change, and viral pandemic. Educating and inspiring people to cherish and safeguard equality is necessary for preserving the political equality of democratic governance, so easily challenged in and potentially lost by a free society.

Mutual-Aid, Socialism, the Social Gospel, and Social Capital

Intentioneering a partnership religion supporting non-traditional gender roles in which care-work often done by women is valued equally with labor traditionally done by men, affirms that women’s lives and intellects are equal to that of men. The Center for Partnership Studies founded by Riane Eisler asserts that nurturing our humanity through gender and racial equality, and saving our environment from the human “conquest of nature,” requires turning from systems of domination to partnership systems in which self-interest and empathy for others and nature are intended to be mutually supportive. (See: centerforpartnership.org)

Tribal mutual-aid has always existed, while democratic, egalitarian economics around the world is practiced in consumer and producer cooperatives. The cooperative movement began in each country with the rise of their Industrial Revolution. Beginning in England the ravages of industrialization inspired the rise of mutual-aid societies, adopting many different names, including Friendly Societies and Odd Fellows, providing mutual social services before government got the idea. As mutual-aid evolved into economic solidarity the term “socialist” was created to embrace consumer and producer cooperatives, worker-ownership, and communal colonies integrating all three. The term was first printed in The London Cooperative Magazine in 1827 (vol. 2; “socialism” appeared in 1837; Arthur Bestor, 1948, Evolution of the Socialist Vocabulary, pp. 277, 290).

Late in 19th century and early in 20th century North America the Social Gospel movement developed among Protestant Christians, similar to the liberation theology of the Catholic Base Communities in late 20th century Latin America, both as social reform movements addressing social justice and environmental issues.

Cooperative movements have brought economic independence to cultures around the world, such as to the ancient Basque culture of Spain’s Mondragon Cooperatives after the Spanish Civil War, and to building social capital among Black Americans by strengthening their “individual competencies and community capacities.”  (See: Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Collective Courage, 2016, pp. 24, 237, 302)  

Social-Democracy and Democratic-Capitalism against Communism

While socialism as a cultural movement originated during the early Industrial Revolution in England among the middle-class as a means of reforming laissez-faire capitalism, communism as a cultural movement originated in Paris, France among the ex-patriot German working-class as an illegal, underground, secret-society challenging both the old monarchist and the new constitutional republican conservatism. From the beginning, or at least after the 1848 publication of Marx’s Communist Manifesto, German-French communism was set in contrast with and against English socialism, with communist theory providing justification for class conflict between the workers (i.e., proletariat) and the middle-class (i.e., bourgeoisie). Two consequences arise from this socialist vs. communist dichotomy, first, English socialism is credited with providing needed outlets for the oppressed to organize for political-economic-social improvements without violent insurrection, while on the European continent communist agitation encouraged the trends toward civil war and violent revolution.

The second consequence of the English-socialist versus German-French-communist dichotomy, is the rather confusing usage today of the term “commune” in contemporary radical circles. The English definition of the term “commune” is the economic meaning of common-property ownership, while the French definition of “commune” is the political meaning of a local government subdivision, like a city ward, borough, neighborhood, or other district. The latter definition has been taken up by the Institute for Social Ecology (ISE), thanks to Murray Bookchin’s use of “commune” to refer to small-scale, decentralized, political-economic units, like a village or a neighborhood within a town, organized in mutual-aid networks utilizing democratic or other participatory governance systems. The choice of the term “commune” in this context was probably intended to emphasize the use of the theory in reference to the ten-week-long 1871 Paris Commune. The ISE’s use of the term now refers to social-libertarian cultural movements as in Barcelona and other Spanish cities, the Italian Emilio-Romagna region, Kurdish self-governing regions such as Rojava, Syria, the Mexican Zapatista region, and other places where the cooperative sector of the economy is significant, like the San Francisco Bay Area. In fact, these democratic-decentralist “communes” typically have no or very little actual common ownership of property, and instead represent small-scale, decentralized, democratic-capitalism.

In contrast, organizations outside of the ISE such as the Federation of Egalitarian Communities (FEC) emphasize the English definition of “commune” to mean strictly common-ownership of property, with almost no private property within their and similar small-scale, decentralized, communal societies, practicing various forms of participatory governance. While the oldest FEC group, Twin Oaks Community, has lasted over fifty years as a communal society, the ISE never mentions the Egalitarian Communities as examples of their “commune” theory. This is probably partly because the FEC groups are small-scale communal groups at only 100 adults plus children in the largest community, Twin Oaks in Virginia, although there are now in Louisa County, Virginia a number of separate communal and non-communal cooperative societies enjoying mutual-aid within their network, called by the present author the “Louisa County Commonwealth,” which together may constitute an “ISE commune.”

It is the opinion of the present author that the choice of the use of the term “commune” by Murray Bookchin and the ISE was and is to emphasize the political-economic model of the 1871 Paris Commune, which lasted only ten weeks. While the Paris Commune lasted such a short time and resulted in a terrible tragedy for nearly all the radical French who supported it, in comparison, the American egalitarian communities have now existed over half-a-century and continue to peacefully grow, although slowly.

There is a second potential reason why the ISE omits the FEC groups in their “commune theory.” This is a contemporary version of the conflict between utopian communal societies versus social-democratic movements like the ISE’s “communes.” In the same way that Karl Marx initiated the conflict by contrasting his Marxist-communist, working-class “scientific socialism” against the social reformist, middle-class “utopian socialism,” so now is the ISE perpetuating the communist bias against both working-class and middle-class intentional communities by omitting them from their lists of and discussions about “communes.”

Motivation for this conflict-of-terminology is rooted in the original German-worker meaning of the term “communism” as they developed the concept in the early 18th century Paris underground, to refer specifically to violent class-conflict. Marxist Communism specifies two stages of communist revolution, the first being the violent take-over of State power, followed by the second stage of construction of the “worker’s paradise” of non-monetary and therefore non-capitalist economics, presumably involving communal, common-ownership of all property, not just the means-of-production.

While Bookchin and friends in the ISE may have recognized that communal societies like those of the FEC represent a peaceful means of attaining communism’s communal “worker’s paradise,” without the intermediary step of class-conflict and the seizing of State power, their neglecting to present and discuss this truth indicates an ISE bias against communal society. Note that the ISE almost never mentions the FEC in anything they do. In this intellectual conflict, the ISE buries the truth of the matter under a pile of “Bookchin communes;” the truth being that small-scale, voluntary communal societies skip the violent part of communism’s first stage and go directly to communism’s second stage of non-monetary, time-based, communal economics.

Truth is that the nature of the second stage of Marxist Communism is utopian, and has been attained in small-scale communal society, best represented by Twin Oaks Community and the FEC. Therefore, it would be reasonable to cede the issue of the use of the term “commune” to the ISE, and restrict reference to the FEC and similar societies to the terms “communal” and “communalism,” while refusing use of the term “communism” in reference to any peaceful communal society. To clarify, in the School of Intentioneering: “communism” refers to violent, revolutionary militarism against capitalism and especially fascism; “commune” refers to ISE style decentralized, democratic-capitalism; and “communal” refers to common ownership of property in any form, from indigenous tribal traditions, to communal intentional communities, to the intellectual commons and open-source technology.

20th century neo-liberal market capitalism saw 19th century political-economic theory develop from the nation-state scale to a global economic system. Today, democratic-capitalism and democratic-socialism are essentially synonymous, both referring to various aspects of market capitalism regulated in the interest of social needs and economic justice, such as: “Keynesian economics,” the “welfare state,” the “Nordic model,” and the “social-market economy.” Another private-property oriented, capitalist reform movement is called “geonomics” or “Georgism,” named after Henry George, who based his economic reforms on the rather arcane yet essential foundation of capitalism called “economic rent.” Geonomics affirms that individuals own what they produce, while everything in nature, especially land yet also the electro-magnetic spectrum (i.e., “airwaves”), and the knowledge commons, is ethically “owned” in common by all humanity. The fairest method for sharing natural wealth is via the capture of economic rent for the use of society, rather than it being claimed by landowners and other capitalists. On the small scale, the land-value tax (LVT) and community land trusts (CLT), along with large-scale government programs such as auctioning the airwaves to broadcasters, utilize aspects of Georgist theory, all as forms of democratic-capitalism.

Gender Equality against Patriarchy and Property

The missing piece required for an Age of Equality is egalitarian religion, which then along with political equality can together support economic equality. The ultimate form of equality is communal society, and among these, the Federation of Egalitarian Communities goes the furthest in structuring time-based economies using no money internally, instead using labor systems for the production of both income for trade with the outside-world monetary economy, and for internal production of services including food, housing, transport, healthcare and childcare, valuing all labor which benefits the community equally. In this way domestic labor often performed by women is valued equally with all labor traditionally done by men. In fact, when “All Labor Is Valued Equally!” (ALIVE!) barn-cleaners are rewarded the same as business managers, as all members have the same access to community resources by virtue of their membership, which is conditional upon their observance of community norms and especially participation in the community’s labor system. In their statements-of-religious-belief the two largest Federation communities, Twin Oaks and East Wind, both affirm the intent to confront and eliminate: classism, racism, ageism, patriarchy and other forms of oppression. Through management by participatory governance of a time-based economy, egalitarian communalism shows the furthest extreme of the ideal of equality, in which governmental equality and egalitarian religion, in the forms of Material Spirituality and Partnership Spirituality, together support economic equality in society. (See: http://www.theFEC.org)

Since language affects thought, and it is helpful when our language reflects our values, the New York City feminist writer Mary Orovan proposed in 1970 that people replace the use of gendered pronouns, like he/him and she/her when not knowing or avoiding the gender or preferred gender reference for another person, with the gender-neutral pronoun “co.” Twin Oaks Community started this practice the year after Orovan suggested it, and it has been practiced sporadically over the decades by people in the Federation communities. The possessive version, replacing his and hers, is “cos.” When people use the pronoun as a noun, as in “All you good cos,” that use is considered to be slang. “Co” is particularly suited for use as it appears in the prefix of terms referring to different types of intentional community such as: cohousing, coliving, cohouseholding, and cofamily. Further supporting the use of the gender-neutral “co” is its appearance in the first syllable of many terms such as: coequal, coexist, cohere, cohort, colleague, collective, common, communal, commune, community, compassion, compersion, complicated, comrade, convoluted, cooperative, …

Time-Based Economics for the Common Good

While communalism provides an immersive experience in the sharing lifestyle, few people choose it for their lifetime. Like the Greek philosopher Plato visiting Pythagoras’ communal philosophical school when he was dispirited by Athenian politics, becoming inspired with Pythagorean political-social theory and returning to Athens newly energized to found his own philosophical school, the Academe, and write a study of political-philosophy called The Republic, many people today find similar inspiration upon visiting egalitarian communal society. For one example, after twelve years in the Federation communities the present author has founded the School of Intentioneering (SoI) to clarify and systematize the methods of teaching about intentional community, and has written The Intentioneer’s Bible (TIBible) as an alternative, non-competitive, non-capitalist history of Western tribalism and civilization, focused upon gifting and sharing cultures. The School of Intentioneering serves to set specific definitions of terms used for intentional communities in order to resolve the confusion caused by people playing fast-and-lose with the terminology, while the TIBible presents a history of utopian thought and movements through the ages.

The many economic forms of intentional community range from common-ownership-only communalism to economically-diverse community land trusts, to shared-private-property cooperatives, cohousing, and class-harmony intentional community. All of these use various forms of time-based economies when people work for the common good.

Time-based economics is also used outside of intentional community in the dominant culture as forms of labor exchanges, often as part of local currencies, and in structured Time-Dollar computerized accounting systems, and now in Mutual-Aid Networks (MANs) utilizing freely available Internet applications like Zoom for meetings, and Slack for mutual-aid work-group communication, education, and coordination, in the context of a group-communication process called “authentic relating.”

Cofamily Alternative to Marriage and the Nuclear Family

Small groups of adults who are not related, working, playing, and living together, typically form as a result of their common interests, needs, values, or ideals, a sense of “family” outside of the usual bonds of marriage and of shared family DNA. As such people develop a set of affinities, it may be said that a “cofamily” results.

Three-to-nine mostly unrelated persons (note: when they are all related that is an “extended family”) making commitments to each other similar to those in traditional families, can result in mutual-aid among unrelated adults for creating and maintaining clan-like support for child and elder care, housing, transportation, maintenance, and other needs. Such non-traditional families especially provide an alternative for women who may be considering an abortion due to a lack of traditional family support for their pregnancy, birthing, and child-raising.

The term “cofamily” is offered for referring to non-traditional family designs, as distinguished from the traditional forms of family, including: single-parent family, nuclear family, serially-monogamous, blended and extended families. While restricting use of the term to refer to three-to-nine persons, with or without children, the “co” prefix in “cofamily” is unspecified as it can mean: cooperative, complex, collective, compound, communal, composite, community, combined, compersion, or even complicated family! Also, a cofamily can be nested within a larger intentional community, such as an ecovillage, a housing cooperative, cohousing, a communal society, or a community land trust, as a “nested cofamily.” And further, a cofamily may be comprised of married couples, or of a polyamorous group, or of unattached individuals.

The following information compiled from U.S. Census reports and other sources provides background for the need to recognize cofamilies as a viable alternative to traditional family types:

1. For all households, including single-parents, the average number of family members dropped from about 3.6 people in 1967 to about 2.5 people in 2016.

2. About 23 percent of the population of the United States is children under the age of 18.

3. Over a third of all women with more than one child had them with more than one father, called “multiple-partner fertility.”

4. The number of married-adult households has been dropping to now about half of all households.

5. The number of adults living alone has been steadily rising to now nearly a third of all households.

6. Births to unmarried women comprised 40% of all births in 2014, resulting in about a quarter of all households being of single-parent families, with half of all single-parent children living in poverty.

(See: “Families and Living Arrangements.” United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 17, 2016, from:  http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/adults.html, tables: AD-3a, and http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/households.html > Households > Table HH-6;

See also: “America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2016.” Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. Retrieved December 17, 2016, from: http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/glance.asp > America’s Children at a Glance > Demographic Background > Children as a percentage of the population; and http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/glance.asp

See also: Guzzo, K. B. (2014). New partners, more kidshttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4182921/; Logan, C., Manlove, J., Ikramullah, E., & Cottingham, S. (2006, November). Men who father children with more than one womanhttp://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/2006-10MultiplePartnerFertility.pdf; Martin, M. (Host). (2011, April 19). Multiple partner families …National Public Radio News. Washington D.C. Retrieved October 9, 2015, from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=135541549)

There is a clear benefit to society of the non-traditional cofamily in helping to keep children and their parents out of poverty, and potentially also in reducing the incidence of abortion, as people work together to support each other in what is sometimes called “partnership culture.” (See: Riane Eisler, The Partnership Way, 1998) There is also a clear benefit to the individual of having a clan-like home comprised of like-minded people who are mutually supportive, caring, and nurturing. In this way the cofamily becomes the basic building-block of the “Communitarian Dream.”

Integrating Immanence and Transcendence in Partnership Spirituality

The Judeo-Christian spiritual tradition has evolved over time, with a contemporary trend in the Religious Left toward an alignment with ecological and egalitarian values. While the Christian Religious Right affirms a patriarchal Trinitarian monotheism and the domination of nature by humanity, Partnership Spirituality affirms a Binarian monotheism emphasizing a balance of opposites. Such a balance involves elevating traditionally female gender-roles to parity with male gender-roles, such as through time-based economics, and especially by elevating management of the natural commons to parity with the management of the monetary economy, such as in: the Green New Deal, solidarity economics, Martinez-Alier’s ecological economics, and Bookchin’s social ecology.

Patriarchal Judaism was set against ancient matriarchal culture in part so that men could keep track of who were their own sons for purposes of inheritance, among other things; yet Hebrew women’s spirituality avoided being entirely subsumed by that patriarchy. While the Early Christian Church was initially substantially led by women, orthodox Catholicism later almost entirely subsumed women under their patriarchy. Today, the blending of the Judeo-Christian tradition with women’s spirituality and earth-centered pagan, Native American, and liberal-religious traditions serves to create a balance of patriarchy and matriarchy in a Partnership Spirituality. Balancing the traditions of transcendent, revelatory religion with immanent, mystical religion is the process of “intentioneering” a preferred spiritual-religious tradition affirming an ecological lifestyle within an egalitarian, partnership culture, while the common terms for such uniting of opposing principles are: synthesis and syncretism.

Political, Economic, and Religious Pluralism in Unitarian Universalism (UUism)

Liberal-progressive politics, economics, and religion working together uphold democratic governance, economic solidarity, partnership society, ecological sustainability, and individual and cultural self-determination. Dan McKanan of the Harvard Divinity School states in Prophetic Encounters: Religion and the American Radical Tradition that “religious ideas, institutions, and practices have always been intertwined with radical activism, …” The Religious Left, including interfaith groups, multi-faith UUism, progressive Protestants and Catholics, Jews, Moslems, Sikhs, Pagans, and others, has championed anti-slavery, anti-war, anti-death penalty, anti-nuclear power and energy, and pro-women’s rights, economic solidarity, ecological responsibility, and Earth-based spirituality. (McKanan, 2010, pp. 2-8, 11-15, 163, 187, 271, 276-77)

In the same way, the Religious Left, in particular Unitarian Universalism, can champion intentional community as methods of economic self-help and political self-determination. The Unitarian Universalist Association refers to its multi-faith spirituality as “religious pluralism,” while the idea of the UUA championing intentional community may be an expansion of its identity toward a political-economic-religious pluralism.

Egalitarian religion provides a balance of divergent concepts of spiritual ideals toward an age of equality and ecology. In this new age, partnership culture merges feminine and masculine religious expressions, and integrates the natural commons economics with monetary economics through democratic-capitalism or democratic-socialism, which ever term is preferred. Affirming both common-property and private-property systems in partnership culture provides for different lifestyle options during one’s lifetime, reducing stress and conflict by providing choice. Elevating women’s spirituality to partnership with male-oriented religion is a strategy for emphasizing environmental and social responsibility. Traditionally, “God is Love” and “Goddess is Wisdom,” and together they create a Partnership Spirituality. We say it is so, then for us, so it is!

www.Intentioneers.net

Toward an Age of Equality in Partnership Culture – Part 1

A Countercultural Religious Left response to the Dominant Culture’s Religious Right

***

A. Allen Butcher • The School of Intentioneering • Denver, Colorado • November 4, 2020

http://www.Intentioneers.netAllenInUtopia@consultant.com • over 16,000 words in 5 Parts

For definitions of terms and explanations of concepts see the glossary at the end of Part 5.

***

Toward an Age of Equality – Part 1 of 5 – Resolving Culture and Gender Wars with Partnership Theory

Partnership of Opposites: Common Solution to both Culture War and Gender Conflict

Gifting and sharing lifestyles through the millennia is a long and fascinating story. As a teenager I wanted to learn how people can live in cooperation as opposed to competition, yet as I looked for ways to learn about deliberate or intentional human community, in which people of similar values agree to live together as opposed to circumstantial community where people with differing values just happen to live in close proximity, I found that my interest was not taught anywhere in much depth. There were and are many gifting and sharing traditions in the world, and many stories about them, yet no comprehensive source on the topic, so I thought to create such a resource, a project which has now occupied much of my adult life.

It took me forty years to complete the first edition of a 1,000-page book (over a half-million words, available as an Amazon ebook) about human cooperation which I titled The Intentioneer’s Bible; hopefully someday to appear in print as a second edition with additional history and analysis. The most general and perhaps most profound practical and philosophical conclusion from that study is the concept of “Partnership” as a unified-field-theory of human culture.

While opposites and differences abound in human culture, leading to much rivalry and conflict, the solution of mutual respect and tolerance for differences is to focus upon the preference for unity, through practicing partnership-awareness. Partnership as a theory of preferred cultural design is advanced as a working or evolving solution to the greatest sources of anguish through the ages: patriarchy and property. As patriarchy must be balanced with matriarchy for a partnership culture, so also is gifting and sharing of labor and property balanced against private property and competition in the application of partnership theory in political-economic systems.

The second edition of The Intentioneer’s Bible will further explore partnership theory. While the German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel popularized his famous concept of process theory as thesis + antithesis = synthesis, partnership theory accommodates multiple perspectives, not just two forming a third. While Partnership theory can be used to resolve opposites, it can also be considered non-dual and without dichotomy, for realizing unity-in-diversity and holism. (See Eisler: centerforpartnership.org)

I searched for and included in The Intentioneer’s Bible all the best stories I could find about the counterculture and its use of time-based economics in intentional community, and contrasted that with a rendition of the dominant culture’s development of monetary economics. Of the great number of communitarian or intentioneering theories and experiences presented in The Intentioneer’s Bible, the best-known names associated with gifting and sharing lifestyles are Jesus and Marx. In my writing I associate Karl Marx with political-economic theories and systems, and Jesus of Nazareth with religion and family life (see the last section of Part V – Communitarian Mysticism).

Of course, Jesus and Marx approach the idea of a cooperative, collective, communal, sustainable, symbiotic, or solidarity lifestyle from different cultural orientations. While at the time of Jesus of Nazareth the Romans had invented concrete and had built massively impressive structures with it, even the simple technology of the wheel barrow had not yet been invented, and most people lived an agrarian lifestyle with many traditional forms of gifting and sharing. The Industrial Revolution was developing at the time of Karl Marx, with human culture becoming ever more isolated from the natural world and from humanity’s gifting and sharing traditions. Ethical and spiritual lifestyles were not seen to be relevant to competitive industrialism and so those values became increasingly hard to find and live, although never entirely forgotten in at least Western Civilization. In fact, the entire history of competitive Western Civilization has a culture of cooperation running parallel to it, one telling of which I have written in The Intenioneer’s Bible as an alternative history of Western Civilization.

Much has been learned about cooperation in the competitive world, and against all odds people have continually built upon the cooperative and communal theories and practices created before them, from that written in the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible to that of egalitarian-communal cultures, to where now there exist effective solutions to the two primary challenges of communal society, specifically: labor systems and family life.

How humans have organized work and family has changed through the ages. Through much of our prehistory female-centric matriarchal society was the norm, until men decided to turn the tables and create male-centric patriarchal culture. While women are credited with inventing agriculture and the domestic arts of weaving, pottery, food preparation, healthcare, and childcare, men were building buildings and other structures, and making weapons for hunting and for defending the buildings and other property they claimed, usually including their wives, children, and often also slaves. The Judeo-Christian-Islamic patriarch Abraham, who lived sometime between 2000 and 1900 B.C.E., is given credit for establishing the patriarchal tradition in Western Civilization.

While the paleo-anthropologists Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin explain in their book People of the Lake: Mankind and its Beginnings how primitive tribal cultures practicing “reciprocal altruism” in the late Neolithic Age of East Africa were cooperative rather than competitive (Leakey & Lewin, pp. 120, 136-9), and the archeo-mythologist Marija Gimbutas shows in The Living Goddesses that also during and after the late Neolithic era, circa 7000 to 3000 B.C.E. the human society of Southern and Eastern Europe was most likely matriarchal (Gimbutas, 2001, p. 112), the cultural historian and futurist Riane Eisler interprets in her book The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future the evidence that pre-patriarchal, matriarchal cultures may not have lived a female-dominate gender hierarchy, instead more likely a gender-partnership culture. (Eisler, pp. 24-5)

Social Change and the Culture Wars

Ethical teachings, both within and separate from religion, can serve to orient people to the joy of gifting and sharing lifestyles as opposed to the stress of competition, by identifying, advocating, and celebrating those political-economic-social systems and practices that uphold and advance our highest spiritual ideals and ethical values, whether within or separate from the dominant, competitive culture. Such systems and practices are typically found in the counterculture of alternative institutions, involving: ecological principles and sustainability in energy production, food, housing, etc; participatory forms of governance from consensus to democratic decentralism as practiced in public budgeting, neighborhood-level citizen councils, and intentional communities; commons-management as a political-economic model; credit unions and public banks replacing for-profit private banks; worker ownership and control of businesses; communal time-based, labor-gifting and labor-sharing systems replacing competitive monetary systems for making domestic services, income labor, and all other work that benefits the communal society equal for women and men; and the rejection of patriarchal culture including patriarchal religion, through affirming a gender-equal Partnership Spirituality.

The competitive, dominant culture is not divorced entirely from the gifting-and-sharing-lifestyles counterculture; it appreciates these alternatives at least to the degree that they uphold and perpetuate monetary economics, particularly during recoveries from natural and human-made disasters. Parallel to the dominant culture is always a counterculture creating gifting and sharing alternatives, and expressing values and world-views in ways that contrast with and even challenge the status quo of competitive culture. Essentially, there is a time for quiet organizing and for building cross-cultural, class-harmony coalitions of the dominant and the alternative cultures, and a time for nonviolent resistance to the dominant culture’s destruction of human cultural diversity and the ecological tragedy of species extinction. Whether there is also a time for civil disobedience and violent resistance to the self-destructive aspects of one’s own culture is a question of each person’s ethical limits and breaking points.

Cultural creativity generated by individuals and small groups of people to meet their needs or desires has historically been a primary driver of progressive change. This can be done in various ways, including: internal pressure by members of the dominant culture to evolve or subvert the destructive aspects of various institutions, such as by supporting life-affirming political platforms, or through the academic system where innovative instructors use the power of grades and degrees over students to direct their attention to alternatives; by people in the dominant culture appropriating or borrowing, then adapting and diffusing, social innovations developed in the counterculture, which may then become “counter institutions” which meet people’s needs when the dominant culture either cannot or will not; and by the power of the example of model societies which adopt and develop alternatives, whether already in the larger culture or actually originated by innovative, experimental societies, which is a strategy for change sometimes called “pre-figurative politics.”

In many cases, huge leaps from the status quo into the unknown of culture change is not practical, as such personal upheavals can lead to cognitive dissonance, causing unhealthy stress and anxiety when people, now in different circumstances, keep trying to hold on to familiar ways of doing things when those ways are no longer appropriate. In some cases, slow and steady incremental changes in consciousness, moving people only small steps at a time, can be the best way to make progress toward progressive goals. Failure to be sensitive to people’s level of cognitive awareness and emotional status when creating change can lead to counter-productive resistance and conflict, often called “reactionism.”

In other cases, some people may be ready and able to make flying leaps into experimental societies, applying their highest ethical values and spiritual ideals in their chosen lifestyle. The risk is of suffering the loss of idealism, time, and energy if the experiment fails, versus enjoying the most desirable lifestyle that humans can create should the cultural experiment succeed. Often, people leave communal society and other forms of intentional community when their personal needs and wants eclipse their attachment to the idealism that originally brought them to community.

The culture wars in at least America are typically fueled by the rise of cultural alternatives challenging the status quo, while for its part the status quo attempts to hold on to its prerogatives and hegemonic cultural dominance in the face of changing times. To avoid this problem, it can be helpful to encourage communication among people about social change on their own level of understanding or awareness, otherwise they are liable to simply turn their backs on and walk away from and ignore the messenger, or worse.

While it is not likely to be true in every case, reaching cultural conservatives of the Religious Right on their level may require the addressing of issues first on the basis of religious belief, and so building a Partnership Spirituality through the Religious Left becomes the method for the counterculture to express and advocate its egalitarian values in the face of the currently-dominant culture of patriarchal, authoritarian, unified-belief, religious conservatism.

The religious transition of the dominant culture from patriarchy to partnership may be most effectively carried out NOT by creating an entirely new and different awareness and experience of religious-based gender-partnership, instead it may be most effective to evolve the dominant religion toward gender-equality using appropriate aspects of the dominant culture’s established beliefs and practices. This is essentially how aspects of Judaism were spread through non-Jewish, polytheistic cultures like European pagans becoming Christian, and Middle-Eastern pagan Arabs becoming Islamic. While monotheism was likely a big change for pagans, the patriarchal aspects of Greco-Roman culture were not threatened and instead enhanced by the concept of a single male god.

At its origin, and as it grew, the Christian belief system adopted many aspects of other religious and philosophical traditions, including: Judaism, Stoicism, Gnosticism, Persian Dualism, and Paganism. In the same way, a non-Abrahamic, Partnership Spirituality may be created today out of the Judeo-Christian tradition similar to how Christianity grew out of the mixture of Judaism and other religious traditions.

The idea of induced religious evolution is similar to James Davison Hunter’s suggestion, written in his 1991 book, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America, that the dominant culture’s affirmation of its conservative moral authority is challenged by progressivism’s efforts, “to resymbolize historic faiths according to the prevailing assumptions of contemporary life.” Notice Hunter’s term, “resymbolize.” Riane Eisler uses a very similar term, “re-mything,” in her 1987 book, The Chalice and the Blade, in which she states that Judaism re-wrote the “sacred stories, along with the rewriting of codes of law [which] was still going on as late as 400 B.C.E., when scholars tell us Hebrew priests last rewrote the Hebrew Bible.” (i.e., The Old Testament of the Bible) In the same way it is now to us to resymbolize and re-myth patriarchal religion for the creation of Partnership Spirituality. (Eisler, p. 85; Hunter, pp. 44-5)

Around the eighth or ninth centuries B.C.E. as Eisler explains, the Elohim school of Hebrew priests in the northern Kingdom of Israel, and the Jahweh school in the southern Kingdom of Judea, had “reworked Babylonian and Canaanite myths, as well as Hebraic history, to suit their purposes.” Among those “purposes” was patriarchy, which was justified through the creation of a male-dominant monotheistic religion. It was the later Priestly school around 400 B.C.E. in Palestine which, as Eisler quotes the biblical scholars who annotated the Dartmouth Bible as saying, that the Jewish priests intended to “translate into reality the blueprint for a theocratic state.” In the same way it is now to us to re-symbolize and re-myth patriarchal religion for the creation of Partnership Spirituality. (Eisler, p. 85; Manuel & Manuel, 1979, p. 35)

N. K. Sandars suggests how the writers of the Torah, which became the Old Testament of the Bible, probably knew of earlier myths and likely adapted them for their design of Judaism. Considering the Great Flood in the Book of Genesis Sandars states, “There has been much controversy on the question of the relationship between the Genesis flood and that of the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Sumerian writers. … the view that it derives directly from a very old and independent history [i.e., independent of Jewish priests] has many supporters. … the Genesis account is probably best seen against a background of many very ancient flood stories, possibly but not necessarily relating to the same disaster …” Sandars notes that “the Sumerians were the first literate inhabitants of Mesopotamia,” and that the ancient stories comprising the Epic of Gilgamesh, including that of a Great Flood, were “probably written down in the first centuries of the second millennium B.C.” This is surprisingly about the same time that Abraham’s family left the City of Ur for the wilderness of Palestine. Sandars continues, “The Gilgamesh Epic must have been widely known in the second millennium B.C., for a version has been found in the archives of the Hittite imperial capital … while a small but important fragment from Megiddo in Palestine points to the existence of a Canaanite or later Palestinian version, and so to the possibility that early Biblical authors were familiar with the story.” (Sandars, pp. 8, 12, 14, 18, 105-10)

Joseph Campbell provides an example of an ancient myth that was later adapted for part of what we know as the Garden of Eden myth. Campbell states in The Power of Myth: Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers, “We have Sumerian seals from as early as 3500 B.C.E. showing the serpent and the tree and the goddess, with the goddess giving the fruit of life to a visiting male. The old mythology of the goddess is right there.” (Campbell, p. 47)

As Jewish priests re-mythed the earlier matriarchal-culture foundations in their design of patriarchal culture, so can the Religious Left today re-symbolize the Judeo-Christian myths and culture to create egalitarian Partnership Spirituality.

While at present the dominant culture is conservative in religion, politics, and economics, things change as the pendulum-of-culture is always swinging from one extreme to the other. When the desire is to push the cultural pendulum to the left the need is to devise a world-view, a lifestyle, and a cultural paradigm to affirm at least: cooperation, intentional community, commons economics, ecological sustainability, racial justice, and partnership culture. To make such changes, all aspects of society and culture may be brought into play in a way that aligns each toward complimentary cultural goals.

To address cultural change on at least the levels of economics, politics, and religion there are a number of issues to be addressed. Considering these three aspects of culture together recognizes that they are interrelated, and so strategies for creating change simultaneously in each are needed. While there are many people working on political-economic changes toward a cooperative, egalitarian culture, there is not as much focus on creating and living a gender-equal religion to support those values. Thus, there is the need to affirm and build a Partnership Spirituality.

***

Glossary of Terms and Concepts used in the School of Intentioneering

Methods of Domestic Sharing:

Matriarchy — all or most property is owned by women who are head-of-the-household, inheriting family names and property. Typically, siblings grow up together in large households headed by a matriarch. Upon adulthood each young woman is given a bedroom in the household with one door opening to the outside and one door opening to an interior space or courtyard of the multi-room women’s house. Upon reaching adulthood the men live outside of the women’s household in smaller male-only housing, becoming male partners of any number of women, with children in different women’s households. The women would know their own children; while the men may never know which children are their own. Men run the businesses that support the family or extended family. (See: Goettner-Abendroth, 2009 & 2012).

Patriarchy — all or most property is owned by men who are head-of-the-household, inheriting family names and property. Typically, women leave their families to marry and live with their husband’s family, called patrilocal marriage. Monogamous marriage, serial-monogamy, blended families, polygamous families, and extended families, may all be headed by a patriarch. In some patriarchal cultures men essentially own women and girls like with all other property. In many patriarchal cultures women have to win and maintain their right to own property, own businesses, participate in governance, and lead religious institutions.

Partnership — property is owned by women, by men, or in common. Gender-equality is practiced in governance, business, and domestic home-life. Gender-equal or egalitarian marriage, serial-marriage, polyamory, or cofamily may be practiced.

Polyamorous families — women and/or men have two or more intimate partners, whether all of the involved adults live together or separately. The pleasure in seeing one’s partner enjoying being with their plural partners is called “compersion,” a term coined by the polyfidelitous Kerista Commune in 1970s San Francisco.

Cofamilies — three-to-nine, non-related people, with or without children, living in community. Women and men in cofamilies may or may not have polyamorous multiple intimate partners within the group. When a cofamily forms within or joins a larger intentional community, whether communal, cohousing, land trust, ecovillage, cooperative, etc, they are called a “nested cofamily.”

Cohousing — involves the sharing of privately-owned property with no or minimal commonly-owned property. The “common house” in cohousing is not owned-in-common, it is legally a form of private ownership called “undivided interest,” and is surrounded by the privately-owned housing units. The community is typically structured as a condominium or housing cooperative. Gender-equality is typically practiced in the governance structure of the cohousing community.

Ecovillage — a traditional village or an intentional community, either minimizing its impact on the natural world or enhancing the symbiosis of human and nonhuman living things, by incorporating ecological and sustainable features and practices, often called “permaculture.”

Methods of Sharing the Means-of-Production:

Communal—although this term has various dictionary definitions, in the School of Intentioneering it is used exclusively to refer to the common ownership of property and wealth, whether the governance structure is authoritarian or participatory.

Democratic decentralism—participatory governance for large numbers of people like towns divided into neighborhoods, with each having separate decision-making bodies, all sending representatives to a central coordinating body. This is basically how the Federation or FEC is organized, although those communities are not contiguous and instead are some distance from each other, while the largest communal societies tend toward subdividing in this way as well. Representatives of neighborhoods or communities may be delegated the authority to make decisions as they think is best for their constituents in delegate assemblies, or may be limited to only casting votes in representative assemblies according to instructions received from their constituents. Although they all mean the same thing, the term “democratic decentralism” is used in the School of Intentioneering in part to differentiate from the terms with the same meaning used by the Institute for Social Ecology, including: “confederal municipalism,” “democratic confederalism,” and the French meaning of “commune.”

Egalitarian Communalism — the furthest expression of gender partnership in which all property is owned and controlled in common by women and men, including the means-of-production. Community-ownership or common-ownership, with women and men sharing all domestic and other labor, and facilitating gender-equality in governance, is the most egalitarian social structure. Communal members may or may not form families, cofamiles, or polyamorous relationships within the communal society.

Worker-Ownership — the means-of-production, or capital, is owned in common and profits are shared. Shared governance with open bookkeeping or transparent accounting is usually practiced.

Land Commons — “the commons” is the natural and cultural resources shared by all. In traditional societies this may be practically everything, while for the present private-property system legal designs have been created to protect various forms of commons, from land, to the electro-magnetic spectrum, to open-source knowledge. The land commons may be protected: by governments, such as for maintaining parks and waterways, or by taxing for the public good via the land-value tax (LVT) that portion of land value created not by the land owner, instead by society through population density and government services; or by private organizations called conservation land trusts for keeping land wild; or by community land trusts (CLT) for housing, schools, businesses, self-reliant homesteads, etc.

Class-Harmony Community — the means-of-production and usually most property is owned by an individual or small-group, while others rent property from the (hopefully) benevolent owners. Tenants may be individuals, families, or cofamilies.

**End of Part 1 of 5**

Portions of this article were previously published in the author’s 2016 e-book The Intentioneer’s Bible

(see: Amazon.com), and other portions are to appear in the author’s forthcoming book.

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Hertzler, Joyce Oramel. (1926). The history of utopian thought. New York: The MacMillan Company.

Hunter, James Davison. (1991). Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America. New York: Harper Collins.

Hyams, Edward. (1973). The millennium postponed: Socialism from Sir Thomas More to Mao Tse-Tung. New York: Meridian New American Library.

Kinkade, Kathleen. (1972). A Walden Two experiment: The first five years of Twin Oaks Community (2nd Ed.). Louisa, VA: Twin Oaks Community, Inc.

Knauer, Kelly (Ed.). (2010). Secret societies: Decoding the myths and facts of history’s most mysterious organizations. New York: Time, Inc.

Kramnick, Isaac. (2001, December 19). Is God a Republican? Why politics is dangerous for religion. The American Prospect. Washington, D.C.: American Prospect, Inc.

Leakey, R. & Lewin R. (1978). People of the lake: Mankind & its beginnings. New York: Avon Books.

Lieblich, Amia. (2002). “Women and the changing Israeli Kibbutz: A Preliminary three-stage theory” pp. 81-2. The Journal of Israeli history, vol. 21:1. pp. 63-84. 

London Co-operative society. The London co-operative magazine. London, England: Knight and Lacey. Retrieved August 19, 2017 from https://catalog.hathitrut.org/Record/000516769

Manuel, Frank (Ed.). (1965). Utopias and utopian thought. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Manuel, F. & Manuel, F. (1979). Utopian thought in the Western world. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.

McKanan, Dan. (20100). Prophetic encounters: Religion and the American radical tradition. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

Morgan, Arthur. (1944). Edward Bellamy: A biography of the author of “Looking Backward.” New York: Columbia University of Press.

Morgan, Arthur. (1946). Nowhere was somewhere: How history makes utopias and how utopias make history. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

Oved, Yaacov. (1988). Two hundred years of American communes. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.

Patai, Raphael. (1967). The Hebrew Goddess. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press.

Pew Research. (2019, October 17). In U.S., decline of Christianity continues at rapid pace. Retrieved April 15, 2020 from https://www.pewforum.org/2019/10/17/in-u-s-decline-of-christianity-continues-at-rapid-pace/

Pitzer, Donald E. (Ed). (1997). America’s communal utopias. Chapel Hill, NC: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

Rems, Emily. (2003 winter). “Ecovillage people.” BUST magazine. http://thefec.org/about/media/bust–magazine

Rexroth, Kenneth. (1974). Communalism: From its origins to the twentieth century. New York: Seabury Press.

Sandars, N. K. (1965). The epic of Gilgamesh. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books. (Original published 1960)

Skinner, B. F. (2005). Walden Two. New York: Mc-Millan. (Original work published 1948)

Tucker, Robert C. (Ed.). (1987). The Marx-Engels Reader (2nd Ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Wagner, Jon. (1982). Sex roles in contemporary American communes. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Walters, Kerry. (2011). Revolutionary deists: Early America’s rational infidels. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

Weatherford, Jack. (1994). Savages and civilization: Who will survive? New York: Fawcett Columbine.

Weatherford, Jack. (2004). Genghis Khan and the making of the modern world. New York: Broadway Books.

Weatherford, Jack. (2010). The secret history of the Mongol queens: How the daughters of Genghis Khan rescued his empire. New York: Random House.

Toward an Age of Equality in Partnership Culture – Part 2

A Countercultural Religious Left response to the Dominant Culture’s Religious Right

***

A. Allen Butcher • The School of Intentioneering • Denver, Colorado • November 4, 2020

http://www.Intentioneers.netAllenInUtopia@consultant.com • over 16,000 words in 5 Parts

For definitions of terms and explanations of concepts see the glossary at the end of Part 5.

***

Toward an Age of Equality ­– Part 2 of 5 ­– The Communal Ideal

The Mix of Politics, Economics, and Religion

There is good reason to value the separation of church and state on many levels, in part because the two have very similar natures, and thus the two working together are able to concentrate great wealth and power. Both religion and politics range from authoritarian, unified-belief systems on the Religious Right, to diverse, inclusive systems on the Religious Left. The dichotomy is between orthodox, conservative religious culture aligning with centralized, plutocratic and oligarchic governance at one end of the spectrum, to multi-faith, liberal-religious pluralism with democratic decentralism and other forms of participatory governance on the other end of the spectrum. A quote by Mohandas Gandhi summarizes this basic dynamic: “I do not believe the spiritual law works on a field of its own. On the contrary, it expresses itself only through the ordinary activities of life. It thus affects the economic, the social, and the political fields.” (Breton & Largent, frontispiece)

When politics and religion work together they can be a strong influence upon the culture in many ways, especially negatively as through the oppression of political dissent and of lifestyle alternatives, since orthodox religion provides the justification for unified-belief systems, political authoritarianism, and patriarchal culture. Yet politics and religion can also be strong positive influences upon culture when used to uphold and advance participatory governance, economic solidarity, partnership society, ecological sustainability, and individual and cultural self-determination. This perspective on positive and negative influences is typically reversed by cultural conservatives.

Dan McKanan states in his 2011 book Prophetic Encounters: Religion and the American Radical Tradition that, “religious ideas, institutions, and practices have always been intertwined with radical activism. … Indeed,” McKanan writes, “leftist activism is almost a form of religion … [although] radicalism is best described as a sibling of religion rather than a form of religion.” (McKanan, pp. 4, 8)

Campaigns of the Religious Left can and have positively influenced culture, such as historically by: being against slavery and for women’s suffrage, anti-nukes, anti-war, anti-death penalty, for economic solidarity, ecological responsibility, and the acceptance of Earth-based spirituality. (McKanan, pp. 2-7, 11-15, 163, 187, 271, 276-77) Intentional community can certainly be added to the list of methods of economic self-help and political self-determination for a Religious Left campaign. As detailed in The Intentioneer’s Bible the Quaker religious tradition has been the second most engaged in the intentional communities movement, after Catholic monasticism with its nearly 2,000 years of monastic orders. Begun in 17th century England by George Fox, communal groups like the Shakers grew out of Quakerism, and other forms of intentional community afterward, including the community land trust at Celo in North Carolina and in at least the founding of the communal Alpha Farm in Oregon. Today the Quakers are not as actively involved in the communitarian movement, leaving opportunities for Unitarian Universalism to accept the communitarian baton and run with it as a social justice campaign of political-economic-religious self-determination.

Yet politics and religion do not mix perfectly, as it has been found in America that the greater force is politics. This was determined by some in the Religious Right in recent decades who expressed the realization that, “When you mix politics and religion, all you get as a result is more politics.” And this is not a new idea, since in the 1850s a group of Catholic bishops published a statement saying, “when religious leaders enter into electoral politics, it is more likely that religion will be debased than that politics will be elevated.” (Kramnick, 2001) Of course, none of that has prevented either religious conservatives or liberals from engaging in politics, yet it does suggest the need to be aware of the potential for both liberals and conservatives to sink ever deeper into the muck when either tries to drain the swamp. Recognizing the risk, it is helpful to analyze how cultural change has evolved in the past. For an introduction to that discussion consider first political-economic change, and then consider change in religious beliefs.

The same time that the American Declaration of Independence was written in 1776, Adam Weishaupt (1748-1830) in Europe published the founding document for an association which was then spread in secret through the Masonic Orders. Being a Mason, Thomas Jefferson, the third American president, was familiar with Weishaupt’s work. Weishaupt’s idea was for a third cultural power-center to arise in opposition to that of church and state. At the time, politics and religion were unified in the Holy Roman Empire (962 C.E.-1806), and to break that cultural monopoly Weishaupt and friends began an organization of newly-wealthy business owners wanting to resist Imperial power by creating a third economic power-center. Weishaupt taught Catholic church law at the University of Ingolstadt in Bavaria, Germany before founding a secret society which he named the “Order of Perfectibilists,” later to take the name “Illuminati.” Adam Weishaupt had been in the Catholic Jesuit Order, and designed his new order with similar grades or levels of initiation. (Durant & Durant, 1967, p. 507; Knauer. 26-7; Walters, p. 270)

Nearly two-and-a-half centuries later, global, transnational, corporate capitalism, more formally called “neo-liberal market capitalism,” is the greatest power in the world, due to those in the corporate hierarchy serving on interlocking corporate boards-of-directors, bending both church and state to the dictates of the economic imperatives defined by the “1%,” as those in the Occupy Movement of the post-Great Recession refer to the people comprising the corporate oligarchy, which can be said to be the modern Illuminati. Adam Weishaupt’s idea has become a global, monolithic force creating great wealth, ecological destruction, protest, poverty, and extinction.

While politics and religion can both be explained as ranging from unified to pluralist systems—which is part of why the two have historically been united—economics is different. As is taught in the author’s School of Intentioneering, the opposite poles of the different forms of economics have to do with the two different forms of ownership of property, ranging from private to common ownership systems. This economic-systems dichotomy of privately-owned versus commonly-owned property relates differently to authoritarianism as found in political oligarchy and religious orthodoxy, than it does to participatory governance practiced in democracy and liberal religion.

Another way to view the many different political-economic systems is to consider that economics involves the different methods of the ownership of property (i.e., private versus common), while politics involves the different methods of controlling property (i.e., authoritarian versus participatory systems). For a graphical representation of these relationships between politics and economics see the paper by the present author, Democracy and Capitalism: Are They Critical Elements of a Climax Human Culture? (Butcher, 1991)

Lamenting the Loss of Tribal Communalism

Communal sharing of material things and labor has always existed as an alternative to the dominant culture of taking things, from land to other forms of wealth, including enslaving people, and exchanging these formerly free and wild things as forms of private property.

The concept of the free and wild “noble savage” has been a romantic notion all through the history of Western Civilization, first recorded in the time of Ancient Greece as the Greeks had colonies on the north shore of the Black Sea where they encountered the nomadic Scythians, a confederation of nomadic tribes of Central Asia from about 700 B.C.E. to about 200 C.E. The Scythians “showed the national character of good temper, plain-living, and justice. … they are well-behaved towards one another, and have all things in common …”  (Morgan, 1946, p. 124)

In his 1946 book Nowhere was Somewhere: How History Makes Utopias and Utopias Make History Arthur Morgan, the founder of the Fellowship of Intentional Communities in 1948-9, quotes an earlier writing by authors Lovejoy and Boas titled Primitivism and Related Ideas (p. 289) explaining, “At least from the 4th century B.C. on, then, the Scythians apparently were to the ancients very much what the North American Indians were to the primitivists of the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries in modern Europe—except that, if anything, they were somewhat more realistically depicted than the American aborigines were.” (Morgan, 1946, p. 126)

Arthur Morgan explains the corruption of primitive cooperation and communalism through the property code and greed of civilization by quoting the Greek historian Strabo in his 1st century B.C.E. book, Geography, saying of the Scythian tribes north of the Black Sea that some of them were cruel while others were humane. Strabo quotes the earlier Greek writers Homer and Hesiod saying, “… life in our manner has spread to almost all peoples a change for the worse, introducing luxury among them, and pleasures and evil practices and countless selfish acts. Hence much of this type of evil has penetrated to the Barbarians …” (Morgan, 1946, p. 124)

Jack Weatherford relates a similar story in his 1994 book Savages and Civilization: Who Will Survive? from an even earlier time, going back to about 2000 B.C.E. The author explains that the ancient Sumerian myth of Gilgamesh presents the same theme of the primitive encountering civilization, to the loss of the former’s simple yet noble lifestyle. As king of the Sumerian city-state Uruk, the semi-mythical Gilgamesh befriends the wild man Enkidu, who succumbs to the ways of civilization, first learning agriculture, then destroying the forest and killing the wild animals to extend the range of cultivated land, until on his deathbed Enkidu regrets and laments “having abandoned his savage life for the luxuries of the city.” Weatherford states that the English word savage actually comes from the Latin word for forest. (Sandars, p. 31; Weatherford, 1994, pp. 113-5, 282)

The loss of communal tribalism is a very old story, continuing today, 4,000 years after the writing of the Epic of Gilgamesh. And the story is similar for people of the First World (i.e., market-based economies) who go native or who live for a while in communal society or other forms of intentional community, which is part of the Fourth World of locally-based economies. For my current book project I have collected statements of former members of communal groups who reminisce about what they experienced and have lost. One is from the late 20th century by an Israeli kibbutz member named Yael who lamented, “For several years now we have been undergoing a gradual process of dismantling the kibbutz. … What sort of place shall we become? What is the red line we shouldn’t cross? … The decisions are made by men, but the burden falls on women. Everything, everything is falling on women. … Now I hear people saying that they wish we could go back in time to have the kibbutz of twenty years ago. We want that old kibbutz! We lost many good things in the transition. Only after the changes were made did we realize how much we lost, the mistakes we made.” (Lieblich, pp. 63, 84)

Keep in mind that not all Late Stone Age nomadic cultures were patriarchal or matriarchal. Many were egalitarian, at least as much as Native American culture can be considered egalitarian. An example is the Scythians. The queen of one of the Scythian tribes, Tomyris, led a coalition of Scythian tribes against the Persian ruler, Cyrus the Great, who had created the greatest empire in the world up to that time, killing Cyrus and destroying his army in 530 B.C.E. Women have served as warriors and even as military leaders, like Tomyris, in many cultures throughout time. The earliest stories of women warrior societies called “Amazons” came from ancient Greek historians familiar with nomadic culture, reinforced today with discovery of ancient Asian nomad grave sites in which female skeletons are found next to weapons.

Jack Weatherford explains why the stories of female “Amazon” warriors came from the east European and Asian steppe, pointing out that while combat with sword and pole arms requires upper-body strength, which men have to a greater degree than women, archery requires more skill and control than strength, and so women can be just as effective mounted archers as men. Weatherford further explains that pastoral nomad children all learned at an early age to ride horses and to use the bow and arrow to protect their herd animals from wolves and other predators. While the girls typically looked after the smaller herd animals like sheep and goats closer to home, the boys would take care of the cows, yaks, and camels over a larger range. (Weatherford, 2010, pp. 120-1)

Girls and women of sedentary agricultural cultures did not usually have similar early training as mounted archers as among nomadic herders, and so fewer would have become women fighters, although there are accounts of women joining the military all through history. Women fighters today are most common in Israel where they are universally conscripted just like men, and among the Kurdish resistance in Syria and Iraq where they constitute an entire military corps called the Women’s Defense Units, comprising about forty-percent of the Kurdish military.

The idea of an all-women “tribe of Amazons” is unlikely in reality. More likely would be women-only warrior societies. Warrior or military societies among men were common, and some women probably joined them, or created their own. Warrior societies were usually created to protect a village or tribe and to attack its enemies, and so were not “tribes” in their own right. The best-known warrior society is the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers of the Northern Great Plains states. The term “dog” in this usage is not a derogatory epithet used by their enemies, it is a chosen name referring to the qualities of guarding, defending, and loyalty of village dogs. The Cheyenne Dog Soldiers played an important role in the defeat of General Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876, and later fought, probably along with other Native American warrior societies, in the American military in most conflicts from World War I and II through the Middle-Eastern Wars, perhaps, one might imagine, even at times supporting the Kurdish Women’s Defense Units. (Hoebel, pp. 38, 129, 131)

,

While the Scythians returned to the steppe after destroying Cyrus II and his army and did not try to conquer his empire, other nomadic and semi-nomadic barbarian peoples deliberately fought to destroy urban life and civilization, typically using, ironically, weapons of metal made in cities. After the Chinese built much of their Great Wall to keep out the barbarian tribes, the Huns turned westward, invading as far as central France by 375 C.E., fighting both the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. The Germanic tribes then finished off the Western Roman Empire by 476 C.E. Later, beginning about 1200, the united Mongol tribes arose from the Asian steppe to destroy several empires, some most people have never heard of, like the Khwarezm of Central Asia. The Mongols destroyed hundreds of cities, towns, and villages, often massacring all the inhabitants. Mongols killed ninety-percent of the Persian people and nearly destroyed the entire Persian culture, like they did the Khwarezm. By the mid-13th century the Mongols had conquered the largest empire ever, stretching from Finland to Korea and Vietnam, laying siege to at least one city on the Adriatic Sea coast of Dalmatia, a region of Croatia. The Mongol hordes had the benefit of Chinese siege weapons and expertise in taking cities, while a later semi-nomadic Turkic people, originally from the Central Asian steppe then pushed westward by the Mongols into Anatolia, now Turkey, called the Ottoman Turks, employed the new Chinese technology of gun-powder-activated cannon. The Ottomans pounded Constantinople day and night for nearly two months before taking the city in 1453, destroying the Byzantine Empire, which had succeeded the Eastern Roman Empire, and changing forever-after the methods of warfare in Western Civilization. (Weatherford, 2004, pp. 121, 167)

The strength of experienced and coordinated tribes of mounted archers was formidable. In America the Comanche, more than any other tribe, were comparable to the Mongols in their skill as mounted warriors and their use of terror as a weapon, as they are credited with preventing the Spanish from claiming the Southern Great Plains and connecting their western territories, California, Mexico, and New Mexico, with their eastern territory in Florida. The Spanish had conquered hundreds of Native American tribes and civilizations, yet could not defeat the Comanche. Santa Fe, New Mexico was settled about the same time as the English settled James Town, Virginia, so the Spanish had the time and motive to conquer eastward, yet the Comanche stopped them at the western edge of the Great Plains, while later also holding the American frontier in East Texas. While the Mongol tribes in Asia numbered about a million people, there were only about 20,000 Comanche, and both owe their success to the horse. It was not until the invention of multi-shot rifles and six-shooter hand-guns during the Civil War that the invading whites finally had a weapons parity with the Indians, who could shoot as many as ten arrows with deadly accuracy in the time that it took to reload a single-shot, muzzle-loaded weapon. (Gwynne, p. 27, 49, 55, 59-60, 71, 172; Weatherford, 2004, p. xviii)

The genocide of the indigenous peoples of the Americas by Christian civilization, was matched by the earlier genocide of civilized peoples by the pagan, tribal Mongols. Genocide is neither simply a civilized nor a primitive tribal problem; genocide is a problem of human competition, conflict, and intolerance. Jack Weatherford writes, “Civilization has produced a savagery far worse than that which we once imputed to primitive tribes. Civilization has made its worst fear come true; it has created the very savagery that it feared and projected onto others for thousands of years. The savages have become internal to civilization. … If we cannot change our course, then our civilization too may become as dead as the stones …, and one day the descendants of some alien civilization will stare at our ruined cities and wonder why we disappeared.” (Weatherford, 1994, p. 291)

***

Glossary of Terms and Concepts used in the School of Intentioneering

Communal—although this term has various dictionary definitions, in the School of Intentioneering it is used exclusively to refer to the common ownership of property and wealth, whether the governance structure is authoritarian or participatory.

Democratic decentralism—participatory governance for large numbers of people like towns divided into neighborhoods, with each having separate decision-making bodies, all sending representatives to a central coordinating body. This is basically how the Federation or FEC is organized, although those communities are not contiguous and instead are some distance from each other, while the largest communal societies tend toward subdividing in this way as well. Representatives of neighborhoods or communities may be delegated the authority to make decisions as they think is best for their constituents in delegate assemblies, or may be limited to only casting votes in representative assemblies according to instructions received from their constituents. Although they all mean the same thing, the term “democratic decentralism” is used in the School of Intentioneering in part to differentiate from the terms with the same meaning used by the Institute for Social Ecology, including: “confederal municipalism,” “democratic confederalism,” and the French meaning of “commune.”

Egalitarian Communalism — the furthest expression of gender partnership in which all property is owned and controlled in common by women and men, including the means-of-production. Community-ownership or common-ownership, with women and men sharing all domestic and other labor, and facilitating gender-equality in governance, is the most egalitarian social structure. Communal members may or may not form families, cofamiles, or polyamorous relationships within the communal society.

Worker-Ownership — the means-of-production, or capital, is owned in common and profits are shared. Shared governance with open bookkeeping or transparent accounting is usually practiced.

Land Commons — “the commons” is the natural and cultural resources shared by all. In traditional societies this may be practically everything, while for the present private-property system legal designs have been created to protect various forms of commons, from land, to the electro-magnetic spectrum, to open-source knowledge. The land commons may be protected: by governments, such as for maintaining parks and waterways, or by taxing for the public good via the land-value tax (LVT) that portion of land value created not by the land owner, instead by society through population density and government services; or by private organizations called conservation land trusts for keeping land wild; or by community land trusts (CLT) for housing, schools, businesses, self-reliant homesteads, etc.

Class-Harmony Community — the means-of-production and usually most property is owned by an individual or small-group, while others rent property from the (hopefully) benevolent owners. Tenants may be individuals, families, or cofamilies.

Methods of Domestic Sharing:

Matriarchy — all or most property is owned by women who are head-of-the-household, inheriting family names and property. Typically, siblings grow up together in large households headed by a matriarch. Upon adulthood each young woman is given a bedroom in the household with one door opening to the outside and one door opening to an interior space or courtyard of the multi-room women’s house. Upon reaching adulthood the men live outside of the women’s household in smaller male-only housing, becoming male partners of any number of women, with children in different women’s households. The women would know their own children; while the men may never know which children are their own. Men run the businesses that support the family or extended family. (See: Goettner-Abendroth, 2009 & 2012).

Patriarchy — all or most property is owned by men who are head-of-the-household, inheriting family names and property. Typically, women leave their families to marry and live with their husband’s family, called patrilocal marriage. Monogamous marriage, serial-monogamy, blended families, polygamous families, and extended families, may all be headed by a patriarch. In some patriarchal cultures men essentially own women and girls like with all other property. In many patriarchal cultures women have to win and maintain their right to own property, own businesses, participate in governance, and lead religious institutions.

Partnership — property is owned by women, by men, or in common. Gender-equality is practiced in governance, business, and domestic home-life. Gender-equal or egalitarian marriage, serial-marriage, polyamory, or cofamily may be practiced.

Polyamorous families — women and/or men have two or more intimate partners, whether all of the involved adults live together or separately. The pleasure in seeing one’s partner enjoying being with their plural partners is called “compersion,” a term coined by the polyfidelitous Kerista Commune in 1970s San Francisco.

Cofamilies — three-to-nine, non-related people, with or without children, living in community. Women and men in cofamilies may or may not have polyamorous multiple intimate partners within the group. When a cofamily forms within or joins a larger intentional community, whether communal, cohousing, land trust, ecovillage, cooperative, etc, they are called a “nested cofamily.”

Cohousing — involves the sharing of privately-owned property with no or minimal commonly-owned property. The “common house” in cohousing is not owned-in-common, it is legally a form of private ownership called “undivided interest,” and is surrounded by the privately-owned housing units. The community is typically structured as a condominium or housing cooperative. Gender-equality is typically practiced in the governance structure of the cohousing community.

Ecovillage — a traditional village or an intentional community, either minimizing its impact on the natural world or enhancing the symbiosis of human and nonhuman living things, by incorporating ecological and sustainable features and practices, often called “permaculture.”

**End of Part 2 of 5**

Portions of this article were previously published in the author’s 2016 e-book The Intentioneer’s Bible

(see: Amazon.com), and other portions are to appear in the author’s forthcoming book.

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Rexroth, Kenneth. (1974). Communalism: From its origins to the twentieth century. New York: Seabury Press.

Sandars, N. K. (1965). The epic of Gilgamesh. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books. (Original published 1960)

Skinner, B. F. (2005). Walden Two. New York: Mc-Millan. (Original work published 1948)

Tucker, Robert C. (Ed.). (1987). The Marx-Engels Reader (2nd Ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Wagner, Jon. (1982). Sex roles in contemporary American communes. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Walters, Kerry. (2011). Revolutionary deists: Early America’s rational infidels. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

Weatherford, Jack. (1994). Savages and civilization: Who will survive? New York: Fawcett Columbine.

Weatherford, Jack. (2004). Genghis Khan and the making of the modern world. New York: Broadway Books.

Weatherford, Jack. (2010). The secret history of the Mongol queens: How the daughters of Genghis Khan rescued his empire. New York: Random House.

Toward an Age of Equality in Partnership Culture – Part 3

A Countercultural Religious Left response to the Dominant Culture’s Religious Right

*** Part 3 of 5

A. Allen Butcher • The School of Intentioneering • Denver, Colorado • November 4, 2020

http://www.Intentioneers.netAllenInUtopia@consultant.com • over 16,000 words in 5 Parts

For definitions of terms and explanations of concepts see the glossary at the end of Part 5.

***

Toward an Age of Equality ­– Part 3 of 5 ­– The Communitarian Dream

The Communal Ideal of 19th century Marxist Communism

Realized in 20th century Egalitarian Communities

The idea that monetary economics is designed to benefit the few to the detriment of the many is an old story. Ideas for fixing that problem go back to the first communal organizations, even before the early Christians adopted the communal lifestyle, which involves giving up the use of money and private-property within the communal society.

It was during the beginning of the Industrial Revolution that people began thinking of using the monetary system itself to create and preserve some degree of economic equality, and ever since then more and more ways for creating economic fairness within monetary economics have been devised and are being implemented and enjoyed. At the same time, people have also continued to perfect the practice of getting outside of monetary economics through communal economics, which has required the invention and development of some kind of economic system to replace money. Following is a condensed version of that story.

Arthur Bestor writes that the early cooperative and communitarian movements, inspired largely by the work of Robert Owen (1771-1858) in the British Isles and America, first used the term socialist in the London Cooperative Magazine (vol. 2) of 1827, nearly 200 years ago, making the term “their own distinctive label in the middle 1830s [when] socialism meant Owenism and nothing else.” By 1827 the English terms socialist and socialism meant class-harmony, while communist and communism, developed by underground secret societies in Paris by 1840, was used to refer specifically to class-conflict, or “revolutionary militancy.” (Bestor, pp. 277-80, 288, 290-1)

At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in 18th century England the operative idea of the counterculture was to use time as a medium of exchange within a cooperative community, rather than use the official currency, believing that this was the best way for workers to realize the full benefit of their labor, rather than sell their labor to employers who take as much of the wealth generated by labor as they can get. After 140 years of intermittent experimentation with forms of paper scrip denominated in minutes or hours of done labor, to use in exchange for goods and services within the community group, a method was finally invented in 1967 for using time as a method for coordinating the sharing of labor, rather than the exchange of labor-for-labor. The distinction between sharing and exchanging labor defines the difference between communal and cooperative groups. For a detailed story of the history of communalism and cooperation see The Intentioneer’s Bible.

England was the first country to industrialize, and so it was also the first country to experiment with industrial cooperation, beginning with paternalistic business owners taking good care of their workers, evolving into workers organizing production on their own as member-owners of cooperatives. Cooperative and union organizing developed apace, and one person in England in particular is associated with all those movements: Robert Owen, a Welsh textile businessman.

On the European continent something else was brewing along with the rise of industrialism. This was a long-festering disdain and seething hatred for extreme economic inequality, leading to the justification for revolutionary violence, and one person in particular is associated with those movements: Karl Marx, a Prussian (German) ethnic Jew raised Christian, who studied law and philosophy before working as a journalist.

During the last century of the French monarchy, expatriate radical German workers and others in Paris created secret societies opposing the concentration of wealth and power in autocratic government, where they began an outlaw organization in 1836 originally called “League of the Just.” For reference to other 19th century Parisian underground secret societies see Arthur Bestor’s The Evolution of the Socialist Vocabulary. (Bestor, p. 291)

Among the influencers and leaders of the League of the Just were the French advocates of revolutionary violence, Francois Noel Babeuf (1764-1797) and Auguste Blanqui (1805-1881). Babeuf “was so virulent in his abuse of authority and so radical in his activities that in 1797 he was guillotined.” Blanqui was a violent direct-actionist imprisoned for his role in the October 1870 Paris uprising, just prior to the Paris Commune debacle of 1871. (Hertzler, pp. 188-9)

The most important influence upon the League of the Just seems to have been Wilhelm Weitling (1808-1871), a Catholic-school-educated German tailor who wrote Guarantee of Harmony and Freedom whom Karl Marx (1818-1883) initially appreciated, as he is mentioned in Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 as an “original German Socialist,” and in Marx’s Critical Marginal Notes (1844) where he refers to “Weitling’s brilliant writings.” However, Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) in his Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (1880) relegates Weitling to the status of despised utopian socialist for his joining an intentional community in America.

Kenneth Rexroth writes in his 1974 book, Communalism, that “Weitling is too little regarded in the history of revolutionary thought. Quite independently of Hegel, and before Marx, he developed a theory of human self-alienation as the primary evil of capitalist production, and some years before Marx or Proudhon he was an avowed communist. In a sense, Marx and Engels joined his communist movement and took it over.” Weitling wrote his Guarantee of Harmony and Freedom in1842, while Marx published his The Communist Manifesto in 1848. Note that “self-alienation” is translated as “selfishness,” and is explained in the philosopher G. W. F. Hegel’s work. (Rexroth, p. 294, emphasis in the original; Tucker, pp. 66-68, 129, 693)

Wilhelm Weitling is a particularly interesting character as he bridges communism and communalism. Sometime between 1846 and 1850, Weitling arrived in New York City after being expelled from Switzerland for political activity, following the publication of his Guarantee of Harmony and Freedom in 1842. A branch of the League of the Just already existed in NYC when Weitling arrived, which he renamed “The Emancipation League” soon after the League in Europe changed its name to “The Communist League” in 1847. This was an “Arbeiterbund” or Working Men’s League, which grew to twenty chapters in Eastern U.S. cities. In the Leagues, “labour-tokens” were used in place of money for labor and commodity exchanges, and at the 1850 Worker’s Congress in Philadelphia a resolution was adopted for “urging the promotion of colonies,” or what is called today “intentional communities.”  Weitling and other German radicals then joined a rural commune begun by experienced Swiss communalists in 1847 in Iowa, called “Communia.” Weitling was elected administrator of the colony, yet his autocratic rule led to disputes, a court case, and dissolution in1856. Weitling then returned to NYC where he invented a button-hole-attachment for sowing machines. (Fogarty, pp. 117-8; Morgan, 1944, p. 370)

Ironically, Wilhelm Weitling, one of the founders of European communism, a belief system taken over by those who were hostile to all forms of social innovations arising within communal and cooperative groups, himself actually joined a communal intentional community. In 1950 Carl Wittke wrote a biography of Weitling with the oxymoron title of, The Utopian Communist.

Paris had been a center of learning since at least the 13th century, and a center of radical thought since at least the early 18th century, many of the ideas of which the French monarchist authorities considered to be seditious; thus, driving them underground. In 1847 the League of the Just changed its name in order to use the new term coined in 1840 by French social reformers, becoming “The Communist League.” (Bestor, p. 279) This group commissioned their two new members, Karl Marx and his associate and benefactor Friedrich Engels, to write a manifesto for the group to introduce its new name. Both men authored submissions, and Marx’s called The Communist Manifesto (1848) was chosen. (Tucker, p. 469)

While Marx had earlier written in support of democracy and republicanism against oligarchy in his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, he was apparently influenced by the radical, secret, workers’ societies and their anger toward the rich and powerful, causing him to go over to the “Darkside” of advocating violence as a strategy for revolution, as opposed to peaceful reform. In The Communist Manifesto Marx writes, “The immediate aim of the Communists is … formation of the proletariat (i.e., wage-laborers) into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois (i.e., employers of wage-labor) supremacy, [and] conquest of political power by the proletariat. … the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.” (Tucker, pp. 484) While this goal has now been achieved by peaceful experimentation and gradual reform, that is not the method advocated by Marxist communism, which is made clear in the last paragraph of Marx’s Manifesto stating, “The Communists … openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at the Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries, unite!” (Tucker, p. 500)

In his 1872 speech titled The Possibility of Non-Violent Revolution Karl Marx only goes so far as to say, “we do not deny that there are countries—such as America, England, and … perhaps also add Holland—where the workers can attain their goal by peaceful means. This being the case, we must also recognize the fact that in most countries on the Continent the lever of our revolution must be force …” (Tucker, p. 523) Friedrich Engels says essentially the same thing in his 1895 essay The Tactics of Social Democracy, in which he begins with an acceptance of the lesson of the Paris Commune that classic street-fighting on the barricades as a means of revolutionary class struggle is rendered obsolete by the advance of military technology, yet as Robert Tucker states, his “concluding discourse on tactics turns out to be by no means an endorsement of Social Democratic reformism.” (Tucker, pp. xxxvi-xxxvii)

Communist theory, as developed by Marx and Engels, affirmed two stages in the transition to a classless, free society, the first to be directed by a small vanguard, called the “Communist Party,” that would organize the overthrow of the state, whether monarchy, republic, or Weishaupt-like bourgeoisie, theoretically resulting in the second stage of Marxist communism of a classless society, and the subsequent withering-away in turn of the communist state itself. (Tucker, pp. 483-4) In all the attempts to enact this theory, no communist organization known to the present author has gotten to that ideal second stage, and no communist state has ever “withered away.” The best that Marx could do in describing the second “higher phase of communist society” was to present in his Critique of the Gotha Program (1875) Morelly’s Maxim of “From each according to ability, to each according to needs.” (Tucker, p. 531; see also: Hertzler, pp. 186-8; Durant & Durant, 1967, p. 81; Manuel & Manuel, pp. 707, 711, 715)

Not until the late 20th century would a non-monastic, communal society successfully create the dream of the second stage of Marxist communism, of the abolition of private-property in a common-property economy. The break-through was invented by Kathleen (Kat) Kinkade in 1967 at Twin Oaks Community in Virginia, called by the present author the “vacation-credit labor system.” Following is that story.

LIVE FREE! Labor Is Valued Equally ● For Realizing Economic Equality

Morelly’s Maxim has been revised by the present author from the original emphasis upon the individual, as in “from each according to ability; to each according to need,” to an emphasis upon the group, in Allen’s Axiom of “from all according to intent; to all according to fairness.” Allen’s Axiom also replaces Adam Smith’s “law of supply and demand” printed in his 1776 publication The Wealth of Nations, with the “law of intent and fairness,” first printed in the present author’s 2007 self-published Gifting and Sharing: Living the Plenty Paradigm in Cohousing and Communal Society (pp. 31, 57), available from the author.

It had long been believed that to create economic justice a society had to do away with the use of money and private property internally and substitute something else. However, finding something which would substantially serve the ideal took about 140 years of intermittent experimentation. From the mid-1820s to the early 1830s the idea of a time-based exchange currency was developed in England, with the principle designer, or to use the present author’s term “intentioneer,” being the Welsh industrialist Robert Owen. Owen had earlier been influenced by Gerard Winstanley’s 1652 book The Law of Freedom, and the works of other writers, including descriptions of American communal societies like the Shakers (Separatist) from England and the Harmonists (Pietist) from Germany.

Robert Owen’s and others’ ideas resulted in giving workers a form of paper scrip, sometimes called “labor notes,” stating the amount of time the worker had contributed to the community, which were then redeemed in a community store for goods and services, essentially comprising an alternative exchange system to that of the official currency. The “labour theory of value” is explained by John Curl in his 2009 book For All the People, quoting Robert Owen’s 1821 community proposal called Report to the County of Lanark, in which Owen writes that, “the natural standard of value is, in principle, human labour.” (Curl, p. 37)

Donald Pitzer in his 1997 edited work, America’s Communal Utopias, writes that, “In Britain, workers’ cooperatives and trade unions originated in Owenite activity.” Pitzer explains that Friedrich Engels was a “critic of Owenite utopian and communitarian socialism … [who] conceded that ‘all social movements, all real advance made in England in the interests of the working class were associated with Owen’s name’.” (Pitzer, pp. 123, 133 n. 109; Engels, pp. 296-7; Tucker, p. 693)

It is thought that because of the social reforms involving economic cooperatives and communitarian experimentation, the countries that Marx listed in which “workers can attain their goal by peaceful means” like England, America, and perhaps Holland, were able to avoid the kinds of violent revolution experienced by many continental European industrializing countries, including: France, Germany, Russia, Spain, and others. Because communist theory embraces violent revolution Friedrich Engels wrote in his 1880 pamphlet titled Socialism: Utopian and Scientific a succession of slurs and attacks against communitarian movements, calling them “utopian socialism” as opposed to the “modern socialism” or “scientific socialism” of Marxist communism. (Tucker, pp. 683, 700-1) Engels’ criticisms of communitarian experiments and social reforms include calling them: “model experiments … foredoomed as Utopian,” “phantasies, which today only make us smile,” “eclectic, average socialism,” and “a mish-mash of such critical statements, economic theories, pictures of future society by the founders of different sects, as excite a minimum of opposition …”  (Tucker, pp. 687, 688, 693, 694) Thus, “utopian socialism,” now called “intentional community” was added to the list of enemies of communism, along with social reformers, democratic socialists, anarchists, and others.

Frank and Fritzie Manuel probably wrote the most detailed criticism of Marx’ and Engels’ hypocritical attitude toward those whom they labeled “utopian socialists” in their 1979 book, Utopian Thought in the Western World. Like the communitarian scholar and kibbutz member Yaacov Oved, the Manuel’s use the term “sneer” in describing Marx’ and Engels’ comments about the communitarians. Oved writes about Engels that, “He openly sneered at utopian experiments,” while the Manuels state that Engels’ writing titled in short, Anti-Duhring (1878) is, “spotted with similar sneers.” That is, sneers like calling communitarian settlements, “optimum little republics.” (Manuel & Manuel, p. 700; Oved, p. 428) Ironically, Marxist communism’s second stage of communism is itself utopian, attained only after the violence of the first stage. Communitarianism skips the violence to go directly to the ideal!

**End of Part 3 of 5**

Portions of this article were previously published in the author’s 2016 e-book The Intentioneer’s Bible

(see: Amazon.com), and other portions are to appear in the author’s forthcoming book.

References

Bestor, Arthur E. (1948 June). “The Evolution of the Socialist Vocabulary,” Journal of the history of ideas, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 259-302. University of Pennsylvania Press. (www.jstor.org/stable/2707371)

Bookchin, Murray. (1977). The Spanish anarchists: The heroic years 1868-1936. NY: Harper Colophon Books.

Bookchin, Murray. (2015). The next revolution. Brooklyn, NY: Verso Press.

Breton, D. & Largent, C. (1991). The soul of economies: Spiritual evolution goes to the market place. Wilmington, DE: Idea House Publishing.

Butcher, A. Allen. (1991). Democracy and capitalism: Are they critical elements of a climax human culture? Self-published. Denver, CO: The School of Intentioneering. Retrieved April 16, 2020 from http://www.culturemagic.org/PDF/c1Democracy20Capitalism.pdf

Butcher, A. Allen. (2016). The intentioneer’s bible: Interwoven stories of the parallel cultures of plenty and scarcity. Self-published e-book at Amazon.com. Denver, Colorado: The School of Intentioneering.

Campbell, Joseph. (1988). The power of myth: Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers. New York: Bantam, Doubleday, Dell Publishing Group.

Cress, Kit Firth. (1987). Communitarian connections: Josiah Warren, Robert Smith, and Peter Kaufmann. Communal Societies: Journal of the National Historic Communal Societies Association, 7, 67-81.

Curl, John. (2012). For all the people: Uncovering the hidden history of cooperation, cooperative movements, and communalism in America (2nd ed.). Oakland, CA: PM Press.

Dever, William. (2005), Did God have a wife? Archaeology and folk religion in ancient Israel. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Dolgoff, Sam. (1974) The anarchist collectives: Workers’ self-management in the Spanish Revolution 1936-1939. New York: Free Life Editions.

Durant,W., & Durant, A. (1967). The story of civilization: Vol. 10. Rousseau and revolution. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Eisler, Riane. (1987). The chalice and the blade: Our history, our future. San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row. http://www.centerforpartnership.org

Engels, Friedrich. (1935, original work published in 1878). Anti-Duhring: Herr Eugen Duhring’s revolution in science. Chicago: C. H. Kerr.

Fogarty, Robert. (1980). Dictionary of American communal and utopian history. Westport, CN: Greenwood Press.

Gimbutas, Marija. (1991). The civilization of the Goddess: The world of Old Europe. Joan Marler, editor. San Franciso, CA: Harper Collins Publishers.

Gimbutas, Marija. (2001). The Living Goddesses. Miriam Robbins Dexter, editor and contributor. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. (Original work published 1999.)

Goettner-Abendroth, Heide (Ed.). (2009). Societies of peace: Matriarchies past, present and future. Toronto, Canada: Inanna Publications and Education, Inc.

Goettner-Abendroth, Heide. (2012). Matriarchal societies: Studies on indigenous cultures across the globe. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.

Hertzler, Joyce Oramel. (1926). The history of utopian thought. New York: The MacMillan Company.

Hunter, James Davison. (1991). Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America. New York: Harper Collins.

Hyams, Edward. (1973). The millennium postponed: Socialism from Sir Thomas More to Mao Tse-Tung. New York: Meridian New American Library.

Kinkade, Kathleen. (1972). A Walden Two experiment: The first five years of Twin Oaks Community (2nd Ed.). Louisa, VA: Twin Oaks Community, Inc.

Knauer, Kelly (Ed.). (2010). Secret societies: Decoding the myths and facts of history’s most mysterious organizations. New York: Time, Inc.

Kramnick, Isaac. (2001, December 19). Is God a Republican? Why politics is dangerous for religion. The American Prospect. Washington, D.C.: American Prospect, Inc.

Leakey, R. & Lewin R. (1978). People of the lake: Mankind & its beginnings. New York: Avon Books.

Lieblich, Amia. (2002). “Women and the changing Israeli Kibbutz: A Preliminary three-stage theory” pp. 81-2. The Journal of Israeli history, vol. 21:1. pp. 63-84. 

London Co-operative society. The London co-operative magazine. London, England: Knight and Lacey. Retrieved August 19, 2017 from https://catalog.hathitrut.org/Record/000516769

Manuel, Frank (Ed.). (1965). Utopias and utopian thought. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Manuel, F. & Manuel, F. (1979). Utopian thought in the Western world. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.

McKanan, Dan. (20100). Prophetic encounters: Religion and the American radical tradition. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

Morgan, Arthur. (1944). Edward Bellamy: A biography of the author of “Looking Backward.” New York: Columbia University of Press.

Morgan, Arthur. (1946). Nowhere was somewhere: How history makes utopias and how utopias make history. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

Oved, Yaacov. (1988). Two hundred years of American communes. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.

Patai, Raphael. (1967). The Hebrew Goddess. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press.

Pew Research. (2019, October 17). In U.S., decline of Christianity continues at rapid pace. Retrieved April 15, 2020 from https://www.pewforum.org/2019/10/17/in-u-s-decline-of-christianity-continues-at-rapid-pace/

Pitzer, Donald E. (Ed). (1997). America’s communal utopias. Chapel Hill, NC: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

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Skinner, B. F. (2005). Walden Two. New York: Mc-Millan. (Original work published 1948)

Tucker, Robert C. (Ed.). (1987). The Marx-Engels Reader (2nd Ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Wagner, Jon. (1982). Sex roles in contemporary American communes. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Walters, Kerry. (2011). Revolutionary deists: Early America’s rational infidels. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

Weatherford, Jack. (1994). Savages and civilization: Who will survive? New York: Fawcett Columbine.

Weatherford, Jack. (2004). Genghis Khan and the making of the modern world. New York: Broadway Books.

Weatherford, Jack. (2010). The secret history of the Mongol queens: How the daughters of Genghis Khan rescued his empire. New York: Random House.

Class-Harmony Community

Class-Harmony Community:

 

The Private-Property Sharing, Cross-Class Model of Intentional Community

 

A. Allen Butcher

 

***

For presentation at the thirteenth triennial International Communal Studies Association (ICSA) Conference, July, 2019, Hudson, NY • Portions of this paper first appeared in the author’s 2016 book The Intentioneers’ Bible ([book:chapter] II:5, III:10, V:3, V:5, V:6, VI:15), and in the article “Class-Harmony Community” in Communities: Life in Cooperative Culture (issue 178, spring 2018, pp. 61-3) .

 

About 4,500 words in the body of text.

 

***

 

From Bias Against to Recognition of Class-Harmony

 

Among the various forms of intentional community, the common practice of mutual aid among rich and poor is an old story; although not well understood and rarely emphasized. Typically, community movements focus upon either the ideal of class-less communalism, as in the egalitarian communities’ processes of labor-sharing and their sharing of commonly-owned property, or they focus upon class-homogeneity as in cohousing communities comprised mostly of middle-class people enjoying the processes of labor-gifting and the sharing of privately-owned property. Yet there have also always been forms of intentional community in which people of different economic classes have shared either privately-owned or commonly-owned property, or both, which is the class-harmony community model.

 

Disparities in wealth and privilege need not divide people when those of different socio-economic status develop ways to communicate for common understanding, and thereby gain trust in each other for gifting and sharing in community. This is not a new idea. Class-harmony is a common form of both religious and secular intentional community; it simply has not been recognized, named, and advocated until recently, as people’s attention has been monopolized by communalism, historically, and more recently by cooperatives, land trusts, cohousing, and ecovillages. In the same way that these various forms of intentional community attracted interest and involvement into separate movements, so also may class-harmony community develop its own community movement as people learn about, understand, and practice the lessons of a fascinating story of communitarianism, which has existed from ancient times to the present.

 

Class-harmony community is often discounted as a presumptive, specious, pretentious pseudo-community. Many activists within and watchers of the intentional community movements, including the present author, have tended to disregard class-harmony communities as pretenders to an ideal they cannot achieve, rather than as a genuine, authentic, legitimate expression of sharing and cooperation. For example, probably the first author to directly address the class-harmony community model is Diana Leafe Christian in her 2003 book titled, Creating a Life Together, in which she wrote,

 

If you’re a property owner seeking to create community on your land, … Be willing to release total control and find ways for people to become fully participating, responsibility-sharing fellow community members. And if you cannot or don’t want to release full control but still want  [to] live in close proximity with others, please do so and enjoy it—but don’t advertise it as a “community.”! (Christian, p. 24)

 

Ten years later, Jennifer Ladd quoted Christian’s comments above in what may have been the first article presenting class-harmony community, and the various challenges and lessons of the model. In her Communities magazine article titled, “Yes, Wealthy People Want to Live in Community in Sustainable Ways Too! Fourteen suggestions from those who are trying it,” Ladd called the upper-class owners of the shared property “primary funders,” and the community model “cross-class projects.” Ladd explains the motivations of the primary funders in writing that,

 

Many people with wealth are looking for ways to leverage their resource for good—to help heal the environment and to support the emergence of a new culture based on cooperation and collaboration. And so wealthy people are playing a role, with others, in the growth of intentional communities and other collective working and living projects. (Ladd, 2013, p. 36)

 

Five years after that article, Jennifer Ladd presented in a 2018 Communities magazine article a little about the work she and her cofounder, Felice Yeskel, had done through their company called Class Action (see: http://www.classism.org) to help a just-forming (2005) cohousing community, Rocky Hill (MA), resolve their class and money issues. Their process involved: identifying four goals for the process; having each person answer two questions about personal attitudes toward money and class; and identifying a number of next steps.

 

Interestingly, one of the exercises the two Class Action facilitators put the Rocky Hill community members through in 2005 had also been used to help the communal Twin Oaks Community (VA) clarify its issues involving their community design in 1976. While at Twin Oaks the group-process facilitators had members line up “according to the way they saw their ideological relationship to each other—close, if they agreed, and distant, if they disagreed” (Komar, p. 94), at Rocky Hill Cohousing the facilitators asked members to line up “according to their self-defined class background when they were 12 years old” (Ladd, 2018, p. 27). In some way, evidently, physically standing in line close to those with whom one shares similar ideals and socio-economic backgrounds, and further from those one considers to be of different orientation and experience, helped these two very different communities along their respective paths to finding unity in the problematic diversity of their ideological attachments and socio-economic class status.

 

Yana Ludwig expresses the importance of cross-class solidarity, or class-harmony, in her 2019 Communities article “Cross-Class Cooperation and Land Access.” She recognizes the problem that not being able to acquire land and housing prevents the accumulation of both financial assets or wealth, and social capital in the form of community.

 

I think it is increasingly important to not only talk about the role class privilege plays in our movement, but also celebrate the ways that cross-class cooperation can be a form of solidarity that is very much needed at this time. Land access is a fundamental barrier to many things in the US: being able to grow your own food, being able to build equity and wealth, being able to have a direct and daily relationship with the natural world, and being able to start an intentional community are just a few areas in which lack of enough wealth to own property further limits our capacity to have our dreams become realities. (Ludwig, p. 25)

 

While Diana Christian, Jennifer Ladd, and Yana Ludwig are all talking about very different forms of intentional community, class-harmony, cohousing, and community land trusts, respectively, the common themes are the problems of land acquisition and tenure: who buys it and who controls it. Ludwig’s land trusts place their land in a form of legal common ownership with parcels or units (whether land, houses, apartments, or rooms) leased to individuals and families. Ladd’s cohousing communities place the land in a form of “undivided” private-property ownership, and Christian’s landlords rent rooms, apartments, or houses to individuals and families. While Diana Christian expresses a bias against landlord-owned communities, it can be difficult for working class people to afford to build a house on land leased from a trust or to buy into a cohousing community, leaving renting the only option for the working class to enjoy intentional community.

 

Community for Working-Class Nuclear and Single-Parent Families, and Young Adults

 

For working-class people, especially if they have children, renting is often the only way they can live in community. Communal groups, particularly secular ones, often do not accept new members with children. East Wind Community (MO) votes on each of its members’ announced pregnancies as to whether or not the community will support the child, with those losing the vote having to get an abortion or leave the community. While a working-class family may be able to rent a unit in a cohousing or land trust community they often cannot afford to purchase or build a housing unit in one of those communities. What remains open to working-class nuclear and single-parent families is class-harmony community where someone else provides the funding for land purchase and construction so that all the family has to do is pay rent.

 

An estimate of the extent of the class-harmony community format within the intentional communities movement is seen in the Communities article (fall 2017, no. 176)  by Sky Blue and Betsy Morris titled, “Tracking the Communities Movement: 70 Years of History and the Modern FIC.” The authors include a category in their analysis of the 2016 FIC Communities Directory listings which they call “Shared House/Cohousehold/Coliving,” yet they do not explain this category as they do the other forms. The authors report that this type of community accounts for 31 percent of the Directory listings. Only cohousing had a larger showing at 39 percent. (Blue & Morris, p. 17)

 

In the 2016 Communities Directory Sky Blue and Betsy Morris count 738 U.S. intentional communities, of which 194 or 26% are forming (i.e., < 4 adults existing < 2 years), leaving 544 or 74% “established” communities. Of the 544 groups with 4 or more adults existing two years or more, 170 or about 31% are classified by Blue and Morris as “Shared House/Cohousehold/Coliving.” (Blue & Morris, p. 17)

 

Another way to count the number of class-harmony communities in the FIC Directory is to simply count the number of groups reporting that just one person or a small group owns the land. Of the 738 total U.S. communities in the 2016 Directory, 154 communities or 21 percent indicated that their land is owned by an individual or a subgroup of members.

 

What accounts for the difference above between Blue’s and Morris’ 31 percent Shared House/Cohousehold/Coliving groups and the present author’s 21 percent individual or subgroup ownership in class-harmony community? Part of the discrepancy is how groups are listed and counted, and part is the different definitions that people use for terms like “shared-housing” and “coliving.” Hopefully the 2020 Communities Directory will be redesigned for easier analysis.

 

Consider the issues of the definitions of terms and of the classification of communities. Most likely Blue and Morris did not include Ganas Community (NY) in their category of Shared House/Cohousehold/Coliving communities, while the present author does consider Ganas to be a class-harmony community. Ganas has a unique structure in which a communal subgroup of about ten people own the houses and rooms rented to about 70 other people. Clearly there are two classes of Ganas members, the owners and the renters, with the owners functioning as communal-capitalists in this unique form of class-harmony community.

 

Along with the Ganas model of a small communal-ownership subgroup renting to a larger number of non-owner members is another form of class-harmony community with the reverse of the Ganas model. Consider that in the Camphill Village communities the members live communally, sharing commonly-owned property controlled by non-profit, tax-exempt organizations and supported by a large group of funders who contribute money and time while generally not living in the communal society. The summer 2019 Camphill Foundation newsletter reported that this year over $357, 000 was granted to eighteen Camphill groups around the world. Since its founding in 1966 the Camphill Foundation has made $9.3 million in grants and low-interest loans to Camphill communities. Clearly, the Camphill community model involves a class of funders supporting a class of less-wealthy members. The Camphill financing model provides an excellent model for what Matthew Bishop and Michael Green call “philanthrocapitalism” in their 2008 book by that title, encouraging the use of private wealth for the public good. (Bishop & Green, p. ix; Camphill Foundation, 2019, see: https://camphillfoundation.org/grantmaking/#grantees).

 

The class-harmony community category is comprised of a broad range of different ownership forms. While Blue’s and Morris’ category of “Shared House/Cohousehold/Coliving” communities probably does not include Ganas or Camphill, and none of Blue’s and Morris’ three types of communities perfectly fit the present author’s small community comprised of four apartments called the Dry Gulch Ecovillage (Butcher, pp. 61-3), it is unclear exactly what all is included in the term “coliving.”

 

Consider the article in the July 8, 2019 San Francisco Chronicle by J.K. Dineen titled “Co-living Tower in SOMa [i.e., South Market] could Usher in Wave of Innovative Housing Projects,” which describes a “270-bed co-living building … [The] $90 million project will be 16-stories tall. Residents will pay $2,000 to $2,400 [per month] for the market-rate rooms … The idea is to create an instant community for the young workers flocking to jobs in San Francisco … [City-wide] there are about 3,700 co-living beds in operation and 9,300 in the pipeline … This doesn’t include … collectives that have long thrived in the Bay Area.” That is $2k to $2.4k per month just for a bed-space, not even a room with a door, with shared bathroom, lounge, and kitchen. While people appreciate the long-term-hostel-like experience for a while, there is evidently a high turn-over rate of coliving residents. Other cities with large coliving projects include Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. (Dineen, 2019)

 

Property-Sharing Spectrum

 

As with any growing social movement, the expressions of class-harmony community and the names describing them can be many and varied, actually causing confusion around and therefore limited understanding of the social phenomenon of a continually developing life-style pattern. The most common names for the class-harmony model of intentional community include: coliving, cohouseholding, cross-class community, and shared-housing.

 

Property-Sharing Continuum (i.e.: real estate, chattels, and money)

 

Shared Commonly-Owned Property                                                     Shared Privately-Owned Property

____________________________________________________________________________________

⃒                                        ⃒                                       ⃒                                  ⃒

Communal Society:        Economically-Diverse:      Equity-Sharing:        Class-Harmony:

• Monasteries                  • indigenous tribalism      • housing co-ops       • coliving

• Hutterites/Bruderhof  • community land trust      • cohousing             • cohouseholding

• Twelve Tribes                                                                                                  • shared-housing

• Federation of Egalitarian Communities                                                     • cross-class comm.

• Ganas Comm. (NY)

• Camphill comm.

 

The term “class-harmony community” is offered as an umbrella term inclusive of others, as it is descriptive of the basic concept of including two or more economic classes of participation or involvement, while at the same time emphasizing what class-harmony is not; specifically disassociating the class-harmony communitarian model from communist class-conflict.

 

Classical communism emphasizes class-war as a necessary first phase toward what Marxist-communist theory traditionally considers the ideal of non-class or class-less communalism in its projected second phase. In contrast, class-harmony is affirmed as the primary aspect of the form of intentional community first disparaged and disrespected by Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) as “utopian socialist.” While the late 18th century and early 19th century utopian theorists such as Count Claude Henri de Rouvroy de Saint-Simon (1760-1825), Robert Owen (1771-1858), Charles Fourier (1772-1837), and Etienne Cabet (1788-1858) all expressed different versions of class-harmony community, Marx and Engels attacked class-harmony as naïve and simplistic. (Butcher, 2016, V:6)

 

In the section of Marx’s 1848 The Communist Manifesto called, “Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism” he refers to communitarians such as the followers of Owen, Fourier, and the others as “mere reactionary sects,” saying that they are in opposition to the progressive historical development of the proletariat or working-class. (Ebenstein, p. 740; Tucker, p. 499)

 

They, therefore, endeavor, and that consistently, to deaden the class struggle and to reconcile the class antagonisms. They still dream of experimental realization of their social Utopias … and to realize all these castles in the air, they are compelled to appeal to the feelings and purses of the bourgeois [i.e., capitalist ownership class]. (Ebenstein, p. 740; Tucker, p. 499)

 

One of the biggest problems for intentional communities, particularly the communal form, is earning or attracting sufficient financing. While communal groups like East Wind and Twin Oaks communities have to build businesses to support themselves, other groups like cohousing communities attract people who can qualify for 20-year mortgages to build the community. This access to financing results in cohousing communities being built in a matter of a few years, while communal community takes a few decades to build a similar size community. Thus, class-harmony communities, like cohousing sharing privately-owned property while borrowing from banks or credit unions, and like Camphill sharing commonly-owned property donated by individual funders, can grow at a rate ten times faster than communal groups having to earn development capital in their own businesses. Access to development capital is not the only reason why communities sharing private property are more numerous and grow faster than communal groups sharing common property, yet it is an important factor.

 

Frank and Fritzie Manuel probably wrote the most detailed criticism of Marx’ and Engels’ hypocritical attitude toward “utopian socialists” in their 1979 book, Utopian Thought in the Western World. Like the communitarian scholar and kibbutz member, Yaacov Oved, the Manuel’s use the term “sneer” in describing Marx’ and Engels’ comments about the communitarians. Oved writes about Engels in his 1988 book, Two Hundred Years of American Communes, that, “He openly sneered at utopian experiments,” while the Manuels state that Engels’ writing titled in part, Anti-Duhring (1878) is, “spotted with similar sneers.” That is, sneers like calling communitarian settlements, “optimum little republics.” The Manuels point out that Marx’ and Engels’ Communist Manifesto is utopian, and that, “on occasion even they might lapse into utopian glossolalia.” (Manuel & Manuel, pp. 699-700; Oved, p. 428)

 

Historical and Future Class-Harmony

 

Class-harmony community is an old idea used by both religious and secular groups. The oldest such recorded community may be Homakoeion at what is now Crotone in south Italy, founded about 530 B.C. by the Greek mystic and mathematician Pythagoras (581-497 B.C.).

 

At about age fifty Pythagoras created a philosophical school after traveling around the Ancient World learning from various cultures, including women’s spiritual traditions at the Oracle of Delphi. At Crotone, Pythagoras’ school accepted women as well as men, giving both training in philosophy and literature, such that “Pythagorean Women,” who were also instructed in the domestic arts, were “honored by antiquity as the highest feminine type that Greece ever produced.” Intentional communities designed around schools has been a reoccurring theme ever since, with Findhorn in Scotland being the best contemporary example. (Durant, 1939, p. 162; see also Butcher, 2016, II:5)

 

The rise of Christianity in the Western World provides a number of later examples of class-harmony community. Christianity itself has always been welcoming of people of all socio-economic backgrounds, from slaves to property-owners.

 

An early example of Christian class-harmony community is the mid-15th century Unity of Brethren in Bohemia (now in the northwestern part of the Czech Republic), later called the Moravian Church. The Moravian Brethren were Christians who separated from the Catholic Church to live closer to the ideals of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, thus earning their persecution by the Church. Christian Pietism grew from the idea of unifying various Christian sects surviving the persecutions against the Anabaptists, with the German Pietist Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760) inviting the remnants of the Moravian Brethren to settle on his estate in Saxony, Germany, founding Herrnhut in 1722, meaning “under the Lord’s watch.” Many of the Moravian Brethren later immigrated to America creating communal communities in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. (Butcher, 2016, III:10)

 

The best-documented Christian class-harmony communities are those of the Anabaptist Hutterites. Several times in their history they were invited to settle on the estates of nobles who avoided control by the higher powers of the day, specifically the Holy Roman Empire, which persecuted the Hutterites for their practice of “re-baptizing” adults. Because they were industrious in developing their communal villages, and because there was not a strong union between church and state in Moravia (now the eastern part of the Czech Republic) the Hutterites were invited soon after their founding in the 16th century by some of the lords of Moravia to build colonies on their land. Eventually succumbing to the dictates of the Holy Roman Emperor the Moravian lords ejected the Hutterites from their land. In the early 17th century some Hutterites were abducted from Moravia to live on and develop land owned by a Transylvanian prince in Romania. Jesuit persecution of the Hutterites there pushed the 18th century Hutterites into what is now southern Romania, then part of the Ottoman Empire controlled by Moslem rulers practicing religious tolerance. When the Russian army pushed the Ottomans out of the region one of the Russian generals invited the Hutterites to settle on his land near Kiev in the Ukraine. When later Russian officials decided to take away their earlier assurance that the Hutterites would not be conscripted for military service, the Hutterites began moving to the Northern Plains American states and Canadian provinces in the later 19th and early 20th centuries. (Butcher, 2016, III:10)

 

With the Industrial Revolution class-harmony community became a means for the working-class to benefit from the rise of mechanized industry. During the early Industrial Revolution in first England then later in France, Germany, America and elsewhere, both class-harmony and class-conflict arose in response to the resulting poverty and debasement of the dispossessed and deprived underclass. When there was no social safety net like welfare the British people created by at least the 1790s various mutual aid societies like “trade clubs” and “voluntary mutual sickness and life insurance companies” referred to as “Friendly Societies.” (Garnett, pp. 11-2)

 

With the Friendly Societies and earlier cultural solidarity practices arose the cooperative movement; one of the primary leaders and organizers being the Welsh industrialist Robert Owen (1771-1858). Owen and others sought to expand social solidarity functions into forms of non-capitalist economics via forms of labor exchanges and alternative currency systems. Owen’s New Lanark mill-town community in Scotland attracted much attention at the time, as did his most famous later experimental community New Harmony in early 19th century Indiana. While Owen lost a large portion of his wealth in New Harmony trying to create a communal society, a non-monetary economic tradition was begun by Josiah Warren at New Harmony which Donald Pitzer calls the “Time Store Cooperative Movement” lasting from 1833 to 1863. Warren’s labor-exchange communities all involved private property with no or little common ownership, the largest and longest-lived being Modern Times (NY) lasting twelve years. (Pitzer, pp. 123, 133, n. 109). Warren’s ideas later appeared in different forms in Edward Bellamy’s 1888 utopian fiction Looking Backward, then B. F. Skinner’s 1948 book Walden Two, which inspired Kathleen Kinkade’s vacation-credit labor system developed at Twin Oaks Community in 1967 for their communal economy, still used today at Twin Oaks and in other groups of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities.

 

While Owen’s inspiration was creating class-harmony communities in Great Britain and America, in France a different type of class-harmony community was being developed. Edward Spann explains in his 1989 book Brotherly Tomorrows that while Owen’s communities tended to be paternalistic, making members dependent upon the owners of their communities’ real estate and investment capital while idealizing communal ownership, Charles Fourier’s influence in France emphasized private property. Charles Fourier (1772-1837) invented the term “feminism” and wrote that “the extension of the privileges of women is the fundamental cause of all social progress.” (Beecher & Bienvenu, p. 196; Butcher, 2016, V:3; Riasanovsky, p. 208; Spann, p. 84)

 

Inspired partly by Charles Fourier’s concept of “passional attraction,” which included the idea of making work as attractive as possible, Jean Baptiste Godin (1817-1888) began as a blacksmith then “made a fortune as a manufacturer of iron stoves in Guise, northeast of Paris …, began in 1859 to build a … ‘Social Palace’ … Godin instituted a system of profit-sharing based on the Fourierist formula for the division of profits among capital, talent, and labor. [The Social Palace] he intended would eventually be managed and owned by the workers.” (Spann, pp. 164-5)

 

Dolores Hayden includes drawings of the Social Palace in her 1981 book The Grand Domestic Revolution, and points out that 350 workers and their families lived in the Social Palace in Guise, France, buying supplies from cooperative shops and enjoying the community’s restaurant, café, theater, developmental nursery and schools, profit-sharing, and sickness and old-age insurance. Marie Stevens Case Howland translated Godin’s writings, and wrote in her own book about the Social Palace, first called Papa’s Own Girl later re-titled The Familistére, ideas which Hayden says seems to have influenced Edward Bellamy in his 1888 utopian fiction Looking Backward. (Butcher, 2016, V:5; Hayden, pp. 37, 96-100, 136)

 

The historical examples above provide highlights in the history of class-harmony community. Another highpoint to acknowledge is the origin of a term which encompasses the entire range of Owenite theory from class-harmony to communalism, and that of many other cultural theorists, reformers, and commentators ever since. While today there are different definitions for the term “socialist,” an understanding of the original definition can be interpreted from its first use in the Owenite journal The London Cooperative Magazine (see accompanying graphic).

 

In his 1948 article, “The Evolution of the Socialist Vocabulary,” printed in the Journal of the History of Ideas, Arthur Bestor writes that the noun “socialist” was first printed in 1827, while “the form ‘socialism’ did not appear in England until 1837.” Note in the graphic below that “socialists” is juxtaposed with the term “communionists,” which Bestor interprets as a religious term originating in 1644 to refer to intentional community members or communitarians. The term “communitarian,” Bestor states, was first printed November 13, 1841 in the London Times. (Bestor, pp. 277, 278 n. 103, 280; see accompanying graphic)

 

Socialism 1827

 

While today the term “socialism” is resurgent in concepts like “democratic socialism,” referring to a political-economic design of nation-states, its original use was for describing alternative, civil-society constructs outside of Church and State. As such, cooperative and communitarian societies which originally inspired the terms “socialist” and “socialism” have an etymological “ownership” of them. With the bi-centennial of the first use of “socialist” coming up in less than a decade this provides an opportunity for the communities movements to reclaim their own history in a way that will bring the tradition of alternative, radical, counter-cultural, civil-society experimentation and development to the public consciousness in order to contribute to the current and future desire and need to build post-capitalist political-economic structures.

 

The coming 2027 Socialist Bi-Centennial provides an opportunity for the communities movements to create educational campaigns to support the continuing need to construct political-economies that respect social justice, which began in early Christianity and developed along with the Industrial Revolution and now the Information Age, along with the more recent concern for ecological sustainability. While all forms of intentional community fit the original meaning of the term “socialist,” the class-harmony form may be the best for attracting financial support from philanthrocapitalists.

 

A 2027 Socialist Bi-Centennial educational campaign highlighting the concept of class-harmony may be an important method for carrying on resistance to both rapacious capitalism and to cultural conservative’s sneer that gifting and sharing societies are Marxist-communist. Much has changed in the last two-hundred years, yet much remains the same. There is today the same need as ever to build political-economic-social structures which respect people’s highest ideals and ethical standards; and if anything, the need is becoming increasingly urgent. If a socially just and sustainable utopia is not achieved before the coming 21st Century Dark Age, perhaps at least the foundation can be laid for a utopian renaissance after the apocalypse of the 6th Great Extinction, now threatening human civilization.

 

References:

 

Beecher, Joathan and Bienvenu, Richard (Eds.). (1971). The utopian vision of Charles Fourier. Boston: Beacon Press.

 

Bestor, Arthur E. (1948 June). “The Evolution of the Socialist Vocabulary,” Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 259-302. University of Pennsylvania Press. (www.jstor.org/stable/2707371)

 

Bishop, Matthew, and Green, Michael. (2008). Philanthrocapitalism: How giving can save the world. London: A & C Black.

 

Blue, Sky and Morris, Betsy. (2017, fall). Tracking the communities movement: 70 years of history and the modern FIC. Communities: Life in cooperative culture, no. 176. Rutledge, MO: Fellowship for Intentional Community.

 

Butcher, Allen. (2016). The Intentioneer’s Bible: Interwoven Stories of the Parallel Cultures of Plenty and Scarcity. Denver, CO: Self-published at Amazon.com

 

Butcher, Allen. (2018, spring). Class-harmony community. Communities: Life in cooperative culture, no. 178. Rutledge, MO: Fellowship for Intentional Community.

 

Camphill Foundation. (2019, summer). Your donations at work: 2019 grant awards. Camphill Foundation Newsletter. Chestnut Ridge, NY: Camphill Foundation.

 

Christian, Diana Leafe. (2003). Creating A Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities. Gabriola Island, B.C., Canada: New Society Press.

 

Dineen, J. K. (2019, July 8). Co-living tower in SoMa could usher in wave of innovative housing projects. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 10, 2019, from https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Co-living-tower-in-SoMa-could-usher-in-wave-of-14074532.php?fbclid=IwAR0K-ggbkMcqgDN4rvELHQMKuVMnTutbFU3ulR62T9N5AoEGwzw_34Zm-ZI

 

Durant, Will. (1939). The Story of Civilization: Vol. 2. The Life of Greece. New York: Simon and Schuster.

 

Ebenstein, William. (1951). Great political thinkers: Plato to the present. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

 

Garnett, Ronald George. (1972). Co-operation and the Owenite socialist communities in Britain, 1825-1845. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press.

 

Hayden, Dolores. (1981). The grand domestic revolution: A history of feminist designs for American homes, neighborhoods and cities. Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press.

 

Komar, Ingrid. (1989). Living the dream: A documentary study of Twin Oaks Community (2nd Ed). Louisa, VA: Twin Oaks Community.

 

Ladd, Jennifer. (2013, summer). Yes, wealthy people want to live in community in sustainable ways too! Fourteen suggestions from those who are trying it. Communities: Life in cooperative culture, no. 159. Rutledge, MO: Fellowship for Intentional Community.

 

Ladd, Jennifer. (2018, spring). Reflections on class from a newbie at Rocky Hill Cohousing. Communities: Life in cooperative culture, no. 178. Rutledge, MO: Fellowship for Intentional Community.

 

Ludwig, Yana. (2019, spring). Cross-class cooperation and land access. Communities: Life in cooperative culture, no. 182. Rutledge, MO: Fellowship for Intentional Community.

 

Manuel, F. & Manuel, F. (1979). Utopian thought in the Western world. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.

 

Oved, Yaacov. (1988). Two hundred years of American communes. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.

 

Pitzer, Donald E. (Ed.) (1997) America’s communal utopias. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

 

Riasanovsky, Nicholas. (1969). The teaching of Charles Fourier. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.

 

Spann, Edward K. (1989). Brotherly tomorrows: Movements for a cooperative society in America 1820-1920. New York: Columbia University Press.

 

Tucker, Robert C. (Ed.) (1978). The Marx-Engels reader (2nd ed.) New York: W. w. Norton & Company.

 

 

21st Century Intentioneering—The Tecumseh Commonwealth

The School of Intentioneering • A. Allen Butcher • Intentioneers.net • Denver, CO • Dec. 23, 2018

The intentional communities movement has been growing since at least the Great Recession of 2008. The last time that there was such growth in alternative lifestyles in America and around the world was the late 1960s through the late ‘70s.

The 1980s saw the “Big Chill” when the Baby Boom generation returned to main-stream culture and the communities movement quieted down. A regrouping began in the 1990s with the reorganizing of the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC or Fellowship; see: http://www.IC.org), while other earlier community networking organizations passed their energies to a new generation of organizers. The steady building progressing ever since has provided a foundation for the resurgence begun since 2008.

Today we see not only the Baby Boomers organizing “senior cohousing,” yet the subsequent generations are also jumping into various other forms of intentional community. Youth always embraces alternatives to the dominant culture, which then influences the lifestyle choices of future generations, ever expanding the methods people use for building cultures outside of the mainstream, and for survival within the confines of the dominant culture.

Generations of Intentioneers:

• Baby Boomers: Born 1946–’64, coming of age when cooperatives and communes were resurging;

• Generation X: Born 1965–’76, coming of age when cohousing and ecovillages were beginning;

• Millennials or Gen Y: Born 1977–’95, coming of age with coliving and transition town organizing;

• Gen Z, iGen, or Centennials: Born 1996–TBD, coming of age as cofamilies and class-harmony community is ascending, while authoritarian Catholic monasticism is shrinking and other decentralized religious and spiritual communities are expanding.

With a continually growing number of intentional communities adding to the listings in the Fellowship’s “Directory of Intentional Communities,” the tendency moving into the 2020s is for the clustering of either similar intentional communities, or of various different forms of community, in specific regions or local areas.

The Fellowship provides a map showing where the hundreds of intentional communities listed in its directory are located, and from that one can see that most of those clusters are in and around urban centers, with some rural areas also showing countercultural clusters.

Communitarian clusters are found at: The Big Island, HI; Seattle, WA; Portland, and Eugene, OR; Nevada City, Occidental, Davis, SF Bay Area, Los Angeles, and San Diego, CA; Tucson, AZ; Boulder/Denver, CO; Austin, TX; Black Mountain, NC; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Madison, WI; Chicago, IL; Ann Arbor, MI; Louisa, VA; Washington, D.C.; Amherst, and Boston, MA. New York City should also be in this list because of its many old-wave housing co-ops, yet not many communities appear there in the FIC map.

There are also areas where worker-owned, cooperative businesses are noticeably growing, including: Jackson, MS; Cleveland and Cincinnati, OH; NYC and SF Bay Area; and on some Indian reservations, particularly those of the Sioux.

And there are many other areas with smaller clusters of sometimes similar and sometimes different forms of intentional community, although these are hard to see unless one lives in the area long enough to learn of them.

Often these small community networks form and grow around a single large, successful intentional community. In fact, this model of a single large community inspiring the development of a cluster of satellite communities around it is an ages-old pattern, possibly begun around the time of the Ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras’ community called Homakoeion in what is now Italy in the 6th century B.C. , and later during the rise of Catholic monasticism through the Dark Ages of Europe. A similar pattern of a successful intentional community inspiring others nearby is developing today as we move into a potential 21st Century Dark Age.

While it is not always the case, there is a pattern of youth seeking a different lifestyle than how they grew up. People growing up in the country are often drawn to live in the excitement of the city, while those growing up in the city idealize and romanticize living in the country. Generational oscillations between rural and urban lifestyles are also reflected in oscillations of the generations between mainstream and alternative lifestyles. The primary point being that people, especially youth, need and want options from which to choose how they are to live. What intentional community movements provide is choices, not only for changes of scenery yet also for changes in lifestyle, particularly from that of competitive, wasteful alienation to that of cooperative, sustainable, righteous living.

A particular rural area that I believe has great potential through the future for the development of a cluster of alternative communities is the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri. In the 1970s the Ozarks experienced an in-migration during the back-to-the-land movement of that era. It was here in Tecumseh Township of Ozark County that a “Walden Two” community was landed in 1974, inspired by the first successful Walden Two community called Twin Oaks in Louisa County Virginia, the two communities sharing the inspiration of Henry David Thoreau’s book “Walden: Life in the Woods” and B. F. Skinner’s utopian novel “Walden Two.” Today, nearly half-a-century later, another back-to-the-land movement is arising and while the existing community clusters are benefiting from it, new clusters may also develop, with the Ozarks being a likely location.

Through the 1980s and ‘90s most of the other back-to-the-land communities of the Ozarks dissolved, while the Walden Two community in Tecumseh named “East Wind” survived and slowly grew, thanks largely to the success of its communal design being transplanted to the Ozarks from its sister community Twin Oaks in Virginia. A few years after its founding East Wind initiated, along with Twin Oaks and a few smaller communities, an association called the Federation of Egalitarian Communities (not to be confused with the Fellowship). After the founding of the Federation the communities dropped the term “Walden Two Communities” in favor of the term “Egalitarian Communities.”

I was twenty when I joined East Wind in 1975. At the time I was hitch-hiking around the country looking for the most promising communitarian society to join. I was thinking that I would go anywhere that I found a group of people developing what I felt was the most likely community to succeed and grow, and at the time East Wind expressed the goal of growing to 750 people. Some 43 years later East Wind is only at about a tenth of that goal, and may never decide to grow over 100 people, yet the idea of a large communitarian project of hundreds of people remains a good idea, and Tecumseh Township, Ozark County, Missouri remains a good place to do it! Just not as one large communal society, instead as a network of a variety of different forms of intentional community, all to be in close proximity.

There are several things that suggest that the Ozarks is a good place to build a close network of intentional, cooperative communities, historically called a “communitarian commonwealth.”

First, however; I think that the term “commonwealth” is a good one to use as it means simply the common wellbeing of a region with no specific economic design implied, although the political design would be “democratic decentralism,” as the Kurdish people in Rojava, Syria call it. Rojava in Syria and Catalonia in Spain are two places where the concept of democratic decentralism is currently being developed.

A diversity of economic designs includes not only communal societies sharing commonly-owned property, yet also various forms of collective communities sharing privately-owned property, like land cooperatives or real estate investment co-ops (REICs). A third form of intentional community is the community land trust in which the land (and maybe some buildings and/or equipment) is owned in common via a nonprofit organization while everything else is private property.

Each local community network or commonwealth may in some way adopt the organizing framework of the “transition town” concept started in England. I think of each of the community clusters listed in the paragraph above as being a “regional commonwealth,” and so the goal is to create the “Tecumseh Commonwealth.”

Tecumseh, Missouri is a good place to build a commonwealth for the same reasons today as it was in the mid 1970s. As then, Tecumseh Township is still very rural and very remote. So remote that there are essentially no or few jobs in the area, so to help assure good public relations with the local people the transplants need to create their own businesses and jobs. East Wind has done very well with that, to where it is the largest “employer” in Ozark County. Of course, in a communal society there are no employees and no bosses, instead all members are worker-owners. This creates considerable respect and good will among the local people since usually the only time they see East Wind members is when we go to town to spend money in their stores. Candidates for county sheriff even visit East Wind since the members tend to vote as a block. (Full disclosure: the author lived eight years as a member of East Wind Community.)

Ozark County is friendly toward intentional community since it has no building codes, and while land is not cheap it is less expensive than most places. There is a good amount of water with creeks and rivers flowing through the rolling hills, with dams and reservoirs creating recreational areas. The Ozarks is largely wooded with a great diversity of wildlife as it borders on several different ecosystems, including Kansas grasslands to the west, deciduous forest to the north and east, Mississippi wet lands to the southeast, Oklahoma desert to the southwest, and the Boston Mountains (up to about 2,500 feet above sea level) to the south in Arkansas.

While the wooded hills provide wood and stone for building, there is very little level ground for agriculture. The most common agricultural commodity in the Ozarks, besides timber is beef. Fortunately, with hemp now legal it can be used to make another building material, hempcrete. The roots of the hemp plant can help stabilize the soil on hillsides, and it often grows well in poor soil.

I can think of two possible drawbacks of living in the Ozarks, besides the lack of jobs. First is that since the entire region is largely wooded, the potential for devastating fires like those recently in California will become more of a problem as climate change advances. Fire breaks and other fire safety precautions, like water systems planned for fire-fighting, are necessities.

Another concern is that the region is largely Republican, although as mentioned above the ability to make money in the Ozarks can ameliorate potential problems coming from that cultural difference to some degree. The Ozarks is part of the Bible Belt, and Christian survivalists and other “preppers,” or those preparing for the 21st Century Dark Age, are also flocking to the Ozarks. So it would be wise to avoid proclaiming the Tecumseh Commonwealth from the roof-tops, and instead to quietly buy land and start building.

An important positive aspect of Ozarks culture is that for at least a century people have relocated to the Ozarks to get away from the dominant culture. For this reason the locals tend to live by the ideal of “leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone.” So in some ways Ozark hillbillies are, although not particularly welcoming, at least tolerant of their neighbors. Therefore, to be accepted it is necessary that new folks take care of themselves, bring ways to make money with them, don’t take jobs from the locals, don’t try to live on welfare, and most of all don’t try to influence the children of the locals. As long as communities create and enjoy their own culture on their own land, and for God sakes clean up before going into town to spend money, the local folks will be mostly friendly.

Since I did my time pioneering a community at East Wind during my 20s, I personally do not feel the need to relive that experience, yet when I have the money I intend to invest it in Tecumseh real estate. There may come a time when I will be able to leave the city, and since East Wind is my home I think of living at least near the community again someday. Pioneering a homestead or a community is a job for young people, and as always, the Ozarks is a good place to do it! There are other ways for older folks like me to help besides chopping wood and carrying water, although I always will need the exercise!

From Patriarchy to Partnership: Telling the Story of Equality

Partnership Spirituality • A. Allen Butcher • Denver, Colorado • December, 2018 • 5,646 words

Feminism in Religion, Economics, and the Family

Among the voices in this time of speaking out against harassment and violence against women, the actor Natalie Portman gave a presentation in October 2018 titled “Step-by-Step Guide to Toppling the Patriarchy,” in which her last step was for Hollywood to create new stories which respect women rather than portray violence against women. (See: youtube.com/watch?v=0qukNm3Bhgg)

A new story for empowering women to a level of equality with men needs to include a chapter which evolves or transforms the dominant religion from patriarchy to gender-equality; as in a religious partnership of women and men. The most powerful and meaningful new story would then be that of the merging of male-oriented transcendent spirituality with the immanence of creation and grace in women’s spirituality. The drama in the story of replacing patriarchal religion is in avoiding a matriarchal religion and instead in balancing masculine and feminine aspects in a Partnership Spirituality.

For most of the world, the dominant, patriarchal religion is the Abrahamic faiths of: Judaism (founded 19th century B.C.), Christianity (1st century A.D.), and Islam (7th century A.D.). “The patriarchy” will not end as long as the patriarchal Abrahamic faiths are not replaced by a Partnership Spirituality. One of the many new stories that need to be told in order to work for equalitarian or egalitarian culture is how the early partnership culture was lost and how it is being reclaimed today.

Among Christians there has long been both academic and theological debates about women and feminism in at least the New Testament of the Bible. The Jewish tradition also has had a long debate about women and feminism, while the Islamic tradition has somewhat less. There is plenty of such debate among Christians to slog through, including many books on the topic such as, “In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins” (1989), in which the author, Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, talks about an aspect of the Early Christian Church which affirmed not just an equality-of-believers among people of different economic levels in society, yet also people of different genders (presumably whether you believe there are just two genders or more). The author writes of the, “Christian feminist vision of the discipleship of equals,” explaining how that got lost by orthodox Catholicism and how to reconstruct it. An Internet search on “Christian feminism” brings up plenty of material from people affirming that originally Christianity was feminist, and suggesting how to reclaim that lost nature of the dominant religion of the West. (Fiorenza, p. xxiv; see also pp. 143, 147-8, 151)

Religion can be a powerful force in culture for either conservative or for progressive influences, and so it is necessary to understand how it has been used to design the patriarchal culture, and how to utilize this force in order to direct the influence of religion toward the support of equality-of-the-genders, or egalitarianism.

A place to begin is to realize that there are people who have constructed, and who are enjoying today, a culture of economic equality among women and men in the communal societies of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities. One of the ideals of the feminist movement has always been that of valuing domestic labor, including childcare, cleaning, food preparation, healthcare, and more, equal with income-generating and other work typically done by men, and this ideal in particular has been realized in the Federation communities.

The idea of “wages for housework” came up in the first wave of feminist organizing around the time that women won the right to vote in America about a century ago. Yet what developed instead since then has been the turning of everything that people used to do for themselves in the home into commodities or services for purchase, essentially monetizing domestic work, which is one of the reasons women today have to work for income as well as work in the home, while many men have begun doing the same. While it is essential that men share the domestic workload, which does move us a step toward feminist, egalitarian culture, merely sharing the domestic labor burden does not result in valuing the two types of work equally. Child care is among the lowest paid occupations for those who work in it, while being one of the biggest expenses for those who must pay for it.

The contribution of the member communities of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities in creating feminist culture is in devising processes that effectively value domestic labor equally with all other forms of work by doing away with money altogether, in fact using no exchange system at all, not even labor-exchange within the community. Instead, the economic process used is labor-sharing, which is a form of time-based economics. While time-based economics includes labor-exchanging, there are two other forms as well: labor-gifting which is essentially volunteering time as in “giving back” or “paying it forward;” and labor-sharing which is a common commitment to contributing one’s own time to functions which mutually support all the members, including oneself. It is labor-sharing in Federation communities like Twin Oaks in Virginia (founded 1967) and East Wind in Missouri (landed 1974) through a vacation-credit labor system that has enabled these communal societies to enjoy an egalitarian, feminist, non-monetary, time-based economy, in which all labor that benefits the community is valued equally. (Full disclosure: the author lived twelve years in these two Federation communities.)

The importance of knowing this story about gender-equality in communal society is the evidence shown that the ideal is attainable; egalitarian culture does exist, and anyone can learn about and enjoy it! The problem, of course, is that most people do not want to live in communal society.

Frequently, young adults who individually join a Federation community will form a relationship, then leave to have children in the dominant culture rather than in the community where they met. I once did a survey of former members of East Wind Community, asking them why they joined and why they left, and the answers were most often that people joined for idealistic reasons, like to enjoy an ecological, feminist, sharing lifestyle, and left for practical reasons, like to go back to school, to pursue a career not available in the community, and especially to have children.

Children-in-communal-society is a major issue among both religious and secular groups. The systems for communal childcare in the Federation communities have changed over time, from where during about the first quarter-century of the movement the communities, rather than the parents, made all decisions regarding the children through their childcare programs. However, the Federation communities found two major problems with communal childcare in large communities.

First, the turn-over rate of members, both parents and non-parent care-givers, meant that issues like immunizations, discipline, diet, etc., that had been settled earlier invariably have to be re-debated as new parents come into the program, requiring ongoing meetings to continually reset or redesign a consensus. Second, the fact that many or most parents leave with their children before they reach school age results in reluctance on the part of some members of the communal group to fund birthing and childcare. In response to these and other issues, the Federation communities since the early or mid-1990s now empower parents in creating support systems for their children with the help of other individual members, rather than the community itself organizing childcare for the parents, which I think of as “cofamilies” formed around each child and nested within the larger communal society.

The Cofamily in Egalitarian, Feminist Culture

The term “cofamily” is intended to add to the common list of types of families. The existing list includes: single-parent family, nuclear family, extended family, and blended families. While this list involves only people who are related biologically or through marriage, there is another form of family which needs to be acknowledged and added, which is groups of three-to-nine, usually unrelated and unmarried adults, supporting each other and their children. A cofamily is a form of small intentional community, with the prefix “co” in this case representing any number of terms including: cooperative, collective, communal, complicated, convoluted, or any similar term other than “consanguine family.” The term “cofamily” can refer to either a small group by itself, or to a small group within a larger intentional community, whether communal, collective, cohousing, land trust, ecovillage, or other.

The classic problem of children and families in communal society is best explained by a quote from the Catholic Worker movement. In his book, “Breaking Bread: The Catholic Worker and the Origin of Catholic Radicalism in America” (1982), Mel Piehl quotes a Catholic Worker community resident named Stanley Vishnewski who clearly explains the dynamic.

“Single persons under the influence of a powerful religious motive can live happily in a communal society where everything is shared in common. … But we soon learned that marriage and our attempts at communal living were incompatible, for no matter how devoted to the work, the moment they married their relationship gradually and imperceptibly and then frankly and strongly veered away from the community to take care of their own. … This fact, that the family seeks its own because it is a natural community, is the fundamental reason why a complete plan of communal living was bound to fail.” (Stanley Vishnewski, quoted in Piehl pp. 128-9, found in Brian Berry, “America’s Utopian Experiments,” p. 204)

Although the Catholic Worker movement is now growing rapidly, it is mostly creating small communities or cofamilies of under ten adult members each, which can manage communal childcare for a few children at a time. When a Catholic Worker community grows to ten adults or more it will likely experience the problem with communal childcare that Stanley Vishnewski explained.

All large communal societies have had to deal with the communal childcare problem. Monasteries often simply refuse any children, while the Christian Hutterites gave up their communal children’s houses for family-based early childcare while maintaining socialization methods for keeping their children in their communities (Huntington, pp. 38-40, 42), and most of the Israeli kibbutzim went on down the slippery slope of privatization of their communal economies after giving up their children’s houses in favor of cohousing-like family apartments on government-owned land trusts. (Isralowitz, pp. 5-6; Lieblich, pp. 64-5; Near, p. 734)

East Wind Community’s communal childcare program lasted 10 years, Twin Oaks’ 20 years, kibbutzim 80 years, although today there are new urban kibbutzim practicing communal childcare, and the Hutterites’ communal childcare lasted 300 years although it was on and off a couple times in their history. For the group of first Christians in the Book of Acts their communalism only lasted around 20 years. Trevor Saxby suggests in his book, “Pilgrims of a Common Life,” that the reasons for this loss of communalism in the Early Christian Church may have been due to persecution, famine, and the failure of members to work for income to support the community, although the failure of communal childcare could have been another reason. (Saxby, pp. 21, 52, 59-60)

The stories are different, yet the lesson is the same. This is why communities which share privately-owned property as opposed to sharing commonly-owned property, like cohousing, usually advertise for people with children while communal societies usually do not. This is also much of the reason why collective, rather than communal, community designs like cohousing and Catholic Worker communities are the fastest-growing community movements. The confusing thing is that many communities may function communally while the property is owned by an individual, which is a form of intentional community which I have named “class-harmony community,” some of which are Catholic Worker.

While it is amazing that the egalitarian communities have existed for over fifty years, with their solution to the communal childcare problem being to limit the number of children they will support while providing for “nested cofamilies,” it is their turn-over rate of membership that keeps the movement to a slow growth-rate. After half a century there are fewer than 250 adult members of egalitarian, communal Federation communities while a few thousand people have been members, with the largest community, Twin Oaks, being about 100 adults. Twin Oaks Community appears to have adopted a decentralized model of about one-hundred adults per community while similar communities are founded around it, with a current maximum of one child for every five adults, which is slightly below the ratio of children-to-adults in the dominant culture of the “Outside World.” Understanding the membership turn-over rate, plus the fact that most all of the children born into these communities either leave with their parents by the time they reach school age or leave on their own once they become adults, suggests that this method of creating feminist culture is limited in application to the dominant culture.

The value of communal, egalitarian culture is in showing the extent of the concept, or how the ideal of gender equality can be fully realized in the real world. While we now know how to create a culture that values all labor equally, by using forms of time-based economics, especially what I call the, “vacation-credit labor system,” we have to recognize that even after experiencing it most people simply do not want to live in communal culture, even though many idealize communalism. While many people talk anti-capitalism, most people abandon communalism once they experience it to return to capitalist culture, usually valuing their communal experience yet refusing to live it again once they acquire property and family. Theoretically, it is possible that a communal economy could work on a scale large enough that most people could satisfy their personal needs and wants, while the current strategy for getting there is the decentralized network of separate communal groups of up to a hundred adults each in close proximity.

What communal culture shows us is that while the problems of capitalist monetary economics inspires people to step outside of the dominant, competitive culture to create communalism, the experience of living communally inspires people to want to return to capitalist competition, if only to see how well they can play the game!

LIVE FREE!

Ironically, both capitalism and communalism give rise to the other, as each engenders its own opposite. Besides in communal society, we can also see this dynamic in various festivals, like the Gatherings of the Rainbow Family of Living Light and in Burning Man and related events. While the people who attend such gatherings are committed to community and cooperation in their gifting cultures, there remains a strong tendency among attendees of Gatherings in national forests to spread a ground-cloth and offer items displayed upon it for trade in a sprawling “Barter Lane.” The resulting scene is of the ages-old, bustling, colorful, market ambiance that attracts many people to what I call, “wilderness training experiences in basic market economics,” practicing through barter transactions the market functions of: buy-low-sell-high, inflation in the cost of the most desired commodities of chocolate and tobacco, market deflation when someone brings a large bag of chocolate bars and hands them out, comparative advantage, rational self-interest, and other market dynamics all for fun and profit, enjoyed particularly among teenagers and younger children. While the Burning Man administration actively disrupts such Barter Circles, the much more anarchistic Rainbow Gatherings have been unsuccessful in preventing barter in our otherwise non-commercial events.

Communal groups even end up using the monetary system for trading commodities among themselves. For example, East Wind Community makes peanut butter as a business while Sandhill Community makes sorghum sweetener and honey for their businesses, the two being about 300 miles apart in Missouri. For internal consumption both communities wanted the other’s commodities. They tried bartering the commodities, yet problems resulted in how to value the different items, whether by weight or labor involved, or some other method. Then too there was the problem that barter transactions are taxable, and so the communities had to value their products in dollars for sales tax reporting. And further, having a separate ledger for barter complicated the computations of productivity, dollar-per-hour of industry labor, and annual income tax reporting. The communities simply found it to be easier to sell their commodities to each other rather than barter them. Here again we see why monetary economics exists, and the difficulty for even communal societies to do without at least an alternative or local currency, which is an exchange system rather than a gifting or sharing system.

One important and valuable function of time-based economics beyond the individual community is labor-exchange between communities. As long as labor is not given a dollar value, either within or between communities, it is not considered to be a commercial exchange, and therefore is ruled non-taxable by the IRS and other government agencies. By assuring that the community’s income is below the taxable level per person, a communal society can then be tax-free. Because the communities share so much internally it has been proven to be possible to live a lower-middle-class lifestyle on poverty-level income. Further, a time-based, communal economy avoids not just income taxes yet also, when incorporated as what the IRS calls a “religious and apostolic association” using section 501(d) of the tax code, communal groups are free of social security and unemployment taxes. From all of this I developed the acronym: LIVE FREE! Which stands for: Labor Is Valued Equally • For Realizing Economic Equality!

Evidently, despite the economic freedom and feminist culture of egalitarian communalism, people have an innate desire for private property in family groups, for the excitement of meeting and trading in markets, and for efficient exchange mechanisms between communal groups. While people want to know that alternative cultures exist outside of monetary economics, few people, including those who experience it, choose to make it a lifelong commitment.

The issues around children in communal-sharing societies, barter in festival-gifting experiences, and trade among communal societies serve to explain both why capitalism exists and why communalism can never become the dominant culture. The greatest value, then, of successful communal societies like those in the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, is in the model these communities present of egalitarian culture. The experience of these communal societies shows us the practical extent of the application of feminist, egalitarian culture as practiced in some communal societies in economics, governance, and the social design considerations of children and family. The next step, therefore, is to apply feminist, egalitarian culture to religion.

Partnership Spirituality in Unitarian Universalism

“Any vital social program is possible only if it is the expression of a religion which calls on the whole loyalty of [women and] men … The more adequate the interpretation of life which is provided by a political or economic philosophy, the better foundation does it constitute for a social and economic program … [and that interpretation needs] a religious motive to vitalize the program.” Arthur Morgan wrote this view of the importance of religion in his study of utopian theory, fiction, and practice, published in his 1944 book titled, “Edward Bellamy: A Biography of the Author of ‘Looking Backward’.” (Morgan, 1944, pp. 302-3)

In the above quote Arthur Morgan presents the case for making our religion consistent with our cultural intentions. I extrapolate from this to say that if we want an egalitarian, feminist culture on any large scale, then we need a religion which respects those values: which I am calling a “Partnership Spirituality.”

In considering where to start in the creation of a Partnership Spirituality it is helpful to consider who is already doing something similar, and the largest such group is the Unitarian Universalists. Arthur Morgan served a time as the vice-president of the American Unitarian Association (from the back cover of “Edward Bellamy”), before it merged with Universalism in 1960, both originally being Christian denominations.

Arthur Morgan and family founded Community Service, Inc. in 1940 (now Community Solutions), and The Vale community in 1946, both in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and sponsored the founding of the Fellowship of Intentional Communities in 1948-9, which changed its name in 1986 to the Fellowship for Intentional Community. (Morgan, 1942, p. 9)

Unitarians and Universalists inspired and supported several intentional communities in America during at least the 19th and 20th centuries. The founder of the famous Brook Farm community outside of Boston, Massachusetts, George Ripley, was a Unitarian minister in Boston. Ripley contributed to transcendental thought, hosting the first meeting of the Transcendental Club in his home in 1836, which later became the organizational theory of Brook Farm (1841-47). Robert Fogarty called Brook Farm, “By far the most well-known of all the ‘utopian’ societies.” (Fogarty, pp. 99, 183; Oved, pp. 142-3)

A member of Brook Farm, John Orvis, became a leader in the Universalist minister John Murray Spear’s Harmonia community (1853-63) in southern New York, close to the Pennsylvania border. In 1858 they sponsored a convention with the theme “Feminine Equality.” (Fogarty, pp.107-8, 197)

The Altruria community in Fountain Grove, California lasted only one year (1894-5). Its founder, Edward Biron Payne, was a Unitarian minister who preached a social gospel, eventually becoming a Christian Socialist advocating gradual change, interdependence, and mutual obligation. Although Altruria attracted many competent people who started several different income projects, the group failed to focus upon any one to scale it up to sufficiently support the community. (Fogarty, p. 127; Hine, pp. 102-4)

Early in the 20th century two community projects were started by Unitarian ministers in Massachusetts, one in 1900 in Montague by Edward Pearson Pressey called New Clairvaux, and the second in 1908 in Haverhill by George Littlefield called Fellowship Farm. Both of these groups were homesteading communities focused upon rural self-sufficiency and cottage businesses, taking inspiration from the arts and crafts movement which decried urbanization and industrial mass production. New Clairvaux had a printing press, a school, and up to twenty-nine residents, yet dissolved by 1909 due to financial problems. (Miller, pp. 54-5)

Fellowship Farm had about forty members, a printing press and craft businesses, although it is unclear how long it lasted. Littlefield’s community idea inspired several other groups, including homesteader/arts and crafts communities in Norwood, MA, Kansas City and Independence, MO, and in Los Angeles, CA where twenty families comprised the LA Fellowship Farm from 1912-27. In all about three-hundred families lived in Fellowship Farms. (Fogarty, pp. 228, 230; Miller, pp. 107-8)

Later in the 20th century three intentional communities in central Virginia were associated with the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church Unitarian Universalist in Charlottesville, Virginia: Twin Oaks (1967-present), Springtree (1971-to present), and Shannon Farm (1972 -to present). Springtree and Shannon both started after their founders attended a summer Communities Conference at Twin Oaks Community. Early on, Twin Oaks had its own UU Fellowship, which carried on exchanges with the UU Church in Charlottesville, members of which helped Twin Oaks build a UU meeting hall with labor and money donations, called the Ta’chai Living Room. Over the decades various Twin Oaks members have attended UU services and other events in Charlottesville and at various UU churches in the Washington D.C. area.

Notice in the timeline above of intentional communities and organizations that the Unitarian Universalist influence is an important part of the foundation of some of the movement, culminating now in the Fellowship for Intentional Community which publishes “Communities” magazine, the “Communities Directory” and other books, and sponsors conferences, trainings, consultations, a loan fund, a website, and other movement services. There are as well many other religious and spiritual organizations comprising the foundation of the communities movement, with the Quakers having the longest association with communitarianism, yet the point is that while religious sentiments often give rise to people wanting to live by their religious precepts, which results in the founding of utopian societies, all of that already exists with regard to egalitarian, feminist culture. Effectively, Partnership Spirituality works in the opposite direction, with the creation of egalitarian culture having been completed first and its religious expression following.

Unitarian Universalism is likely to be friendly toward the idea of developing a Partnership Spirituality movement since it has already an earth-based, women’s spirituality affirmation in its independent affiliate called the “Covenant of UU Pagans” or CUUPS. The origin of this affiliation is said to be in 1977 when the UU Association passed at its General Assembly a “Women and Religion Resolution.” In 1988 the UUA General Assembly granted CUUPS an affiliate status, “honoring goddess-based, earth-centered, tribal and pagan spiritual paths.” CUUPS provides a theological orientation and a liturgical tradition (i.e., the rites of public worship) which is consistent with the idea of combining the spiritual traditions of transcendence and immanence, Goddess and God, male and female. (See: cuups.org)

Merging an egalitarian expression of Christianity with women’s spirituality in a form which could be affirmed as being not so much polytheistic as it would be a binarian monotheism would involve extensive dialogue and deliberation, and so Unitarian Universalists would be the perfect group to carry on the idea of a Partnership Spirituality.

In the same way that Trinitarian Christianity (i.e.: Father, Son, Holy Spirit) is considered to be monotheist, so also may a Binarian Partnership Spirituality of male and female (or any other genders) be considered monotheist when affirmed as one entity. That is, we say it is so, then for us, so it is! Such is the malleable nature of spiritual and religious beliefs.

It would be well that Twin Oaks Community and other groups utilizing the 501(d) tax status consider taking one of its primary organizational tenants, which is feminist egalitarianism, to an affirmation of a religious belief, because having a spiritual or religious orientation is a requirement of that favorable tax status. We know that the IRS and conservative government in general has a bias against communalism, and any time these conservative forces desire to do so they can challenge again Twin Oaks’ claim to meet the requirements of the 501(d) Religious and Apostolic Association, as they did in the late 1970s.

While Twin Oaks had been filing its taxes for many years under the 501(d) subsection of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax code they did not formally request the status. When the IRS discovered what Twin Oaks was doing in 1977 they said that they were not exempt and had to pay a quarter-million dollars in back taxes. Because Twin Oaks does not have a vow-of-poverty like churches and monasteries filing under the tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status, the IRS made the spurious statement that in 1936 when the U.S. Congress created the 501(d) status they intended to include a vow-of-poverty requirement like that of the 501(c)(3) churches and monasteries. To challenge this contrived argument Twin Oaks appealed the problematic IRS ruling in Tax Court and won the case! (Twin Oaks Community, Inc., versus Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 87th Tax Court, No. 71, Docket No. 26160-82, Filed 12-3-86)

Given that such a spurious legal challenge happened once, it could happen again to any Federation or other community using the 501(d) tax status, and the obvious charge next time could be that the community is not actually a religious organization, instead it is secular. The United States Post Office made such an adverse determination against East Wind in 1979 when the community applied for the non-profit bulk rate mailing permit. The USPO St. Louis Office denied East Wind’s request saying, “The bylaws submitted by the East Wind Community makes no mention of any religious worship or religious activities.” (Postmaster, USPO Mail Classification Center, St. Louis, MO, January 4, 1979 to the Postmaster, Tecumseh, MO 65760)

In another case, East Wind Community was attempting to set up an “Earned Leaving Fund” (ELF) to enable members to leave the community by letting them work in the community businesses to earn personal funds for resettlement costs in the outside world. This is clearly contrary to 501(d) requirements, so the community retained a legal firm, which responded saying that the ELF be “treated as an outside employee both for accounting and tax purposes. One way to do this would be to set up a separate bank account … into which the Earned Leaving Fund is deposited as earned.” (Collins Denny, III, letter of 9-4-87, Mays & Valentine, Richmond, Virginia)

I have since suggested that this separate bank account plan could and perhaps should be used by especially new communal groups that have a significant amount of income from outside jobs as opposed to community businesses. While the community business income is exempt under 501(d), outside job income is not. Therefore, having two separate community bank accounts, one exempt for community-business income and the other non-exempt for outside-work income with the two taxed differently, would likely facilitate a new community’s application for 501(d) status, yet that is a another issue.

What is relevant to this article in the Collins Denny letter is his concluding comments that, “I believe that the Internal Revenue Service still maintains an internal bias against 501(d) organizations which do not have a vow of poverty. In saying this, however, I must point out that I have not made any inquiries or seen any IRS publications which support my feelings that a bias exists.” (Collins Denny, III, letter of 9-4-87, Mays & Valentine, Richmond, Virginia)

There may come a time when Federation communities will want or need to dust off their statements of religious belief which they have filed with the IRS and make witness of their lifestyle as justification for their claim that they are indeed religious organizations. Both East Wind and Twin Oaks include in their statements of religious belief the quote from the Book of Acts in the Bible about all believers holding property in common, along with various ideals about sharing and oneness. Yet the most prominent aspect of their existence and structure is egalitarianism, and so adding the equality of women and men as another aspect of their stated religious beliefs could make Partnership Spirituality a saving grace for them.

A New Age Partnership Documentary

As we have already in existence examples of the furthest expression of egalitarian lifestyle and culture, affirming and building a religious or spiritual expression of egalitarianism builds upon the ideals and experience of women and men in partnership, as means of effecting what Natalie Portman and many others have stated needs to be done of “toppling the patriarchy.”

Do not underestimate the significance of the cultural change from patriarchy to partnership. This is a “New Age” level of transformation of our culture through which we many anticipate many rippling affects. Consider that around the year 2027 will be the 2,000th anniversary of the beginning of Jesus of Nazareth’s ministry, which became Christianity. Jesus’ birth date is contested, yet in our Gregorian calendar is considered to have been December 25, 4 B.C. not 0 A.D. and he began his ministry at age 30, so 2,000 years later is about 2027. Another reason for emphasizing this date is that 2027 will be the 200th anniversary of the first printing of the term “socialist,” in the “London Cooperative Magazine” in 1827, eventually giving rise to the community movement of “Christian socialism.”

Now is a good time to assess the heritage of this patriarchal era, and to begin to affirm the new era of partnership. A very good ally in that assessment and projection is the Center for Partnership Studies created in 1987 by the author Riane Eisler. The CPS website states that it serves as a, “catalyst for cultural, economic, and personal transformation–from domination to partnership, from control to care, from power-over to empowerment. CPS’s programs provide new knowledge, insights, interventions, and practical tools for this urgently needed shift.” (See: centerforpartnership.org)

“The identification of the partnership model and the domination model as two underlying social configurations requires a new analytical approach that includes social features that are currently ignored or marginalized, such as the social construction of human/nature connections, parent/child relations, gender roles and relations, and the way we assess the value of the work of caring for people and nature.” (Wikipedia.org, Riane Eisler, Partnership and Domination Models)

Riane Eisler’s Partnership Center would likely be an excellent resource for Unitarian Universalists and others in the creation of new stories of partnership culture and spirituality. A New Age of Partnership, however will require more, it will need a new Bible, and for that I have written an alternative history of gifting and sharing societies through the ages, focusing upon tribal and communitarian cultures, with an emphasis upon women’s stories in them. This work is currently only available in digital format at Amazon.com titled “The Intentioneer’s Bible: Interwoven Stories on the Parallel Cultures of Plenty and Scarcity.” Much of the material in this article is also in that book.

Having a good start on a history of gifting and sharing cultures, as opposed to the taking and exchanging of the dominant culture, another potential resource would be a video documentary of the history portrayed in “The Intentioneer’s Bible.” And who better for such a project than the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) documentarian Ken Burns!

Perhaps PBS is not exactly a Hollywood-level story-teller, yet the difference in emphasis and orientation likely makes PBS more appropriate for telling the story of egalitarianism through the ages, toward a transition of our civilization from patriarchy to partnership.

References:

Berry, Brian. (1992) America’s utopian experiments: Communal havens from long-wave crises. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.

Fiorenza, Elisabeth Schussler. (1989). In memory of her: A feminist theological reconstruction of Christian origins. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company.

Fogarty, Robert. (1980). Dictionary of American communal and utopian history. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Hine, Robert. (1953). California’s utopian colonies. New York: Norton & Company.

Huntington, Gertrude Enders. (1981). Children of the Hutterites. Natural History. Feb., vol. 90, no. 2.

Isralowitz, Richard. (1987, February). The influence of child sleeping arrangements on selected aspects of kibbutz life. Kibbutz Studies, no. 22. http://www.communa.org.il.

Lieblich, Amia. (2002). Women and the changing Israeli Kibbutz: A preliminary three-stage theory. Journal of Israeli history. Vol 21: 1, 63-84. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13531040212331295862)

Miller, Timothy. (1998). The quest for utopia in twentieth-century America, volume 1: 1900-1960. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Morgan, Arthur. (1942). The small community: Foundation of democratic life. Yellow Sprigs, OH: Community Service, Inc.

Morgan, Arthur. (1944). Edward Bellamy: A biography of the author of “Looking backward.” New York: Columbia University Press.

Near, Henry. (2003). Intentional communities in Israel-history. In Karen Christensen and David Levinson (Eds.), The encyclopedia of community: From the village to the virtual world: Vol. 2. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Oved, Yaacov. (1988). Two Hundred Years of American Communes. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Inc.

Piehl, Mel. (1982). Breaking bread: The Catholic Worker and the origin of Catholic radicalism in America. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Quoted in Berry, Brian J. L. (1992). America’s utopian experiments: Communal havens from long-wave crises. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.

Saxby, Trevor. (1987). Pilgrims of a common life: Christian community of goods through the centuries. Scottdale, PA: Hearld Press.

The Bible: People Just Make This Stuff Up!

Partnership Spirituality • A. Allen Butcher • Revised December 20, 2018 • Denver, Colorado

My family had been attending a Congregationalist Church in NE Ohio for a couple years. I liked this church because Congregationalists comprise a liberal denomination where the members make all church decisions by voting, with no or little denominational hierarchy.

My family would assume the same seating arrangement in the same row of the pews every Sunday, with my father at the aisle-end of the pew, then my mother, my older sister, and then myself, the youngest. Yet of course my sister and I would invariably start fighting during the sermon, so my parents soon changed our seating arrangement so that I took the aisle seat, then our parents, then my sister on the inside, furthest from me. I liked that arrangement better.

Our minister taught religion in a local liberal arts college, and I tried to follow his sermons, yet most of the time I just could not understand what this guy was saying. His name was Royce Grunler, professor of religion at Hiram College around 1970. I would focus on the sentence he just said to try to figure it out, yet he would then go on to something else and I would forget what he said a second ago. It was hopeless.

I would look at the studious expression on my father’s face and wonder whether he understood any better than I did what this college professor was preaching. As a high school freshman I already had more education than my father ever had, so I figured there was not much help there. This is where, like in school, I got the habit of staring at the instructor with a blank expression while my mind wandered around the room and the universe. What else could I do?

I decided that to pass the time I would read my copy of the Bible that I took with me to church each week. No one would criticize me for reading the Bible in church, right?

So I started from the beginning of Genesis, and it was all stuff I had heard about in Sunday School before the main sermon each week, until I got to Genesis 6:4. Wait a minute, I thought, no one ever told us this story before.

“There were giants in the earth in those days;” I read. “and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” (Genesis 6:4)

What was that? What the heck is Moses, the supposed author of Genesis, saying in this passage? I could not make sense of it, so like everyone else, I guess, I skipped over this passage and kept going until I just could not slog through reading any more of the Bible. I tried, I really did. Yet I was soon back to staring blankly at any talking head trying to get and keep my attention.

For many decades after that I didn’t think much about those giants in the Bible. Yet I never really forgot about them. Somehow, that speed bump in Genesis remained in my brain, until decades later, nearly half a century after I first read that passage, it finally dawned on me what was going on!

I realize now that the story is that, while the Hebrew tribe was wandering around the Sinai Desert for 40 years they happen to come upon fossilized bones of dinosaurs partially obscured by earth where they had been buried for eons in the ground or hillsides or wherever! It came to me as a flash of realization that this is what the Bible means where it says, “giants in the earth!”

Think about it! The year is sometime after 1,290 B.C. (different people give different dates) and you and your starving and increasingly demoralized tribe come upon these huge fossilized bones, some of which look like gigantic human leg or rib bones, and you, being Moses or some Levite priest, are being besieged by your tribe-mates saying that YOU have to explain what the heck these things are! What are you going to say?!

You don’t know anything more than anyone else in your tribe about paleobiology and fossilized dinosaur bones. You can pray for enlightenment, yet in the end as always you just have to make something up!

Of course those gigantic bones had to be from human-like male giants, right? There could not be giant animals or, God forbid, giant humanoid females! So they must have had something to do with our past, and maybe we can get away with using these crazy-huge, bone-looking, rock-like things to explain where our mythical larger-than-life cultural heroes must have come from!

Never mind trying to explain how those giants “came in unto the daughters of men,” it just happened that way, and of course since orthodox Jews and Christians believe that the Bible is inerrant, whatever is its meaning they believe it must be true. That becomes one small passage in the Torah, later to be called the “Old Testament.”

And that is how you write a Bible! You just make stuff up!

If you are smart about it you claim that your writing was actually the words of someone famous, like Moses, which is called “pseudepigraphal” writing. Some scholars think that the character Moses himself was actually a mythical Hebrew law-giver. “Pseudonymous” literally means “falsely named.” See Bart Ehrman’s book, “Forged: Writing in the Name of God—Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are” (especially pages 23-25).

For example, the fifth book of Moses called “Deuteronomy” was not written in the time of Moses, sometime in the century after 1300 B.C. In his book “Who Wrote the Bible?”(pages 101-2, 147) Richard Friedman says that Deuteronomy (the name being derived from the Hebrew term for “words” referring to Moses’ words) was actually written much later in the 5th century B.C., by a scribe named Baruch son of Neriyah, probably assembling material from many different sources, which is common for writings attributed to historical and mythical law-givers and philosophers.

For another example, King Solomon, who supposedly wrote the Old Testament Book of Ecclesiastes, which some people say means “speaker” or “preacher” in Greek, may not have gotten the wisdom written in the book directly from God, instead from other much more ancient cultures by way of his 1,000 wives and concubines, many of them given to him as tribute from folks such as the Egyptians and Phoenicians.

Some 1,200 years after the time of Moses the now fat and happy Jews of Israel are occupied by the greatest imperial power the Mediterranean region had ever seen. Unrest against those guys occupying your capital and temple is growing, and you need a savior! Now here comes this counter-intuitive movement of peace, love, and liberation from groups such as the Nazarenes, Essenes, Stoics, and Zealots, all needing a hero to rally around.

So they constructed a savior-myth, named him “Jesus” after some itinerant healer, and claimed that he met on a hill top, to be called the “Mount of Transfiguration,” with the long-gone prophet Moses the law-giver who died and was buried, and with the prophet Elijah the spiritual leader who did not die instead was taken to Heaven alive in a fiery chariot. (See: Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-35 ) This meeting makes Jesus greater than both of the earlier prophets since he is now vested with the attributes of both a political and a religious leader. So next they made stuff up about how everyone has to believe in the divinity of their character Jesus or else spend eternity in Hell.

Thirteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, or about half, are said to be written by Paul, while four to six of those are thought to be pseudepigraphic. Paul and others are writing all that stuff in order to broaden the appeal of their peace, love, and liberation faith to non-Jewish “gentiles,” yet the problem is that the gentiles want to know about the early life of the mythical savior Jesus. Oops. We forgot to document the mythical Jesus’ early life story, so now we have to go back and make that stuff up sometime between 30 and 60 years after the events supposedly occurred!

To confirm that’s how it happened, Marcus Borg arranges the books of the New Testament in the order in which they were actually written, in his book titled, “Evolution of the Word.” It turns out that seven of Paul’s books were written before the Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John which provide the story of Jesus’ life, even though in the New Testament the Gospels appear first. Revelation, the last book appearing in the New Testament projecting events in the “End Time,” is actually the fifteenth book written out of the total of twenty-seven. Chronologically, the last book written and included in the New Testament is Second Peter.

Bart Ehrman says on page 23 in “Forged” that “one-third of the New Testament books . . . are books who’s authors never identify themselves,” including Acts, Hebrews, and 1, 2, and 3 John. The four Gospels never identify their authors, so they were later named “Matthew,” “Mark,” “Luke,” and “John.” I don’t suppose it really matters who wrote all that stuff if it is all made up anyway.

People begin writing all kinds of crazy apocryphal and apocalyptic stuff, so you choose the writings you like and claim the rest is heretical, put your choices in something you call the “New Testament,” ban and burn the rest, and soon this rebellious religion takes over that imperial power to become the “universal” religion to which all must profess adherence or die.

And that is how history is written. You need to justify your wealth and power so you just make stuff up that will do the job for you!

Now, 2,000 years into the “Year of our Lord,” we have a global civilization with existential threats to our fat and happy civilization coming fast and furious. Lots of things have and are changing as life for most animals and many humans becomes more difficult.

Most of us are not cold-blooded reptilians unaware of the rising temperatures around us; we can see what is happening and why. People like Riane Eisler point out that the problem slowly began 5,000 years ago with the change from a “partnership culture,” in which there was a balance of feminine and masculine traits in human society, to a “dominator model” in which by dominator-culture injunction men began to rule the lives of women and to “take dominion over the earth,” including wantonly despoiling it. Soon all life was no longer considered sacred as previously women’s spirituality and many indigenous cultures believed, becoming instead a resource for plundering by a conceptual construct we call “monetary economics,” which has now grown to a globally-exploitative system.

Along with the evolution of money arose the dominator religions called the “Abrahamic faiths:” Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These gradually supplanted the earlier goddess-revering partnership culture, which had affirmed creation as the work of the Goddess. Joseph Campbell says in the book “The Power of Myth” (p. 47) coauthored with Bill Moyers, “We have Sumerian seals from as early as 3,500 B.C. . . . with the goddess giving the fruit of life to a visiting male. The old mythology of the goddess is right there.”

The patriarch Abraham left the city of Ur in Mesopotamia around the year 2,000 B.C. for Canaan, now Palestine, and began a monotheistic religion that has come down to us as the Judeo-Christian tradition, which systematized male dominance through what Riane Eisler calls the “dominator model” in her book, “The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future.” (p. xix)

Eisler explains that it was the Hebrew Levite priests who re-mythed (p. 85) the Garden of Eden story, changing it from the earlier partnership form, where as Merlin Stone writes in her book “When God Was A Woman” that, “According to legends of Sumer and Babylon, women and men had been created simultaneously, in pairs—by the Goddess,” to where in Genesis in the Bible man is created first and woman as an after-thought. This “re-mything” was done partly, if not entirely, in order to be able to keep track of patrilineage. “Re-mything” is a euphemism for “making stuff up.”

Earlier, in the partnership or matriarchal culture, it had been difficult for men to know which boys of the village were their biological sons for inheriting their wealth. As men’s wealth increased, inheritance became the determining cultural issue, and the Jewish solution was to enforce male ownership-and-control of women’s reproduction, to the point of death to women who have sex out of wedlock, while the men of her own family throw the stones or light the fire to burn her at the stake (Leviticus 20:10-14, 21:9; Deuteronomy 22:20-2). Stone writes, “the Levite priests devised the concept of sexual ‘morality’: premarital virginity for WOMEN, marital fidelity for WOMEN, in other words total control over the knowledge of paternity.” (p. 161, emphasis in the original)

The re-mything involved was very extensive, changing everything of the Goddess religions to service of the male God. Merlin Stone, Riane Eisler, and Marija Gimbutas in her book “The Living Goddesses” (p. 112), and other writers go into much detail about how as Eisler writes (p. 89), the changes were “reversals of reality as it had formerly been perceived.”

Recognizing that morality and religion are contrived constructs, according to the values of the culture, Partnership Spirituality affirms that we can today create a religion of our choosing, as people have done in the past. I don’t think that our knowing that religions are simply made up by priests says that we need to be atheists or agnostics, because that ignores the positive role that religion can have in society. Religion is a tool of cultural self-determination, just like government, economics, education, technology, and everything else, and like the rest it needs to serve the people, not oppress us and destroy our environment. We either control our own lives, or leave it to others who will do it for us.

The year 2027 will be roughly the 2,000th anniversary of the beginning of Jesus of Nazareth’s ministry, which he began at his age of 30 years. Whether he was an actual person or not, all sorts of people through the last two millennia have piled all kinds of stuff upon that name to create patriarchal Christianity, particularly Paul. 2027 will be a good opportunity for proclaiming the non-patriarchal, egalitarian religion of Partnership Spirituality.

While many Christians have evolved from the idea of having dominion over the earth to the idea of humans having responsibility for stewarding creation, reverence for the life-giving aspects of nature has always been a primary aspect of women’s spirituality. Traditionally, it has been said that while God is love, the Goddess is wisdom, so by elevating the feminine principle to parity with the masculine in our culture we may best affirm the wisdom of sustainable ecological lifestyles and cultures.

Today we are in transition between the astrological ages of Pisces and of Aquarius, and it is to us to re-myth our cultural foundations and personal beliefs as we choose. I choose to call a reclaimed gender-holistic religion “Partnership Spirituality,” while you may call it whatever you like. You can be engaged or not in the creation of the New Age, helping to make up this partnership religious stuff as you wish. For my part, I have written a tome to be used as a bible for Partnership Spirituality, available on Amazon.com titled: “The Intentioneers’ Bible: Interwoven Stories of the Parallel Cultures of Plenty and Scarcity.” Much of the material in this article is also in that book. May it serve as a foundation for the evolution of Partnership Spirituality.

References:

Borg, Marcus J. (2012). Evolution of the Word: The New Testament in the order the books were written. New York: Harper One.

Campbell, Joseph. (1988). The power of myth: Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers. New York: Bantam, Doubleday, Dell Publishing Group.

Ehrman, Bart. (2011). Forged: Writing in the name of God—Why the Bible’s authors are not who we think they are. New York: HarperCollins.

Eisler, Riane. (1987). The chalice and the blade: Our history, our future. San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row (1988 edition).

Friedman, Richard E. (1987). Who wrote the Bible? San Francisco, CA: Harper Collins.

Gimbutas, Marija. (1999). The living Goddesses. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Stone, Merlin. (1976). When God was a woman. New York: Harcourt Brace.

Understanding Non-Monetary, Time-Based, Communal Economics

A. Allen Butcher • The School of Intentioneering • Denver, CO • June, 2018 http://www.Intentioneer.com4thWorld@consultant.com

 

For the non-monetary, labor-sharing economic system, why use the term “vacation-credit labor system” rather than simply “labor-credit system?” Because Outside-World people do not know or understand what makes Twin Oaks Community (T.O.C.) tick, and I think that it is essential to the egalitarian communal movement itself to help the Outside-World to better understand communalism. People often wonder how it works, and often miss the essential aspect.

 

By using the term “vacation-credit labor system” the most important aspect is emphasized of “the glue that keeps this community together,” as Mala T.O. once said to a visiting magazine reporter. Emphasizing the vacation aspect helps people to better understand the “secret” to Twin Oaks’ egalitarian culture, or the “silver bullet” which slays the hegemony of the monetary system. And it is not just capitalism that is replaced by labor-sharing economics, yet all monetary and non-monetary exchange systems! (Mala, quoted in Rems, 2003)

 

One would think that the fact that Twin Oaks has existed for over fifty years as a secular communal society would mean something to people. They might raise an eyebrow to learn of a successful secular communal society in America that has existed over half-a-century, yet I may as well be talking about life on the dark side of the moon for all that most people in the Outside really know about Twin Oaks and what it has discovered about human behavior. That could change if Twin Oaks and non-members, like myself, were more forthcoming about what makes Twin Oaks and similar communal groups successful.

 

At this point I’ll explain, for those readers who do not know, the most significant aspect of Twin Oaks Community’s economic system. With no use of money or other exchange system internally, something else has to be substituted. Twin Oaks’ brilliant innovation was for the community to agree to set a certain minimum amount of work per week that people have to do to maintain their membership, then as they work over the minimum required hours they accumulate vacation time. Believe it or not, it took 140 years of experimentation with what I call “time-based economies” for someone to come up with that simple idea. This is what I call the “vacation-credit labor system.” Consistently meeting that work minimum or “labor-quota” secures for the individual member equal access to all of the community’s wealth: land, buildings, equipment, food, clothing, education, healthcare, recreation, everything! That is communalism!

 

Failure to keep community agreements, especially the labor agreements, results in the person losing their membership and having to leave the community. This is communalism’s solution to the “free-rider” problem. As St. Paul says somewhere in the Bible: no-work; no-eat. There is a long history of Christian communalism, yet I’ll spare the reader that story, saying only that religion and charismatic leadership can sustain communalism, while secular, egalitarian communalism needs to substitute something else.

 

The labor-quota is one of two components of the community’s total labor supply, calculated as: number of members x weekly labor-quota = labor supply for one week’s work that benefits the community. The labor quota is typically between 35 and 45 hours per person per week; yet remember that all domestic services and all other things which the community wants to provide are included, such as: food growing or procuring, preparation and service, laundry, maintenance and construction, income-generating work, accounting and taxes, some or most childcare, and everything else that the community decides to provide for itself.

 

A member’s access to material assets, resources, services, and other wealth of the community is not dependent upon one’s ability to pay for them (neither monetarily nor by labor-credits), yet simply upon one’s keeping of the agreements kept by all members. Besides the egalitarian or feminist behavior-code, one of the most important of those agreements is to participate in the labor-sharing system, and the most important aspect of that is that when a member works over the weekly minimum labor-quota they earn vacation time to be used to meet the labor-quota later, whether they decide to take a “staycation” at home or travel on vacation.

 

That’s it! That’s the most important aspect of the glue that holds Twin Oaks together! That vacation provision is a simple thing, yet little things can make a big difference. I liken it to how the simple act of banks making loans to each other is what creates 85% of the money in the economy, called “multiple deposit creation” (printing bills and minting coins is only 15% of the money supply), and like how all of the Internet boils down to whether the electricity is on or off, represented as 1s and 0s. Simple little things can result in very big things, like a small acorn growing into a huge oak tree. So it is that the simple idea of the vacation-credit replaces debt-based monetary economics with time-based communal economics.

 

In my “Fifty Years of Utopian Intentioneering at Twin Oaks Community” paper (on Facebook and on my blog: http://www.Intentioneers.net) I wrote, “Reporters and academicians come and go and rarely ever understand the significance of Twin Oaks’ vacation-credit labor system.” Now I have discovered a good example of that.

 

In 1998 a German psychology Ph. D. candidate named Hilke Kuhlmann spent six months visiting Twin Oaks and some other communities inspired by the utopian fiction “Walden Two” written by the Harvard psychologist B. F. Skinner. Kuhlmann published her book about these communities in 2005 titled, “Living Walden Two: B. F. Skinner’s Behaviorist Utopia and Experimental Communities.” In 2005 she was assistant professor in the American Studies program at the University of Frieburg, Germany.

 

I was recently re-reading parts of Hilke’s book to see what she had to say about the labor-credit system and was amazed to discover, what I had missed before, that she never explains the vacation-earning provisions of Twin Oaks’ labor-credit system presented above!

 

How could she miss that simple yet brilliant innovation of setting a weekly work-quota that when people work over-quota they earn vacation time? If Hilke did understand that aspect of T.O.’s, E.W.’s and other communities labor systems, she says nothing about it in either her 2005 book nor her summer 1999 article in issue number 103 of “Communities” magazine titled “Walden Two Communities: What Were They All About?” Evidently, Hilke Kuhlmann never did figure out what we were all about!

 

In chapter 11 titled “The Labor-Credit System” of her book, Hilke writes the following:

 

“To ‘make quota’ meant to work for however long it would take to accumulate the number of labor credits the communards had decided upon as a weekly minimum.” (Kuhlmann, 2005, p. 108)

 

First of all, note Kuhlmann’s use of the term “communard.” The behavioral psychologist Deborah Altus refers to this as one example of Kuhlmann’s “pejorative tone,” while Altus’ colleague Edward Morris gives this as one of several examples of what he calls Kuhlmann’s “fascist-sounding …  rhetoric.” Personally, I think it sounds more communist, yet either way, while Kuhlmann uses the term correctly it is considered archaic and not used much today, other than in jest or endearment. Some of her tone and word use, however, needs to be forgiven since English is her second language, not her native language. Secondly, and most importantly, while Kuhlmann is technically correct in her quote above, she omits the most important part, which is that by working “over-quota” an individual accumulates vacation time. (Altus, p. 1; Morris, p. 2)

 

Kuhlmann’s first language is German, so her wording errors may simply be a non-native-English-speaker’s cultural faux-pas. Another language error of hers is her inappropriate use of the term “Virginian” which she uses in phrases like “the Virginian community.” The term refers to a person from Virginia, not a location, town, or anything else in Virginia. I have been making a list of Kuhlmann’s errors. For another thing, she gets Twin Oaks’ tax status totally wrong (p. 110), and commits several other factual errors, which admittedly, only a few readers like myself would ever notice.

 

Kulhmann’s little omission is extremely important, not only to the natural history of Twin Oaks and other egalitarian communities yet also with regard to communal theory. With the vacation-credit labor system innovation Twin Oaks has solved the problem of Karl Marx’ and Freidrich Engels’ second phase of communism. They had no better idea than Skinner or anyone else as to what a secular communal society would look like. The best that Marx and Engels could come up with was to use Morelly’s Maxim of “from each according to ability; to each according to need.” They set the goal of achieving a non-capitalist economy as an uncertain step to be taken sometime in the distant future, focusing in the interim upon what they explained as the intermediate step in Marxist communism, that of class-conflict for control of the State. And yes, the second stage of Marxist communism is a utopian theory or ideal. (See: “Critique of the Gotha Program” in Tucker, p. 531)

 

Essentially, Twin Oaks has gotten to where the social reformers like Owen, Fourier, and St. Simon, and the revolutionary advocates like Marx and Engels, as well as anarchists and utopian fiction writers, could only dream about: a truly egalitarian economic system.

 

To describe communalism from the perspective of the group as opposed to that of the individual, the present author has evolved Morelly’s Maxim to what I am calling “Allen’s Axiom” saying, “from all according to intent; to all according to fairness.”

 

While the behavioral psychologists Deborah Altus and Edward Morris have their own criticisms of Kuhlmann’s study, I have another to add, which cannot be attributed to language problems. The tone of Kuhlmann’s writing is rather critical and dismissive as she writes:

 

“Yet a closer look at the inner workings of the community reveals that the community’s claim to have found a viable alternative to capitalism may have to be modified. It seems that the most central—yet often overlooked—factor in sustaining the noncompetitive economic system is the community’s rate of membership turnover, which was as high as 25 percent per year during its first five years. … The appearance of permanence is achieved through the fact that the community is most often discussed as if it were a stable entity rather than a constantly changing body of people.” (Kuhlmann, 2005, p. 122)

 

Yes, membership turn-over is a fact-of-life in the communitarian movement, less so for communities like cohousing where people have to invest hundreds-of-thousands of dollars to build a house, and more so in communal societies where new members do not have to invest any money at all to join. In Twin Oaks’ first year the average length of membership lasted only a few months, while today the average length of membership is at least eight or nine years. Longevity of the community and the average age of the membership are important factors in the membership turn-over rate, yet this is true in American culture in general. Maybe things are different in Germany, yet in America people move frequently to chase down work opportunities or to simply stay housed in a rental market in which ever-rising rents can cause people to move frequently. In America the “friendly neighborhood” is disappearing to where people do not know their neighbors. This is evidently a problem in Europe as well, since the cohousing community design began in Denmark and is often referred to in America as a form of “intentional neighborhood.” Yet the turnover of personnel is ongoing in every human organization, from for-profit corporations to nonprofit organizations, and from churches to government agencies, and so it is disingenuous to criticize Twin Oaks and other communal societies for also having an ongoing membership turnover rate.

 

Hilke Kuhlmann repeats her membership-turnover-rate criticism again in the conclusion of her 2005 book saying, “What Twin Oaks appears to have found instead [of a “recipe” for communal success] is a structure that is perfectly suited for utilizing membership turnover …” And in an earlier 2001 book titled “The Philosophy of Utopia” edited by Barbara Goodwin, Kuhlmann contributed an article called “The Illusion of Permanence: Work Motivation and Membership Turnover at Twin Oaks Community,” in which she states almost word-for-word the same criticism she later used in her 2005 book, along with her omission of the vacation-credit system. (Kuhlmann, 2005, p. 168; Kuhlmann, quoted in Goodwin, pp. 158-9)

 

To add some perspective to the membership turnover rate, I once did a survey via email-list of former members of East Wind Community and found that in general people said that they joined for ideological reasons, like feminism, anti-capitalism, ecological living, etc., and left for personal reasons, like going back to college, taking advantage of travel opportunities, not being able to find an intimate relationship in community, or finding a partner and leaving to start a family outside of community, sometimes to take  advantage of offers of support from their biological families contingent upon their leaving community.

 

While Kuhlmann emphasizes the “illusion of permanence” that the labor-credit system gives to Twin Oaks, which carries on even as members come and go, she points out that it is precisely the turnover of membership which continually brings in new people with their infectious communal idealism. Affirming Mala’s explanation for what keeps Twin Oaks together, Kuhlmann states, “In short, the labour credit system helps to perpetuate the communal status quo.” (Kuhlmann, quoted in Goodwin, pp. 169-70)

 

Returning to Kuhlmann’s chapter 11 about the labor-credit system, the author writes the words “vacation” and “over-quota” yet only in reference to money and not in the context of how the labor-system works. She states:

 

“These days, the communards can supplement their monthly allowance nonetheless. There are three ways to do this: to work for wages off the farm in one’s own vacation time, to work ‘overquota’ in Twin Oaks production areas for minimum wage, or to receive money from relatives or friends.” (Kuhlmann, 2005, p. 110)

 

All of this is true enough, yet her emphasis is upon how members get private money, not what enables the community’s communalism or a person’s right to membership. She mentions above that members get vacation yet does not explain how. I emphasize this quote because it is the only place in Kuhlmann’s book or articles where she uses the word “vacation.” In her “Walden Two Communities” article it is clear that Kuhlmann does not understand the mechanics of the community’s vacation-credit labor system begun just a few months after the community was founded in 1967, since she refers only to the variable-credit system used during the community’s first decade, ending about 1976, saying:

 

“The main problem encountered by the communards was the impossibility of giving out enough labor credits to make every job equally desirable.” (Kuhlmann, 1999, p. 37)

 

While this statement was somewhat true back in the 1970s, this minimal wording for the sake of brevity only suggests why the community abandoned the variable-credit system, while ignoring the more important innovation of vacation-credits which predated the use of variable-credits, and which has continued all through the community’s history.

 

When Kuhlmann talks about Twin Oaks’ and other communities’ labor systems she focuses only upon the important aspect that “one hour of work equals one labor credit,” meaning that all work that benefits the community, whether considered on the Outside to be women’s work or men’s work, is considered equal in value to the community. (Kuhlmann, 2005, pp. 112, 167)

 

This is where I present the labor-sharing acronyms: LIVE•FREE, standing for “Labor Is Valued Equally • For Realizing Economic Equality,” as in live free of taxation (since the IRS does not tax labor systems); and ALIVE for “All Labor Is Valued Equally,” as in feminism is ALIVE in time-based economies. Valuing all labor equally that supports the community is the common aspect of all time-based labor systems, while not all of them use the vacation-credit innovation.

 

There is much good information in Hilke Kuhlmann’s book, making it a great resource for research into the Walden Two communities movement, yet while Kuhlmann does explain a good amount about Twin Oaks’ history of experimentation with labor-credit systems, especially giving a good explanation for what “variable-credits” were at Twin Oaks and how the membership decided against differential compensation for different types of labor in favor of One Hour = One Credit, she never mentions the vacation-credit aspect. (Kuhlmann, 2005, pp. 106-10)

 

This is a critical error on Kuhlmann’s part. Evidently during her six months of field research involving visits, interviews, and study of the relevant literature she never understood, or at least never wrote about, the single most important aspect of egalitarian communalism. Despite her incomplete work Hilke Kuhlmann was awarded a Ph. D., yet if it were me I would have first made her resolve her omission! As an academic observer she evidently never really understood what she was seeing, or perhaps simply forgot to ever mention it, so how could any other interested non-member be expected to understand how egalitarian communalism works, unless someone explains the vacation-credit aspect?

 

Twin Oaks Community’s time-based, labor-sharing economy represents the first long-term-successful non-monetary economic system of secular utopianism, on the level of what the Rule of Benedict did for Catholic monasticism, assuring a stable communal economy providing for economic equality now for over fifty years, and very few people outside of the communities movement understands it or how important it really is to the ideal and history of people’s search for an egalitarian utopia!

 

References

Altus, Deborah. (2006). [Review of the book Living Walden Two: B. F. Skinner’s behaviorist utopia and experimental communities by Hilke Kuhlmann]. Communal Societies.

Kuhlmann, Hilke. (1999 summer). Walden Two Communities: What Were They About? Communities: Journal of Cooperative Living, 103, 35-41.

Kuhlmann, Hilke. (2001). The illusion of permanence: Work motivation and membership turnover at Twin Oaks Community. In Barbara Goodwin (Ed.), The philosophy of utopia (pp. 157-171). Frank Cass Publishers: Ilford, Essex, England.

Kuhlmann, Hilke. (2005). Living Walden Two: B. F. Skinner’s behaviorist  utopia and experimental communities. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois.

Rems, Emily. (2003 winter). “Ecovillage people.” BUST magazine. http://thefec.org/about/media/bust-magazine.

Morris, Edward. (n.d.). [Review of the book Living Walden Two: B. F. Skinner’s Behaviorist Utopia and Experimental Communities by Hilke Kuhlmann]. Journal of publication unknown.

Tucker, Robert C. (1978). The Marx-Engels Reader (2nd Ed). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.