If this is your first time here…

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If this is your first time here…

Cambia: Love of the Small

This video comes out of a Cambian conversation about minimalism and functionalism.  The two ideas are not necessarily opposites, although sometimes a minimalist ethos can prevent things from being as functional as they could otherwise be.  But is function always necessary?  How much skill, and sophistication, and access to resources do we really need to live a good life?  Perhaps, if we focus too much on function, we miss opportunities to connect with each other.

But, ultimately, it doesn’t matter if we build our community according to minimalist or functionalist principles. Either would be fine. What matters is that we take the time to really listen to each other, and develop robust empathy for each other’s values.  That’s what community is all about.

 

 

 

Cambia: Love of the Small

Maximus

by Raven Cotyledon

I first met Maximus because I was part of the Point A team trying to build communes in East Coast cities.  I wanted to do something in the Boston area (where I have lived most of my life), so when we were able to do a talk at MIT, and I sent out stuff to all the local co-ops, I was excited that we got a fair attendance from them.  I was hoping a co-op in the Boston area would be interested in becoming a commune. A woman in one of the local co-ops said she thought that she knew someone who might be interested in income-sharing. It was Maximus, and he was starting a co-op in Binghamton, NY. Since then, Maximus has lived at the Cambia community in Louisa, VA, and East Brook Community Farm in Walton, NY.

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Maximus

Maximus is a graduate student at Binghamton University studying evolutionary biology.  His focus is on communal living and his passion is making videos about it. He recently made a video about me and I am returning the favor here by making a blog post about him.

I stopped managing Commune Life about the middle of February last year and it drifted for a while until Maximus decided to take it over last summer. But Maximus had bigger plans for Commune Life than just the blog. He started a YouTube channel and a Facebook page and got people to help him build a social media presence as well as an Instagram site.  He also decided to create a Patreon page to help fund all this.

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I agreed to post once a month on the blog and was the only one who posted on it until I decided to return to managing the Commune Life blog in January.  Meanwhile Maximus had turned Commune Life into a small empire. Since I returned to the blog, Maximus and I have been working together on Commune Life, with me focusing solely on the blog, and Maximus working with others to keep the whole Commune Life entity going.

Recently, Maximus began putting the posts from the Commune Life blog up on our Facebook page which has driven up traffic on the blog. He has been strongly encouraging others to make videos and has gotten Rejoice and Julia to create them, giving some diversity of views of the communes.

Maximus and I were also recently down at Twin Oaks, mostly because we are on an FEC financial team together, but Maximus took the opportunity to create a video about the latest Twin Oaks hammocks product. Hopefully that will be up on the Commune Life YouTube channel soon.

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Maximus in front of the Twin Oaks dining hall

I have been saying that the communes are a force for social change. Maximus is documenting the process in great detail. Thank you, Maximus, for the amazing work that you are doing.

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Thanks for reading! This post was made possible by our patrons on Patreon. The Commune Life team works hard to bring you these stories about our lives in community, and that work couldn’t happen without support from our audience. So if you liked this article, and want to help us make more like it, head on over to https://www.patreon.com/communelife to join us!

Deep gratitude to all of our patrons:  

Communities

  • Acorn Community
  • Compersia Community
  • Cotyledon Community
  • East Brook Community Farm
  • The Federation of Egalitarian Communities
  • Twin Oaks Community

Communards

  • Tobin Moore
  • Kai Koru
  • Jenn Morgan
  • Jonathan Thaler
  • Nance & Jack Williford
  • Julia Evans
  • William Croft
  • Aaron Michels
  • Cathy Loyd
  • Laurel Baez
  • Magda schonfeld
  • Michael Hobson
  • Sasha Daucus
  • William Kadish

Thanks!

 

Maximus

The Mothership Clearness Process

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from The Mothership website

Clearness Process  

    Clearnesses are intended to facilitate communication and bonding between individual community members, ensure that small interpersonal conflicts are addressed on a regular basis so they do not grow into major fires, and bring private challenges and excitements into public light.

Going through the whole clearness process is called “getting clear.” All residents of The Mothership are required to get clear at least once per year. This means each pair of crewmembers should be getting clear twice a year; once during each of their annual clearnesses. For any number of reasons (including the suggestion of a crewmember) an individual may choose to get clear more often, and non-residents may also choose to get clear.  A request for a clearnesses must be treated as a high priority and we agree to meet within 7 days if expediency is requested.

    In order to “get clear,” the focus person (the person who is having  a round of clearnesses) must seek out each crewmember of The Mothership to have an individual clearness. We encourage folks to be as open and honest as they can in these clearnesses, since this is a good opportunity to clear up interpersonal issues. If two people have particular difficulty with each other, they may ask for someone else to be present to help the conversation go more smoothly. Clearnesses should be guided by the focus questions  described below. If concerns come up, the two people should seek to first understand the concern and then work to resolve it or work on defining a path towards resolving it, if possible. Ideally they will reach a state of sufficient clarity with each other that when one of them summarizes the concern and conversation in the group the other will not need to clarify, correct, or argue.

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    You are encourage to discuss your consent relationship within the clearness process; how we’re accessing each others bodies, time and engagement.  This helps create a culture of consent for our community.

    Some focus questions should exist within any clearness, while others will depend on the specific context in which the clearness occurs.

Focus questions for all clearnesses:

  • What am I excited about in our current relationship?
  • What do I find difficult or challenging about our current relationship?
  • What do want to change about our current relationship?
  • What would I like our future relationship to look like next month? In a year?  In a decade?

Focus questions as part of a long-term guest application:

  • How do I feel about our relationship in light of the possibility of you/me continuing to be a guest at The Mothership?
  • Do you/I have any unmet needs during or as a result of your visit to The Mothership?

Focus questions for a crew member in their trial period (first 3-6 months):

  • How do I feel about our relationship in light of the possibility of us continuing to live together for an extended period of time?

Focus questions for a crew member eligible to exit their trial period:

  • How do you feel about our relationship in light of the possibility of you/me exiting your/my trial period.

Focus questions for senior bridge crewmember:

  • How do I feel about our relationship in light of you/me being a senior bridge crewmember?

If a special clearness is called for, the person requesting the clearness(es) or the group as a whole may define additional focus questions.  It is encouraged to define whether it’s a residency, long term guest or special clearness you want so people can think about the clearness within those parameters. A person requesting a special clearness is encouraged to offer a brief description of the topic when requesting it.

Once the focus person has completed an individual clearness with each resident of the Mothership, a group clearness will be conducted at a single item meeting scheduled by the focus person.  The focus person may choose to invite non-residents to sit in on their clearness if they wish.

    To begin, the focus person will reflect on their relationship with the community as an institution, guided by the focus questions with the community standing in as the member in dialog.  Here are a list of questions to guide a person’s reflection:

If that person is resident:

  • What are your general feelings and thoughts about our community?
  • What needs are being met in your life at The Mothership? What needs are not being met? What is getting in the way of having what you want?
  • How would you evaluate your interpersonal relationships and connections at The Mothership?
  • What do you see as your role in the work ahead?
  • What do you see as your contribution to the life of our community?
  • What is your vision for The Mothership?
  • How would you describe your current commitment to The Mothership?

If that person is a guest:

  • How was/is your visit going? What’s going well? What’s difficult?
  • What is your work scene like and how do you feel about it?
  • What is your social scene like and how do you feel about it?
  • Do you think you might eventually want to become a resident or member of The Mothership? If so, when?
  • What are your general feelings and thoughts about our community?

    After the focus person has finished, the community has an opportunity to ask clarifying questions of the focus person or ask them to expand on or speak to various aspects of their relationship with the community

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    Next, the residents take turns summarizing their personal clearnesses with the focus person.  How brief or expansive a member is in their summary is left to that member’s judgment. The facilitator is welcome to intervene if they feel a member is being too brief or too long winded.  A member should be sure to include in their summary specific things they appreciate or value about the focus person and any concerns that came up and were discussed in their personal clearness. The member should not add any new material to their summary that they did not bring up in their personal clearness. Members should not react or respond to other member’s summaries.  This is an opportunity for reporting only.

    Finally, the membership engages in a “Lightning Round of Affirmations” quickly stating something that they particularly appreciate or value about the focus person or otherwise affirming them.

    Members are encouraged to wait 24 hours before discussing any concerns or thoughts they have with each other in response to the group clearness.

 

The Mothership Clearness Process

A Detailed FEC History: Part Two, the 1980s

by Raven Cotyledon

(This is part two of a series. Part one is here.)

This is not my blog.  The reason that I write so much here is because most communards have so little time (and perhaps incentive) to write.  

I have my own blog (that I seldom write on, because I am so busy writing here) and the most popular post I ever wrote (by far!) on my own blog was on Social Movements in the 80s.  The 1980s were a powerful time.

So, for Commune geeks everywhere, I present Part Two of my detailed history of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, focusing on the 1980s and starting with the year 1980.

The-eighties

1980   There were two FEC Assemblies that year.  Membership started off with Twin Oaks, East Wind, Sandhill, Aloe, Dandelion, Los Horcones, and North Mountain.  Unfortunately, that was the year that Aloe community disbanded and North Mountain community dropped out of the FEC.  It was also the year that the Community in Dialogue status was created, an important step for the FEC. By the second Assembly, East Wind had a population of 40, Sandhill 9, Dandelion 12, and Los Horcones 28.  Twin Oaks didn’t list a population that year.

1981     There were two Assemblies in ‘81 as well.  Los Horcones dropped out of the FEC. They were a ‘Walden Two’, behaviorist community, similar to the way Twin Oaks started, and they wanted to focus on that. Two new communities, Chrysalis and Apple Tree, joined the FEC, presumably as Communities in Dialogue. Twin Oaks listed its population that year as 71, East Wind as 55, Sandhill as 7, and Dandelion listed 10.  Finally, East Wind started their nut butter business that year.

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1982     This year, the FEC had only one Assembly, which was held in August. This was the year that they made contact with Alpha Farm which showed up at the Assembly, and also showed up at occasional future Assemblies, but never seemed to stay with the FEC. There were debates about consensus that year and conversations about PEACH, which would become the FEC’s homegrown health insurance alternative. Twin Oaks was dealing with the suicide of a member that rocked the community. Twin Oaks now listed their population as 62, East Wind as 50, Sandhill as 7, and Dandelion as 15.

1983    Back to two Assemblies, one in April and one in November.   Twin Oaks questioned the utility of the FEC and wanted to emphasize the recruitment of minorities. In November, there was a sorghum harvest at Sandhill and Chrysalis was admitted as a full FEC member.  East Wind listed their population as 57 in April and 45 in November. Twin Oaks listed 72 members, Sandhill 7, Apple Tree 6, Dandelion 18, and Chrysalis 4.

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1984       Again, two Assemblies, which seems the norm at this point. This seemed to be a busy year at the communes: Sandhill was accepted for 501d status, East Wind adopted a new labor system, book indexing was going well at Twin Oaks, and Apple Tree loaned money to East Wind and star flower. (Presumably, star flower is another community.)  At the November Assembly, Short Mountain, a queer community in Tennessee, joined the FEC, probably as a Community in Dialogue. Populations: Twin Oaks 67, East Wind 45, Sandhill 5, Apple Tree 6, Dandelion 8, and Chrysalis 5.

1985     The middle of the decade and another busy year at the communes. There were two FEC Assemblies, Twin Oaks held its first women’s conference, had indexing taking off and a record hammock production, and Sandhill had their best sorghum harvest ever. A bunch of new communities came, including Metanokit, the Foundation for Feedback Learning, and, for just one meeting, windstar.  Bad news was that Apple Tree was denied their 501d status. A big discussion on art in community. The question was, is art primary or secondary?  Does no art lead to more turnover? Community populations stayed the same except Apple Tree went down to 4, Dandelion down to 6, and Short Mountain listed 5.

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1986     The tenth anniversary of the FEC!  Once more, two Assemblies, and this was the year that PEACH, the health insurance plan for the FEC, actually started.  By the November Assembly, communal populations were: Twin Oaks 67, East Wind 45, Sandhill 9, Apple Tree 4, Dandelion 7, Chrysalis 3, and Short Mountain 5.

1987   As usual, two Assemblies. Chrysalis dropped membership this year, as did Short Mountain, when their policy of being a sanctuary for queer folks only was seen as being in conflict with the FEC’s policy against discrimination. Apple Tree apparently abandoned their use of consensus. There was a suggestion that the FEC have some sort of general disclaimer stating that though they fall short of their principles sometimes, they do seek to be more in line with them.  At the November Assembly, populations were: Twin Oaks 65, East Wind 45, Sandhill 6, Apple Tree 4, Dandelion 4, and Metanokit had 14.

1988    The usual two Assemblies. Krutsio begins coming to the Assemblies, and grass valley came to the one in May and Alpha Farm apparently showed up at the Assembly in November. At East Wind, their sandal business was booming and they actually thought of cutting the nut butter business. At Twin Oaks, Pier One threatened to cut their hammocks contract with them. And there was a discussion at the November Assembly about using consensus for the FEC. Populations didn’t change much except East Wind went down to 40 and Sandhill went up to 7.

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1989    Two Assemblies, Krutsio officially became a Community in Dialogue, as did spring tree (but not for long), and a community called Purple Rose showed up at one Assembly. Populations at the communes remained stable.

And that ends the FEC history for the Eighties. Next month, I will document the Nineties, the decade that I became involved with the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, so I will have a lot more personal information to share in that post.

If anyone has more information about the FEC or any of the communities in the Eighties, please pass it on in a comment.

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Thanks for reading! This post was made possible by our patrons on Patreon. The Commune Life team works hard to bring you these stories about our lives in community, and that work couldn’t happen without support from our audience. So if you liked this article, and want to help us make more like it, head on over to https://www.patreon.com/communelife to join us!

Deep gratitude to all of our patrons:  

Communities

  • Acorn Community
  • Compersia Community
  • Cotyledon Community
  • East Brook Community Farm
  • The Federation of Egalitarian Communities
  • Twin Oaks Community

Communards

  • Tobin Moore
  • Kai Koru
  • Jenn Morgan
  • Jonathan Thaler
  • Nance & Jack Williford
  • Julia Evans
  • William Croft
  • Aaron Michels
  • Cathy Loyd
  • Laurel Baez
  • Magda schonfeld
  • Michael Hobson
  • Sasha Daucus
  • William Kadish

Thanks!

 

A Detailed FEC History: Part Two, the 1980s

Creating use value while making a living in egalitarian communities

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“If one wanted to crush and destroy a man entirely, to mete out to him the most terrible punishment … all one would have to do would be to make him do work that was completely and utterly devoid of usefulness and meaning.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky in The House of the Dead

I observe a lot of suffering related to senseless work. David Graeber describes the entire system of “bullshit” jobs that causes emotional suffering. The quest for sense and usefulness has attracted many to peer production projects and to intentional communities. It is one of the elements of the postcapitalist mode of production to enable people to contribute in a meaningful way, to produce use value.

In this article, I will present egalitarian communities, mainly Acorn community in Virginia to examine whether the postcapitalist mode of production in the physical world can be introduced by establishing intentional communities. It should be noted that the opinions presented here are not necessary those of the founders or members of the community where I have done research. I interpret my findings with regard to their significance for imagining the postcapitalist mode of production. Acorn community does not define itself as a peer production project so the following analysis is not an evaluation of the implementation of peer production theory into practice. It is instead an extrapolation from the practice to how peer production organizations in the physical world could operate in the current system and in the future. The main characteristics of this form of production are: 1) Self-selected spontaneous contribution of participants in the production process;{1} 2) creation of use value rather than exchange or market value, which results in free access to public goods; {2} 3) non-delegation and distributed coordination, in contrast to hierarchical state and market providers. The first article of this four-part series focused on the consequences of self-selected spontaneous contribution as a model of organizing production.

In this article, I will examine how producing use value can be translated into production in the physical world in the context of the constraints imposed by the capitalist system. I will describe how structuring production via intentional communities can generate use value at different scales: for members, for the communities movement, and for society at large. I also explore how the production of use value can be accomodated within the necessity to make a living in the present system and what role communities can play in the transition towards a system where work/working produces use value rather than exchange value? How to navigate the pressure to make a living? – this is the dilemma of many in the peer-to-peer movement. Some have already contributed to this subject: Las Indias in their blog post on the fear of selling out or Lars Zimmermann in his post on Sensorica. I hope that the examples described below will widen the range of possibilities that can be imagined.

The main tenet of the peer production model is that one’s self-selected contribution is motivated by the opportunity to pursue public interest. There is no expectation of reciprocity (access is not dependent on involvement in the production process) and the results are distributed for free. {3} According to Benkler and Nissenbaum, peer production is based on and will inculcate a new set of virtues such as self-selection and volunteerism, gift culture, and the will to contribute to a broader community. {4} Currently, most of the peer production projects in which use value is created in the form of open source and open access products results from the involvement of peers who have other sources of income than their involvement in peer production. However, the motivation behind the contribution to open source projects may be also influenced by the fact that many peers can expect a postponed monetary reward because their participation in digital peer production builds their reputation in the domain of software development. Skills development can be another reward. As long as remunerated work is necessary to sustain public benefit work, it will be difficult to see a pure example of peer production in which peers are solely motivated by the production of use value. Ignoring the material bases of survival for the contributors in a peer production project may have dangerous consequences for the entire project because it may induce motivations to overtake the project by its most active contributors. Therefore, organization models that make the for benefit contribution sustainable and meet the logic of survival are interesting to explore.

Acorn Community sustains its roughly 30 members through operating an heirloom and organic seed distribution business, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (“SESE”), and through subsistence agriculture. The enterprise is an interesting example that integrates profit making into the production of use value.

As I mentioned in the previous post, the contribution to production is not entirely spontaneous because the members are obliged to meet 42-hour labor quota and because some members may resent people that do not contribute and consequently make it difficult for a free-rider to feel socially integrated. Therefore, the work in the community, especially within the labor quota, is motivated by self-interest, although less strictly than in the classical employment system. My interviewees mentioned that escaping the stress and anxieties of having a job in the capitalist system and sufferings related to having a boss and pursuing senseless activities were one of their main motivations for joining the community. Other individual motivations were to be able to live a healthier life and be part of a community. Many interviewees mentioned that their involvement is part of their pursuit of the struggle against capitalism. As one of them, a former environmental political campaigner, put it, he decided to shift from oppositional to propositional action. Many members see their lifestyle as an experiment that may inspire society to change. One needs to take a selection bias into account, though. The 15 individuals that I have interviewed may have agreed to be interviewed because they consider participating in the community a way of inciting a broader change. Therefore my project of spreading information and further analysis may correspond to their vision and motivation to participate in the community.

Acorn’s members do not receive a salary but rather are granted unconditional access to all the resources and services produced by the members and made available according to their needs (except for tobacco and alcohol). This is supplemented by a small monthly stipend that can cover needs that are not met by the community. All members have the same position in the community. This is one of the reasons why the community calls itself egalitarian. The enterprise produces use value by redistributing its income to all members of the community, even those who do not play a major role in the success of the business in a monetary sense, as is the case in the capitalist mode of production. Although I have not interviewed anyone who does not work for the business at all, in theory it is possible to do only domestic jobs, grow food for the community, and engage in other subsistence-related activities to fulfill one’s labor quota. Since there is no special reward for individual effort or skills, one can define their work as being closer to work for benefit rather than for profit. The system resembles what one could imagine as an advanced form of an unconditional basic income at a group scale with two modifications:

1) Access is conditional on overall conformity with the labor quota (some proponents of an unconditional basic income also are in favor of a social contribution quota).
2) In contrast to a monetary transfer, the same for everyone, almost all goods and services are freely available to all members. Actual consumption varies widely between individuals. The model looks similar to free public services. {5}

This model can be an inspiration in the discussion and imagining of how the production of use value could be imagined at a broader national scale.

Acorn business model: integrating exchange and use value

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, the enterprise run by Acorn community, is an example of how a profit making enterprise can produce a use value. The enterprise sells heirloom seeds and provides services helping gardeners grow and preserve them for the next season. They work with about 60 farms that produce seed for them, which they test for good germination, weigh out, and sell or freezefor future use. The seeds are chosen according to their reproduction potential, by which we mean that gardeners can reproduce seeds from the harvest instead of buying them every season. The enterprise conducts and publishes research on the varieties so that customers take less risks when planting them. The orientation on reproducibility of seeds and increasing food autonomy is certainly an alternative to the major seed distributors who have an interest in generating dependency on their seeds. Instead of creating dependency on their seeds, the enterprise focuses on widening their selection, currently having about 700 varieties in stock. As a result, its promotional activities increase the biodiversity in the region.

One can compare the business model to an open hardware initiative. Expertise and a product that can be reproduced are provided to the customers. However, the customer needs to pay for the material part of the product. This model, being very locally oriented, could be implemented by other enterprises. The promotion of heirloom seeds that is a part of the enterprise’s activity can have broader impact on the environment in the local area.

Benevolent investment: earn money to change the world

The profits from the business are invested in projects that have broader social change as an objective. The material and human resources of this thriving enterprise are invested in the replication of the model in different settings. It distinguishes them from charity funding, which often is oriented on short-term goals instead of sustainable structures that would improve quality of life. Examples of investments include expanding the infrastructure of the community and helping other communities expand creating a complementary network of egalitarian communities which have developed an internal system of labour exchange. One current initiative, PointA, which wants to bring the community-organization to urban areas and benefit from urban-rural exchanges illustrates how the community’s resources can serve to increase autonomy from market forces through sharing and exchanging.

Producing exchange value and participating in the market system may actually contribute to the sustainability of the communities, making more use value production possible. A member of East Wind community in Missouri, which runs an enterprise producing peanut butter, observed that the authorities probably do not bother the community because the enterprise is one of the major taxpayers in the locality.

One of my interviewees thinks that a complete withdrawal from the money system would be the ideal final stage in the intentional community movement because as long as the community takes part in money exchanges this sustains the system. Instead, by operating on “zero dollars” and by setting an example, undermining “faith in money” would contribute to its end. Certainly, this long term vision can be achieved by creating prefigurative practices of postcapitalist modes of production. Participation in them, despite being sometimes motivated by the advantages to one’s quality of life and not necessarily the pursuit of a social change, may be an opportunity to inculcate non-hierarchical organizationalstyles and develop skills needed to live outside of the employment system.

Communities may use their resources to have an impact on society outside their network. For example, Acorn has been involved in a lawsuit against Monsanto. The Midden, an urban egalitarian community in Columbus, Ohio, enables its members’ political involvement by sharing their resources and decreasing their costs of living. A member of East Wind community (another egalitarian community located in Missouri) would like to help the local town next to his community become a place where food is grown in public spaces and accessible to all. For this purpose, the community can donate seeds and help in setting up the initiative.

The same person wanted to become a biologist before joining East Wind community but he dropped out of his studies. Now he works on experiments with aquaponics and growing trees. It is a way of continuing his passion outside of the rigidities of science funding and the limitations imposed on researchers in academia (check, for example, the writings by David Graeber). Since the labour quota in this community is 35 hours a week and includes varied activities, some time and energy may still be left for pursuing passions and creating a use value.

Securing basic needs and freeing time for useful activities by organizing into intentional communities may be a response to the dilemma that the p2p movement is facing. When the contribution is directly linked to profit, this may influence the motivation and produce other disadvantages to the final product (see Zimmermann’s post). However, the movement needs to address the subsistence problem if it wants to thrive. So by rearranging the mode of production, the communities may be places for producing knowledge and science to develop more autonomy. That may be their transitional role.


Endnotes
{1} Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, Expanded Edition (London: Athlantic Books, 2008), 36. Pekka Himanen, The Hacker Ethic and the Spirit of the Information Age (Random House, 2002).
{2} Michel Bauwens and Sussan Rémi, Le peer to peer : nouvelle formation sociale, nouveau modèle civilisationnel, Revue du MAUSS, 2005/2 no 26, p. 193-210.
{3} Lakhani, Karim R.; Robert G. Wolf (2005): Why Hackers Do What They Do. In: Joseph Feller, Brian Fitzgerald, Scott A. Hissam, Karim R. Lakhani (eds.), Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. Michel Bauwens and Sussan Rémi, Le peer to peer : nouvelle formation sociale, nouveau modèle civilisationnel, Revue du MAUSS, 2005/2 no 26, p. 193-210.
{4} Yochai Benkler and Helen Nissenbaum, “Commons-based Peer Production and Virtue,” The Journal of Political Philosophy 14 (December 2006): 394-419.
{5} I appreciate the comment of GPaul Blundell that helped me see the distinctions more clearly. The definition of public services in the model of unconditional basic income is one of the problems to be solved by the movement.

What is Acorn community?

Acorn community is a farm based, egalitarian, income-sharing, secular, anarchist, feminist, consensus-based intentional community of around 32 folks, based in Mineral, Virginia. It was founded in 1993 by former members of neighboring Twin Oaks community. To make their living, they operate an heirloom and organic seed business, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (“SESE”), which tests seeds in the local climate and provides customers with advice on growing their own plants and reproducing seeds. Acorn is affiliated to the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, a US network of intentional communities that commit to holding in common their land, labor, resources, and income among community members.

Information on sources

I spent three weeks in August 2014 at Acorn community in Virginia where I conducted interviews with 15 inhabitants of this community (accounting for about half of the membership). The interviews will be used in my book analyzing a scenario of a postcapitalist mode of production from a personal perspective. It will be published in Creative Commons license. My research trip has been co-financed by a Goteo crowdfunding campaign. Some inspiration comes from four public meetings with a member of East Wind community, which I organized in October 2014, in Strasbourg, France. In total, 47 people participated in these events.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank my interviewees, Couchsurfing hosts, and Acorn community for their hospitality and their time. The following people have contributed to the Goteo crowdfunding campaign: pixocode, Daycoin Project, Olivier, Paul Wuersig, María, Julian Canaves. I would like to express my gratitude to these and eight other co-financers. I would like to thank for the editing and suggestions from GPaul Blundell, communard of Acorn, instigating organizer of Point A DC.

Further publications

Another article on a Montreal-based enterprise where I conducted interviews for the book in progress can be found here: “There is such a thing as a free lunch: Montreal students commoning and peering food services.”A longer article on the same enterprise is published by a closed-access academic journal. Gajewska, Katarzyna (2014): Peer Production and Prosumerism as a Model for the Future Organization of General Interest Services Provision in Developed Countries Examples of Food Services Collectives. World Future Review 6(1): 29-39.

Please, do not hesitate to ask me for an electronic version at the address: k.gajewska_comm AT zoho.com

I have also published other articles related to peer production and unconditional basic income:

Gajewska, Katarzyna, “Technological Unemployment but Still a Lot of Work: Towards Prosumerist Services of General Interest,” Journal of Evolution and Technology.

Gajewska, Katarzyna, “How Basic Income Will Transform Active Citizenship? A Scenario of Political Participation beyond Delegation,” Paper for 15th International Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network, June 27th to 29th, 2014, Montreal, Québec.

About the Author

Katarzyna Gajewska is an independent (unpaid) writer and social activist. In her book in progress, she explores potential psychological consequences of transformation towards a postcapitalist mode of production in the physical world. Formerly an academic (precarious) researcher, she builds upon her scientific background in industrial relations and political science and incorporates other lenses in the analysis of a scenario of a potential future. She focuses on personal and daily life in order to stimulate collective imagination and democratic debate.

For updates on my publications, you can check my Facebook pageor send me an e-mail to the address to get updates by e-mail: k.gajewska_comm AT zoho.com

Katarzyna Gajewska is an independent scholar and a writer. She has a PhD in Political Science and has published on alternative economy and innovating the work organization since 2013. She is also interested in preventive health and emotional and psychological aspects of economic change. You can find her non-academic writing on such platforms as Occupy.com, P2P Foundation Blog, Basic Income UK, Bronislaw Magazine and LeftEast. For updates on her publications, you can check her Facebook page or send her an e-mail: k.gajewska_commATzoho.com. If you would like to support her independent writing, please make a donation to the PayPal account at the same address.

Creating use value while making a living in egalitarian communities